Thursday, 29 November 2012

When My Mom Says ‘NO!’

Ever wondered what goes through your toddlers mind when something..or for that matter anything is told to him. Especially a negative message is deciphered more accurately than the positive one. And the idea of non compliance is more like a reflex and then very cautiously stretched to a testing measure.                          

I am humming my favorite rhyme in my head and trying to stack those blocks that may resemble some building I might have seen in my book? London bridge.. yes that’s what it is and may be my rhyme would suit along the structure as well… London bridge is falling down.. falling down… falling down… my fair lady… Lady? Why is a lady on the London bridge… ??? may be she is leaning over the bridge that is so high which mom says can be dangerous. But then mom finds everything dangerous around me…Hmm…. Mom I wonder who is she talking to over that phone?

May be I’ll try to throw the block away and gain her attention and she would be right here beside me… heheh… yes that’s what I think I’ll do .. I can build the bridge later… here goes the green block.. n the yellow one and yet another orange block.. on the count of three… one.. two … three.. 

Heheheh Bingo!!... I know it’s not for throwing after being told so many times but now I also know when you say NO.. I have to do it coz it gets you to me..

Let me push my friend off his scooter will mom’s reaction will be the same as before for throwing the blocks…lets check it out.. here I go…

Hmm... I know mom and maybe you are right… I shouldn’t be hurting my friend like that… but then how come other children get to play like that?

I am not sure how the linking and deciphering of thoughts are processed in their young minds but it does happen rapidly… absorbing every word, action, counter action, expression, vibes.. practically everything that comes their way… so as to form a bank of thoughts and actions to be carried out later in every appropriate or rather inappropriate situation. All we can do is keep filtering our words and actions though we may run out of them coz their young minds are racing to outsmart ours.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Breaking Parental Code!

As a child very often I have laughed at glistening tears in the eyes of my parents when I had made them proud. Very often I have failed to understand the stress over minor cold and cough. Very often I implied their protectiveness as their restrictiveness. And worst of all how many times did I blame them for not loving me enough?

The answer to the above and many more such questions send a shiver down my spine. And the funny part is that it’s my child now who is making me decipher what my parents are. And the most important realization I have had is that I am no different than what my parents are and as a matter of fact I am no different than any other parent on this whole planet when its about the child.

The first time when I saw my son performing on stage for a school event, I completely failed to control the tears of joy rolling down my cheeks. After the performance when my son saw my wet eyes, he asked innocently “ Mumma, Were you crying?” I just smiled and the only way I could answer him was by planting a soft kiss on his cheeks. And that time, my inner soul was shouting loudly at me “Do you now realize why parents are capable of crying even at the happiest of the moments”. Sometimes the simplest joy can be so powerful to overwhelm us. That day I decided to call my mom and apologize.

My mother still gets so much bothered about what I am eating and what I am not eating. She without fail reads all the health related articles she comes across. Doesn’t leave any opportunity of preparing my favorites when I visit her or vice versa. Till some years back I would just ignore her on these issues and also made it very obvious to her. Now since I have got into a new venture of feeding my son, and making sure that he gets his daily requirements of iron, calcium and other vital vitamins, the whole fuss about FOOD got clear to me. So as to undo all what I have done in my past years, I listen to all my mother’s suggestions and even try to follow some. May be this way God will be kinder to me and not make my son as difficult a child as I was.

These days I talk a lot to my mother about how I was as a child, how to handle a particular situation etc etc. Now I feel my parents did a fairly good job in raising my brother and me. They are my benchmark on parenting.

Its often said that time teaches you everything. I don’t know about other things but it definitely teaches a lot about your own parents. Most of us in their growing up years must have at least once told their parents that they don’t love you enough or they didn’t do enough. With time and every evolving generation it is inevitable of our children to question us or find a loophole in our set of ideas and upbringing. Oh my God, just the thought that my son will tell me this one-day kills me.
As parents it is difficult to meet our own expectations but as children those expectations always keep rising. Our idea of sharing this is not that we want our sons to feel these things right now. Let them take their time, let them grow up and let them become a parent ;)


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Books – Periodicals and Newspapers - An Ongoing Affair

Maya Angelou, a renowned American author and poet quoted, “any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him”.

