Friday, November 10, 2017

A Letter To My Daughters On Their Third Birthday

Writing this birthday letter has not been an easy endeavor. Unlike the previous two letters which came about effortlessly as a result of my assiduous note-taking throughout the year, this time, I have slacked off plenty. I still have been sending e-mails to both my girls documenting major events and memorable occasions but my memory keeping skills on a day-to-day basis has suffered. Oddly enough, I haven't put my camera to good use either. I've really had to rack my brain to extract the minute details of the past year. Note to self: Up your game and pronto!  

Anyway, I've been up since the crack of dawn to bake a chocolate drip cake for the girls which I promised them a while ago. They have been talking about their birthday for a few weeks now so I owed it to them to make their day special. I did a dreadful job with the cake last year but I think this year's effort sort of makes up for it 😛  I may even blog this recipe so check back soon! 

This year we are celebrating the girls birthday at a local water park followed by a visit to the beach because (like most kids) they are fascinated with water. This morning began by a simple cake cutting celebration at school followed by a visit to the temple. And in a while, we will be checking into D'Resort, a nature-inspired resort at Downtown East as part of a staycation. The resort is located adjacent to Wild Wild Wet, Singapore's most popular water park as well as Pasir Ris beach. So we will be spending the next three days doing all the things they like. This is my treat to the girls and I'm waiting to see the delight on their faces!

Since this is a birthday letter that chronicles the experiences of the past year, let me back up a bit. To be honest, I approached the start of this year with trepidation but seeing how it has unfurled, I feel much differently. To me, the terrible two's don't deserve the bad-rep it has earned and if any other parent of a soon-to-be two year old is reading this, I say to you - two year olds can be outwitted so don't fear them! 😀  On a more serious note, if you can efficiently avoid triggers for undesirable behaviour then you CAN keep the monster at bay! Tantrums are a part of normal child development so know that you are not a bad parent if your toddler creates mayhem. This year brings so much more than that so savour the wonderful moments that undoubtedly mark the terrific two's!

Without further ado, here is the third year birthday letter. Happy reading!

Dear Anvitha & Navitha,

In your own words, you are "TWEE" years old today! After your rather sudden birth and all the frenzy surrounding raising twins, getting to this stage seemed like a mythical faraway milestone to me! I know it sounds horribly clichéd but it is astonishing how fast time has whizzed by. As I reflect on the past three years of watching you grow, I am filled with a sense of wistful nostalgia. You don't need me as much as you used to and although life has gotten much easier, I oddly miss being your go-to person for everything. You are no longer toddlers and you officially graduate to being big girls today 😊  

Preschoolers.....threenagers.....whatever the term for this age is, I hope it is going to be a thrilling, enlightening and memorable adventure going forward. 

This year started on a sombre note. Soon after your second birthday, you took turns contracting Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD). Fortunately, it was a moderate case which resolved within two weeks. You coped with it better than I expected but mealtimes did prove to be a challenge and as is with every minor ailment you have suffered in the past, your weight plummeted (it breaks my fragile mommy heart every time!). 

Soon after, it was time to leave to India for our annual month-long vacation. You had an incredible time in Bangalore, Mysore and especially Madikeri (where we had gone on a short family trip). Being amidst your grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins is something you both enjoy very much and all the social visits we took you on culminated in indelible experiences. For the first time since being a mother, I discovered a newfound sense of freedom in India and was able to go out on several occasions without having to rush back to tend to you. You have so many interesting people to interact with over there that if you don't see your boring old mum for a while, it doesn't bother you much! 

By the way, you are besotted with your cherubic cousin D and it warmed my heart to see you fussing all over him and effectively shepherding him if he dared go astray. I am waiting to see the three of you united again next month 😊 I can already picture you together and can only imagine all the mischief you will be up to! One rambunctious two year old and two capricious three year olds....oh boy! 

After we got back, I was concerned if you would get back to your new routine with ease but every time you both surprise me with how well you adapt to new situations. You don't just survive changes but you thrive in them which brings me such a sense of relief. 

The months just seemed to roll by. Going to water parks unquestionably tops your list of favourite activities to do. We have been to several this year and every time we step out of the house, you assume that we are going to one (you even remind me to keep your "swimsoup" in my shoulder bag 😂). You also like going to parks, the beach, indoor playgrounds, shopping malls and restaurants. Come to think of it, you love going out so much that even if it is a trip to nearby grocery store, you make it a fun exercise by gawking at all the produce and pointing out all the fruits and vegetables on the aisles that are familiar to you. 

