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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.

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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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2015: A Retrospective

2015 is about to come to a close and yet there were times it seemed to drag itself out unendingly!

Biggest news from our side is that the brat is now in a big kids’ school. He’s only in first grade but he seems to be changing perceptibly in front of our eyes. He’s learning loads, expressing himself more and socializing way more. He’s a year older, more specific in his tastes, choices and behavior as well. He is also acting up a little more; not something we are thrilled about. Of late, during some particularly stern parenting moments, he has packed his bag and threatened to walk out of the house.

While the temptation to laugh out loud at his antics is difficult to tamp down; the fact that his little face gets solemn and he scuttles around dragging his trolley bag full of his favorite things is also something we mull over. Seeing the way our child thinks and expresses himself is always a learning experience for me and Red. Even the parts we aren’t crazy about. He’s still quite naive and childlike compared to other kids I see his age but no complains there. Last thing a parent wants is for their babies to grow up before their time.

We took our first holiday abroad as a family this June and loved it! In fact Singapore has become the de facto destination in the offspring’s mind; that’s how much fun it was!

There have been solemn moments too. The incidents that have happened and continue to happen around the world and in my country have given a lot of us pause and certainly given me a lot of food for thought. Whether atrocities and hardship happen on our doorstep or not; it’s a sign of the times we live in. And no one is insulated beyond a point. When my best friend and her family were stuck during the Chennai floods and storms I remember standing on my balcony and thinking that a couple of hundred miles away there were people who literally didn’t know where the next drink of fresh water was going to come from or the next meal. And how unfair it was that they were caught unprepared and terrified beyond comprehension. Really gives you perspective. Not that you should feel guilty for what you have but how you should enjoy and appreciate the stuff you have good, down to the last atom! God knows when the tide turns. But moving on…

The year has been interesting too. Good songs,good food, movies (good and bad), memorable times spent with family and friends, less than good times have also cropped up but what’re you gonna do? Shit happens. You learn to skirt around the shit in the future. Read this to for more funny shit (‘cuuuse the pun)

While we wait for December to end on a funky note, we are geared up for another family holiday with my folks and plans for more getaways are already being made for 2016. God knows if they’ll materialize ultimately but the fun part is in the planning.

Knowing me, I might not blog till the new year or just have a blogging burst suddenly..so on that wonky note…happy holidays everyone.

Here’s hoping you wake up in 2016 without a heavy head!

 

 

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Sanities and Tensions…

The brat is keeping us massively entertained with the things he’s been learning in school. And while he no longer has the problem with his hearing that he did before, he is still prone to quite a bit of distractibility. That coupled with things that are repeated while he is in a group, like the school assembly, and the things he ends up hearing and then repeating at home are genuinely worth LOL-ing over.

Sometime in the past week he came home and started assuming poses of being in attention and at ease and had me follow suit. He told me to be in “tension” and then in “sanities”. I could barely muffle the snort of laughter that came out of my mouth and was immediately told off by a rather disgruntled little boy!

Yesterday there was a parent-teacher meeting in MLM’s school and among the many things discussed were his need to learn more patience. Yeah…not gonna happen in my lifetime! His homeroom teacher said she led the kids in meditation everyday for a few minutes and recommended that we try the same at home for more impact.

This morning Red decided to do an impromptu meditation session for the three of us just after we got up. The way Red instructed us did NOT resonate with the offspring so he usurped the role of leading us. These were his instructions:

“Ok…first you IN HELL. Then you EXIT.Good. IN HELL again and EXIT!”

Have you ever tried inhaling and exhaling when your entire body was shaking like a mini earthquake?

I was feeling like Santa viz belly shakes like a bowl of jelly. And sadly with the lard am carrying, it won’t take me too long to get their either.

All in all, it was the most novel way I’ve ever started any of my Sunday…In HELL and Exiting..

Oh lord…I love being this kid’s mother. Life is a lot of things but seldom boring. Even when he’s hopping around singing this song.

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Co-Sleeping…A Parent Reflects

One of the first things I bought when I got pregnant, was a cot for my baby. It was nice, smooth with rounded edges and had teething shields on both the rails. It worked well when the brat was a teeny-tiny infant and it also worked as a mini-prison of sorts during time outs when he started getting his bad-monkey groove on.

And one day he and I both slept off on my bed and after that there was no looking back. He wanted that big bed! He wanted that big bed to turn cartwheels in, to go up and down and round and round in and somewhere along the way he also slept there.

We’ve got him his own big boy bed in his own room and he has slept there on and off but it just took one bout of cold, cough or fever for him to end up in my bed and NEVER LEAVE!

But last night while we were having our usual story-time tussle (another blog post for later) before he slept off, I realized that each night when I reach out I can usually connect with one or the other of his limbs and unless it’s his butt which ending up near my face; it’s comforting to have him close by and I actually like it.

Right from the time he was born, he smelled ‘nice’. That smell that’s particular to babies which is a mixture of sweet, soft, baby powder, drool and cuteness. Add to that whatever lotion or powder you now smother your child in and you have a unique aroma that you associate with your child forever.

And while my night-time sleep is often punctuated by a bop on the head, sheets being tugged away entirely, hot breath right on my face and a knee to my sternum in the first hour of hitting the sack; it’s also quite lovely to have a soft, squishy bundle to well…softly squish.