I recently visited my mentor with whom I had started my career in HPCL. Though I no longer work but his beliefs and thoughts still inspire me a lot. During our conversation he shared an article, which his son had written for a magazine. The best part was that his son has been reading the same magazine since he was a small kid and now he has written an article for that.

I feel all the reading material, which comes to our home, in form of newspapers, periodicals, magazines etc have an everlasting impact on the young minds at our home. We have a notion that a child is not learning from a book until he is reading all what is written in it. I have already been proven wrong by my 3 year old son. His first question for his dad, as he enters home after a long day at his office is, “Dad have you got a new magazine today?” and he always expects a yes for an answer. Luckily my husband has subscribed to multiple periodicals, which are delivered at his office address.

Sharing my Kid’s Favorites

From our section of magazines: Earlier when his dad used to hand over a copy of The Economist magazine to him I would wonder what he would like in that. But now he browses through the whole magazine and has questions about the pictures and illustrations in there. We on our part try to answer his queries in simple terms. He is addicted to it. Also he likes browsing National Geographic and The New Yorker magazines. Unfortunately in India we don’t get the junior version of National Geographic magazine, which would be more apt for his age.

Another magazine, which I came across at my parent’s home, on our last visit, was BBC Knowledge (Indian Edition). It is a bi-monthly magazine and I felt it is a perfect magazine for young inquisitive minds. It has articles related to science, history and nature. I have subscribed to it and am waiting for the first one to come. Will share more details about it after going through the same.

Newspapers: I have my own favorite sections in the newspaper and after my son was born I always read my morning paper along with him. I didn’t even realize when he made his own favorites and would make me read those segments repeatedly. He unlike me wanted to keep all his favorites and would not just allow me to discard any of the old papers. The storage is always a problem. One fine day an idea struck me. I suggested that we cut all the important news and pictures, which he likes and can paste them in a scrap-book. He loved the idea and now he is on his second one already!

Magazines just for him: A very good friend of mine and a mother of 7 yr old twins, suggested me some magazines. The first one is Magic Pot. This magazine is for the 2-5 years age group. It is a weekly magazine. It includes activities related to fine motor skills, reading development, hand-eye coordination, alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes etc, etc. It also has picture stories, which take the little ones into the land of imaginations and develop their interest in reading. The best way to get this magazine is to ask your newspaper vendor to deliver it because if you go through subscription route it never comes on time. However, the paper vendor will deliver it at your doorstep every week without fail.

The other magazine she suggested was Toot (for age group 2-5) and Hoot from the same publication (for older kids). This is a monthly magazine and very much like Magic Pot covers all the aspects. The print quality is better than Magic Pot. The only disadvantage I feel is that it is monthly. My son somehow prefers Magic Pot to Toot and is completely hooked on to it.

What is important?

I strongly believe it is reading, which is most important more than what is being read to some extent. As a kid I have read lot of Champak, Balhans, Nandan, Chandamama etc. and were good source of information. It all depends on what your kid likes to read. You may just help him by providing the right kind of books. Let him take a lead in showing you his interest areas.

And please don’t forget what we had mentioned in our earlier blog post on books – you are his role model, he WILL follow you. To get your child into reading anything, start reading it yourself. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Shaken NOT Stirred!