We had plenty of visitors this year - individual visits by both sets of grandparents and visits by extended family. You always have a marvellous time with whoever comes to visit us and end up getting very attached to them. But when the times comes for them to leave, you seem to get that it is inevitable and you accept it with a maturity that belies your age. It is this quality of yours that never ceases to amaze me. 

We went on a holiday with your Bangalore ajja and dodda to Club Med Bintan island in Indonesia for a couple of days in August  and you had the time of your lives! You spent a major chunk of time running amok in the resort grounds, playing in the kids club, frolicking in the beach, splashing in the kids pool, enjoying the nightly entertainment shows (btw, you asked me if the smoke machine was for fumigation!!) and savouring the amazing buffet spread. It was the perfect family holiday 😊

We have come up with a few mother-daughter bonding rituals this year. Saturdays are especially fun when I give you a thorough scalp massage with coconut oil (in the sincere hopes that you will sprout more hair!) and after that we go park hopping. On some Saturday evenings, me and our helper take you to the kids pool which you absolutely love. This year I plan to enrol you in swimming classes. Let's see how that goes! 

Another mother-daughter activity we enjoy is storytime. Most of them come during mealtimes but we also do bedtime stories every night. I need to go read/make-up more stories as I am running out of enough interesting ones to tell you! 

This year you had your first experience with nail polish and henna (the day before Deepavali). You sat through it patiently and were even delighted with the atrocious design that I applied on your palms. I'm thinking we'll make a tradition out of it and I swear I will try to improve! 

Talking about mother-daughter bonding, the one area where I do not involve you at all is in the kitchen but only because I am worried that you will set something on fire 😝 But seeing how interested you are in matters of cooking, I may let you be my little sous chefs during weekend brunches this year onwards. I'm not promising though!  

This year marked significant milestones in thinking, learning and emotional development. You know the days of the week, can recognize the individual alphabets and numbers, count to 20, color fairly well, copy dance moves (Zumba being your favourite), carry out simple conversations, engage in role-playing, sing songs and narrate short stories. 

You have been able to eat by yourselves since before you were two but I still continue to feed you some meals (which I should stop with immediate effect!). I am glad that you still use your highchairs and eat every meal without the need of any electronic device as bribery. I earnestly pray that you don't wise up anytime soon! 

You insist on brushing your teeth yourselves, you want to pick out your own clothes and accessories, dress yourselves and wear your shoes without assistance. I'd like to think I'm pretty chilled out about the whole putting together your wardrobe thing (unless you pick out things that make you look like a clown!). 

You both have been a dream in the bedtime and naptime routine since the very beginning. Sleepless nights are such a distant memory that it almost seems like there never were any! You still sleep for a minimum of 3 hours in the afternoon and I will shed silent tears the day you give up your afternoon nap 😢 Your daddy is sleep training you and it is going pretty well. I hope that soon you will go to bed by yourselves in your very own room. 

On the other hand, potty training hasn't been smooth sailing. We began 6 months ago and you had such a promising start that I naïvely assumed that it would be an easy road ahead. I should have known that it was too good to be true! Just as you were progressing well, there were bouts of regression that served as stumbling blocks. As of today, one of you is successfully potty trained and diaper-free during the day (yay!) but the other one is not quite there yet. It's okay....just a matter of time before you get your shit together 😝  

Your personality has changed since your last birthday although not drastically. I've noticed that you have started getting timid around strangers (which was never the case before). When you get overwhelmed by a lot of people or an unfamiliar environment, you go  quiet and it takes a while for you to come out of your shell. Like before, you don't play with all children the same way. You have started to carefully choose your playmates (based on what criteria I'm not sure!). You have begun to get apprehensive about entering dark spaces alone and are not as adventurous when it comes to perilous exploits (the latter of which is good!). You have also acquired some sass and I know for sure there is going to be plenty more of that in the coming year. You can be impudent, self-centered, defiant and entitled at times but we are working on that. 

On the other hand, your equation with each other has improved and the quarreling isn't as frequent (or terrible!) as it used to be. Your pre-nursery teacher agrees. Whenever I ask either of you who your best friend is, you unwaveringly say your twin's name 😀 It is endearing how you now have conversations with each other (which can be quite hilarious at times!). Just a few weeks ago, you had a 30-minute animated conversation about "mittens" 😂  Also, you do play nicely together unsupervised but we sometimes have to intervene to break up disagreements. Speaking of which, the biting has stopped (thank goodness!) but the hitting, occasional kicking and the newly acquired habit of pinching is still very much part of your interaction with each other. You don't get along perfectly all the time and that is alright. You have your whole life ahead of you to become best friends!