Plenty of parenting manuals, how-to books advise against co-sleeping, I for one am beginning to think that our kids grow up too quickly as it is. One day they fit in your lap and then they don’t. They have the rest of their lives to sleep in different beds, holding onto different people. A few more nights of cuddles and elbows to ribs won’t hurt anyone.

And while I write this I know fully well I’ll be grumbling while I get the offspring into a “normal” sleeping posture from his usual one of the Vitruvian Man so I can make some space for myself at the near-edge of the bed.

Here’s wishing you all adequate space to sleep.

Good night.

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After School Huffiness

The brat got off the school bus with two holes in the school uniform that hadn’t been there when he’d got on the bus in the morning.

When I asked him (with a slight frost in my voice) he told me that a “Screaming Death” had made the holes.

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For the uninitiated, a Screaming Death is one from the stable of Dreamworks Dragons. It’s an ultimate badass dragon ergo also the love of MLM’s life ever since he laid his dragon-loving eyes on it.

Anyhoo he flat out refused to tell me how his school uniform happened to get ruined in that holey fashion and kept saying it was the dragon who did it. I told him that because of his behavior the tv was off-limits and I wasn’t going to talk to him till he told me the truth. And he threw a tantrum. A typical one with the screeching and minor feet stomping.

And then it got atypical. He sat and watched me ignore him for a bit and got out his trolley bag. Then this is the conversation that took place between us:

MLM-“Ok Ayu. I’m leaving.”

Me- Bye.

MLM- I’m going to count to 3 and you are going to put the tv for me.

Me- snorts in derision. “Yeah…not going to happen kid.”

MLM- ONE. TWO. THREEEEEE! Ok. FINE! I leaving now.

Me- B-Y-E.

MLM- while making a show of pulling his suitcase along and grumbling the entire time, “I’m not going to be your friend,grumble grumble. I’ll go and live in Kolkata (where my parents live) and never come home again!grumble grumble. I’ll watch tv there every day because (mentioning his grandmother’s name) loves me and you are MEAN!!”

Me- So go already. Bye.

MLM- Going till the main door and struggling to open the lock. “Open the door! I can’t leave, it’s locked.”

Me- opening the door for him…”Don’t forget your shoes. Bye”.

MLM- Struggling to get his trolley over the doorway…Ayu help me. I can’t leave…”

Me- Helps him put the bag outside the door and leaves.

MLM- Comes back in a bit and says, “I’m hungry”. I want to be your friend again. Please give me peanut butter and jam sammich?”

Me- So when do you want to leave the house and go stay in Kolkata?

MLM- I’ll go tomorrow. After the birthday party (mentions a friend’s birthday party he’s supposed to attend tomorrow).

Me- rolls eyes heavenward and goes to make PB&J sandwich.

Two minutes later I get a hug and someone plants a kiss in the vicinity of my hip and says you’re my best friend. These sammiches are DE-LI-SHUS!

And life goes on.

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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.

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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!

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The Blessing Of Being A Daughter’s Mother

Now let me start off by saying that having a son isn’t a curse or a non-blessing either. Even if mine does make me long for Valium on most days, he is truly the light, noise…err..sound of my life.

But back to why a daughter specially, is a blessing. A friend and ex-colleague of mine whom I have unfortunately not been in touch with for too many years has a birthday coming up. A landmark birthday in fact but the number will not be revealed…a woman has to have her secrets after all 🙂

Her daughter got my number from her and called me up a few minutes ago to tell me that she’s making a memory jar for her mom with the same number of friends that the age her mom’s turning.

It’s a total surprise and all her mother knows is that her daughter has access to her phone book and is probably calling some friends over for a surprise party…NOT!

With my friend’s birthday falling on a school night for her and her daughter and a Ph.D looming up in the horizon, a party is totally out of the question on her big day. But she’ll be spending it reading all the stuff her friends have penned down for her.

Who else but a girl would have thought of something like this? And the child is probably all of 15 going on 16.

Jeez…people have got to have more girls! And this girl has one helluva mother!

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There’s A Dinosaur In My Bra!

No. I’m not high. Yes, I wish I was. And yes, I have a child. Ergo the weird things ending up where they ideally ought not to.

Sitting down and finding a clothes pin jammed up in your butt crack is passe. Stepping on Batman and theoretically emasculating him when you get up to pee at 4 in the morning is also so-been-there-done-that.

Now, having a wee serpent stare at you balefully while you rub the sleep out of your eyes and cope with an imminent heart attack is the new definition of normal. And while your nervous system gets even more nervouser and tells you to flee, the mother part of your brain tries to calm it down by saying, “There’s a 5-year old on the loose. That’s all.”

Having kids is honestly an adventure. And for quite a while, you’re going in blind. It’s a war on some days but for the most part it IS fun. They can wake up one morning and tell you they want to see stingrays and whale sharks (making you think you have a mini-Animal Planeteer on your hands and feeling good that the boy is growing up) and by evening on the same day they are watching the television upside down because apparently Pink Panther looks better that way.

And that’s what I’m going to tell myself while I fish out the mini-extinct lizard from my cups and set it down carefully next to the Triceratops, the hotwheels car and the Batman who has his head on backwards.

Never a dull moment!