“I would like to have a word with you Mrs. Gracias”, immediately sinks my heart, as the teacher awaits disbursal of rest of the kids. I keep prodding my son for some kind of hint into what the teacher would want to tell me about. 
He stills in my arms hiding his head right under my shoulder trying to avoid to meet my gaze. And very timidly says, he has hurt a fellow classmate in an attempt to defend yet another one! (eyes rolling). I went numb while he sulked and I could only vaguely hear teacher consoling me this is the first time ever he has been physical, while my mind was clouding with the monstrous question “how can MY son hurt someone?”
My eyes welled up, I was pulled back to my rationale by Priti, who was all sympathetic, knowing she had been in the similar place sometime before. 
I ignored my son all through the car travel trying to clear my head and garnering all my self control to resist myself from shouting at him or worst spank him. Then would he know what hurt would feel like! 
But that’s not the path I wanted to tread on and close up all the transparency we hold between us blow up, just- like- that.

Flash Back: Exactly a week before,

I couldn't stop grinning ridiculously, as everyone extended a hand to congratulate on my son’s victory in his sports event. How proud I felt!! I cheered him full-on while he stood receiving his medal with a wonder on his face (or even embarrassment, if he knew what it meant) as to why his mom can’t contend her over-excitement?
Was I happy about myself being an encouraging mom or happy about he winning or just being a part of the race at this tender age?
Was I angry on him today for being nasty or because I felt like a failure or that I detest the idea of him letting me down?
I Don’t Know. 
What was I supposed to feel on both the instances? He is only 3, what was I expecting out of his little self? He is a child and aren't children supposed to explore and fight their own little battles ( I mean it figuratively here, not literally :)) of coping with peers, defying and emote in all ways possible? I guess that’s what he was doing. 
A week back he couldn't gauge why we celebrated on his victory and today he couldn't gauge why was I boiling mad at his behavior. He just couldn't.  He is not supposed to. He is only to learn and grow from both good and bad. And hopefully good sense prevails and he tilts my way :)

A mother can only HOPE ;)    

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Redoing Parenting

A lot is written and talked about supermoms. Somewhere you might find stuff written on super-dads as well. But have you come across or even heard about super-grandmoms and super-granddads. Our daily visit to school, for dropping and picking up our kids have made us aware of this completely unknown super-humans, whose numbers are increasing rapidly.

Here is our encounter with some of them…

Super-Grandmom X:

Holding a hand of her three-year old grandson firmly and carrying his little bag, this grandmom is never late for school.  Never a glimpse of tiredness or frustration crosses her face.

One day we were shocked to see her completely exhausted. After enquiring from her she told that she has been running temperature from past few days (But she had not missed school even for a day). I could not stop myself from asking her that why is she still coming to drop him and maybe someone else can come for some days. Without any anger she just told us that the parents have gone on a month long vacation.

That also meant that they would not be here for the sports day, which was scheduled for the coming Saturday.

Super-Granddad Y:

Ok we have never interacted with this grand-dad and we are really not much aware about him, but we have been observing him from last 7-8 months. He seems to be suffering from some health issues, which makes walking and talking also a very difficult task for him. He along with a maid comes daily to pick his grand-daughter from school using public transport.

Be it scorching heat or thunderous monsoon, he is much before time than even most parents. Even his eye-operation, which required him to avoid sun-exposure didn’t deter him from coming to school.

Super-Grandmom Z:

Till the time our kids come out from the school, the parents get some time to share their joys, concerns and thoughts of being in this new role with each other. In this our another super-grandmom is an active participant.

Her joys and concerns are so similar to ours. How her little grandson lives on milk and doesn’t eat anything except chocolate cakes. How he follows her like a shadow and has to be kept engaged all day long. She tells us with a smile that what her own kids didn’t make her do, this little one is making her go through.

She attends all the PTA (class meetings) meets for her grandson and tells us proudly “the interest is always dearer than the principal “

These are just a few from so many we encounter in our daily lives. It’s lucky to be blessed with such super grandmoms and granddads.

An after- thought
Is it a time for them to take care of or them to be taken care of? 
We wonder...

Monday, 5 November 2012

Cure from your Kitchen – Part 2

This blog post is Skin and Hair special. These home remedies will save your trips to salons and is easy on pockets.  They can be used for both kids and adults. It’s a wonder how the things needed to keep healthy and beautify lie around us, it’s only how we recognize it and make the best of it. Here are some home remedies, which have been passed on to me by my mother and are all tried and tested ones.