You both measure 96 cm in height putting you in the average range but weigh a dismal 11.5kg. Your small frame is another battle that I can never seem to win *sigh* This year has been the absolute worst in terms of minor ailments (cough being our nemesis!) and that has been a huge contributing factor. Your eating has improved by leaps and bounds since last year but I think you can do better. I do put considerable effort into making sure your meals are well-balanced, nutritious and diverse but the reception is not always one of approval. 

Some of the meals you enjoy are stuffed parathas, basil pesto pasta, egg fried rice, akki rotti, neer dosa, plain dosa, spaghetti in tomato sauce, cheesy baked rice, bee hoon, thai green curry, stuffed parathas, pumpkin macaroni and cheese, mushroom-cheese omelette and chapati with either dal, egg curry or methi paneer

Anvi, you are more of a fruit lover (anything goes but mango earns top spot) and Navi, contrary to last year, you are a champion when it comes to vegetables (broccoli, french beans, peas and carrots being favourites). Both of you never refuse plain milk, cheese, flavoured yoghurt, banana and papaya so those come in handy when appetites are poor 😏

You my darling Anvi are turning to be a lot like me. You are affectionate, social, loquacious, easily influenced, eager to please, cheeky, impatient and need a lot of attention! The way you scarf down french fries and potato chips also reminds me of myself! 😬  Like me, you are into arts and crafts and I am hoping we can turn this into a fun mother-daughter bonding experience in the future. 

You are a happy child and during the course of the day that adorable smile seldom leaves your face. You are an amazing hugger and you give the sweetest kisses. You also enjoy saying "I love you" and say it at least a dozen times every day! That being said, you can also be quite the diva at times. You can be upset with fat tears rolling down your face one second and flash the brightest smile the very next second! Just last week, you didn't want me shampooing your hair and launched into histrionics about how your "hair is burning"! 😆You have figured out the subtle art of manipulation to get what you want and your unsuspecting sister is usually the victim of your many schemes! Several months ago, when I asked you what you want to be when you grow up, your answer was "a butterfly". Recently, you have upgraded that answer to "a chef" 😂  (I had nothing to do with that by the way!). 

You are very girly - you love anything princessy and in the same spectrum, you like unicorns, flowers, stars, balloons, rainbows, hello kitty and anything shiny or sparkly. You are also excessively color coordinated and have a compulsive need for everything to "match"! And don't let me get started on how you love to dress up! Your favourite color is purple (followed closely by pink); your favourite toys are your Minnie mouse, your pony Fluttershy and your bunny Sasha; your favourite books are Fairy Friends and Goldilocks and the Three Bears and your favourite show to watch on TV is Mr Bean (the animated series), Scooby Doo, Peppa Pig, Dora The Explorer, Shimmer & Shine and Nella The Princess Knight. You also love watching Dave and Ava. The Frozen fever has died down a bit (thank you god!) and your current favourite song is Baby Shark. 

You have picked up a Singapore English accent which sounds cute in a funny kind of way. Your sentences contain a lot of "can", "cannot", "anymore" and "already" which are typical to local usage. You have a habit of saying "soooo much" at the end of any sentence where you are talking about something you like. You also interchange the use of the words 'on' with 'in' resulting in humorous sentences. Your most-used phrases are - "Oh my god", "so gross", "don't trouble me", "say thank you to me", "I'm so cute", "don't touch my hair!", "my hair looks so crazy" "I'm so happy with you", "are you proud of me?", "I'm so busy", "never mind" and "something's missing". 

You my darling Navi are much more like your Daddy and only a negligible amount like me. You have his temperament, his sharp mind, his perceptiveness, his attention to detail, his refined palate, his acute sense of smell, his fixation with cleanliness and even some of his obsessive tendencies! Even the rate at which you perspire, guzzle water throughout the day, your food preferences, the pace at which you eat and your ability to sleep like a log is just like him. You don't like to be rushed into anything and cannot be coerced into doing things you don't want to do (him again!). The two of you are kindred spirits and hence it comes as no surprise that you are an all-out Daddy's girl!I don't know how your personality traits will evolve over the years but as of right now, you are certainly not a follower. You my dear are a free spirit, an independent thinker and a bit of a rebel. You take after me only when it comes to your love for dogs and your love for the outdoors. Oh, and you are a klutz like me and don't have a great sense of direction (guilty again!). 

