Friday, August 07, 2009

Innvovation, Defaults,Failure,Accomplishment?

Again boils down to a SaHm talk. I have two boys again now they are growing and happen to be almost 3.5yrs and almost 5yrs.
Phew, I know well, how much time I give them, well, not trying to over achieve as a parent, but as a person who loves what I am doing. I love cooking, so the two boys though behind my back with me demanding a knife and chopping board, or a rolling pin and some dough, wanting to stir their own sugar in the milk, wanting to lay the table for meal times,as all this by themselves. All this I dont impose on them, but they love to play with mummy's toys. Like her kitchen, her computer and also her clothes :). Well, call it hands on experience with mom or call it exclusive mom time as well.

Making them take part of my chores is not an easy task, a lot of times I have pushed them away and a lot more times, they are allowed to be helping me with my tasks. Mess, chaos, fights are all part of this whole process, but I am human and am learning to deal with it, learn as they grow!.

As a child I was into all what my mother did and ended up doing all that my mother said. Hmmm, ofcourse at a point I did a lot of things behind her back to get my stuff done and missed on a lot of extra learning due to socio-economic conditions of that time.

Thinking back on my childhood, I grew up well and I am now happy and satisfied, but those desires of that extra learning I wanted to do, still lingers on, but now does not permit me, as its my children's turn to learn that extra!

Do we need those extra's??

Identifying what a child is good at and what he likes is a hard task. School is good for academic and competitive exposure. But again, the sportive competitive exposure is hard to achieve with the marking and ranking system the children have to go through. 10/10 the child feels he is the best. When he gets 7/10 the child goes into misery. The child feels he is working hard, but, still gets 7/10. Ufffff, this topic bugs me, but we need to enable the child to go ahead an accept failure. This kind of failure is hard to learn from due to peer and teacher pressure. It takes time. As grades are grades they cannot be tweaked. Innovations are not seen and heard by the teachers or students. Innovators (mostly who are avg graders) have to encouraged by some other means like sports, music, art or any such activity to enable them to identify themselves.

Accepting failure and learning from failure are two important concepts. Identifying a talent and nurturing it is even more important. Emphasis on academics and more also emphasis on all extras and to be best in all - I am sure can lead to disaster. There has to be a balance, that balance, and interest can be achieved when pressure on the child is less and a parent is stress free. This is not easy, it has to be consciously worked on. Life is a process of learning, so its takes time and effort to train our minds not to put undue pressure on our children.

Sports - well, trains the child be a sportsman. He sees the results of his action and is made to carry on playing for his next point, and the next and next and so on and on. Again it is result oriented, but he is working with a team, he is using his mind, he is using his soul to innovate a new technique to win, but is trained not to feel like a loser. Again, this did not come naturally to him. He had lost many times, and was nurtured by his mentor or coach to accept defeat and work on his defaults. This does not surely happen overnight, playing tennis, soccer, or any other game, involves a physical activity, which uses energy and makes his mind and body active. A sport or any form of physical activity is important for a child's development. Identifying the right age and time for the child to get involved is also important. Remembering that, pressuring the child to perform can deter the performance and increase the stress level for the child and the parent. So the child has to learn to have fun initially, as they grow nurture them to succeed and don't push them to be the best! Nurture the child with positive energies rather than stressful energies. He will learn to accept failure with ease.

The same applies to education as well - positively we have to teach our children to accept defeat, but work on the defaults to "not get the same "abc which he got wrong" right, but by allowing him to choose a way to make things right on his own. This comes by practice and time spent by the parents themselves, by being a stress free parent and not emphasizing the child to be the "best" but to "succeed". There is a difference in the two words there. Yes?

Back to extra's:There are many such extra activities like music, art, craft, which mold the mental ability to innovate. Innovation brings accomplishment. Failure/Accident leads to innovation. Failure without punishment and stress, can lead to innovation. Again, time spent by the mentor or the parent on nurturing is the key.

There is a difference in just following the keys to learn to play music and there is a difference in learning the notes to play music. (Sorry about terms used if ambiguous). Learning notes, is like learning abc, then you innovate new words like my children do and they think it has to be in the dictionary, I don't disagree with them, I tell them you have innovated. It could be gibberish to you, but oh well, gibberish according to them has got into the English dictionary. Well said huh?

Uff, there is something about different art classes. The teachers will teach you the stick method of drawing things and making new shapes. Why do they do that? To get and show results. To whom? The parents. Yes, parents wants to see results when the child is sent to art class. Damn!!!!!! I hate them and those teachers (pardon me for being so articulate) who teach that way and cant defend to parents that art does not bring results, it is innovation. Why do you think modern art forms were innovated? For wishful sales? Gives me a break?

Art has be from the mind and that which has touched the soul. To teach, it was to be story oriented, the child should be able to make a story and put it down on paper, that's what I call a art class. There you go, this teacher who has made the child say a story and put it down on paper in his own art, has made another innovator and the child feels accomplished!!

So failure happens, if you don't see ways to innovate. It is OK fail, but how else will you learn new ways to achieve, why do we have to follow a one threaded path when the string can be broken into multiple segments??? Think my dear friends? The human has the most advanced brain functions, so why not help our children understand that?

Keeping these terminologies in mind, like innovation, defaults, failure and accomplishment. All these things again don't mean, we push our children into being the best in tennis, best in academia, best in soccer, best in craft, best in art, best in music, best in singing, best in dance.
We all do like to shine and do shine when our time comes, but right now, our children need to nurtured and be themselves and learn. Expose them into activities of their interest and age. Children need to enjoy and not parents!

