Beingmommy, Children, Parenting

One or two at a time

The rush for teaching all and more to the kids while they are small is all so very etched in possibly every parents’ grain. Demand overshoots supply for the lot out there who have made a brilliant business model out of kids ! The newer and ” first time ever” ideas in the name of empowering children is almost the norm for the so called hobby centres. In some cases, there sure is novelty in the concepts, but largely it is all designed to keep the kids busy and away from home.

I have consciously missed the bus rush where my children are concerned. My ride has been very slow! In my humble opinion, a good start is to channelise your kid into something he or she enjoys and this has to be largely gauged by folks at home. A moot question here is if the waters have not been tested , how does one know this? A chicken and egg story is but evident, at the same time, small doses of the spread available can be administered to them. It’s natural for them not to like all that is offered but over a few trials, somewhere the gut comes into force for all of us to steer our own buses! It’s only fair to keep it going but not overdoing the part in “too much too soon“!The journey has to be made more exciting than the final destination. Almost each time, the formula for success is slow but hopefully will come through eventually.

My formula, rather the mix for my two , has been a combination of a sport and a culture dose introduced in tandem. They have been consistent in their endeavours so far. I can also label this as lazy bodies slow to try out all that is out there , but I prefer this route over rushed and busy schedules. It’s nice to let them go at their pace. My only steady and rather constant feed are encouraging words! So far the journey has been good and we will explore new domains with age and time.

Beingmommy, Children, Mindfulness l, Parenting

Mum, not NOW! LATER please!

Hear these words ever so often!!

The thought to push away things for tomorrow is such a tempting option. I do this many a times in various contexts. To expect kids to act promptly and on time is a struggling battle, definitely to be won some day, some time, though there is this hidden wish that the sooner the better! At this stage, I feel I still have some more travel left on this particular journey !!

There is this strong urge to resist work, be it of the household nature or even the small expectation from their revered teachers at school. The last minute jerk is what is liked, like it or not! Disciplining them with the benefits of NOW to get to a better tomorrow is my best bet. I know and we all know that. Work at school assigned with a longer shelf life is almost  consumed on the last day before expiry! All days prior to that resonates with , not now, later! Small tasks like putting away the scattered mess is deferred very politely and conveniently. My experiments with certain foods also gets similar response! Here, it’s slightly different in the sense that mom’ s efforts in the kitchen and refusal to sample is handled a bit more gently ! ( at least the guilt bit is learnt by now!). Sometimes, my two speak and justify the later bit so convincingly, I almost feel wrapped deep inside multi layers of sweet talk!!

Till such time we take the uncalled for mommy stress upon us for them doing their work on time, this fight and long tirades with them would continue. Having said that, the control we exercise today slipping away sooner than we think is also not a happy thought! Therefore, the continuos fight! In most cases, eventually the work , be it school assignments, cupboard clearing, sorting papers and the likes does get through, the wish of them acting when we have commanded is what the strive is all about!

The NOW teaching has to be now! else as years are added, complexities also multiply and the reasonings for deference will only go up. Small but meaningful learnings at pre – teen stage will hopefully go a long way. Very soon, I see myself developing an all- together different approach to get my point across. They too are plotting plans similarly so it will be fun to see who wins or much rather am  hoping for a win- win situation for all, lest the losers ego takes a hit, something deeply avoidable!!

Children, Parenting

And when friends leave…

It’s hard for anyone to say goodbyes..harder still, when one’s daily pals relocate, move schools or leave the city..with them goes a piece of you and memories are what remain.

The past 2 months have seen about 4 such instances for my kids! The days prior to leaving seem to be their most precious moments. Every waking hour is spent either thinking about your pal or making efforts to maximise on the physical time spent with them. Inching closer to the dates gets them to make those oh so lovely picture cut outs, cards, small baubles and everything else which the friend likes. The cut, copy and paste activities are in full swing. It’s heart rendering to see their love come out in so many forms..my emotional taps almost start leaking when I see those creatives which tomorrow will adorn the walls and cupboards of their friends new setup.

