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From my little baby to my little girl…

Where do little girls come from? I don’t mean anatomically. I’m going to have a hard enough time explaining that to my inquisitive little Z when she is older. So, let’s not go there now.

But more figuratively. Where DO little girls come from? Yes, yes, we do have the sugar and spice and all things nice. But I’ve realised there is so much more.

Big puppy-dog eyes, expressive gestures, stinky diapers, dirty bloomers, unkept hair, drooly t-shirts, butterfly kisses, warm hugs, curious minds – this is what transforms a baby into a little girl.

Z has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last month and a half. As this is a blog to document these milestones, I would love to highlight some of them.

  1. Little Ms. Fashionista

Z is now pretty particular of what she wants to wear. Too many ruffles, too big, too itchy and she’ll try taking it off before you can say, “Please baby, just for an hour!”

She hates hairbands and we are lucky if we can sneak in a hairclip without her knowing every now and then! Or else Mama has to take action and make the clip-wearing process a lot more fun!

She’s old enough to appreciate beauty around her and says,” Wowww” every time she sees pretty flowers, a big tree or her aunt trying on a gorgeous dress.

2. Forrest Gump

Z is in a ‘marathon runner’ phase at the moment. She runs and runs and runs. Everywhere. All the time. As I type this, I see her running across the living room to give her grandfather a big hug; and it’s hilarious because her legs are still a bit wobbly and her arms flop around behind her almost like wings.

3. Dancing Queen

Z absolutely loves dancing. And even more so, when there are lots of people around. It’s almost as if she’s performing. We went to a night market a couple of days back and there was some lovely live music playing. While we were busy with eating and drinking, little Z danced and danced and danced the night away, entertaining all those around her.

4. Little Marie Curie

Why say Einstein when you can say Marie Curie, right?

Anyway, I believe Z is incredibly receptive to information and knowledge right now. A cute little sponge, if I may. It’s incredible how quickly she is learning things. From counting 1, 2, 3 to saying A for Apple and B for ball; from making a funny face to saying Hi and Bye to strangers without anyone prompting her; from knowing all the actions and most of the words from her favourite rhymes to knowing there is food in the vicinity just at the crunch of a packet – it’s amazing to see her learn and retain all this. Granny is currently teaching her to say, ‘No nonsense!’ and she repeats with a whisper, ‘No nanas’.

Sometimes, she shocks us with little sentences – ‘Cat there’, ‘Tutti there’ and ‘Mama here’. She has her own little gibberish language and it annoys her when we can’t understand what she is saying, especially when she feels like she is communicating so beautifully! Oh and she calls herself, ‘Vova’ or ‘Joya’ at different times!

5. Little Foodie

In true Menon and Rao style, Z loves her food too. Her favourites are rice, chicken, ‘sheez‘ (cheese), ‘offan‘ (orange), chocolates, ”ship‘ (chips), and those little colourful jeera sweets. I’m pretty sure the word she uses the most is ‘amm‘ which means food. She also pretends to take little chunks out of her arm or couch and puts them in her mouth to tell us she is hungry!

6. Show-woman and clown

Z is definitely a little clown and show-woman – all rolled into one! She lives for the applause and ensures she does things to make you laugh. Even when she’s not trying to be funny, it’s hilarious. For example, when she sees anyone dressed in all black, she starts making monkey sounds! Because she’s seen black gorillas in her books. Can you imagine how embarrassing that can get at the mall or restaurant? She also goes into look nooks and corners to sing little gibberish songs to herself.

7. Ms. Manipulative

Usually, Z gets what she wants. And if she doesn’t, she manipulates people into getting it. She’ll kiss, hug and scream ‘love yous’ just to get her way. And if the person doesn’t give in, she moves on to the next person and repeats the whole process. So most of the time, it’s a win-win for everyone! Having said this, we are also very strict with her and she is very receptive to our ‘No’ and ‘No touching’.

Anyway, that’s all from us for now. It’s so lovely being able to witness these amazing changes to a little person – changes that will eventually make her the awesome person she is!

Thanks for being part of this crazy ride with us.

