What we are loving right now…

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It took some time but this week was the first time we all felt a bit cold. We have started turning on our electric space heaters more often and have been feeling cozy when the house gets all warm and toasty. It is nice. In fact there are quite a few things we are liking lately-t’is the season, I guess. This post is all about appreciating the simple things. Here is what they are for us lately:

  • Pollution dwindling down and the air feeling especially clear (for a while anyway) after any rain.
  • Baby cuddles and hugs.
  • Wearing autumn clothes.
  • Potatoes…cooked in any style. So comforting.
  • Christmas decor in unexpected places.
  • Accomplishing things at work.
  • Tkemali  (a plum sauce) that we brought from Georgia this summer. Still have a bottle left but will bring more on our next trip.
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches. Always so satisfying.
  • Seeing the baby learn new things.
  • Baby giggles.
  • Whipped Bakery’s cheesecake cupcakes-especially the Bailey’s one.
  • Internet and smartphones-with such cheap data plans compared to home! Always feel connected-to home, the news, my favourite people, western tv shows, everything.
  • Uber India. Just awesome.
  • People wanting to come for a visit with us. We have become very popular!
  • Hitting financial goals. By the end of the year I am going to be in a great place-ahead of where I expected-and will need to decide what my goals are for 2019.
  • Always looking forward to a trip. It seems life lately always involves a new trip around the corner.
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My almost 14 month old…

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I could write every day about my little guy but try not to as I already post a lot about him on Facebook. My Facebook circle is quite small and a great way to keep in touch with family and friends. But, on this blog, I do not want to bore the world to death. I have seen interesting blogs go downhill fast when the new baby came along. Every post documented the things that all us humans do…it may be exciting for the parents but not so much for the rest of the world! Ha ha ha.

But, this post is for our little guy. He has come a long way in the last while and has advanced from crawling to walking. This past weekend we bought him his first pair of shoes. He took to them as soon as he realized they made a funny sound on the tile floor-before that he just wanted to tear them off.

Other than the time difference, he did not need much to transition to life in India. Because we are in New Delhi and not a smaller center, everything one could need for a baby or toddler is available here. The main two issues we deal with are being aware and making sure not to get water in his mouth during bath times and the dreadful pollution. My husband manages the baths and has sorted it out…so far no issues. As for the pollution, we do not go out on high pollution days and generally keep it brief. I am looking forward to winter passing and all of us being able to breathe easier. At home we run two air purifiers which I hope do what they are supposed to.

He still drinks formula (we have a toddler version of Enfamil here) three times a day. The rest of the time he does pretty well with regular food. On my parenting app lots of people wonder what to feed babies. Ours eats toast, peanut butter, banana pancakes, all fruits and veggies, lentils and beans, scrambled eggs, meat, etc etc etc. But we also asked a friend to bring us more baby snacks, formula, cereal, organic meat on her trip over here since these things are expensive here.

We have not bought him too many toys as we have moved around quite a bit already and did not want to accumulate things but we have carried a few with us here. His favourites by far are a few stuffed animals. One was a bunny that was lost along the way and replaced with a Mickey Mouse and the other is a soft panda. He has two larger toys and a bunch of small ones. They say kids with less toys are more creative and develop better…but who knows?!

Since our airline lost our baby bed and we did not bother to replace it, we have been co-sleeping. It is lovely and horrible all at once. Cuddling the little guy is nice (and he sleeps more and better with us) and waking up to his sweet face in the morning is adorable (I also love his sweet baby smell) …but the downside is that he does not like to go to bed alone now! We will need to find a way to do something about this before it becomes a major pain.

Another thing we struggle with is screen time. Of course he is not interested in the BBC (no matter how interesting this Khashoggi scandal is!) that I usually have on when I get back from work and while my husband is at the gym but there are some musical commercials that he just loves. Not worried about these at all, of course, but we also have played some YouTube songs while changing his diaper in order not to have a huge mess everywhere (no struggling or fighting at all as long as the songs are on!). He just loves them and clearly wants to watch them but guidelines say that there should be no screen time at all for the first two years. I don’t think we can be that good but we are trying to keep it minimal. It was cute that he started bending down and touching his toes out of no where when I sang “Head and Shoulders” one day. We can only guess he learned it from YouTube!

