Little Hands Big Work

My son's preschool Whole Child Montessori is running it's annual fundraiser called Little Hands Big Work. It's an event where the school raises money to provide scholarship to kids who need it. In addition the kids and parents volunteer to restore a natural water shed. So donors get the double benefit of supporting early childhood education as well as making the environment better. 

It is a worthy cause that deserves your support.

Here's the link to donate:

When you donate mention Sempi's name in the student column, I'm sure he'll appreciate it. :)

Levelling Up

A common advice that is given to people in software is "Surround yourself with programmers better than yourself". Somehow this advice does NOT work for me. Whenever I've worked on a team with programmers who are better than me, I get lazy. I tend to write code that is slightly worse than my average. I reckon it's because I rely on the better programmers to catch my mistakes. I do learn things from them but it's not quite at the same pace as when I'm thrown in the deep end with minimal help.

When I work in teams where people are about as good as me or they come to me for advice, I produce significantly better results. This goes beyond code, I've noticed this effect in project direction or project management. I find myself doing a lot of self-study and personal experimentation to make sure I know what I'm talking about. This naturally leads to better results.

I still need access to the expert when I'm stuck, but that access should not be as easy as turning my head to ask a question. I prefer that access to be through an email where I'm forced to write my thoughts down. Describing my problem in written form usually triggers cognitive dissonance and I end up solving the issue before hitting send.

The Lemonade Stand

Last Sunday Sempi decided he wanted to setup a lemonade stand. Yoshi and Sempi went to store to pick up a bunch of lemons and spent the morning hand squeezing them.

It was made with the finest ingredients (cane sugar and ice cold water). Yoshi said she can help make the signs and Sempi declared that he's going to give free lemonades. He insisted that he won't charge for his lemonade. 

At this time I'm beaming with pride with his decision to give away his lemonade for free.

He sat out in the scorching sun in the middle of the day calling out to passersby "Free Lemonade". When people came over his first words were "you don't have to pay, this is free lemonade". Then he diligently poured some lemonade in a cup and handed it over.

Our neighbor across the street came over for some lemonade. He not only gave him a few quarters as tips and he was also the salesman of our fine stand. Calling out to bikers and walkers to come taste the delicious free lemonade. It was a grand success.

At one point even Vian was sitting inside the little lemonade stand helping his brother. 

I'm incredibly proud of my son's decision to setup a free lemonade stand. He is the best.

A Trip to the Gorge

Nice hot day for driving to the gorge and visiting some of our favorite falls. First stop Bridal Veil falls. 

Bridal Veil falls:

After an awesome hike we have a clear view of the bridal veil falls. Sempi takes in the view and announces, "Appa I'd like to pee now". Of course, you do.


Zinger between me and Yoshi.

Me: Do you think it is named Bridal Wails falls because it sounds like a wailing bride?

Yoshi: I can see why you would think that, but the wailing you saw at our wedding is a special spectacle, I had my reasons. No one does that.


On our hike back from the falls, I convinced Sempi to say that the falls ran out of water. He wasn't quite convincing, but he tried his best. Unfortunately none of the hikers heard what he said. Oh well, we'll try it again next time.


Multnomah falls:

After Bridal Veil we were trying do decide which one to visit next. The top contenders were Multnomah falls or Wahkeen falls. Multnomah falls won hands down because they have soft serve ice cream. Priorities!

Once we got our soft serve cones and started walking up, Sempi became increasingly distraught that his cone was melting. So I generously offered to switch his cone for mine. He agreed and we switched for a minute but then he realized my cone had very little left in it and promptly switched back.


A little while later...

Sempi: Appa can you just eat the ice cream so I can eat the cone?

Me: Gladly!

But unfortunately before I could do any damage to his ice cream, he changed his mind.


After the ice cream is done we were sitting at a bench and admiring the view. 

Sempi: Appa do they turn off the water at night when they close the gates?



We're getting ready to visit the library to return the books. I'm walking around the house finding all the books and filling them up in bags.

Me: Filling up three large bags full of books to return to the library indicates a reading problem. Especially since they were checked out only a week ago.

Yoshi: These books are almost due, we checked them out two weeks ago.

Me: Oh well, that makes all the difference then. (as I'm struggling to carry three heavy bag of books). 