Love,

Z and Mama

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Trés Jolie – Review

When you have a toddler, you tend to look for places that are child-friendly or meant just for them. For me, there is no greater joy than seeing the look on Z’s face when she sees something that fascinates her or makes her squeal with happiness.

The last weekend, we found one such place – Trés Jolie (near Honeydew, Johannesburg). The website was unassuming but we were sold when it mentioned it had all the farm animals including sheep, goats, roosters, horses and even camels! Z loves farm animals right now and rattles off every animal sound possible so we just had to take her there!

We got there a little after 11:30 am and initially were shocked at the sea of humanity! Babies and kids of all shapes and sizes, prams, toys, parents, waiters, animals, stalls – it was a lot to take in! But then we started walking around and realised what an amazing place it was! We first saw the two majestic camels who were busy munching on some hay. My little nephew thought they were donkeys, which was actually quite a good guess. Z was awestruck as she had no clue what they were! 

Camels at Tres Jolie

We then walked towards the far end of the venue and got to the real treats. Z saw horses (Mama and baby) for the first time and wouldn’t stop saying “Neigh, neigh”! We saw sheep, goats, roosters, bunnies and even an emu who seemed to be fascinated by us!

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The over-friendly Emu 😊

 Z enjoyed running after one stray rooster that managed to escape the henhouse 😂

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Z and her new rooster friend

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Fascinated! 😘

If this wasn’t enough, they also had 3 or 4 jumping castles, jungle gyms, swings, see-saws, merry-go-rounds and more! There were 3 birthday parties going on at the time, but that just added to the fun.

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A big factor that impressed us all was the food! It was absolutely excellent and the service, impeccable. We had everything from the honey-basted pork ribs to fried fish, from blue cheese and steak to calzones. Every single one of us loved what we ordered. Not to mention the yummy sangrias!

Yummy for my tummy 😘

I know for a fact this is going to be our go-to place from now on. Do visit with your little ones for an amazing amazing day! Thanks, Trés Jolie, for all the fun!

For more on our adventures, follow us on @Zoyaschronicles on Instagram!

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Where did I go wrong? 

So, mom and I have this terrible habit of watching really awful Hindi movies over and over again. We laugh, we cry (because we laugh so hard) and we cringe at the level of mediocrity and ‘what were you thinking-ness’. One of our all time favourites is Mein Prem Ki Deewani. A timeless classic in which Kareena believed her face had the same elasticity as putty and decided to contort it into ways which are not usually humanly possible. Presenting evidence below:

Well, yesterday we watched a rather unpleasant remake of the classic Karz called Karzzzzz. Only an original title such as this can be both ironic and appropriate at the same time because – a) The utter disbelief and gut-wrenching regret never lets you sleep again or b) You would rather will yourself to sleep the whole week to avoid watching it. 
Anyway, I don’t need to tell you how the movie was, but just that it starred Mr. Nasal Rockstar himself, Himesh Reshammiya.

So, while Mama and I are rolling on the floor laughing at the fourth ‘song’ he is singing, I hear a little bird-like hum next to me. I look down and my Sweet Pea is examining her little turtle and singing. Well, there has to be a mistake. It’s definitely a coincidence. 
After 2.5 minutes of another absurd scene that is overshadowed by Himesh’s mullet and the actresses’s grotesque makeup, the next song kicks off and so does my Sweet Pea. This time a tad bit louder. Now I’m worried. 
After an hour or two of absolute pain and torture, we come to the end of the movie as well as the shattering of my hopes and dreams when I realise that maybe, just maybe, my Sweet Pea likes Himesh Reshammiya. Oh sweet Lord, were did I go wrong? 
Maybe she’s just trying to show him how it’s actually done. Maybe she’s trying to drown out the noise. 

I guess this is just hope talking. But isn’t that what we live on? Because I really can’t handle this and Trump coming to power on the same day. 

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No pain, no gain? 

​Yesterday was traumatising. My little Sweet Pea was to have her ears pierced (traditionally, Malayali kids have it done before the age of 1). To be honest, I was in two minds all these days and even the thought of it made me anxious. 