1. Parents need to identify their children's talent and initiate an activity for the children to learn and enjoy.

2.Parents have to nurture their children to succeed not be the best.

3. Parents have to give time not send away their children for activities to get time.

4. Parents need to be stress free.

5. Parents have to nurture themselves.

Parents you will feel achieved if you have seen yourself as an accomplished parent and this happens when you see your children growing stress free and achieved.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rise and Shine Child,Rise Rise and only Rise!

We have interesting conversations in our coffee meets and at the end of it, I always bring back happy feelings and of course thoughts to ponder.

Why do we send our children to school? I know for sure and you know as well. Being highly educated and a Harvard drop out(Sigh! - long story), I do believe I go into school for knowledge, social interaction, and some fun time in learning. Yes, learning has to be fun.

To make it clear, I am talking about pre-primary, primary, middle and high school. Going to school has always been about studies, more studies and more studies and more competition and more competition. Well, thats how I spent my childhood days. But what did I learn at the end of school. All I rememered was I did memorize and mugged (studying without passion). That's my childhood, but of course as I grew up, studying things further of not my interest, I did do well etc.

But ask me about history, about my physics, about my chemistry, about my math. I would blink. Huh, i dont know,all I know is I remember studying that. Ya, ya, over time, doing a masters, dropping out of it, working, all fell in place, because I made a secondary effort to relearn many things with conceptualization. I was mature. But learning could have been fun! I realized this when I went to Harvard.

Now I feel, after pondering again, on school systems I am more mature, to understand, to give enough time to my child, to teach 1 or 2 or many more than what he does in school. I am not afraid to let my child go against, I am not afraid to teach my child something which is different. 1+2 = 3 always, but there is more that in life. Correct, I think you get my point, addition always gives you more.

Again, there is another phase which gets always passed on to me, too much knowledge is a dangerous thing. Well, I think it at the end of your life, it gives you immense fulfillment to know you experiment, innovative and learn.

Back to bras-trax. Does dictation tests tell you how bright you are. Yes of course, it tell you the knowledge you have. (what rubbish!!!) Child you HAVE to show the knowledge you have. If you know it, answer it. Day 1: 10/10, DAy2: 10/10, Day 3: 8/10, Day 4: 7/10, Day 5: 10/10, Day6: 10/10. Child, you knew the answer " WHY DID YPU NOT WRITE IT" THAT'S NOT DONE". (what rubbish).

You see patterns in scoring change. Let me tell you an analysis. My son is probably crazy about numbers and he loves reading, can read huge words with much ease. But really, that is his skill, he learned the "techniques" from school and home. Fantastic. But he scores 10/10 some days, he scores 7/10 some days, he scores, 9/10 some days and even 6/10 some days. But he knows his stuff? Yes he does, read further.

So those marks really matter to knowledge? Marks matter yes as you grow, helps you analyse yourself and focus on weaker and get to admission and fame and name. All that is fine, but he is a day dreamer. When asked, how come you forgot and missed a word. He tells me " Mummy, i was thinking". By the way, I believe he started to day dream on the depth of the word. The word was "come", which he missed, but he said, he was trying to make sentences on that word and was telling me all those little details of his little dream. So much fun, right?

Now hold on, he was thinking something, he was dreaming of making sentences. Such a beautiful phenomenon, isn't it. I am convinced children are the innovators or tomorrow!

Now, he is a child and all children are, really :). They dream, they think, they conquer their own minds. I stopped then, to not say further. Sid, you shine!. You knew the word, but was dreaming about it :). And we laughed. But I guess he knew about the 7/10. I did not tell him 10/10 is the best. Why? Because he was fine, happy and he was dreaming and conquered something more. I call this giving my children incentive to grow on their own. I was also happy to hear one of the teachers telling a parent, we are not worried about the marks the children get, as long as they are learning.

Yes I do see some change in the Indian education system, but the system has to grow more, parents, teachers, children all have to work together to enhance and nurture the child to innovate, think, motivate themselves, not forced motivation (Which means more stress on all and more on the child, which reduced the absorption capacity). I hope as my children grow older, and get more time I can be one among many to bring positive changes to the education and knowledge base.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Successful Week of Screamfree Parenting

Yes I had a successful week and hope to continue it to the weeks to come. I feel relaxed and happy. I truly do, making an open diary of my thoughts makes me feel proud of myself.

Motherhood does not get any appreciation from any one, not even the DH or friends. DH does care the least, as long the house is running right and all is well. Friends have different views and envys, but such is life.

But today, i had a very dear conversation with my MIL, she was so proud of me with the progress I am making. She said, you are gifted to help analyze yourself and make a change in your life for the better. Many, many live in self denial and dont want to accept the mistakes openly. I was happy and pleased.

I am a very open and frank person who has open thoughts and give my children their space and time and get my time as well. I have a perfect routine, without which I cannot live without, but to some routines are not their best friend. I am sure you are one of them and many are. I have been living with routines since a child, not because my mom told me, but it was me, it was my dad. Yes, my dad, who used to travel all the time, the fond memories I shared with him. He had a routine, he loved it, punctuality and perfection in his field. And I am a copy of him.

So why the anger, well, I have two children of almost the same age, who have an immense competition with each other. The younger was ignored for the longest time and he was traumatized by me for the longest time. Well until I realized my screaming was not helping me and my children.