I'm quite proud of how many books Sempi goes through. Even though we're the ones reading it to them, he prefers books over many things, which is not all that bad.

Conversations with a 3 month old

Vian's vocabulary isn't quite as good as his brother's. So what's documented below is my own interpretation of his actions and expressions.

It's bedtime and I'm rocking Vian to sleep. He fell asleep on my arms and I've been rocking him for nearly an hour. I decided it was time to put him down. 

As soon as I put him down, he wakes up in shock and disbelief.

Vian: I can't believe you've done this. 

His lower lip starts to quiver.

Vian: You better pick me up you overgrown human or I won't hesitate to use these brand new vocal chords.

He's back on my arms and starts to grunt a few times. 

Vian: Let that be a lesson, don't let me catch you in one of your shenanigans.

Promptly fell back asleep in my arms.

Fun with Vilari (3 month old)

Vian and I started taking walks around the block in the evening. I carry him around all swaddled and he coos and babbles for a few minutes. I sing his favorite Tamil lullaby and he slowly calms down and rests his head on my chest and drifts into sleep. The awesome thing about our neighborhood is everyone I meet during the walk is genuinely happy to see us. I usually get a thumbs up from cars driving by or neighbors want to stop and take a closer look at Vian. Some of them offer up great advice about how they raised their kids. If he's ever fussy during our walk I add a bounce to my walk. At times like that, I get a sympathetic nod from fellow walkers and one woman said "It'll get better, don't worry" as she was passing by.

Night time is a whole another story. Yoshi wakes up a few times to feed him. Sometimes she'll hand him off after the feeding to change him or rock him. Those are my favorite times. He's wide awake and giggly. He's smiling the entire time I'm changing his diaper. Even after I swaddle him back he's usually all smiles. I rock him on a yoga ball and within 15 mins he's passed out again. I hold him for another 5 or 10 mins and then put him back on the bed. The best part is his sleepy grin after I put him down. His eyes are closed and he's asleep, but he still manages to crack a dreamy smile. So I always take an extra few minutes to take in his smile before returning to sleep myself.

Even though not every night is as smooth and easy as I described above, I'm quite content with my life.

Voice of an Angel

When Sempi was a little baby we had a hard time putting him to sleep. I would rock him for hours (yup, hours) trying to get him to sleep. During those days I would sing a Tamil song that my mom taught me in the hopes that it'll calm him down and put him to sleep. Never worked. 

With Vian we are going through a similar experience (you'd think we'd learn by now) of rocking him to sleep. But this time when I sing that Tamil song he actually calms down. He stops crying, places his head on my chest while I rock him and sometimes even falls asleep. This of course brings me tremendous joy. I was patting myself on the back congratulating for perfecting my singing technique. 

Only to find out later that he also calms down (faster) if the vacuum cleaner is in use. Yoshi found this out accidentally while vacuuming the house while wearing him in a wrap. He was passed out in under 5 minutes flat. 

My son likens my singing to the sound of a vacuum cleaner. I'm beaming with pride.


After a 4 week paternity leave, I'm getting ready to go back to work. 

I've taken a shower, trimmed my beard, wearing a decent button up shirt and slacks. Sempi walks by and he says: 

Sempi: Appa you look different. 

I'm gearing up for a compliment. 

Sempi: You look like a porcupine. 

That's his way of noticing that I haven't combed my hair.

Me: Thanks a lot man. 

I should have known better. :P

Sibling For Sale

Sempi and I are at our favorite neighborhood coffee shop, reading books and eating bagels. 

We picked up a book with a collection of funny poems. Here's one: 

“One sister for sale,
One sister for sale,
One crying and spying young sister for sale
I'm really not kidding so who'll start the bidding
Do I hear a dollar?
A nickle?
A penny?
Oh isn't there isn't there isn't there any
One person who will buy this sister for sale
This crying spying old young sister for sale.”

I asked Sempi.

Me: What would you say if someone offered a nickel for Jelly Bean (nickname for his brother Vian).

Sempi: Thank you!?

Me: Haha. So you'll give them Jelly bean for a nickel. 

Sempi: No! He's mine.

I guess he didn't really understand the poem or my question. But I was amused that his first response was "Thank you".