Here, technology has really come to their rescue! While there is no replacement to the physical being, the periodic activities are always mapped by way of whatsapp, Skype and the other interactive media. It does quell their minds but somewhere I keep hearing the silent if- only’s, what- if’s , buts etc.! No matter how easy the connections have become, it doesn’t and cannot come a close parallel to actually actually a personal exchange of thoughts, words and emotions.

In all of this, I am certain of their resilience and adaptability!!

Very soon and probably sooner than I wish, they will charter new domains, establish new friendships and move on. It’s us adults who find it tough to build new connections because of the heavy minds and loads we carry thereof, but with kids, I only see hope and more hope in all their doings!

I am too missing the everyday familiarity but here it’s my job to ensure their smooth transition from one to the other and try and make their memories with their pals even more memorable! I just snail mailed a rather big piece of paper card with all sorts of endearing names, scrawls, colours , pastings etc. and I hope to continue doing this as and when the request comes along!! It’s the least I can do!

Children, General, Parenting

Agreed no place like home, but…

There’s no place like home sweet home!! Well known, well felt ! Inside this bubble wrap, life is bliss for most of us.

The little smarties have always a way with things, not willing to accompany their folks to places where their friends are missing in action or simply not wanting to take a step out of their comfort zone if there is a slightest suspicion about the place in their minds or even the people! While their feeling rather comfortable in their set up is lovely and something all of us love and can relate to, the forced push out of their cocoons may be a good push towards new learnings.

We adults have witnessed this in many forms in their lives. The more one is away from his cozy zone, the more adjustments are learnt. The more one is exposed to newer foods, the wider the palate becomes. Pushing ourselves out of our zones to newer domains have only enriched our experiences! We probably need to give our minds a big whack when thoughts like ” oh, they may get bored!”, ” they may not like the food”, ” what’s in there for them” etc. creep in.

Kids have an immense tendency for adaptability and we must let them experience some not- so- comfortable situations. I have also noticed that some pre conceived, pre felt notions associated with road/ plane travels, specific food mindsets, the can have/ can’t have lists, the can do/ can’t do things fade away way faster when the exposure levels are higher. In other words, when the little ones are made to do things outside of their comfort zones, they sometimes actually surprise us!

So, it’s absolutely ok on our part if we sometimes , out of necessity or out of choice,drag them to places where they are likely to experience boredom. It just might make them a bit more adaptable to people, places and things around and the ever so important social quotient may also go up! You may be scorned upon and given the “not good mommy today ” tag so be it!

Children, General, Parenting

PICK ME UP!

My take is if you really want your child to do/ experience /read something, make it so readily accessible for them that they see it all around and because it’s there there, there are higher chances of them going for it! My big reference here is the oh so lovely habit of reading in kids, something which is slowly fading away. Since this happens to be a rather important element of vocabulary building, it needs to be reinforced time and again and somehow included in their daily routine list.

Summer break is a great time to reintroduce this habit( if it’s not already one) simply because there is a good bit of free time available . The long, hot and lazy days can be well spent with the many titles and authors they’ve heard of from their dear friends, their great breed of peers and of course our preferred authors can also be squeezed in . Once they are in sight, chances of they going through them may be higher. Basically, if they see the good old Enid Blytons, Hardy boys , Malory towers etc. on their shelves, they are likely to pick them up! The neighbourhood library does serve the purpose but to stock up on ones own page turners is a wonderful feeling. The ownership of any thing gives one a far bigger high than borrowed stuff, more so if the titles are to be read and re read many times over.

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Summer holidays are also the time to pull out all those hidden card games, those scrap books, the half done needlework, those cut and paint and make your own chimes, fridge magnets, bead jewellery etc etc. The minute these objects are seen, the activity triggers reignite and holidays are well spent, both in terms of time and pleasure! It’s easy accessibility that drives the kids. Out of sight is truly out of mind for them. So, while I have things strewn around everywhere, I look at it as time and imagination well spent. It is messy and scattered, but am ok with it as long as the neatly tucked away stuff is put to use. The slow and easy days seem lighter and calmer and with kids around at home during their break, one really couldn’t ask for anything more!!