A week later of practicing self control, I see P getting closer to me, I see him beginning to understand my reasoning. My screaming had become a habit for his childish behavior, caused due to sibling rivalry/love/competition. Many termed it as terrible twos, but I know what they are, I have been through those with my first. This was not terrible twos, it was sibling rivalry/love/competition. Yes I got Sid involved. Started positive reinforcement and reasoning to P 's good behavior. Sid always got that from both his parents, he always required more attention, but P lacked it and was craving for it. It took me thing long to understand the child's mind. So now I address P's bad behavior screaming, I just mention his bad behavior and reason with him. And leave it, I don't question him, I don't say "WHY DID YOU DO IT" to him. Yes no "WHY". Realized they are too young, they are children, I need to make them understand through explanation and reasoning. I am forcing myself self not to repeat my reasoning and torment him and it lessen my anger. And he was happy and so was I.

All these things are simple right. All you guys have been doing it or are doing it. But No me I guess. A fact I am accepting. Basic things every parent does? But I guess i faltered with my younger son. The younger got ignored because the older got more attention. A nice way of talking without screaming was easy with my first child and it still is, not that he is easy, but he has been always spoken to and the younger is always shouted at. Now that was wrong on my part.

Also realizing that P never liked to see Sid with his friends. So its another thing I want to work on hence forth, make a set of friends for P different from Sids. He loves his brother so much, but cant see him with someone else.

Sibling love and rivalry has to be dealt with at its growth and I am feeling proud of myself to have caught it at the nick of time. Helping Sid and P work together and giving P positive reinforcement to undo all the nasty things I have said and done to him. I have seen this sibling rivalry among many cousins of the same sex and age. My DH will agree on this?

As much as I feel I am relieved with the progress I am making with myself to be a Scream-free parent, I do see that many judge me as a over doing parent. Well as one person rightly put it, each child each parent is different. Each parent has a different philosophy or parenting and how to bring up their child. And having more than one child is different.

I thank my friend Jandy for giving me huge inspirations to start writing.
I thank my mom and my mother in law for helping me and giving me good encouragement to change myself and progress through my behavior positively.

And thank my children for putting up with me for so long. Kids I am human, hope you read these when you grow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2, Day 3...and More Thoughts

I started with a whole lot of guilt, trying hard, not scolding my children. Elaine and Adel started me off a guilt trip. I had to close those parenting books, lie down and think.

Infact, after half an hour of rambling thought, i am feeling happy, rather relieved. I want to be a better parent. I am putting off my guilt of being nagging and Screaming parent, to be more reasonable and involving parent.

Day 2, went off fine with me trying to involve and reason. Day 3, was not too goood, but I tried to end it well. Went back into Elaine's books and tried to reinforce my behavior and attitude towards being a better parent.

So hear are my challenges

1. Labeling my children. I hate it when I do it. This is something I am going to work hard on. Its going to help by children gain better confidence and independence and positive attitude about themselves when I STOP labeling them. I don't want to name the labels, so I feel less guilty. I know they are harmful!

I am beginning to believe that my tone of contempt can hurt deeply. Words like careless, irresponsible, you'll never learn, lazy,do get uttered and I am so hurt to use them and hurt my children. I am definite I am going to find positive ways to deal when circumstances arise, which is like 5 times a day!

I have to engage my children to cooperate. I have to reason and be descriptive of my feelings, instead if saying NO's. I am sure for many of us, sarcasm, lectures, warnings, name calling, and threats were all woven into the language we heard as we were growing up. I don't really want to be doing the same things I probably grew up with. (I don't remember much of my childhood though, i guess some things do get passed on).

In the days to come (i want to set short term goals), I am hoping to feel good about hearing myself talk positively and with reason and involvement. I don't want to hear myself scream. Really, I want to feel good about myself, this is going to be my weeks mission! Hopefully I can make this a habit of passing it on to the coming weeks.

Its not going to be easy! I am going to try to avoid " Whats wrong with you kids, you don't gargle and wash properly, or turn of the light, or flush , or keep your shoes in the rack, or brush your teeth..."

My approach instead " Boys, the light is on in the bathroom!". "Boys, I am tripping off your shoes, its coming on my way"

I a beginning to realise my children need my attention, as in my time. Time Outs, punishments now i feel are just going to lead to hatred, revenge, guilt, unworthiness and self pity. Punishment and timeouts now only seem distractions to me. I am beginning to realize they don't work. Don't work at all. Its so short term that they tend to forget the reason for the Time Out and are happy playing in the corner. When asked why Time out " You shouted at me, that's why". Now that means it does not work! As all they remember is me shouting at them.

Now with Elaine and Adel's help. I want to list out the ways I can avoid punishment.

1. For sure, I want to make my disapproval of the behavior and NOT of their CHARACTER(like, "Jumping in the car is dangerous" would be better than saying " Don't behave like a roudy jumping in the car")
2. Tell the children, what behavior I expect (for example in the car - they cannot jump in the car,)
3. Reason with them (" You can meet with an accident and get hurt, It distracts me and I cannot drive in peace")
4. Allow at some point to experience the consequences of his behavior. I have done those many times.

Today there was an interesting incident.
A friend had a return gift due - which was a magnet made of clay. She handed them over to me.

P saw them, and wanted to hold them. I let him hold it warning him to be careful else they would break.

The warning was enough for him to have more fun and to try to may be break them, may be to see my reaction.

I took away Sids gift and kept it aside with me, saying he can hold his. I also warned him again to be careful else it would break.