Once we got to the jewellers, a decision needed to be made. He told us it would be done in about 30 seconds and so, with a heavy heavy heart, I decided to go along with it. 
The next minute or so made me realise what a brave little girl my Sweet Pea is! Of course she cried a little…but there was no shrieking in pain, throwing a tantrum or making a scene. After the entire ordeal, she saw a little girl and started smiling at her (with little sobs in between).

 
She looks even lovlier now and there won’t be anymore ‘gents’ or ‘ladies’ questions hopefully 😁 I’m just glad we decided to do it and my little sparkle has her own little set of sparkles now. 

Which brings me to the question that has been on my mind for a while now – as a parent, do I have the right to make these kind of decisions for my baby? Ones that involve pain or changing her body in any way? Should I wait for her to grow up and decide for herself? Or should I do the needful and let her continue when she is of an appropriate age? Am I also promoting those stereotypes that I wrote about a couple of days back? 
I think my parents got it right. As a baby, my ears were pierced when I was 28 days old as part of a traditional ritual. When I was growing up, I was a complete tomboy and didn’t feel the need to change my earrings ever. So the pierced ears were just there – serving no purpose at all. 
When I got to college, I went on a piercing spree and added 4 more holes to each ear, a nose piercing and a tattoo. So, while my parents did the first one, I still could make my own choices with what I wanted to do with my body. It’s ironic I’m writing this the day I just went and got a tattoo! 

Coming back to my Sweet Pea, unfortunately, the trauma didn’t end there as she also fell off the bed for the first time. I don’t have much to say about it – maybe I messed up, maybe I didn’t. I just wish it hadn’t happened but thankfully she is doing just fine today.  

Love and light! 

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Ice, ice, baby! 

It’s quite a milestone day – Sweet Pea had her first taste of ice cream and boy, did she love it! I know, I know.. no sugar before they turn a year old but a little sugar and spice hurt no one.. add ‘all things nice’ and isn’t that what little girls are made of? 😍

First time parents are paranoid and obsessive crazies. The first six months of a baby’s life are spent monitoring every sneeze, checking every bit of poop for colour and consistency as well as rushing to the ER for the tiniest ‘strange’ looking/sounding thing that comes out of either end. Once we know our babies are stronger than we think (around the 8th or 9th month), the craziness tends to come down a bit but never disappears. 

Next, comes a stage of slight overconfidence and overestimating the baby. “Oh, of course she can eat that”, “Yes, yes, she can sit on that”, and “No, don’t worry, let her play with that.” Most times, these scenarios work out just fine but sometimes the shrill shriek of our little babies pops our ‘know-it-all’bubble and promptly brings us back to earth. 

Moral of the story: Do not underestimate or overestimate your baby. She is strong but she still needs you. She enjoys eating but every food still needs to be monitored. She is social but strangers still scare her. She loves to play outside but the monkey ladder might be too high for her. 

Therefore, give her your love and attention, but also give her the space to become the amazing person she eventually will. 

And finally, always be proud of your little wonder

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‘Gents’ or ‘ladies’? 

It’s such an irony that the day I write a post about gender neutral clothing is the day I get asked if my daughter is a “gents” or “ladies” by two people!

Anyway, despite her silver bow or because of it, she looked adorable and I’m proud to dress her the way I do 💗

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Hold her just once..

I’ve been adviced so many times:

“Don’t hold her for too long, let her play on the rug with her toys.”

“Don’t hold her and sleep. She will expect that every single time.”

“Put her down now and she will form the habit of sleeping alone eventually.”

I do agree with most of these and follow them so my Sweet Pea is not overly clingy or attached. Don’t get me wrong: I love picking her up and hugging her but I’ve also realised that she loves playing on her mat too. And I do give her her space when required. Instead, I sit with her and let HER come to me whenever she wants (which is still pretty often, thankfully!)

But there is one thing I do and will continue to till I can. One of her naptimes during the day is in my arms, holding her. I’ve decided to do this for a simple reason: she is growing up too fast.

It was just a couple of months back that she was still sitting on her mat, unable to crawl and attached to me every second of the day. And now she is crawling and pretty much being independent! 

So, Mama has decided to take control and hold on to those little moments – when I can watch her sleep, give her little hugs, stroke her hair – until she wakes up 30 minutes later and it’s utterly chaos again! 😂