Pattani Bytes

You have no clue if you’re doing things right or wrong when you start playing some rhymes on the Ipad and Pattani expertly watches out for the “Skip Ad” prompt and does away with the advertisement exactly when it appears.
Compulsive habits form this early ? #wonder
Are we staring at gadget overdose ? #shamefulParentingMoment


Reality check

Around the same time last year was when THIS happened. Now, K is away yet again, for more than a month this time, and we are back to the Skyping business. So last evening, with great difficulty, I managed to make Pattani sit in one spot so that he could talk to Appa over Skype on my phone. And just as Appa came online, Pattani was smothering me with baby hugs. Needless to say, Appa was instantly drowned in homesickness and I was not helping matters by flaunting the advertisement-level display of affection by Pattani. Indignant, he called out to him – Pattani, Appa va vandhu katti konjiko! We Skype with my parents once in a while, despite all of us living in the same city and seeing each other every week. Grandparents can seldom have enough of their grandchild. Everytime mum or dad tell him – Kattiko!, he immediately scoops up the iPad in his arms and gives it a tight hug. Virtual affection at its cutest :). And yesterday, when Appa made the demand, the bub gave the phone one long look, grinned and went – Nenaa! Adhu Appa illa. Adhu chone! And he rushed off to play! Do babies HAVE to grow up ? 😦
*chone = phone. As is choto = photo. Mazhalai, don’t go away. Pretty please ?

Pattani now goes to “playschool”. I typed that out in the hope that it would help me get over my disbelief that still lurks despite the fact that it’s been more than a month already. And I want to put it down here because the transition from day 1 has been so huge that now, it almost seems like Day 1 never happened.

We had been conditioning him for many months before he actually started going so that he’d learn to think of it as a fun place where he could play with other kids his age. The only catch was that he imagined we would be part of the fun too. So, he was quite inconsolable when we bid him goodbye on day 1. I was prepared for this to an extent but all the same, it was heartbreaking to see that baby, still shy of 2 years, to be taken away from the comfort and familiarity of home for 3 hours. The whole of first week was like this – we would talk to him very encouragingly about school every night to prep him up, he would turn enthusiastic, then the hesitation would start creeping in the next morning as we got him ready and would blow out into full-fledged crying which would flatten any out any attempts at consolation. I must take a moment now to put down that the playschool Pattani goes to is pretty unconventional and run by this wonderful lady (calling her PP here), who takes in just a handful of kids and does the most awesome job of keeping them engaged and teaching them values that I hope they’ll carry for a lifetime. I think I should do a separate post on stuff he does in school. So, getting back to week 1, the minute I entered home from office, I would ask him – Pattani, enna ma pannina iniku school la? And he’d go – amma, amma ayuden. Vera enna panna ? Amma amma ayuden. I couldn’t get out another word about school and started second guessing myself despite PP assuring us that it would take a while, but definitely get better. Week 2 was much better – he’d cry for a while as soon as we dropped him off , but settle down quickly and busy himself with activities there. But his stock response at home remained unchanged – Enna ma pannina iniku school la ? Amma amma ayuden. Things slowly fell into a pattern and he was visibly excited at the prospect of going there every morning. We were kept abreast of happenings and his activities there, and about other kids who came there by PP, but Pattani staunchly stuck to “Amma amma ayuden” every time we asked him about school. By week 3, PP told us that he was not so much as shedding a tear when I dropped him off and almost seemed reluctant to leave when Thatha went to pick him up at noon. “Amma amma ayuden” has since become a standing joke at home. He says that till date, and gives us a cheeky grin. Like he is saying it so that we feel consoled that he does indeed miss us in school. The brat. But I know he has a ball there now, and looks forward to it every morning. It’s hard to get him to bunk school even when he falls sick( I wonder how long this enthusiasm will last).

The prospect of going to PP’s house is the magic wand that helps me achieve the herculean tasks of waking him up, brushing, bathing and feeding him his breakfast in a matter of an hour or so. His bedtime stories mostly involve kids from his playgroup, and when he’s lost in his own world playing with his toys, he is usually heard mumbling some story or shloka that he’s picked up there. BUT if I go closer and ask him to say that again, did PP teach him that? What else did he do at school today? pat comes the answer – “amma amma ayuden”. K and I look at each other and laugh. K reasons – “maybe he needs his privacy and wants to keep his social life off our limits??”  Yeah, right!

Literally speaking..

