After a whirlwind trip around the world and another month at home with momma, it is finally time for Manu to begin day care, and Leslie to go back to work. We knew this would come eventually, but six weeks goes by really fast when you're having fun! Monday was Manu's first day. After getting him up a little early to make sure we could get him fed and changed in time, Leslie and I took him to school. This is a really nice place with people who seem to really enjoy working with children. We arrived at 8am and proceeded into the infant room. As soon as we sat him down he took off after a toy and to play with the other children. Because of his background at Ashraya, this should be a setting he is familiar with; babies and toys and aunties! Leslie and I had to finish up some paperwork, so we headed into the classroom next door and left Manu to his play. 15 minutes later we peeked back into Manu's room through the window and he was still doing fine. Not wanting to disrupt his transition, we both headed to work, happy that all seemed to be going well. Leslie had especially been agonizing over this the prior week, and the workers invited her to drop in or call anytime. Well, about 2 hours later she gets a call from the day care and poor little Manu is inconsolable. They said he did fine for about half an hour after we left, but began crying and didn't stop until he cried himself to sleep. Leslie decided to drop in during her lunch and he became happy again. She left him happy, but it was a short time before he was crying again, and he remained that way all afternoon; the poor staff! Daddy showed up at about 5:30 to pick him up and found him whimpering, but surrounded by kids and workers trying to cheer him up. As soon as he saw me he began crying for a minute, but it quickly turned to giggles and smiles. I got his daily report card and was assured that all of the new children go through this, and that it usually takes a couple of weeks before they are completely comfortable with their new friends and surroundings. Back home it was bath time followed by playtime with daddy before Leslie got home. I'm not sure if the day was harder on Manu or Momma, but both were glad to be home together. Since then he has gotten a little better every day, and though he still has his moments, most of his day is spent in play.
On the developmental front, Manu has began babbling incoherently, though if you believe Leslie, he's saying "mama." It's really quite cute. He's also staring to balance himself on two legs for several seconds at a time, and he's learned to pick up and hold his sippy cup all by himself. He's still on two bottles a day, and will be until a little after a year, but he's eating lots of solid food. Generally we'll chop up a little of whatever we're eating and supplement that with some of the "Manu approved" varieties of baby food. Some of his favorite dishes include hummus, braised pork pappardelle, rapini and pasta, channa saag and curry-spiced omelettes. He also finishes every meal with some cheerios, which keeps him busy and allows us to finish eating!
On Saturday we headed to Uncle Matt and Aunt Tara's house for a welcome home party with my family. Uncle Matt prepared lots of good food, including several Indian breads and chutneys. Manu enjoyed seeing his family again, and playing with his cousin Maddie. Before the party, to kill some time we took Manu to Barnes and Noble, and while in the children's section we ran into my mother's friend Nancy, who would also be coming to the party. She was looking for a hard-paged book for Manu. Not being able to decide which to get, Manu chose his favorite by sucking on the pages of one of them. We read it to him last night, but he was more interested in chewing on it than following the plot, LOL. When it came time to open gifts, Manu received lots of nice clothes, books and toys. His Uncle Larry made a cute little wooden chair for him, and lettered the back with Manu's name. It looks good in his room, and he'll enjoy that for years to come. All-in-all it was a very nice party. Thanks again to everyone, here and at previous gathering, for being so supportive and welcoming of Manu into our immediate and extended family.
Today was a visit to Jacobson Park to feed the ducks and a trip to the mall, where we began his Disney indoctrination at the Disney Store. He really enjoys sucking on Mickey Mouse's ear!