How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

This is going into the category of a bloglet viz it’ll be brief.

There’s a book my husband bought me once the brat started pre-primary…it’s called How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. Since the book did not mention anything about how to talk so husbands will listen and stop leaving wet towels all over the place; I decided not to do much about this book reco.

I already knew then and still know how to talk so my kid would listen- dress like a giant lollipop, have Play-Doh in one hand, the t.v. remote in the other and preferably enter riding on a dinosaur!

Maybe then….and maybe Utopia is just around the corner! Pshaw!!

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Oh Snap!

The brat has his little friends. They can be quite a handful from time to time.

One of them came over a little while ago and was practically nose-to-nose with the not-small t.v set. When I asked her to move back a bit, she scooched back barely half an inch. So I asked her to move back a little more and pat came the reply along with little arms akimbo, “if you don’t let me watch t.v. from here, why did you keep the sofa so close to the t.v.?”

After I did my goldfish impression viz mouth opening and closing my mouth wordlessly a few times, I remembered that I was in the role of the responsible parent and told her that it might spoil her eyes if she kept watching television like that, she again answered with a, “no! and glared at the t.v to come and spoil her eyes if it dared!

I don’t think the television will be taking up the dare.

 

What I Learnt From My Kid’s School

Courtesy Facebook’s memories I get to know about how and what I was thinking not only on a time a specific time in the past but also how I was feeling. And when I wrote this post I was a bit more of an anxious mother, fretting about my kid’s school, academic “career” as it were and basically uncomfortable about not knowing what lay ahead. Fast Forward two years I’m still sipping at the font of wisdom that is Life and learning loads while my kid goes to school. Here’s how it is…

  • A child will learn at their own pace no matter what!
  • A teacher who loves kids (genuinely) will probably be able to teach more through affection and warmth rather than another more knowledgeable individual who is distant or doesn’t form relationships with the kids.
  • Digital media, chalkboard, flashcards are all props…native intellect needs to be stirred and awake for learning to occur.
  • Making things interesting is all fine and good but it helps that the biological age increases and life experiences help kids understand why they need to learn.
  • Getting a good night’s sleep and cutting off from anything academic goes a long way in learning taking place.
  • Physical activity- silly and unstructured or properly regimented aids in learning as well.
  • Learning can come from various sources provided it’s pitched at the right time and the right way.
  • Parents need the teachers’ presence more than the kids…just to be assured that all’s going as it should.
  • Taking a small step back from policing the child (even with all the best intents in the world) is a fantastic thing to do while they’re below the tweens.
  • Reflecting on what were turn-offs and stumbling blocks while we were students helps empathize and give the child space to assimilate their learning material.
  • Accepting that there’s a Bell Curve and your child will grow into a more permanent place in it, helps be good parents as well.
  • Trusting the people you entrust your kid’s physical, emotional and overall well-being to and yet realizing our role is constant in the whole scope of things.
  • Acknowledging that improvements- slight, steady or sporadic; are still a step in the right direction give you a good night’s sleep.

Long story short? The AC bus and the pool helps because trappings are important. But a teacher who makes sure your kid has a balanced meal daily and who can come back and share positive and negative feedback with indemnity goes a long, long way in knowing how to be supportive while your child learns about life. Be it from a tablet, a workbook or just from a walk in the park. Because a big part of being a parent is taking a backseat while your kid gets the controls of life just right. You have to deal with not always being able to call ‘shotgun’.

Here endeth the lesson.

Book Review- Fowl Language

This book speaks for itself. It’s non-preachy and basically talks about the incomprehensible, inexplicable turns a person’s life takes once they become a parent. From juice boxes to joy, partying to poop and basically the utter, utter delight and nerve-wracking situation that is parenthood. Brian Gordon is someone every parent and non-parent should read (although parents will be the ones nodding along like bobble heads while the non-parents pat themselves on the back on having dodged that particular bullet!) to see the humor that often escapes us during parenting. Especially during poopy-times 🙂

Pick up your copy today. I did! 🙂

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36

Ask a woman if she’s easier in her mind about being 36 years old versus being 36 in the waist and you can bet you’ll be on the receiving end of the MOST disdainful look which roughly translates to, ” Yeah right! AS IF! What kind of question is that anyhow? How DUH ARE you?!” and it goes on and on and on.