“Meena!”, the Pattani calls out, tugging at the MIL’s saree pallu.
“Shhh – Pattani! You can’t call her by name. Paati nu koopdu”, I tell him firmly.
“Meena!” Yet again.
I just glare.
“Meena Paati?”, he tries, tentatively.
Not wanting to offer any leeway, I tell him firmly – “Onnum theva illa. Verum Paati nu koopdu, porum.”
He pretends like he hasn’t heard me and scampers off.
He returns to the kitchen exactly a minute later, runs up to her and confidently addresses her – “Verum Paati! Akkam venu.” <I want water.>


When we watch nursery rhyme videos, we usually keep the Pattani involved in some chatter about what the mouse/cat/duck/anna in the rhyme is doing, so we can spin stories from those later on.  Sometimes we do it just to hear him talk and gush over it. Yes, we are yet to reach the “Oh shut up already!” phase. 😀

Anyhow, there is this rhyme that goes

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie
He stuck in his thumb, and pulled out a plum, and said what a good boy I am!<Fat moral, but that’s not the point>

Pattani, anna enna ma saapadran ? (What is he eating?)
Hmm.. ok. Anna cake lendhu enna eduthaan ? <What did he take out from the cake? >
Whaaa !
Now read the rhyme again. Dang! A plum indeed!


The Pattani’s assisted story telling of the lion and the mouse story :
Oru oorla ..
oyyu liyon (a lion)
lion was?
hungee (hungry)
so lion enna pannithu ?
Tacchu mammu chaaaptu, akkam kuchu, thooyi la taachu! <It ate curd rice, drank water and slept in its thooli>
Some quintessential tam-brahm lion this, huh?

Freeze this!

*Soppy content alert. Strictly not for the pooh-pooh-ers*

K and I got back pretty late from work today- not so unusual for K, but really rare for me because I generally ensure I wind up and reach home by 7 max, so that I can spend a good amount of time with Pattani before he hits the bed. I was pretty bummed today – partly irritated because my work was being a mule(literally. Geek alert!ha!) and refusing to solve its own problems and also guilty that I’d been away for so long. I was hoping he wouldn’t be too sleepy and there he was, sitting on his cycle. The minute he saw us, he let out a squeal of delight – Ammmaaa!!!!Apppaaa!!! I went in and scooped him up and gave him a tight hug, and at that moment, quite inexplicably, all the guilt vanished and came flooding back at the same time!


When I lie face down down on my tummy on the bed, Pattani instantly drops whatever he is doing, comes running and launches himself onto me with a thud. Then he climbs up and lies down on top of me on his tummy, and hugs me(how much ever he can manage with those kutti hands at least). It gives me the feeling that he thinks it is the best place for him to be, but I wonder if he knows that his mommy has never been in a better place before.


After 30 mins of unsuccessfully trying to put him to sleep, I just give up and as a last ditch effort, pretend to be asleep in the hope that he will follow suit. He notices that I have gone still, peers into my face, mutters ‘amma. Thaachi(sleeping) , snuggles closer, gently pats my head and goes ‘Jo Jo Jo’. I can barely suppress a smile and open my eyes to look at that tiny face. He is delighted to find me awake and coos – ammmmaaaa!!! And the sleep effort starts from the scratch again.


When I am at home, but busy in the kitchen and don’t nondify him for a while, he comes sauntering to the kitchen calling out ammma ? Maaa?
Me: enna ma?
Pattani: maaa ?
Me: enna ma?
Pattani: ma?
And the same thing 5-6 times.
Me: enna da venum?
Pattani: tooki(lift me up)
I lift him up, starting to glow in his affection.
Pattani(spotting the sugar dabba):kakku!!
Since affection makes me generous, I give him a few crystals of sugar.
Pattani: keeya!(put me down )
Me: dei. Kakku kuduthen la. Let me konjify you a little.(shameless bribery that transcends language)
Pattani suddenly starts bawling ‘keeeeeyaaaa’ and makes me look like a kidnapper caught red handed.
I hmph and set him down and he instantly bolts like he can’t wait to get away from me. Man of priorities indeed!
Naana onna koopten! I mutter to myself :/( Did I call you in the first place ?)


Of the sink, IVR akka and apucha.

Appa decides that the Pattani is old enough to run errands for him. The “kaal-pudichu-vidu” attempt backfired severely when Pattani discovered the great joys of making Appa lie on his tummy, make him a pretend-aanai and do the dhinka-chikkaa-dhinka-chikaa dance on top of him. Or at times, come running thothakaa bothakaa from the next room and crash land directly on the unsuspecting, nose-buried-in-football Appa.

