What I Learnt From My Kid’s School

Image courtesy- www.financialeducatorscouncil.org

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.

36

Image courtesy wisegeek.com

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!

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!

 

 

A Decade Of Blogging Erratically

I first blogged in 2005. Courtesy Red. When we met he asked me a couple of questions about my interests and what sort of things was I into; sadly my answer to most were no. And stoic man that he is, he never batted an eyelid at any of them. And still doesn’t a decade after knowing me. But when he asked me about blogging something sparked an interest and I decided to set me up a blog and see for myself what it was all about.

I made friends via my posts, most whom I’ve yet to meet face to face. I got glimpses into lives in other counties, states, countries, continents and gave them one into the garrulousness of mine.

I exchanged relationship advice with some, starting from dating, marriage and then moved onto parenting. Lost a blogger friend and grieved for a while because he had been funny, very real and gave some really interesting parenting advice and never took me to task for cribbing. About anything.

I’ve made my blog my ranting corner, my mouthpiece for everything under the heavens and earth and it’s a part of my life now.

I started out with a blog on Livejournal, transitioned to Blogger and then finally this one on WordPress. I guess I was looking for something that fit well and over the years, each one has fit in some measure depending upon what I wanted to say and how I wanted it to be said.

It’s honestly like looking back at a ten years-younger me and marvelling at somethings, shaking my head at plenty others and occasionally saying, “Bet you never saw this coming huh?”.

So what’s next? Hopefully another ten-year reunion in 2025 with the me from today and seeing what we’ve got up to in the decade that followed.

Salut!

Lennon Had It Right!

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

I’m not feeling particularly nostalgic or philosophical today so have no fear that this is one of “those” posts.

After a week of particularly fragmented sleep due to a very, very unfortunate incident witnessed, I finally slept good and proper. And it was also due to a long, no-holds barred, candid talk with my father.

It seems to me that while life is something that we are born into; it’s also something that keeps happening around us whether we are consciously in the moment or not. It does go on. Extremely fluidly.

One moment someone is literally surrounded by all that is good and the next moment they are gone. Really, really gone. Because saying they passed on doesn’t seem to do justice to it.

One moment you’re one of a bunch of quasi-serious group of girls studying the human mind, ogling boys, chatting with strangers on the net for the thrill of it and bunking classes to watch Hyderabad Blues (first day-first show) and then you blink and you’re a housewife who buys sheets based on thread count and is quite happy about it as well.

One day you’re the thread that holds together someone’s sanity and the next you’re nowhere in the horizon because life happened and people moved on; and so did you.

One day you were playing hopscotch and counting nickels to see if you had enough for an ice cream sandwich and the next you were just among the multitude of kids who were moving out of home room to go to French or Spanish class.

You make plans. We all do. We plan the hell out of our lives. Even those who don’t have a proper schematic in place and aren’t hopelessly anal about where they’re going and how they want to get there. But things still keep happening around us, we get caught up in them and sometimes they lead someplace good and other times it leads to places we can’t wait to get out of fast enough.

If I look back today on things good and bad, the only thing that consistently occurs to me is that I have enough to go on to look ahead as well. And not just through rose-colored glasses to see the prettiness. To also see things for how they are: a shifting balance of things that test us to the core and those which lift us up to glorious peaks of joy.

And no…this post will not end with an “embrace life now!” or “count your blessings and live each day to the fullest” kind of blather. It’s just an ongoing realization of how we are yet to plumb the depths of all that’s in store for us and how the tip of the iceberg isn’t really a bad place to be when everything else is still ahead of you.

Makes me feel good about the times to come. In a mildly daunted and yet-excited way.

So since I have to end the post on some note, let it be this.

Movie Review: Inside Out

All that glitters is not gold and every animated flick isn’t just a kiddy movie.

When I made plans for Inside Out I didn’t expect to see a movie that was as well fleshed-out, had a lot of important things to convey and loads of nuances. That it’s animated is just the icing on the cake.

So first off…we are treated to the view of the emotions inside a little girl’s head and how that shapes her ; life, personality, the works! When life throws her curve balls and changes, how her emotions help her navigate and also go through the growing up stages with her is beautifully and sensitively portrayed.

What happens when some emotions (Joy and Sadness) get lost, misplaced or just got out of the picture while Disgust, Anger and Fear have to hold the fort down? that’s what movie is all about.

The people at Pixar have proved it again- they are magicians and psychologists and their creativity is off the charts!

The subject isn’t really for kids at all because barring the obvious toony stuff and some gags, it is actually a very sweet, real movie that deals with sensitive issues that most young children might not begin to experience let alone comprehend at a young age. Mine is very much in the Minionesque gags’ stage and this movie might not have held his interest for too long. IMHO the ideal target audiences for IO are the young adults and the actual adults because each is uniquely positioned to appreciate the crux of it. One will be going through what’s portrayed and the other will have the benefit of having experienced what the movie is about.

It’s actually a bit deeper than most animated features since it lacks frivolity and the out and gags of the Sponge Bob Squarepants and their ilk.

If you do decide to watch Inside Out, do it for the sheer expanse of creativity, imagination of the creators, animators and of course the voice actors who finally breathe life into the finished product.

It just might end up moving you.

Rating: ***

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!