Here in India we also went to the doctor once to get his 12 month vaccinations. It was at the same hospital where I went when I was pregnant. All was the same as back home and he got a few jabs. The nurses could have been kinder, I thought, but they were not horrible. Anyway, there are a few extra shots he will need due to being in India and those we need to get in the next week or so.

The little one also says a few words but not as many as I think he should. It could be the 4 languages he is exposed to all the time though…must be confusing.

Anyway, just wanted to share a bit of what is going on with our little one. He makes me want a thousand more!

 

A December Sunday in Delhi…

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Today is Sunday and tomorrow another work week starts. Today we started off with a great big yummy breakfast. I have grown to love breakfasts with my little family. When I was single, there was no such thing as breakfast. Now we make all kinds of yummy things in the morning-simple and delicious things. I love it when my little guy eats and enjoys his food.

After breakfast we cleaned up and lazed about for awhile-waiting for the worst of the morning pollution to pass (it is lowest in the afternoon for some reason). Then we took a short walk down to our local market. There we stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies. Imported fruits cost a fortune we realized so skipped on the cherries ($20 USD for a handful as they are flown in from Australia) and nectarines this time but did go for some kiwis and strawberries. We stopped at small grocery store and picked up butter, yogurt, soy milk for me, and some digestive cookies for our little one.

The market is a nice one and has all a neighbourhood could need. It is only 3 blocks away. We wanted to share a pasta from a well reviewed Italian restaurant but it was delivery only for the day so skipped it. The market did have a few beggars. It is so hard to see them but a reality of life in Delhi. I know it is not the best idea to give them money directly as the rumours are they controlled by horrible gang overlords but sometimes it is hard not to. I could not help but give a mother some change (the young boy may not even be her son). Anyway, before we left we grabbed a scoop of blueberry cheesecake ice cream from Baskin Robbins. In the day it is quite warm here but nights are cold in the house as the houses are designed to keep cool and there is no central heating. We have a few space heaters and they do an okay job. We run them in the evening for a bit but shut them off overnight.

Back at home we hung out a bit longer, put the baby to bed for his once a day nap (the second was one dropped after we moved here), and made a nice late lunch. Later I did the dreaded laundry. We have a washing machine but dryers are not quite normal here though they do exist. The drying rack we have used to be on one of our balconies and worked great in the sun but as it is cooler now it does not dry the clothes very well-even after a few days of being outside so I have moved it to our spare room and found that it works much better.

We have wrapped up our day by making a pasta dish for dinner and playing with our little one. The plan is to watch a movie (yahoo for Netflix) and go to bed. This is our typical Sunday these days! Only a few more left in India for 2018 as we are looking forward to some holidays in about two weeks. Although we all love holidays, I am also trying to always appreciate the average days like today.

December is here!

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Subtle mall decor-snowmen and candy canes. 

December is here and the first signs of Christmas have appeared in Delhi. One of the malls has hung some subtle Christmas ornaments on their low-lying ceilings. I think the onslaught we usually see after Halloween in North America has not caught on here yet. Other than these small tributes to the holiday season, a few international schools and organizations are holding fundraising Christmas bazaars. This past weekend we checked out the Annual International Charity Bazaar that was put on by the Delhi Commonwealth Women’s Association.

I have never seen so many foreigners in one place! The event included booths from various countries that have embassies or consulates in Delhi. Each booth was selling food or products from their home country. The folks at the Ireland booth were definitely the friendliest but we ate snacks from the Turkish, Syrian, and Ukrainian booths. Yum yum. It was a nice way to spend a few hours on a Sunday. I would definitely go back next year.

Vodka at the Ukrainian booth was popular!