So P finally did manage to crack it, as it fell off from the bag, which he kept swinging side to side

He was upset. He immediately wanted sids on exchange. I refused and said thats not right.

But, he cried, went home and cried more. Finally put both up on the fridge. He still insisted the cracked was not his. But I told him, his was cracked, but it still sticks to the fridge and still looks good.

Now that was a big step for me. Not to label him. I did not label him careless. I left the topic there for him to understand what had happened and that his still was cracked. Hopefully, over time he will begin to understand the consequences of his actions.

If I had labelled him, he would have cried more, I would have shouted more, more tug of war of the wants and more and more of ill feeling between him and me.

My day has ended well, hope to get up to a better day and to better parenting.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 1: Reasoning..

List of events through the day

1. Morning Potty Time:

I: P go and sit now
P: NO, its not coming
I: I have heard this many times ( I know he wants to go), do it now
P: NO.
I: If you don't, you will be out
P : Did it!
Did I Succeed in Reasoning: I lost. I should have reasoned. I should have said, your tummy will pain, You need to clean your stomach etc etc...

2. Breakfast Time:

P: I want cheese
I: Gave him
P: I will open it
I: ok
P: Mummy help me
I: did it
P: I want your bread, it looks more dark(crip toast)
I:ok, take it
P: I want butter now
I: Ufffff, P...., cant you just start eating
P: I want butter, (in the mean while cheese slice broke)
P: Whaaa,... Baaahhhh.. Cheese broke... Fix It, Fit It
I: Cannot fix it pranav.. and took it away. NOW EATTTTTT
P: I want Baked Beans ( I was eating it)
I: Gave him
P: I want spoon
P: Crying and Took it
P Finally did finish his food.
Did I Succeed in Reasoning: Almost, but lost it on voice. Can I give myself a few points atleast?

3. Wanted keys to open the main door after we came back from shopping vegetables.

P: I want to open door, give me key
I: No, I cant (as he has a history of breaking keys and everything)
P: NO NO I want
I: Sat down at his level - Children dont haldle keys, Keys are only for mom, dad, aunt, uncle
P: NO I want
I: If it breaks, we will have to sleep on road. You want to sleep on road?
P: No
I: You want to go sleep at home?
P: yes

He kept quiet.

Did I Succeed in Reasoning: I think I did. And avoided a few mishaps.

Similar things happened during the rest of the afternoon and evening and I finally did succeed in reasoning.

Now I succeeded, but did he? He listened with the least amount of ears. Running about and playing, but surely did not demand more after reasoning. Strangely his ears were listening to me even as he was playing.

So my change of behavior worked. Reasoning is helping my anger and his behavior. Now this has to continue onto DAY 2. Good Luck to me.

Whom to Change or What to change? Or do we need to have a change?

So many decisions in life had to be made after becoming a mother. Now did I keep hearing that children are good when they are young, like babyhood, as we do treat them as babies and they tend to be forgiven for any action done as they are babies. Phewww.....

True, may be, but every age has its own battles to be fought. Motherhood is not easy and more so being a SaHm. Each passing year, I have had battles with my children and myself, for the following reasons.

1. NOooooo dont touch that electric socket. Its dangerous... blah blah blah..
2. NOooooo dont turn on the oven switch....blah the reason....
3. NOooooo dont drive in front of the car...blah the reason for not doing so
and so on and so on.

The recent one when I had taken the Sid to the doc because he had fever.
P: throws the sandles of Sid to the doctors face!!
I reply Calmly - "please don't throw, its not a nice thing to do. blah blah"

P: " Starts playing in the docs chamber as if its a playground"
I say - " Sit on the chair, this is not a playground..."

If only he had the mind or the hear to listen. No obviously he did not. As he was not affected in the affair. It was someone else who got hit and his mom got upset. Not him. To him life is all about play.

Now I repeated all that he did to their dear grandparents, my inlaws.

Grandparents: " Oh he is a child, we cant do anything, it will take time"
My Mom " Be calm, dont shout at him or hit him, be patient, time will heal".

Yes inlaws, yes mom. They were right. He is a hyperactive child alright! He loves to play. Sid has been sick for over a week and been getting that extra attention. So did I just notice that P is trying to get more and more attention by doing unwarranted childish behavior. Yea surely, he is a child.

No amount of time outs, no amount of punishments, no amount of love, no amount of shouting, no amount of positive reinforcement have helped so far. Did I just list the list of right things that have to be done

With DH travelling, now I am on a mission. Let's get the Patience into the vocabulary. With Patience, its going to be Reasoning! Again Reasoning will work only if he stands beside to listen.
Well go on to read my first day!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

To Punch or Not To Punch!

Now dont we all face that problem in life whether to give back in words or action to something which we did not approve off or like. Do have to be poilitically correct or to not to be? To be Gandhi or To Not to Be!. This can be a tough question. Right?. At least we have mixed opinions in our household.

From a childs perspective

Sid: " That boy hit me in class ". - crying
Father: " Sid, next time someone hits you, hit back"
Sid: " ok papa"
Me: "What, dont hit anyone sid, tell them not to hit, talk to them and talk with a firm loud voice. if they dont listen, complain to your teacher. If teacher is not around, hit them back". Damn did it just tell him which did not make sense?

Boy in the Bus: "Aunty Sid punched me on the chest"
Me: " I looked on, wanted to tell him to punch him back and did in a almost whisper" - did not want to create a war in the bus atleast.
Me to Sid later: " Sid, dont hit anyone in the chest" . Well atleast did not tell him not to hit. As I finally realised that he needed to defend himself as he grows up.