Now, among the hundred odd words that he knows, is “sink”. The kitchen sink. That is where aani(rani-ma, the helper lady) “gooo” pannifies (washes/bathes) the “poon”(spoons). So, Appa slowly taught him by example, how coffee tumblers have to be left at the sink. One evening, he says – “Pattani, Appa ku oru help pannu. Indha tumbler a poi sink la pottudu”. Pattani sincerely picks it up, runs to the sink, and randomly drops it inside with a clang(it is way above his reach). Appa is elated. This is how you involve kids in everything you do, he beams.

And THEN the drama starts. Like everything else, Pattani thinks this is a game. He picks up everything that he can lay his hands on, runs off to the sink and drops it in, just to get startled by the clang! Washed and dried utensils, clothes, books, EVERYTHING land up in the kitchen sink once day or the other. Needless to say, aani is reeling under the paasa-mazhai. The latest list of wierd items fished out of the kitchen sink includes the FIL’s glucose tablets, the MIL’s wallet, the cordless phone, his own pull-along toys and what not!
Appa clearly needs to think through the repurcussions before trying to out-smart the bub !

And justtt, when we think so, he does something that only the innocence of a 1.3 year old can pull off:
Someday when he was toying around with the cordless phone(yes, that is what it has been reduced to), I suppose he pressed the call button after a few random numbers. The IVR voice promptly came up – “Neengal die-yal seidha yeNNai seri paarkavum. Pleeee-s check the number you have die-yalled. I was about to take the phone from him and put it away, when I noticed he was grinning widely. “Enna?” I ask. “Akkkkaaa !” he gushes. Sigh. IVR “akka” indeed. So this boy, who becomes extremely phone-shy when real people ring up and demand to talk to him, has found his phone-buddy. So, now when everytime one of us in the house speak over the phone, as soon as we hang up, we HAVE to dial “akka”‘s number and get her to talk to him. While he grins and gushes and goes – “akkkkaaa”! .
On that note, here are the Pattani’s relationship equations for non-relatives. He identifies his amma, appa, mama, thatha, paati, athai etc :
1. Anybody who is tinier than him = paapa (refers to himself as paapa too).
2. Everybody who is female = Akka (from a 2 year old girl to Kareena Kapoor. Appa tried telling him that Kareena Kapoor is Paati in reality, but the Pattani roundly refused to agree and insists she is “akka”.
3. Kutti boys = Anna.
4. DhaDi maadu-like boys = mama.
5. White-haired men = Thatha
5. White haired women = Paati.
The last two are by far his most favorite category of people. Very sweetly go up to them, put on the cutest expression, pick up a cup, ask them for “apucha”*, make them melt, get a cupful of said apucha, throw it all over the place, and pick it from the floor and chomp away.

*apucha – norukku theeni, in his baashai. My mom goes “un payyan thaane! what else do you expect? ” I cannot disagree 😀

Pattani Peek – Some Random Snippets

The kkkkhhhh days are long gone. He can now comprehend everything you say(especially if it involves people making plans to go out) and speak quite a bit.

A(anybody in the house): Amma chellam yaaaruuu ?
Pattani : Naaanuu! (in mood-specific tonal variations)
A: Appa oda pattukutti yaaru ?
Pattani : Naaanuu !
A: Kutti pattani Yaaru ?
Pattani : Naaanuu.
Absolute fun. We shamelessly demand his allegiance a million times a day, and the poor baby obliges almost always(except when he is eyeing mamm-mamm).
Someday, Paati asks Pattani : Paati yaaru ma ?
And he promptly replies : Naanu !
We get the message. He only comprehends yaaru. What precedes that is irrelevant.  Answer-inappropriate questions shalt not be asked henceforth. On that note, Mr. Pappu, do you know Pattani’s age? 14 months. Not 43.


