Sunday, February 20, 2011

The "I don't want"s...

My dear darling D always seems to have a lot of stuff on her mind. Never takes her much to decide to "not like" a certain class or activity, and then everytime we are supposed to go there I have to try to get her out of the "I don't want to" mode! Sometimes of course this gets to me, and I let her talk me out of her dance classes - she doesn't like to go anywhere where I am not sitting right outside waiting for her to come out. "What if you don't reach on time when the class leaves!". So skating was fine, as I was not comfortable leaving her alone there(what with the chances of falling and getting hurt), but dance wasn't. So one day in frustration I said "Ok fine have it your way - no more dance class!".

The same thing started coming up for her Saturday Choir sessions - which I was very sure she liked very much as I am sitting right outside the room and I can see what goes on inside. Even though I was low on energy that day and very close to giving in, thanks to hubby's explaining to her, we finally got there and inside quite cheerfully. During the class, there came a time when the teacher/conductor while practising a song was calling to each child to come and sing a few lines into the mike. I started cringing thinking of D's reaction and was holding my breath when it came to her turn. To my surprize she went docilely and sang her lines quite nicely and came back to her place. I was so relieved and thrilled I literally started getting teary eyed!!

And of course I am making a BIG DEAL of it - keep telling her how brilliantly she sang and how she didn't hesitate at all and trying to build it up as much as I can in the hope that I don't have to hear any more "I don't wants!" atleast for this activity. According to her - she was scared to say no and that's why she went ;)!

When I was thinking about this post, I felt like it linked back to the now famous Ms. Chua a little bit - which set me thinking - weren't we talking about the same sort of things even befor her article/book came along :) ?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One month countdown..

Just realized that my darling S turns 3 in a month!! Wow where did all the time go -- got so used to telling people 2 years, then 2 and a half, then someone was asking yesterday how old he was and I realized he's nearly 3 already !!

Will it be the end of the terrible twos.. who am I fooling.. it can sometimes lead to the even more terrible threes.. maybe I'll call it the thrilling threes and see how it goes :).. a mom can dream can't I?

Thinking of all the things I want to remember about his todder-hood so here goes
  • He's such a charmer - started talking very early probably cos of big sis' influence - and uses his vocabulary and expressions completely to his benefit. Anyone who comes home falls in love with him :). In his teenage years that trait is going to worry me crazy, but right now it's very very cute !
  • He's a good eater - doesn't fuss much except for "Kaaram"(spiciness) because we are very low on spice in our household. Trying to get him to a medium level of spice, so he can be ready to try all kinds of food, which I think is very important!
  • He knows to identify all the letters and numbers through using a laptop that I actually bought for D. It's got different games, some of which identify the letters and numbers when the keys are pressed. We thought for a long time that he was just fiddling around and listening to the different kinds of noises, but realized later that he had actually picked up all this stuff on his own!!
  • He draws the cutest smiley faces, and already knows that he must colour inside the lines! Not that he actually does it, but he knows that he's supposed to ;).
  • Ability to use gadgets - I wrote a separate post on this Tech Savvy Generation - this is one aspect that amazes me more and more everyday - we recently got an iPod touch - so that the games that the kids loved on the iPhone are accessible to them even when Appa is at work - and both the kids just love it. S retains information about this so well - I showed him how to go to youtube once, and the next time I hear him telling me - I want Waka Waka - go to "U2" !! And then of course he found "U2" himself.. The day he actually learns to string together those letters and type - I'll have to start worrying about what videos he's going to find - thought I would have another 10 years before getting to that stage! But both technology and children are getting more advanced ;).
  • The way he says "I love you sooo much!" at appropriate times - when he sees a soft expression on my face, or on the other hand he's done something and trying to deflect from it ;)
  • How he learns to identify any car after a couple of times of our telling him what it is! He was the one who forced me to look carefully to see what is actually different about each cars, instead of just seeing the name to check what it was :).
  • Baby talk - he insists on saying "Gettupping", he once tried to pronounce "Mitsubishi" and couldn't - so he said "I'm not grown up no - when I grow up I can say it!" - then in 3 days tried again and said "I'm grown up now!" :).
Oooh I'm missing the babyhood already.. On to different experiences, challenges, memories....!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Death and explaining it..

We have faced many challenges with dealing with our dear daughter.. sometimes because of my lack of patience.. and somewhere also because her personality is the type that needs a lot of nurturing and understanding.. 
I remember about a year ago when I was struggling to coming to terms with the kind of little person she seemed to be and I found this article on the net about Spirited children which really lifted my spirits :). Led to my buying a book Raising Your Spirited Child which really helped out with my patience levels and dealing with her special brand of spirit.

That was to set the context to some of my exchanges with my daughter. I try my best to set the atmosphere, prepare her for all that is going to happen, and now that she is reading so much and absorbing so much information from around here I never know what is going to come up next. This happened last evening/night:

D:    Amma, when I become a grandmother, what will you be?
Me:  Hmm.. I'll be a great grandmother darling! (Already having an idea where this is heading, and trying to deflect)
D:    But you'll be really old isn't it? Will you be dead/alive? (you get the idea - exactly what i was trying to avoid)
Me:  I don't know darling, think I might still be around. Maybe when you become a great grandmother I'll be a great-great grandmother!! But you never know, only God knows who'll be around how long! (She's too bright to fool outright, so thought I shouldn't completely ignore her concern)
D:    Seeming to accept this, just said mildly - I don't want you to die!
Me:  Foolishly thinking this is the end of it - Don't worry baby I'm not going anywhere for a long time.