Every Action has an Equal and Oppsite Reaction, holds true for immature relationships. But with "Rational Human Beings" being the new phrase of the century, I am not queit sure whether that law truly makes sense.
But a child just does what directions he has been given and also uses his insticts and makes his own decisions on the actions he wants to take. Its normal. This is irrespective of the principle of life we have taught him. Or are we really teaching them?

Rationality comes with experience and vice versa. Now bring in another turn of the century word " Emotional Intelligence". You have to empathize and undertand the emotional nature of a general person even before you can know him. Now thats some task for a person who has no clue what emotions are. And after knowing the emotionals, take actions accoridingly.

And there are many who care a damn and move on and do what is now the in thing " Politically Correct"

How did I bring out there phylosphies here? "Rationality", "Emotional Intelligence" and "Political Correctness". All this for a punch or not to punch?

Micheal Jackson - This for you!!

Its been many years since I have listened to you. But today, you have woken me up. With my computer speakers crashed and all my audio cassettes rusted with no player to play them, I have turned on Vh1 as my savior to watch your tribute!

I grew up listening to MJ and his songs. My dad, my brother and me were great fans. We never missed out a single album of his. His songs ringed our ears car in can car out, as that was the only system we had " The car Speaker System". Yes you must be laughing, people invest in expensive home theatre system for their homes, with souround sound etc. We had none of that, just a plain cassette player for the house "I think".

The car, had a system which no one could fathom. It had to be the best for my dad. Name an accessory it had it. And we all enjoyed it. Spoilt kids we were by our dad, that now we look no further than the best, be it the car, be it food, be it anything, right bro?

My dad had his life in his car, travelling around southern India for his business. Now, that music is what made his life while he drove with no radio those days, it was MJ, you rocked in our ears all the time.

I am reliving those days as a child and growing up years, all those fantastic albums, the dances, the music, the videos. Incomparable till date!! You were the best.

Do you have any memories of MJ from childhood?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Look to the West for Food!

Or may I say east for food, or south or north. Now, that's going to be relative for each region. The region I am looking from is India. India is looking to the west.

The Gen Y and the newer Gen is looking no further. West is where they worship, they compete for and pray!. Hold on.

Brewing just one topic at a time, I would like to take time in making some very important observations. While I was living in the west, The USA, I was noticing that schools, the system, the government was becoming more and more aware of the the junk food consumed among very young toddlers, high school kids and the like. Schools in most communities, good and bad was trying to reduce the obesity levels of the children, by eliminating, the junk like -the fried foods, coca cola, the burgers and the like. In the recent past, the government has also take an active part in playing a role to make sure, such junk food, in the formative years of children are avoided. Now that's what we call as people who have learned a hard lesson from the experience and the incidences.

Yes those lessons were learned really hard. Now the system, the government, parents, children, schools are working hard to make it a better system to make better healthy people. Now that country is extreme.

This topic on junk food has begun brewing freshly in India now. More so in growing children as young as 6 months. I would love to mention with great shame, that the population I am living with has taken this system of junk food culture to the next step. Don't we always like to supersede in what we do and over achieve. These some of the very close first hand observations.

1. Baby aged 6 months at a birthday party. The mother goes...
"Oh my son loves ice creams. It has milk, it has some sugar and eggs, surely he gets some protein."

2. Another 1 yr old gulping down a cake - mother goes
"Ah, my girls dinner is now over" - say whaaaa??? are you ok dear mother?

2. Child does not drink milk - the mother goes
"I give dairy milk chocolates - its so much full of milk." Darn...what is going on here, I yelled at her. Thats caffiene, un wanted calories , and a whole lot of sugar. Looks like my next article is going to be on how sugar harms health.

3. Cakes galore - mother goes
" My child eats only on birthday parties." - that's burgurs, fries, coke, cake and the like. Wake up parents.

3. Child insists on taking chips as snack -mother goes
"My son is very particular about what he takes to school. and thats chips"

4. Coca Cola - mother dotes at a party
" I need some cola for my son" - Mother that is caffeine - carsenogenic. does it srtike you. Those are unhealthy calories. Its not good for your child. Please wake up!!!

4. and more and more on the similar lines

5. Every time MY children dont out and they never do - the advices I get from parents are
"You have to train him, he needs to learn to eat everything". My reply back to them these days is " It does not matter - I beleive in giving my children a healthy diet - so they grow up to leaders of tommorrow".

OK, now what I am beginning to understand is, the Gen X parents are lazy, getting hipper and better than the west, to do better than the west, and to beat them. Educated parents "are you not aware that the west is learning from its mistakes and making a change."

Why? Why? Why?. Please ask yourself " Why" I am making such an important point.

Healthy dicipline - Take the time to make your child aware that junk food is not healthy and does not make you strong. Make a change yourself "Parent" only then the child can learn from you.

It is ok to refuse junk food. Introduce it, but show its limits. Now that birthday parties happen every other month and eating out happens way too often as most parents are working or not working and dont like to cook, the junk food does not limit. It just adds up.

I think Parents are living in a denial "that they are only offering junk food once in a while." I would think its otherwise. I am sure most of you parents reading this will go on a denial. Well Indians are always on a self defence and denial. Make this change for the futures of tomorrow, by incultating healthy eating habbits early on. Let us not immitate the west blindly.

Think, rethink and evolve. Let us set limits and boundaries in our eating habbits, so the same gets passed on to the children to make leaders of the future.