Now that December is here I have a few busy weeks at work wrapping up the year and then our office is closed from December 21st-January 2nd. As soon as it closes, we are off to Russia and Georgia. It will be very different from here, that is for sure! We never thought to bring heavy winter clothes with us to India so spent quite a bit of cash at the mall recently buying winter jackets, shoes, hats, and gloves. Moscow is looking frigid already and I definitely want to see Red Square-baby in tow! We also applied for our Russian transit visa recently (very straightforward but expensive) and hope to get approval by next week.

Anyway, back home everyone is complaining about how cold it is. Not the case here at all though many Indians are all bundled up as it is cold for them. We are enjoying the pleasant weather (although at night it can be chilly) but not the pollution which is better than before but still quite nasty and which makes it difficult to spend too much time outside. You just can’t win in Delhi-either it is scorching and low pollution in the summer or nice but polluted in wintertime. Hmm… Anyway, happy December to all!

Air purifiers…

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Do air purifiers work? I am not sure yet but we just purchased two for our flat in Delhi. Since we have a baby it is better to be safe than sorry. Since we bought them, we have been able to look at the reading levels inside and feel some sense of reassurance. Compared to outside, the levels are very low and fall in the “good” range rather than the regular “unhealthy” or “hazardous” ranges outside. If nothing else, it will be the placebo effect 🙂

However, I wonder if they are a scam or if they really work. I know they sell like crazy here in the winter. We made sure to get one that does not release ozone but does have HEPA and carbon filters. If they do work, it is a great solution for now but the entire world really does need to focus on the bigger picture. Since living here I have never felt more strongly about environmental issues. We really do need to do more. It is a difficult task for developing nations, though. For everyone who is not living in polluted cities, I can only tell you that you should really appreciate the fresh beautiful air. It may become a luxury in the future if we are not careful.

Marital tiffs…

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Right now my husband and I are upset at each other. I am in one room and he is in another. I know we both feel terrible and low but neither of are willing to take a conceding step right now. I am sure we will but, at this moment, we are both holding strongly to the idea that each of us is right and the other is wrong. It sucks. I hate being on bad terms with him. It hurts. I felt sad all day (the argument was last night and we were apart most of the day).

Yet, sometimes, you also need to stand up for yourself and prove a point. I feel that this time. Usually I do not hold a grudge but this argument was a bit over the top. But, I do so want it to end and for us to make up. Life is short and I do not want to waste time BUT I need to see a little sliver of remorse from him first. Sigh. I know. I know what I just wrote…Tomorrow I will fix it. Tonight, I will stew.

Nothing worse than marital tiffs. No one can upset you more than a spouse, it seems.

Winter pollution in Delhi sucks!

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I come from a place where pollution is not an issue. Living in Delhi (the pollution capital of the world these days) can really suck in the winter when pollution is at its highest. All of October there was not much pollution-or at least it was not that noticeable. The first day I noticed it was really bad was the Monday before Diwali. Since then it has dissipated a bit and re-formed but has not decreased to the degree it was in October. Locals tell me this will be the norm until January.

It sucks is all I can say. There is haze all around and you can feel the difference in air quality. People wear masks and try to stay indoors where levels are lower. We do not take our baby outside on the high level days and keep it short if we really need to. The good days are few and far between and I am looking very forward to their return one day.

I have developed a bit of a cough which I hope is not related but may be. I need to get it checked out. My husband and baby are fine, though. We have not bought an air purifier yet as we were not sure if we were going to stay in India beyond January. Now that I know we will, I plan on purchasing at least two. They are pricey but everyone says they are worth it (despite mixed views on if they actually work or not).

The government has taken a variety of actions to improve the air quality this year after last year was a record horrible year. It has worked a bit, it seems, and I hope they will continue to work on this problem. It is very sad to see and experience. Most of the pollution is due to crop burning in nearby states. Halting the farmers is fraught with issues and I do not envy the government in trying to solve that one! As other nations tax carbon and fight climate change and citizens and corporations complain, I can say that this experience has definitely made me a supporter!