For someone who *is* 36 and enjoying it (so far), the fear of turning 36 in the waist wasn’t too far in the horizon. The girth has been expanding and innate laziness and a bad case of unstickittoiveness led me to think that henceforth denim (the wonder material and no, it’s not Lycra) might be something I could find and fit into with great difficulty.

And I’ll tell you why this is. The craze for skinny, low riding jeans for women seems to have taken over the world where the words comfort-fit are possibly the worst things you can say to a salesperson apparently. Each stack of denim, whether in the time-tested brands of Levis, Lee or Pepe, seems to have variations of skinny over and over again.

When a person like me, who hasn’t been remotely skinny EVER, heads over to shop for denim the sales people seem to gulp and summon their courage to tell me nothing is available in my size and probably won’t be unless I start to shop in stores which cater specifically to those of us who are more than reasonably well-fed.

I told Red I wanted a pair of new jeans on my birthday, the old one long having given up the ghost with all the thigh chaffing and splitting at the seams from my ever-expanding ways. He took it well although I suspect he had some scenes playing out in his head of me storming out of the trial rooms ranting about how only skinny people could shop off the rack these days for basic clothing yada yada yada.

And contrary to his usual manner of tasting his feet while he talks, he did not ask the sales girl to get me the largest size they had available. He merely gave me the floor and told me to pick what I liked and try it on. Phew…birthdays sure good days for husbands to learn tact. Sadly the next day they go back to square one.

Anyhoo, I picked a pair to try out and entertained scary thoughts of my own about all the huffing, puffing and jiggling up and down, hopping on one foot just to get the jeans on and then shimmying like you know who (the ladies who like to dance around poles with minimal to no clothes on) just to get the pants up to my waist when a miracle happened………….wait for it………………………………………………………………………………..The pants rose like magic (but not like extra-large clown pants) to meet me on their own. I was able to button the waist without doing the Lamaze huff-puffs and when I squatted to see how tightly the seams were being tested, they didn’t even whimper! Ask women how often they moon the trial room mirrors when test driving new jeans and you’ll have a bunch of women fit to cry their eyes out!

Manna from the heavens on the first pair of jeans?! Someone up there (or down there) wanted me to have a happy birthday for sure!

And what is the point of this rambling and avoidable description of me fitting into jeans? It’s not about the weight entirely. The older you get you do mellow but you also realize there might not be going back to certain things. A 28-inch waist for one. Not only because your kid would miss head butting your extra bouncy tummy and your husband would end up needing pillows to lean on instead of you but also because somewhere you made your peace with the flab. You certainly don’t want to nurture it but it’s there so what’re gonna do? You love to hate it!

Finding something that goes right, the way it’s supposed to, the first time around is a nice change from everything that you need to and have to work at. A pair of jeans that slid up the on the first try without any grunts out of you and were soft enough to sleep in as well, sometimes makes all the difference.

Now if it had turned out that my waist was 36 instead of my age, that would be a descent to a whole new level of madness and a totally different blog post altogether! We are talking a new level in the Inferno for God’s sake!

Salut!

The Laundry Bugbear

I can totally understand why certain people cross over to the dark side and embrace OCD. Well, given that we’re talking of OCD am guessing the embracing is a compelling act, ‘cuse the pun, por favor.

So laundry…yeah. It’s a necessary evil if you want to wear clean clothes and in case you don’t have a Centurion card to back up the expense of new clothes every day. The second biggest reason of laundry being a must-do is kids. You can always tell the significant other to turn the undies inside out and make do if he can’t find a clean pair (not that it *ever* happens in this household..ahem ahem) but you can’t tell your kid that they don’t have their favorite monster face undies or that their dragon tshirt that they wear as a uniform each time you go out to eat Chinese is still languishing at the bottom of their hamper.

But the act of doing laundry is something that has become a god-awful elaborate ritual. Earlier it was maybe putting the washing machine on a different mode for delicate clothes or a heavy load but now it’s a 3-4 step process in actually washing the clothes.