Like your sister, you are also affectionate and kind by nature but not as demonstrative as your her when it comes to expressing it. That being said, you form deeper and longer lasting attachments to people. You love babies tremendously and your gentle demeanor towards them is heartwarming. 

You enjoy intellectually stimulating games and puzzles - I see you more often playing with your jigsaw mat, fixing blocks and playing with your musical alphabet apple (which you refer to as your "MacBook"!). You have a great memory can can remember small details even weeks later. You are enthusiastic and interested when I quiz you on different subjects and you showcase this remarkable ability. Your favourite color is red (followed by pink), your favourite toys are your dog Titan, your pony Rainbow and your Piggy; your favourite books are Peter Rabbit Goes to the Island and Three Little Pigs and your favourite shows to watch on tv are Mr Bean (the animated series), Scooby Doo, Peppa Pig, Dora The Explorer, Shimmer & Shine and Nella The Princess Knight. Dave and Ava is a big hit with you as well. Your current favourite song is also Baby Shark. 

You don't have a pronounced accent when you speak but your speech can be sometimes hard to comprehend because you have a tendency to mix letters up. You use 'v' instead of 'r', and 'w' instead of 'l'. You also frequently interchange the use of the letters 'd' and 'b' with 'g' so dress becomes "gvess", blood becomes "gwod", blue becomes "glue" get the drift right? When you get frustrated with your sister, you refer to her as "that one!". 😆 Your most-used phrases are - "come here my little baby", "you have to wait - have some patience", "I'm so strong - see my muscles", "oopsy daisies", "what's that sound/smell?","very good", "no need", "I'm so tired", "ouchies!" and "I can do it myself". 

I remember I said that last year was amazing but I think I underestimated you because this year has been even better. Last year around this time, everywhere I turned, young parents told me how awful the terrible two's were and ominously predicted how much I was going to suffer with twin toddlers but honestly, it turned out to be nothing like I'd feared. Of course, there is a real possibility that you could be late bloomers in the tantrum department and come at me full swing as two threenagers. I may have seen a few glimpses of it already! 😰

But let's stick to pleasant things for now, shall we? Since you turned two, I have been gradually noticing how your power of communication and self-control have been evolving. Yes, there were the expected power struggles and episodes of rebellion, stubbornness, unexplained outbursts and the notorious tantrums but nothing me and your daddy weren't able to handle or lose sleep over. We never had to deal with a public meltdown or were put in a situation where we were forced to question our parenting skills. Completely overshadowing the stressful parts, there have been more instances than I can recount where we were successfully able to negotiate with you (or else outsmart you!) and turn a precarious situation around in our favour. Your vocabulary has ballooned so much since the start of the year so you have been able to articulate your feelings more effectively and the frustration in communication is becoming less and less apparent as the months go by. I frequently hear people say "your daughters are such sweet girls" or "your daughters are so well behaved". It is easy to be objective because you really are! 

I still have plenty of pearls of wisdom for you which I will provide in installments (lest you brand me a colossal bore!). This year what I want to say to you is - live life on your own terms. Follow your heart and dream big. Don't let anyone's expectations or judgements weigh you down. Life is not some checklist where you are required to tick off a bunch of stuff before you are 35 and then go on existing until you eventually bite the dust! I hope you live a life that is exciting, inspiring and that takes you places. 

As I look at your sweet little faces, I cannot believe how kind God has been to me by giving me two precious daughters. You are something I had always dreamed of since the time I was a teenager (true story!) and I still have to pinch myself that my dreams came doubly true. Our mother-daughter bond has grown stronger than ever before and your frequent "I love you amma" that comes unprompted accompanied by hugs and kisses, reaffirms that every day. 

Thank you for making motherhood easy on me. 

Happy birthday my angels. May your light shine brighter with every passing year. 


P.S. - Right now the burning question you have on your mind is - who took a bite out of the apple on the logo of all the Apple products you see at home 😂  I promise I will come up with an explanation for that after I find out for myself! 

Suggested reading:
Birthday letter: Year One
Birthday letter: Year Two
A Typical Day in my Life as a Full-Time Working Twin Mom 


  1. Greetings! I've been reading your blog for
    a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give
    you a shout out from Dallas Texas! Just wanted to say
    keep up the fantastic job!

    1. Thank you so much! Please feel free to leave a comment whenever you feel like it. I really appreciate the gesture :)

  2. I liked your letter to the twins very much. Keep writing.


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