Start now to make this change!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Trains, the journey within and more

Its been many years now since I have stepped into a long distance train. With the advent of my flight to the US, the trains and its journeys within had become the thing of the past. To get to the airport, prepare to make sure you are savvy (atleast in India). Though I do respect decency and business travellers.

It takes anywhere between 1-2 hours to reach an airport in India if you have to leave from city center. If you are going to embark a journey for pleasure, you notice most people are dressed and perfumed to their best to the extent that either you have to shrink your eyes or cover your nose. Then comes the flight journey in itself. Ever noticed how much care the air hostess has to take care to make sure she looks good and the skirt is raised to the right level. Yes and not to mention the men who take pleasure in talking how much they looked into them and whose experience with the hostess was better.

That being it, being recession time is not easy for any one with the flight tickets growing foot souring prices. With seats getting ever so cramped and with no place for the kids to jump and play and to top it, no seats for kids who are below 2 , but you do end up paying for them. Thank god for the existence of the good old trains and its betterment with LALU. Jai Hind to Lalu and his involvement in making train journeys pleasant.

All I can think of now is the time of stressfull days of flights are over. Back to my journey which we as a family of 4 began on April 3 2009 , 7 PM to Kolkatta and reached on April 5th 2009 , 6AM.

We reached so early keeping the flight in mind. We were one hour early and were waitng for the train to come from the city station to the KR PUram station which was closer to our house. We waited and waited, looking at trains coming and going, fed the kids dinner sitting on suitcases and kept waiting for a train which was delayed by half an hour even when it had to leave from the city. Oh well.

We enjoyed our time in the station where every one looked at each other and smiled and did not have an auro around their heads and no perfums and no eye catching clothes. Simplicity for travel.

The trains stops for 5 minutes and yes, the coolie/porter quickly put the suitcases into the trains and we figure out our seats, just to find out we got 2 side births. The indians who have travelled by trains would understand. Damn, we had confirmed tickets, but expected 2 birth seats inside a 2 tier AC compartment. But to our luck, we spoke to the TTE (Train Ticket Examiner).

This is what he had to say " You did not come and meet me at the city station. If you had I would have alloted you better seats". Hmmm I thought, we need to please this guy now " Sir we did not know, we stay here close to KR puram, so with 2 kids... blah blah..." " Dont you understand my language, which language should i say i cannot do anything for you, said the TTE" " Sorry sir" We kept quiet.

He came back, while we rumbled and adjusted. In the mean while, when our mind was restless, the Railway Pantry Guy came in to take breakfast orders " 2 bread ompletteles please". Again rumbling how were are going to sleep with 2 kids on side birth. We looked around to see any empty seats, withing which time, the TTE, alloted us 2 nice full birth seats.
We thanked him and adored him. That was our beginning of the pleasant journey.

A journey, where I got to sleep with my younger son and the father got to sleep with the older. we would chat and laugh and tickle and go to sleep tightly with just enough space to manage each other :).

Morning came, at 5:30 AM the chai wala's would give a wake up call. Even if you are asleep, you have to get up " Chai chai, capi capi" " Chai chai, capi capi" " Chai chai, capi capi". I opened my eyes to look around that every one was sleeping and he was rambling " Chai chai, capi capi". WHY WHY, I want to sleep.

So we woke up slowly and woke the passengers who were sleeping on the lower birth. Woke up to see that there were many kids in the block. All the kids in the same age group as mine. The day started off well. The kids played, jumped up and down, climbed up and down, ran up and down while we relaxed and chatted with co passengers, who would duely talke responsibilty for our kids if they were troubled and we would do the same. It was like a small family.

Sitting by the train with our bodies swaying side to side and with the kids playing and jumping, all seemed to be a perfect. We read a magazine, ate, chatted, laughted and sometimes simply sat. The younger one took a nap in the afternoon, while I looked on at the train ceiling lying down thinking blank, while the older one played with the blackberry and the father was reading a magazine. It was so close to perfect.

A time when one can actually be oneself without the auro in the head. My older son would off and on say why the train is slow, may be we should go in a bullet train. Then we would have to say, bullet trains are only in Japan.

I am glad I made the concious decision to make the train journey, which enabled me to give my children a glance of the other side of the aura world, who have grown up to see nothing but cold, cleaniness, AC, planes, toys and more. They got to see, heat, dirt, AC, trains, no toys and more.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Silence is Golden. Patience is even more.

I have 2 boys, again one is 3 today and they other is 4.5 today. I love them, so much for my motherizing them, but I still do love them and love to watch them as a spectator and not as a mother.

I take them to birthday parties. My younger one is still young and I see him following his brother and cant be without him even for a brief moment. How wonderful is that love, they take support on each other because this lady who takes them to birthday parties is motherizing them.

The scene in all parties: Kids are running all over, playing games, wanting to win and be the best and get a gift for the game they won. I see they are all in the race for success. And all their mothers with them trying to stop them from acting like hooligans and trying to make them a little sane and to stop fighting and playing with chairs and to stop them from running away from the building.

And I the mother of two, has her sons sitting by her side quietly and trying to push them to play a game or two. Don't win, just play and I am happy when the older one played, but still some disappointment as he was not on his own just like his peers. He needed my push.

After a round of games, comes the eating challenge, again all kids eat and munch on all the burgers, fries, coke and cake. My boys dont take a bite of anything. I push, I label, at the end of the day I am stressed and I hated the birthday party. As i was motherizing them.