Take a gander at this-

  1. Pre-treat whites and colors with separate bleaches for whites and colors respectively and keep aside for 5-10 minutes. But first test on an inner seam to make sure the bleach doesn’t bleach anything else except the damn stain and your son’s favorite tshirt isn’t missing a stegosaurus head or triceratops tail at the end of laundry cycle.
  2. Use a special cuffs and collars liquid for the rings around the neck and well..wrists. These rings give me a slack-jawed look each time I see them. They rate right up there with the rings of the crop circles that has the world goggled. I just don’t understand how people who bathe regularly and one of whom I personally scrub till spanking red, gets rings around the collars. EVERY TIME.
  3. Check on the pre-treated clothes and give a scrub if needed to get the stubborner stains out. It’s always needed.
  4. Scrub seams, near the buttons a bit more delicately of the rest of the clothes.
  5. Choose appropriate load in the machine.
  6. Add appropriate detergent- powder on the days we’re washing jeans and everyday tees and the special liquid one for the Lord and Master’s clothes and school uniforms. Damn private schools!
  7. Add fabric softener or yet more bleach depending upon how well each member of the family has fed themselves.
  8. Finally, close the lid and send a prayer up to the Gods of Laundry and Washed Clothes that the clothes at least appear washed even if they don’t look sparkling clean.

And that, ladies and gents, is how I do laundry at home.

One the last few occasions I’ve asked Red to do the laundry (the last time was in mid-2015) his shirts still had the sleeved rolled up, I found 50 rupees in the pocket of his cargos and the drum of the washing machine was clinking like a Vegas slot machine when someone hits the jackpot all because the loose change hadn’t been kept aside.

Nuff said about why he will never do laundry unless I’m there to micromanage it entirely!

How do I get out this vicious cycle of cursing a blue streak while I look at the dirty clothes and wish there wasn’t any dirt, pencils in the world or that Indians didn’t need turmeric in their food?! I’ve actually thought about switching to all-white foods but I don’t see these two eating cauliflower and white sauce with rice forevermore.

In the meanwhile, Clorox will be my best friend for ever and ever and ever!

Amen.

P.S: If this post reads slightly in the Cinderella vein, it is. Although instead of a buff Prince Charming, my version has a charwoman with a washboard.

 

 

There’s A Great White Under The Bed

It’s only 3 inches long but my big toe did come in contact with its great gaping maws…and this isn’t the first time there was a “dangerous” animal lurking where it shouldn’t have been. We’ve had similar incidents earlier also.

Want to know what else is going on? Well there’s a mini Giant Octopus hiding behind the sink in my bathroom. Probably waiting to wrap its tentacle around my wrist when I reach for my toothbrush!

Or the crocodile that swished its tail at my nose last night when I turned over in my sleep.

The only saving grace has been the Stegosaurus (aptly named as Steggy) who was nice enough not to squish me when he landed on my head before MLM’s bed time.

Between coiled up snakes at Red’s feet during breakfast and Giant Squid’s surfacing in the shower cubicle, MLM’s toys are everywhere! Day and night and in every kind of scenario. The only place they aren’t in is the damn toy box.

Is this the same kid who used to go to Gymboree and do “clean-up, clean-up” after playtime was done? I can’t see hide nor hair of him anymore. It’s prehistoric reptiles and marine creatures as far as my myopic eyes can see and my toes can step on…sadly enough…

 

Ask And Ye Shall Receive…

an answer, that is. It  might not be the one you wanted to hear because let’s admit it; we seldom ask questions we don’t know or want the answers to. Especially the existential kind. Even with the academic kind, we’re hoping that we don’t have to be in situations where algebraic equations or doing a syntax analysis of a “complex” sentence is a regular staple.

But we do end up asking the all important, inevitable question from time to time viz WHY ME?

And the universe answers. Even with those implicit questions which you kept inside your head and hadn’t voiced out. Take my case for example. I was planning that today, Friday, was going to be the Friday that would define how the rest of the Fridays were going to be in 2016 or at least for the first half of the year. I was going to be a human whirlwind (because the position of human hurricane has been filled for the last 5+ years by the offspring) and tackle the laundry, the linens, the stuff I’d normally hide stuff in closets and get the house tidy! T-I-D-Y. And then I was going to really enjoy the weekend because I’d earned it. Big time!

