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Monday, September 27, 2010

Crazy Homework Day :(

Today's one of THOSE days. When I don't understand if
  1. I am terribly short on patience,
  2. D is just being difficult,
  3. Or if the homework consists of something she hasn't done or hasn't understood at school !
We kept erasing, and I kept explaining and she once again came back with a quizzical face and so many mistakes - and this was in maths - addition - which she usually does in no time! At the end of it, of course I totally lost my cool and told her to ask Aunty (her teacher) to explain it to her once more.

Thankfully there are days when without my telling her to even do her homework she sits down and does it and brings beautifully written work to show me after it's done !! The memory of those keeps me sane on days like this :).

I think to myself - "OMG if this is the way it is at UKG level, how will it be as she gets older!!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

For the love of reading..

Time for a cheerful post atlast ! I am pleased to report that S is much better as of last weekend and I am feeling so much better too as a result :).

Reading this post Books! Books! Books! from Aps' blog through Parentee really opened my eyes to the books by Indian publishers that I wasn't aware of! It also made me realize that I had not written about D's interest in reading on this blog. It started when she was around 4.5 which was before I started writing this stuff down.

During one of the Parent Teacher interactions at D's school I remember wondering about when children usually start reading in the actual sense of the word. Especially with the phonetic approach to things I was concerned as to when they would start putting letters together as there were so many rules and small quirks to this! Do any of us remember how we started reading as children? I definitely didn't - only that I was told by family that I started reading quite early and used to love all the Tinkles and Amar Chitra Kathas which were popular reading of the time.

Very soon after this, without my actually saying anything to her, it was as though she read my mind and started trying to put together words she was seeing on Magazine covers and newspaper headlines and so on! I was delighted of course and started explaining to her the best I could using phonetics as a guide and also throwing in a few rules of my own where I needed to :). Within about a month or so of this, she was stringing words together and reading sentences which was such a quick transformation that I was completely delighted and astounded. And of course determined to do as much as I could to help the process along further.

She was gifted the Ladybird Level 2 books by relatives, and waded through it really easily. By the time she was 5 even the Level 3 book was quite accessible and enjoyed by her thoroughly! I introduced the bedtime stories as a ritual around this time - one or more stories every night - no excuses especially from me being busy with something or to be used as a punishment for bad behaviour - only sickness or extenuating circumstances break this ritual. We read a variety of books like fairy tales, from the TimeLife values and other series and Bible stories which I wouldn't expect her to read on her own completely.

Now it amuses me so much that she wakes up in the morning and sometimes the first thing she does is pick up a book and browses through it. Sometimes when I'm reading her a book at night, I find she already knows what's coming as she's read it herself !! Am so thrilled with the way it is going and I hope so much that she sustains this interest all through her life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birthday? Not for me!!

And no it's not because of the cliched reason of becoming an year older and all that.. but because the last couple of my birthdays have had such a terrible track record! In 2009 the entire family was down with varying degrees of some stomach infection. And this year S has been so sick that my birthday passed by on a miserable note and I wished I could have said like earlier years when someone asked me what I was doing -"Nothing special. Just like any other day!"

It's like the powers above decided that since I never make a big deal of birthdays anyway, they would pour on the negative vibes so that I end up remembering it atleast for that reason :(. And that's why I am so not looking forward to my next!

It's contagious even when it's not!!

What is it with children and sickness.. you start feeling sick more because of seeing them sick than by actually picking up the infection from them.. I've been in such a terrible frame of mind all day today.. all food tasted bad, all music seemed loud and irritating - in general I felt nauseous and on the brink of a migraine (which I don't get much of!).

S has been having  ups and downs the entire week - the first couple of days he seemed to be bouncing back and I was congratulating myself on having avoided any strong medication, but before I could get too complacent, he just went totally down as of yesterday. He's really tired, has no appetite because of a bad cough and just wants to be carried "by amma" or "by appa" everywhere. Now Appa was not available so Amma was the default choice all day and I am not generally a carrying type person so my arms are not feeling good at the moment!

Keeping fingers crossed for some miraculous recovery by tomorrow or else I will be doing the usual rounds of paediatrician/pharmacy yet again by tomorrow morning:(. Not a good idea to wait until the weekend which is when the doctors waiting rooms are the most crowded!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spoon Vs. Hand

D now goes to school upto 3 o'clock and has a half hour lunchtime. I try to give her stuff that's simple to eat, but once in a while also something like curd rice and vegetables, which she manages to polish off pretty well using a spoon within half an hour. But mealtimes at home - that's another story altogether!!

I was always very particular that she should learn to start eating with her hands as soon as possible, and she actually does a very good job of this - but only when she's in the mood :). If she's just feeling like playing around she can literally eat grain by grain and make one meal last upto 3 hrs !! It's beginning to make me think that maybe using a spoon might not be a bad option after all because you've atleast got to take some amount of food in each spoonful or atleast I hope she will not find a way around this too ;).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Phew.. The weekend's over!!

Our weekend was jam-packed with activity. My parents-in-law and brother-in-law with family had come down from Chennai and as they arrived on Friday night the weekend was off to a great start. Both D and S thoroughly enjoy the company of their cousins - girls who are 8 and 11 and lovely playmates as well as baby-sitters to my children. They play with them, take care of them and keep them so involved with stuff to do that I hardly have to look around to see what D and S are doing when their cousins are around :).