After the round of eating, all the boys are again running all over the place and having fun playing with chairs. and my boys are next to me, picking some confetti on the floor and being well behaved.

At a sight I can see some parents thinking of such proud sons they have , who played games, who were winning, who were answering all quiz questions and who did all things right a kid should do.

And here I was a little sad, with a splitting headache. Did I do something wrong. I have tears in my eyes as I drive them back home. They are sad that I am crying for they dont know the reason.

I slept empty stomach and put my kids down empty stomach for the night and we all slept. They slept, I did not, tossing and turning with a stomach ache and a headache, only to get up in the morning with a fresh thought.

I take a vow today: I am going to try my best not to motherize my kids.

Older one can count till 1000 and even more if left to him, knows what is google and gooogle plex. Knows gravity, the science behind it, has emotions, understands, picks up all the things we teach and preach and obeys. Runs, has fun, has lots of bubbling questions and loves speed and cars. Loves to fight and play with his brother. He is great at tennis and is a super fast cyclist. He loves music and art. He is again crazy about numbers and loves cooking with his mother. He loves art and loves poor children. A child who wants to feed poor children on his 5th birthday. And knows to read TIME an Read books.He is quiet and loves to be the quietest. He is 4.5 years old today.

The younger is a gem at heart. He cant be without his brother. knows the multiples of 10. Counts till 100 with ease, loves writing and coloring and is great with buiding objects and not to mention he loves breaking them to see how it is built. He is a great soccer player. Fantastic swimmer and is super cool are loving his brother and fighting with him. He is the coolest kid in the park with all girls around him. He craves for my attentions and he is growing. He has begun to undertsand my words. His teachers love him. He connects lines and loves to draw. He colors super withing the borders. He loves to play games. He is a fighter and knows what he wants. He is a perfectionist. He loves to read books. He is physically and mentally active. He likes to be the naughtiest. He is 3 years old today.

This is them from my eyes. Then why do I motherize them and push them. I take a vow today that I am going to try to do less of motherizing.

It is ok to be a silent observer, its ok to be queit, its ok to not play with friends, its ok to do what they want. Its ok for them to be whom they want to be and not what I want them to be. I want to from today work hard on letting them be what they want to be and do they want to do, as long as they dont hurt anyone or they dont hurt themselves. I want them to be themselves and grow to understand themselves, give them enough opportunities to explore themselves but without motherizing them.
I will give them opporunities, but will not expect them to perform. I will remove extectations and will allow them to grow from within giving them enough space.

I will not motherize and label, I want to be a better person and a better mother. I am struggling, I want to do it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Self is working and working hard

Went out for lunch today (unplanned - as lunch was ready at home). It was the best lunches I had in 4.5 yrs.

Headed out at 10:30 am in the morning to pick up a tennis raquet doshi junior II. Ended up buying a few more raquets for the doshi family, balls etc etc.. Nice sports shop near FAPS, Bangalore called Lal Rakhra.

decided kids will get cranky by the time we get home (its was 12:45 already - 3 hrs post breakfast), so decided to eat out at a known place close by. With the kids so fond of their moms food, they just refuse to eat out, but we did try.

A lovely buffet at South Indies, 1000ft rd, Bangalore, with all my fav food (hoping my kids would eat). Again reminded "self" to be calm and not label and critize and force and push and battle and anger and scream.

Kids had a great lunch, with ease, TV had some car race going on, thank good ness for the race for supporting the "self".

Nice, Mr Doshi I had the best lunch we had in 4.5 years. We sat in the restaurant peacefully for good 3 hours, after dealing with a 1 hour lunch with the kids and plus enjoying and feasting on some yummy food.

"Self" keep doing the job of relaxing and not being responsible for their actions. Relax and focus on myself. What I can do to keep my calm and What I can do to stay focused on that calmness.

It worked today, not once but twice. when I took Doshi Junior I one to a birthday party the same evening. I finally managed to make him play a game with the rest of his friends and he came out happy and for the first time, he came forward to say he enjoyed it. The trick was, I did not push him, but again focused on my self to work on calmness and not label him into many things. I just sat and played the kid game with him!!!

Take it easy and relax.

True to the statement, I had made the routines of mine and the kids so perfect that it started to show imperfections in behavior.

Morning time (be it holiday or weekend or work day)< get up, its time - 6:30 AM already (to the kids). (In my mind - need to make breakfast, feed and again, go to kitchen, cook lunch.. bllah blah..)

Time to sit for some structured play time ( my mind again). OK come kids lets play some puzzles, blah blah...

Ok now time for lunch .... rush rush gulp gulp feed feed .. now come on we have to take our after noon nap.

The new place i moved in has given me great vibes. Nevertheless, got them disciplined before, so this new home needed not much og nagging or was it just me.

Damn, I am glad i disicplined, they know what they are expected. I dont do the same things any more, and dont rush anymore, thanks new home!

I am a learning mom, trying to be responsible for all the things that my kids are doing, but now at the end of 4.5 yrs of raising them, i have realized, my mind burst and opened for a new beginning. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for MY KIDS actions. Yes thats true.

I am just going to be a RESPONSIBLE TOWARDS them, yes, I am. Which means, they are human beings and I am a mother, but they are still human beings with the mind of their own.

I have relaxed, calmed, and dont rush and dont push.

I am not achieving to be a super mom, I dont compulsarily have puzzle time with them (Oh how I hate it when I have to make them play what I want to play - its a total disaster).

All I do is now read books, have my space and give them my space and be a responsible parent.