Nothing more happened on the subject until it was time for her to sleep. After I tucked her in, I realized she's terribly upset and started crying - "I don't want you to die!" I tried to understand where the subject arose out of. A couple of weeks back, we went to visit a grand-uncle of my husband's in Chennai. He had just been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, but he was interacting normally when we met him. Unfortunately the cancer was of a galloping kind, and about a week after we met him, he passed away. I had mentioned this to D thinking she would wonder the next time we went to their house so I should tell her about it - Was I wrong in doing this - can't help but feel that way now :( !!

Took a long time to calm her down - the conversation went from I don't want you to die - I don't want appa to die - I'll be all alone - or S and I will be alone - and so on !! I tried humour (Let's tell God Amma has to be alive for ever!), Realism (You'll have your own family by then baby!), outright lying (I'll be alive for ever!), but nothing worked - she was sobbing for nearly an hour.. until finally she calmed down and I just sat by her side, till she fell asleep.

Wow Parenting just has so many more of these waiting to happen doesn't it?

If any of you have your own experience of dealing with the subject, please do share.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Indian Women twice as obese as Men !?!

That's the heading of an article on page 9 of the Times of India, Bangalore today. And the accompanying graphic which shows a lady about 4 times the size of the man standing near her sure startled me enough to make me read the article in detail.

What they actually want to say is "Twice as many Indian women are obese compared to number of men!" or that's the best I can make of it - that of course doesn't sound as catchy a headline does it ?!! And even for proving these numbers (I mean, twice as many - really!?) the kind of statistics provided are sketchy at best. They say 1.3% of women aged 20 and above were obese in 1980 and 2.5% in 2008 - for men apparently this percentage stayed at 1.3% all along.

Quoting from the article - "In absolute numbers the number of obese men in India increased from 2.3 million to 4.4 million between 1980-2008" - so how did that 1.3% of men stated above stay constant? The extra 2.1 million obese Indian men were under 20??

I'm sure there's a way to structure the statistics to explain away the article, but does such a sweeping statement really make sense at all? Where do these statistics come from - I understand that it has to be a cross-section and they can't actually take everyone into consideration - but is it really an accurate cross section? Considering100 people in each of 10 metropolitan cities hardly gives a picture of India's women as a whole!!

There are quotes from the senior author of the article who's based in London (of course if it's a study from abroad it has to be right isn't it?) so it would be really interesting for me to know where he and his team got these statistics from. It just irritates me to read these kind of generalizations which just want to sound dramatic and may not really mean anything at all! And the actual headline - it's just wrong - I can't even say its a grammatical error - it's just an error, period.

P.S: Another one on page 15 - "Children of working moms gain weight" - Don't even get me started on that. It's apparently based on a survey made in 10 U.S. cities!!

Passport woes again..

Now it's time to renew my dear daugher's passport which is due to expire this May. I decide to try the famed PSK(Passport Seva Kendra) method, since that seems to be the only channel available now. BangaloreOne may still be accepting, but after my last experience ( Passport for Minor, Passport Saga contd, Passport here at last! ) thought should try the direct method this time.

Steps:
  1. Go to http://www.passportindia.gov.in/ and register to create an account. Once this is done, you can download the form, fill it online and upload the generated xml into your account.
  2. Time to make an appointment. Found to my surprize and disappointment that the next available appointment would be about 1.5 months away at Lalbagh PSK and about a week less than that at ORR PSK!!
  3. You can also upload all your supporting documents - I assume this would save time when you are at the PSK so they don't have to scan all the stuff again.
  4. Decided to try the walk-in option - I was told by their call centre that walk-ins are not allowed any more. Heard from a friend by chance that she had just walked in (at 9:30 am) and got her passport done last week! Yippee I thought - I have inside info so will try to get it done now.
  5. Yesterday (3rd Feb) reached the Lalbagh PSK at 9:05 am. The queue already had about 100-150 people in it and was snaking around one corner of the building. Went and joined it only to find at 9:45 that they give out only limited number of tokens (80 on that day) so to all the rest - bye and try again tomorrow!!
  6. This morning (4th Feb) reached the PSK at 7:00 am. They were just opening the outer gate of the compound and the queue which had already formed outside was making its way inside. Joined at the end and tried counting as I passed the ones in front of me - only to find there were already atleast 200(stopped counting!) people in the queue which now extended upto the back of the building. Some kind of weekend rush maybe :(..
  7. We are so used to being hopeful aren't we - even knowing that there was literally no hope - just had to stand there upto 10 or so when it was announced the tokens for the day were done!
All this done with my 5 year old daughter in tow! Found out that the first person in the queue had apparently been standing from 9 pm the previous night (don't know if that was an exaggeration - i sincerely hope so!).

Have taken the next appointment at the ORR PSK on 11th March. Am still making up my mind whether to give this walk-in thing another go next week - probably might try at 5 am and see if that's good enough atleast! Maybe ask hubby to bring D there by 8:30 so she'll not get tired out atleast.

P.S: The urgency is because we were hoping to go for an overseas vacation in April. I realized too late that the passport needs to have a 6 month validity for getting the visa :(. So the later I get this done, the more our plans are delayed - or we end up paying more of a premium for the tickets! If anybody has a solution - please let me know.

Especially for you Forever Mother - first step to getting the passport - make that appointment as soon as you can!! I will let you know how the process goes through the appoinment method if I go through it that way.