Saturday evening we had a wedding to attend. The groom arrived at church on a motorbike driven by his brother and four of their friends on bikes forming the front and rear guards :) ! The bride and groom were very punctual to their reception (which isn't always the case as we all know) which started exactly at 6:30 as planned. And so we were back home quite early even before 9 o'clock at night! So this gave the children more time to play and have fun of course!!

Only (but Big) downside to the weekend was that S fell sick on Saturday night. He fidgeted a lot through most of the night, and by the time he woke up, had quite a high fever. Now S is one of these allergic children who keeps having bouts of wheezing and cough/fever kind of episodes. These invariably end up in (a) his having to get nebulized and (b) his going on a course of antibiotics :(. I was completely disgusted with the repeat of the above sequence and have been trying homeopathy mainly for a building immunity kind of effect. But everytime he had a fever I would bounce back to allopathy as I was too scared to stick to the usually slower working homeopathy. This time, even though it was a sunday, my homeo doc was available as well as a pharmacy to get the meds from and I stuck to my guns and decided I have to avoid the antibiotics SOMEHOW! Started giving him homeo meds Saturday afternoon and have continued since then. Questioned myself a million times especially last night when the fever still seemed pretty high and the poor guy had a partly rough night. But as of this morning he was soooo much better !! :) Could make out just by his temperament and his sounding more like his sunny self compared to yesterday when he was just completely clinging to me or his dad. Keeping fingers crossed that he is completely on the mend and we can stay reasonably antibiotic-free in the future too :).

Let me also make it clear after the above ramblings that I am not a homeopathy fanatic or an allopathy critic for all ailments. I have always had great faith in homeo for myself, but I believe that faith has a big part in any cure. So where the children were concerned I was a bit apprehensive about putting them through the waiting involved in such a method. But over the last few months this belief has been growing in me that for a chronic and repetitive problem like S has, I had to explore an alternative option compared to repeated courses of antibiotics as that would affect  his natural resistance as well as make him immune to the antibiotic itself.

I will end this loooong diatribe with saying that D's natural resistance has improved a lot in the last year or so and it's wonderful to see her fighting off those small colds and coughs in a couple of days without it developing into something much worse (touchwood touchwood touchwood!). Waiting eagerly for S to get to that stage :).

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pangs of separation..

How do our babies get all grown up with us noticing it?!! My darling baby girl is now an independent little person :). She just went for a full day picnic and though we were apprehensive about how she would handle it (this is the longest she's been away without any family around), she had quite a ball. Made new friends, came back full of stories and even a large golden cup !!

Just as I had expected I was the one feeling the separation the most - the feeling was somewhat similar to when they start going to school. You hope that they'll settle down soon, then feel like they don't need you as much as they used to :O !!

My dear D, like many other children out there I'm sure, doesn't take to new experiences very easily. We had to build up this day quite a bit, not the least starting from how she can go for the picnic as she's a "grown up" 5 years, whereas her brother can't yet go (the minimum age was 5 years). This was a church organized picnic, and thankfully her Sunday school teacher who she's very fond of was also there all along which really helped ease the way for her. Other than that I think many of the older children also do a great job of befriending the younger ones and making it a fun time for the younger ones. My heartfelt thanks to all who helped make it an enjoyable experience for D, as the first picnic should always be a memorable one :).

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Rushing here, there, everywhere!

Scene at home this morning:

7 AM: Both children are awake earlier than usual. I think "Aha! We'll be ready for school wonderfully in time!"

8 AM: D is eating breakfast after finishing her milk half an hour back. S still drinking (or refusing to drink) his milk

8:15 AM: D is done with breakfast. I think "Great! Atleast one of them will be done in time"

8:40 AM: S starts breakfast (he has to be in school by 9:45)

9 AM: Time for D to go to school. She's not yet ready. The last 45 minutes have just flown by with doing everything else except what is needed to get ready (e.g. dancing in front of the mirror instead of going for her bath when the water's kept ready)

9:10 AM: Go to drop D at school. S still eating breakfast. (Their school is 5 minutes away from home so I go drop D, come back and get S ready and take him to school)

9:20 AM: No sign of S having finished eating. Finally rush to get him finished and reach school by 9:50 AM.

Thankfully they go to a school nearby and I am able to do the running up and down (or driving up and down) without too much trouble but on a day like today I'm just ready to tear my hair out (isn't it doing the job of falling out just fine on its own!).

Add to this that I go to pick up S at 12pm which is when I also deliver D's lunch, and then go to pick up D at 3pm and I feel like "It may be nearby, but this is just too much commuting!". Waiting for S to settle down better so he can leave at the same time as D, but that'll take a little while more apparently :(. I know that'll make it more of a rush in the morning to get him ready earlier, but I'm hoping that'll be better and i'll atleast have more of the morning to get other things done instead of this running up and down.

When D starts going to a "big" school next year for her 1st std, this schedule will change drastically as I'm guessing she'll be leaving sometime between 7 to 8 depending on where she's going.