"Self" - I yell," please help me continue with this " " and work towards being a calmer me"

"SELF" I yell louder, please help me focus on myself and practice what I preach and avoid "Reactive Behaviors". Until now my mind was not lit clearly, until I was struck by guilt that MY SCREAMING and IGnoRIng" and other reactives were only teaching the same to my child, when I did not want the same form them.

"Self" be with me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Questions? Why's?

R and I ask questions all the time and question things all the time as well. Well now ours are sensible ones (mostly!!).

What about a 4.5 yr old whose questions are endless, i mean literally. One after another, at one point I am forced to tell him don't be senseless. And there is this brother of his who has followed him early enough since he was 2.5 yrs, now 3 yrs to ask questions as well. They go louder over each other to ask questions and eventually start screaming so their voices are heard.

Right now, the state I am, I seem to not be able to even think and have a mind of my own. I cant think, I cant talk nor am I able to question. Why? I'll tell you, where is the MY SPACE and TIME. There you go, I have this blog where I am able to vent out and you kind folks listen, Thank You

This is blogging time, I get to write - think, but really I don't even get to talk with DH!! Phewww.. Kids please I am not asking you to stop asking, but slow it down please.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Over Active Brothers

Ever heard of a case where two brother - little boys aged 4.5yrs and 3yrs go crazy just screaming lunatically and running and falling and jumping over each other. My boys do, in places where I would not like them to do.

Over this weekend to an electronic shop to look for a home theatre, while we were listening to music, they almost turned the place into a dance floor for hooligans. A nice lounge chair was turned into a dirty shoe marked chair. R and I were just tied in constantly taking turns to stop them for behaving like this and distracting them to watch some TV, which seems so non sensical.

Then we were off to a store to look for window blinds. Wow, they were way to excited to run between the drapes and crevices of the shop and not to mention to make sure they leave their marks on the carpets as well!!!!!

How much more can a more organized mom get in trying to use positive reinforcement to discipline the child. My brother truely suggests wacking them and getting them straights. But really, I have gone to the extent of loosing my sanity in screaming and wacking them with ofcourse no respite!!!

Knowing now that, no screaming and wacking can work, Again the one thing that has successed is the bad old GEMS, give them 1 piece and that does not stop them these days either.

Even ONE GEM, can make their behaviour full of energy and creativity and hooliganism :). Like sucking on the gem noticing that its color changes to white then brown. With each color change, they scream and have fun.

Inside a restaurant, when mom and dad are talking, in a meeting and when I am on the phone. Unbelievable, that they find that its fun for them to behave when like this to get my attention.

I am trying to understand, still, am I supposed to enjoy and cherish such behaviour as well!! They are simply having fun, but to the thrid person, its destroying and creating havoc to their property! What am I suppoed to do, I need help.

- A Desparate MOM

Friday, February 06, 2009

A long year and life is still the same...

Jane's blog finally inspired me to start writing again. There has been so much going on this past year that, I had forgotten to enjpy myself and enjoy with the kids as well. Post 2008 Summer, I got busy making the kids used to school, then we bought a place, then hunting for carpenters and mind was stuck with thoughts of how to furnish this new home. All this in the midst of managing home, new home, cooking, and kids. And finally to add to this list husband and my Archana's Kitchen Blog

What happened to the kids, they got fussy, I lost my sanity towards them and the house was close to chaos. Until the little hero P started school in October, thats when I got a breather.

To add, I had 2 boys who are act as if they have not seen eachother for many years. This happens when they return back from their respective schools. The whole jouney in the car is screaming of happiness or in tears ripping eachother apart.

Heard of kids not wanting to come back home. Yes, my younger one, P. He is just that sort, get into the basement to park the car, there he goes, rolling on the ground, tantrums and tantrums. My BP would rise, but oh well. Ihad to give into the treat system again.

"P You some some gems?" Thats it, crying was vanished and back into full energy jumping and getting into home, until he gets his pair of gems. Phewwww... end of one battle, then wash hands, change clothes etc, feed them lunch and then NAP time.

My days seem to have no emotions stuck to them. I try hard, after their nap, i get rejeuvenated to be nice and loving to them. But P always ends up making me loose my sanity. SCREAM had become my voice.

Want to know what this 2.5 year old kids P is capable of, MAKING U LOSE YOUR SANITY. Yes. like, running like super sonic and not looking that there is a sharp corner or bang into the wall. Jump from BUNK bed and fall head down, ride super fast on a slope and come back reverse and get cut in the head but falling on a concrete slab. But do you think that this has made any change in his behavior NO way.

As Jane says, let them be. Which has been my resolution for this new year 2009, to let P be himself, do what he wants and if he throws a tantrum, try to give in to some things and others ignore.

Like for instance, we have moved to our new home, where the kids cycles 2 rounds around the building which is about 1.5 kms. Now they cycle super duper fast, event the 2.5 yr old kid.
I was all screaming, wanting p slow down at corners, stop when cars come. This kid is fearless. 2 days hence, i meditated on what i should do, my BP was rising, they wanted to cycle, i wanted my walk with them. Guess what i did, ok,let the fearless kid be fearless, I will run ahead of them... there you go, and thats what I am doing now.

Looks like life is giving me a training to be one step ahead of my children right now, so 20 ysr down the line I can actually be at par with them - So I Hope :).

At the end of the day, when the kids are asleep, i am glad i get my emotions back for them. I am really striving hard to achieve it in their play time. I ts time let go.