And what happens this morning? I put my back out. Just a sign from the universe that the untidiness is fated to linger a la Doris Riordan’s song of the same ilk. And here I am now. Playing my role as a ungainly combo of R2D2 and C-3PO (the chunky, rotunda of the former and the stiff, jerky movements of the latter). And that ladies and gents is our little nod to the Star Wars fever that’s taken over the world!

Anyhoo, getting back to moi…I guess I was (am) disappointed because today was going to be the day I zipped across town after getting the car back from the shop and not play the cliched role of a housewife binge-watching her favorite shows and grazing all day long. In properly-spaced intervals I mean. The grazing. Not the watching. That’s a continuous process.

And now I’m actually compelled to be stationary when I wanted to be bustling about.

So if we get back to where we started from viz the question we ask the Universe in an utterly vexed fashion, “why me?” it’s not difficult at all to imagine the universe answer in a deep voice (James Earl Jones for the majority and Kathleen Turner for the feminists among us), “why not you?”

Bloglet: Repartee

I am currently in what I imagine is a near-Cinderella stage. Drippy nose, swollen face and mopping up the red blood (poster color) that MLM generously painted on his T-Rex’s teeth and pretty much all over on an off-white tiled floor.

I fall back on the worst threat in my arsenal aka am going away and never coming back and the brat pipes up saying I’ll hide in your suitcase when you aren’t looking and go with you.

And grins. Widely.

Crapola.

PS: While I type this out, I can see a blur running around with toothbrushes in one hand and the handle of a trolley bag in another. Bested again.

Yet Another Epiphany

I had another Ah-HA! experience this morning while “attempting” to explain to MLM why something is desirable and why something isn’t. People (parenting experts, those whose kids are no longer a pain-in-the-ass and those who are blissfully childless) usually say that it sets a bad example to communicate with a growing child using largely negatives viz “NO”, “NOT”. “DONT” et al. However, given that the vocabulary of most children who aren’t prodigies or savants of some kind are largely rudimentary till the middle school years, it becomes a tough job navigating the world of communicating what you want with what your child can comprehend.

But I have finally realized the biggest challenge I face day in and day out while trying to bring this boy up- I have to be an adult in the face of his childishness. And therein lies the rub. I no longer know how to be a child and he’s not reached that stage where he knows anything else but how to be a child.

Just a few minutes back, I had another locking-horns session with my offspring. Reason? He’s been using a turtle stencil to draw outlines on an otherwise pristine ivory colored wall. Again.

The first time this was noticed and commented upon, he apologized. In a flash. And went off to do whatever it is he does when one road to mischief has been shut down. Today when I noticed the second drawing I called him to ask why he had drawn on the walls again when he knew it wasn’t appreciated at all. He simply replied that he wanted to. No defiance. No attitude. Just a simple statement of fact.

And that in nutshell is how children usually are. While some are more compliant, for reasons known only to them, others are more willful in the sense that they are guided largely by their whims. A state that many older people fall back into in their advanced years.

But try as I might, I couldn’t explain to MLM why I was upset. He finally came up with a solution of wiping it off with water. But the crux of the problem escaped him and it entirely escaped me how to clue him in.

As adults we live with and in cliches. We stay in the lines. It starts by learning to color in them, writing within in, standing in them and also driving in them. We don’t always turn into lab rats or hamsters in their wheels but we become regulated. And can also see the benefits of such a life for its opposite is chaos in some form or the other.

But a child, especially one right out of early childhood is all about seeing his or her environment as a giant canvas, playground or anything without boundaries. They want to color furiously all over the paper. Never mind that the dam fruit they were to color got buried under the strokes. They want to scribble on walls because that’s the largest unending surface that surrounds them everyday. They want to climb higher, use the bed as a trampoline because everything that gives them a sense of freedom, even briefly, is exhilarating. Never mind that you’ll be replacing the mattress or the bed springs will poke through before long. It’s just so much more fun than just calmly lying down somewhere and sleeping.

And this is why I blogged this. Right here and now. So when I’m about to have an aneurysm tomorrow or day after from whatever my son wasn’t supposed to have done but did so anyhow; I can take a quick peek at this post before my head blows up. Hell! I’ll have to clean up that mess too so I might as well read these pearls of wisdom and count to a 1000 and keep telling myself there’s always school and the next summer holidays are a year away.

Amen!