General, Parenting

Blending digital and hands on hobbies

The ICE age is the age our children are born into ! Now, that’s a fact. Technology is pacing and so are they with them. Manoeuvring around any gadget is their forte and quickly figuring out information from these devices is something that they love! Notice how readily they volunteer to pull out information and how quickly they get the know how about any subject under the moon!

In this superhighway that their lives are, digital hobbies are almost a done thing. Kindles are everywhere ( if this really rekindles their reading habits would be great though!) then, checking live scores, streaming live music, complete and more knowledge about new cool stuff on YouTube, and other such digital and easy formatted tools are engaging their free hours. There is a request to go over to a friends place to PLAY PLAY with the X boxes, PlayStations etc. There is just NO ESCAPE!

It’s nice if we can somehow manage to squeeze in some hands-on hobbies in their digitalised minds. That’s something that they ought to DO DO. Learning to play a musical instrument is one such joyous hobby which my son pursues. It’s an absolute delight to hear those keys come alive with those finger movements! Another immensely creative hobby is one that starts with most kids with those coloured and shaped blocks . With some kids, like my little one, it carries on in the form of LEGO and it’s something that engages her mind for hours on end. It’s absolutely wonderful to see the creativity coming out in different forms and shapes and the imagination growing with it! Any physical sport / activity pursued by them today will always be there for them tomorrow.

Going forward , along with their digital pursuits, lets also blend in some good old pastimes like reading from touch and feel books, playing outdoors, exploratory trips with nature, unstructured free play at home, creative usage of redundant supplies , enough and more usage of art supplies and stationary and other such rather simple self created innovative hobbies in their schedules!

Digital world is already THEIR world, still, in small measures if we can reminisce our growing up years with them,we would feel wonderful!

 

General, Parenting

Food habits start young!

Fad foods, comfort foods, healthy foods, easy to assemble, easy to make, easy to feed…what all we try when it comes to food for the kids. So far, my experience with kids and food has been rather good if I may say so, and it’s satisfying to see them not culling peas, cumin seeds or tiny bits of beans from their plates!

We all have gone with the cycle of fret, fume, give up , however , what has worked for me is to again, take it easy with food. Where my toddler or my young kid has refused morsels, I have gone with the expert advice that no child will collapse if one or two meals are skipped and with the adage of ” This too shall pass” . We might feel restless and uneasy as a “mum failing on this very crucial chapter ” of their growth cycle and quickly try and rustle up this or that or whatever works at that point, BUT I have felt it’s nice to stick to foods that are a part of your regular palate and that you feel will sustain over time. I would be lying if I have not given in at times, but somehow by and large have succeeded in maintaining regularity with the food style and taste.

Succumbing to fancy and quick comfort foods will become their habit if YOU wish it so. It’s nice to be a little firm with yourself even at the cost of feeling a little harsh at times. Kids need to see more disciplined folks for them to emulate! Try and not feel helpless as kids pick up this cue very quickly and then they start their, “NOT THIS BUT THAT ” attitude towards foods.

From the cosy comforts of their dining table, the kids will move on to other tables at their friends houses, school halls and other social dos’s . What we can truly call our achievement is when we don’t have a picky eater amongst us with embarrassing moments and unpleasant situations we wish we could have controlled at the right time ! In saying this, I really wouldn’t rule a lot of good LUCK and maybe PATIENCE!!!

I am still dealing with trials which go as NOT NOW , LATER ! with many foods I would like them to sample! These are not the core food groups but the other extras so am not too fussed at this point, however, my attempts continue…

General, Parenting

TALKING TOMS

I am my childrens’ biggest sounding board for every minute detail of their lives so far! Maybe the age of innocence is still on or maybe I am an always available mum to them! Also, my two talk nineteen to a dozen! Yes , we all are aware that one has to be physically present when there is a need to communicate but I would like to believe that strong emotional ties would do the work just as well in their limited presence. It’s the feeling with which we reciprocate their banter that sets the wheel of communication in motion. This ” coming out of heart and honest ” feeling is very quickly sensed by the kids and the gates open up.

