Two years ago we celebrated my birthday in Seaworld-Orlando. This time around it was Praveen’s turn. It was great to spend the entire day among some of Ruchi’s favorite living things, orca whales and dolphins. Though it was hard for Ruchi to sit down through the entire shows, she had a great time going near the tanks and when allowed trying to touch the dolphins. She was little scared of the stingrays, but was very happy to see all the other displays. In fact she felt like she was an explorer like Dora and Diego. She asked for a map, and held it in her hand for the entire duration pretending to read it and suggesting which was we should go. Since we live driving distance to the park we should definitely take a season pass and try to make it more often. The best way to end the day was going to PF Chang’s for dinner.
After spending two wonderful weeks with her Srinu Peddanana, it was time for Ruchi to say goodbye. When I told her that her Peddanana was going back to India to her cousins Abhi Anna and Sniggy Akka, Ruchi was not ready to accept it. She kept insisting that he should stay back with her. But after an hour or so she was ready to let go. In fact she was so excited that she even pitched in to help pack his bags, while he was out doing last minute shopping. I was very surprised at how willingly she hugged and waved goodbye to him and his friend Rajesh (to whom she became attached too). It wasn’t until she asked me if he was coming home for dinner did I realize that she did not fully understand the meaning of going to India. I told her that we will not be seeing him for a while. She was sad for a few minutes but when she realized that her dad was coming back from Chicago later that night, she was back to her normal self.
Since Srinivas was in town, we decided to have a surprise birthday cake for Praveen. Praveen is leaving for Chicago tomorrow and Srinivas is leaving for India on Sunday. So today was the best day for the party. Ruchi was excited all day that I was baking a cake for her dad. She couldn’t wait for him to come home so she could sing him a Happy Birthday. Srinivas saw to it, that Aunty, Roopa and the kids were online to watch Praveen blow the candles. It was wonderful to have to kids sing happy birthday to Praveen. We had to do the candle blowing two times, since we couldn’t have both Aunty and Roopa on the video conference at the same time. After helping her dad blow out the candles and cut the cake, Ruchi was ready to attack. We were very surprised to see how much she enjoyed the cream on the cake. She kept asking for more. I guess she loved the taste of fresh whipped cream.
Nothing is more exciting to a two year old than knowing that she is going to a birthday party. And when that party is for your best friend’s birthday, their happiness knows no bounds. Ruchi was excited all day that we were going to Siddhu’s birthday party. She kept saying all the things she was going to do at the party. She was so excited that she refused to take her afternoon nap. So on our way to the party she fell asleep and did not wish Siddhu a happy birthday when we picked him up at his place. Luckily she woke up when we reached Kids Castle. She really loves these kids play areas and had a wonderful time playing. We also ran into an old friend from Grad school, whom we hadn’t seen in nearly ten years. With Siddharth, Likhit, Sanvi and some of our other college friends kids around, at most parties, Ruchi is really enjoying social gatherings nowadays.
Ruchi was excited all day that her Peddanana was coming home tonight. Its funny how she can’t stop talking about him all day, but when he arrives she keeps mum. We went to shopping at Costco and then we went to Red Robin for dinner. As soon as we sat down, Ruchi asked me to order chicken nuggets for her. I really don’t know how she knew she could order chicken nuggets, because we never ordered them for her in a restaurant before. Anyway since she really wanted them, we ordered. While waiting for our order to arrive, with the help of her Peddanana she colored the picture they gave her. Every time she had a question she would turn to me and ask softly. They all had to do with Srinivas, like “Amma, what is Peddanana doing”, etc. When the food arrived she was very excited to see her nuggets. But since she wasn’t very hungry, the excitement didn’t last long. She ate a few bites and after that started biting the fries and chicken and spitting them out into her tray. She was very sad when she realized that her Peddanana was not coming home. She kept asking when we would see him again.
Finally after two years we made it to a beach in the US again. The last time we took Ruchi to a beach in the US was in May 2008. That time she was seven months old and we went to Virginia Beach. She loved it so much that we had promised ourselves to take her to the beach more often. It took two years and a move across the country to fulfill that promise. Needless to say the Pacific waters were much colder than the Atlantic, but that did not dampen her spirits. She enjoyed playing in the water as much as she enjoyed building and of course destroying sand castles. The fact that her best friend, Siddharth was with her, made it much more fun. The two had a great time chasing each other in the beach. Since Ruchi was allowed to play in the sand after a very long time, she did not want to let go of her pail and shovel. She wanted to stay in the beach and play even though the sun was getting ready to set and the wind was turning cold.
The weather was so beautiful today that when Mahesh and Shyamala invited us over for lunch in their backyard, we couldn’t say no. Though Praveen had to get back to his conference, he decided to take the morning off. The weather was perfect, the kids had a great time playing in the backyard. Mahesh grilled some chicken and asparagus. It was great having a picnic in their backyard. Even Ruchi was very excited to eat out. She even got to try out Siddhu’s bicycle. Every time Siddhu said bike, she would correct him by saying its not a bike, its a bicycle. According to her a motor bike is called bike. She did not want to leave. She wanted to stay and play with her friend. Sadly Praveen had to get back to his conference so we had to make a move.
The disadvantage of Praveen working on weekends is I can’t take care of my weekend chores like basic shopping. Th advantage of Praveen working this weekend is finally I got a couple of free hours to take care of some personal shopping. Praveen said I could drop Ruchi off for a couple of hours. Knowing that such opportunities are very rare, I did not hesitate to take it. I dropped of Ruchi at around ten and picked her up at noon. It seems she had a great time greeting everyone who passed by. She was very excited when I picked her up. Her Dad had given her some stickers so she was very happy.