A: A for ?
Pattani: Aapooo (Apple. We taught him that.)
A: B for ?
Pattani : Bow- bow !
We are stunned, wondering how he managed to come up with that !
Very hopefully, we continue .. C for ?
Pat comes the reply – Chuchu !
#facepalm #PottyTrainingWoes


The most fascinating in-house objects according to him : Tupperware dabbas(The bigger, the better). Stainless steel paathrams. Spoons. Plates. Just-folded and neatly stacked clothes. What he loves doing with the 2 huge baskets of the actual toys :
1. Wait till amma/appa painstakingly fish out every toy from under the sofas and corners of the house and put them back into the baskets.
2. Thothakaa bothakaa nu run to the basket with a great show of enthusiasm to play with the toys.
3. Diligently pull out EVERY single toy and throw it around randomly.
4. Run away to the kitchen to attack the utensils set. Sighs.
Some shots of Pattani in his domestic avtar :

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Err.. kindly excuse the poor quality of pictures. Bad lighting and angles. And these moments don’t last you know ? So yeah, you are not allowed to think ill of the photographer’s skills


Dabbas can go find themselves some space. I want to sit on the kitchen shelf!



Most fascinating creatures : Kaa-kaa and bow-bow(Bow-bow? My kid? Really? I wonder all the time!) Everybody, I mean EVERYBODY else can only compete for spot number 3. You can take him anywhere – be it the temple, or teru mona kadai or the beach or a mall. Once he is home, ask him what he saw – the answer is either kaka or bow-bow. The look of extreme excitement and sheer delight on his face when he spots either of them on the street – Paaah! Incomprehensible only. I dread at the thought of the day when he might just throw a big drama to get a pup for a pet and I may have to give in. No, THAT I will not. DOT.


Me: Pattani, Thatha epdi ma pooja pannuvaa ?
Him: Holding out and shaking his hand, as if to aatify the mani.

In a totally different context, Pattani running around in high spirits at 11 pm refusing to yield to my superhuman efforts to put him to sleep and a tired,sleepy me, desperate to hit the bed:
Me : Pattani, Yen paduthara? Toongu ma. Amma ku tookama vardhu. Mani enna terima ?
Pattani : Stops suddenly, looks and me and does the mani aatifying action.
I look confused, and burst out laughing.
#HowDoesOneExplainHomonymsToAOneYearOld. Well, on second thoughts, one year olds are way cuter not knowing!



How the iPad = Appa

K was away on a business trip for all of a week and he missed out on being home for Diwali. Absolute bummer. It was his first week-long separation from Pattani after I came back from mum’s and the bub was severely warned that he dare not forget Appa’s moonji while he was away. I was instructed to make repeated references to Appa and record the (supposed)reactions of him severely missing Appa. This, despite the fact that we had already agreed to video-chat every single day. So every morning/night depending on when both of us were free, I would log on from the iPad and both of us would excitedly shout out from both ends to Pattani – “Appa paaaruu kutti, Appa paaru. Appa Paaru”(Yes, that was the bulk of our chat on any given day). Pattani would look at the iPad curiously as if expecting Appa to suddenly pop out and take him out for tata. Just to make his point, he would stare pointedly at K and mumble “tata” a few times. When it became clear that Appa was not going to oblige, he would lose interest and proceed to other important activities like
1.try to grab the iPad from my hand and casually drop it down with as much force as he can muster(and that is not less by any standards)
2.make a beeline for the nearest open almirah and pull down the books from the lower shelf and flip through them for 3 seconds before gleefully tearing them apart.
3.stand on tiptoes and pull down the just folded/ironed clothes with great effort
4. scan the floor for the tiniest, most invisible particles, quickly pop it in, and keep his mouth tightly shut when I demand to check.

Anyway, the Diwali was thus spent with us showing off our new clothes and the gazillion bakshanams that the paatis had whipped up for us, over chat and K gloomily holed up in a crazy office/hotel room. The only good thing that came out of this was that Pattani properly learnt the word Appa. His vocab list now reads : Appa, akkam(water), tata(but of course!), mumm-mumm and some random gibberish animal noises like kaa-kaa, boww.

When K returned, and things got back to routine, one morning K was holding Pattani and I took out the iPad to book some tickets. Pattani suddenly leapt out of his hands and made a grab for the iPad, shouting ‘Appa! Appa’. K was quite confused by the sudden outburst of paternal louu and very importantly said – “Kutti, Appa inga irukken ma, inga vaa”. Pattani refused to so much as look at him, kept turning the iPad and looking at it from all angles and going “Appa! Appa!” all the time. K looked stumped while I burst out laughing. One week of “Appa paaru” at the Ipad had done this to him! 😀

Now, more than ten days later, the iPad is still “Appa”. Even when K is playing with him, and he happens to spot the Ipad, K is royally ignored and he rushes to grab the iPad going “Appa!Appa” with great delight while K quietly mumbles -“Dei, naa thaan da Appa!