In this healthy exchange of words, their inappropriate language can be corrected, the usage of unnecessary words can be thwarted, the origin of their fears can be understood and so many other patterns of growing up can be sensed . The key here is to simply LISTEN and do so honesty and with all ears..anything less and their mouths will shut.

Some kids yes, are quiet and not so communicative by nature but they do send enough cues for you to pick up. Here, a good deal of patience is needed to extract those words from their mouths but it’s a given that they will pour out as long as the receptiveness is sensed by them.

So in an age where technology has consumed us in ways beyond our boundaries, may be worthwhile to rejoin the living rather than living in whatsapp and start to build strong communication channels for our kids and us to sail smoothly.

Beingmommy, Parenting

GREAT EXPECTATIONS!!

Human nature is one of expectations ( though many would beg to differ) about many things – looks , weight, wants, desires, friends, family etc. etc. SO!  why leave the kids alone from this enormous burden we all take upon ourselves ? Great to look at the picture down here and have that gentle smirk or even that subtle smile about it but am sure all parents out there are guilty of this little talk at some point or the other.

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So many expectations we all have of our kids. As much as I would like to think otherwise, in my own little way, I too fall in this trap! See them doing something nice and worthwhile and there goes the mind in telling me that this is it! This is my child’s calling! Then a few days on and this is dumped right under my nose! There goes my expectations on this front..why, just why did I think a MASTER will emerge from this new found and new loved activity or a passion?

A positive way is to ask our kids to raise the bar and their expectations of their doings in THEIR OWN EYES. The ball is thus in their court and lets allow them to serve an ace at their own pace. This may also bring in a sense of elevated self belief and confidence in them. We all would be happy too!!

Another experience I have had is that while it’s great to talk aloud about the many happy doings on their part , it’s equally beneficial to keep them to one’s mind only , to smile about the repeated successes or to quietly deal with the unexpected outcome.

So let’s just once again, breathe ( it’s become almost my go to word of late) , enjoy and savour the moments, take it easy, realistically EXPECT good behaviour and manners from them and for the rest, remind and affirm ourselves that nature will take its course! As long as we are honest about our behaviour worthy expectations ( and they CAN see them rather clearly) the battle is won! Let’s wait for time to unfold the many small joys and surprises. Till such time, as their custodians, let’s practice to say what we mean and mean what we say!!

Parenting

ONE on ONE LEARNINGS

Collective learning is a great tool in building the social quotient of the kids. However, the one – on – one learning brings in different elements. My experience with the kids in mindful engagement and new learnings has thrown in new lights! As parents, we always try and make lives easy and entertaining most times for our little ones. Always try and go to places which has some excitement for them and most important, company of other kids. So, whilst this serves very well for a rolling fun time, in terms of understandings of any new concept like an art pop -up, a cultural tour, a visit to a museum or even a zoo , somewhere, friends and company takes over! We have travelled to far off places with and without company and the children have absorbed a great deal under ONLY  the parents for company. It’s not like the little know-how’s has not been with pals around, but the degree varies significantly.The times they were with friends, it really didn’t matter to them whether they were in Paris, in Spain or any other place..the place ceased to exist in their minds and the play with friends took over! What is that that you remember of your trip to BALI and its ” awesome volleyball ” in the awesome pool! What about SPAIN? Its the many crosses and knots played at the biggg palace! The recalls from those trips written very sweetly in their diaries is where my belief that the “best teachings under forced and sometimes boring situations ” comes forth strongly.

So, for them to know the significant difference between a book reading or a literature fest or even a visit to the football stadium of their favoured club, an outing with NO friends may be a good idea  till they are of age to absorb stuff  even in distracting company. With same -age company, it would reduce almost to a sort of play date at anyone’s house or in a backyard. Anything more will seem a far cry! Of course, a few recalls will always be there to please you, but the larger picture is rather diluted!

On that renewed lesson, we are going to open our good deed jar which started filling up in the beginning of the year gone by and to look at all those colourful memo notes with the deeds the kids have felt were good in their understandings!! Cheers to newness and all things bright and beautiful in the year of the DOG!