Hair: The health of your hair reflects the health of your body. There are both external factors like dust, pollution etc and internal factors like deficiency of any vitamin, improper diet etc. affects the hair, these are simple and D-I-Y remedies to help you out.

1.     For dry scalp and dandruff: Take one cup of curd and mix one tablespoon of ground fenugreek seeds (methi). Keep this mixture overnight. Apply the mixture on your scalp near the roots of your hair. Using a wide comb brush your hair along so that the mixture spreads all over your hair. For long hair, make sure you apply some of this at your hair ends. This also helps in curing split ends.  Let it dry for 30 mins to 45 mins and then shampoo your hair. You will see the results in one use only but it is better to do this at least for 2-3 months once a week. For young kids just keep it for 10-15 mins and even plain curd is very effective. This also darkens the colour of the hair. Avoid use of oil if you have dandruff.

2.     For scanty hair: Especially for infants who are born with scanty hair, this oil is very useful. You can prepare this easily at home and store it. Adults for enhancing the growth of hair can also use this oil. Take 1 cup of fresh aloe-Vera gel (The gel can be extracted by just peeling the leaves). In a small wok keep 250 ml of coconut oil for heating. Once the oil is hot add in the extracted gel. Lower the flame and let the gel gets completely cooked in the oil till brown fibers of the gel remain. Cool and filter the oil. Use this oil for head massage regularly. In few weeks you will see a difference.

3.     For a bald patch: Sometimes due to injury or some illness we develop a bald patch on our head. This remedy helps in getting hair back in that patch. I am not sure if this works for natural balding in men but you may just try this. Grate one onion and extract the juice by squeezing it. Apply this on the patch and keep it for 30 mins for drying. Shampoo and rinse your hair well. You may apply this all over your scalp also. Onion gives a very good shine to your hair. Repeat this 1-2 times in a week for 2-3 months. (I know you must be thinking that this will smell awful but please try it once, it doesn’t smell after the wash at all).

Skin:  The first sign of stress is often reflected on our skin followed by our genetic combination and the weather that adds on to its woes. A healthy and glowing skin, of course, boosts the confidence to face the world.

1.     For dry skin: People with dry skin tend to develop dry patches or even dry eczema. This remedy is for all kind of dry skin problems and is equally effective and safe for both kids and adults. You would need rose water, glycerin liquid (available at chemist shop) and aloe vera gel (for this you may use pure gel available at some ayurvedic shops or extract it from leaves of aloe vera plant). In a big mixing bowl take 100 ml of rose water, 75 ml of glycerin and 50 ml of aloe vera gel.  Mix well (you may use hand blender for mixing it well) and use this solution like a body lotion. Apply after bath and before sleeping regularly.

2.     For exfoliating the skin: This homemade scrub is perfect for exfoliating the skin and making it smooth and shiny. Take 1 tablespoon of gram flour, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 2 tablespoon of curd. Mix it well and scrub your face, neck etc well with this mixture for some time. Please note if you have a very dry skin you may replace curd with the fresh milk crème (malai). Use this regularly for scrubbing.

3.     For skin nourishment: Papaya is the magic fruit for skin. Its consumption and application on skin do wonders to your beautiful skin. Just mash small amount of papaya and massage it on your face, neck and hands. Leave it for 10 mins before washing. Use this regularly.

4.     For tanned skin: The overexposure of Sun tans our skin. If you wish to get rid of that unwanted tan then banana is the best thing for it. You just have to mash it and massage it well over the effected areas. In a week time you would see the difference.

Thanks mom for being on phone constantly with me while I was compiling all this. There is so much more from my mom’s kitchen, which we will be sharing in our coming blogs. You may add in your kitchen wonder here in the comment.

Disclaimer: Kindly check for any allergy to the above-mentioned ingredients before trying.