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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kids online..

And the theme continues to be the kids, this time about D :).

I have been so concerned about time spent on gadgetry (kids used to spend a lot of time on iPad type games in between) that I may have gone to the other extreme where exposure to a laptop/computer was concerned. Combined with the fact that I didn't see a real need for it, as is common with many mommyhood items I now wonder if I may have left it a bit late. D is now nearly 8 years old, and not very computer exposed at all.. she only spends time on one when at her cousins' place.. so she knows some basics but not much more...

So operation summer holidays is to get her comfortable enough to be able to find something online on her own, but I don't think I can resist the temptation to keep peeking over her shoulder just yet !! Other things I am figuring out:

1. I'm planning to help her create a mail id, and maybe we could exchange a few emails too, within the family. What I wonder about is how old before she and her friends start exchanging emails, and I have to stop butting in?!

2. I have seen children around the age of 12 entering social media, which is an appropriate age I think, but I wonder if they are ok with befriending their parents :P. Just setting expectations for the future here, cos I think bright kids might have multiple ids!

3. I want her to start her own blog (but of course :)) which I think is a great way to explore creative writing skills, not to mention I am looking forward to reading it all. The doubt is whether it's safe to make it public right away, or is it better to keep it a private one for now?

4. I have quite a few educational CDs (the TimeLife kind of stuff too) that I have not been very effective in trying out - I think this is a good time to explore those all over again too.

5. How much time on a computer is considered enough for kids? I am thinking of half an hour portions, until the time when she actually needs to spend time for schoolwork.

And as usual, S wants to get involved in everything that D does, so I will have a task of finding appropriate stuff for him to try his hand at. The good part of it being that I don't have to worry on this issue on his behalf in another 3 years :).

How clever of me don't you think, to incorporate a questionnaire within a blog entry ;). Looking forward to hearing more from all of you on this!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How time flies!

From time to time I feel guilty about not writing about the kids enough, on what started out as a mommy blog after all :). So here goes:

Conversation with S this morning:

S: Amma, this t-shirt is only a few weeks new no?
Me: Hmm.. yes that's right.
S: I'll tell Aunty (his teacher) that it's new and she'll say "Very nice!"
Me: Why S, you should have told her that when it was really new, why did you wait for so long? You've already worn it 5-6 times now!
S: No no, not 5-6 times, only 4-5 times :P

And that is how the arguments begin, don't they !!

S turned 5 last Sunday, wondering if that's connected to the above :). I started out with an idea of having a party, but as in the last couple of years chickened out and did a home-party only. Tried baking a cake and icing/frosting it.. not completely perfect but it was a start!

The birthday boy was quite happy with it... here he is looking forward to blowing out the candles.

Happy Birthday my darling baby :).

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Gearing up for CSAAM 2013

Dear Friends,

April 2013 is a month away, and we are gearing up for the 3rd year of CSAAM. As you are all aware, through the month of April we talk about the menace of CSA across social media, via Facebook, twitter and blogs. We count on your support and participation as always.
Partnering us in our efforts this year will be organisations working in this field like Arpan, Tulir, Human Rights Watch as well as online initiatives like Blogadda and Womens Web.
You will see personal testimonials, expert advice, twitter chats, information sources, resources, workshops, an iPhone app and lots and lots of blog posts across the blogosphere.
We need to get people talking about this elephant in the room. If you would like to post on your blogs, do send us a tentative date, so we can schedule your post in. If you would like to participate in a twitterthon, do let us know. Even forwarding this email to anyone you think might be interested in participating and contributing would be welcome.
If you would like to add to the discussion or know somebody else who would, please note that we welcome entries
• mailed to OR
• posted as FB notes and linked to Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month Page OR
• posted on your own blog with the badge and linked to the main blog OR
• linked or posted on Twitter tagged OR
• Anonymous contributions are accepted and requests for anonymity will of course be honoured.
• You can also support us simply by adding our the logo of the initiative to your blog’s sidebar. Grab the code below to do so
• Please remember to send in a mail with all necessary links or just your input to so that we can track your contribution and make sure that it is not inadvertently lost or something.
Some guidelines
1) Please precede the title of your post with CSAAM April 2013. Then add a hyphen and your title.
2) Please insert the badge html in your post. If you carry it on your sidebar for the entire month of April too apart from just within your post, we would be honoured.
3) If you refer to sources for information kindly italicise that part of your post which is taken from the source and provide the link to the original source in a bracket.
4) And finally please avoid graphic descriptions of the abuse. Stay as factual as possible if you’re doing first person accounts.
We need all your help to make this month a success, and are counting on your support.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Warm regards,
CSAAM team

Ponderings on my favourite Children's author - Enid Blyton

I have been re-reading a lot more EB every since D started reading them, and I was thinking today as to why it was/is such a fascination for me and other random take-offs from it. So here are all the grand facts I arrived at:

  • I'm a big fan of the Fantasy Genre - Wheel of Time became my all-time favourite series when I discovered it rather late a couple of years back, and the person who finished the series - Brandon Sanderson is definitely my favourite current author and I will pick up any of his books that came out. I thought about it, and realized that Enid Blyton was probably my first ever exposure to this kind of writing. Ardent Fantasy fans don't kill me! But creating a world different from the one we live in, that you sometimes wish could be true - isn't that what this genre is all about ? :).

  • Enid Blyton has written most or probably all of her stories especially the fairyland related ones with nearly only children as main characters. I was thinking - as an adult - if a fairy came up and spoke to me, I would probably be searching desperately for the wires holding her up. So yeah, kids are the only ones who still have that sense of wonder and can believably speak to fairies or follow a caterpillar or gnome to where they are taken. Makes complete sense.

  • She had this ability to make food sound sooo scrumptious - I read her school series when I was a child and had no concept of what sausages or ginger beer or most of the items actually tasted like - but she made them sound so amazing!  What an amazing gift of prolific writing she had. 

  • In spite of all the golliwog related debates, I think she remains the writer who writes the "cleanest" as far as I am concerned. It's one of the authors I know will introduce D to the world of wonder without me having to police what underlying messages might be in the book. Believe me, I'm far from paranoid but I do tend to worry on this count as I believe messages in books do have an impact at this age.

Ok, will stop before you start saying "Enough already!" in your head ;). Do share your insights on favourite authors, will be interesting for me to hear!

Friday, March 01, 2013

That elusive Green Thumb?

Have sown a couple of radish varieties, they are always the first to sprout :)
People tell me sometimes "Oh you have such a green thumb!" and I always absolutely deny it. Only I know how many plants I have killed along the way, from reasons like bad watering, to not knowing how to take care of it in extreme seasons like a very hot summer. Of course, those failures do not make it to social media ;).

Rows of beetroot and carrot, the carrot is always a slow starter
but I'm hoping it will do better in the ground than it has in my containers :P
With a couple of years of container gardening under my belt, one thing I have been wanting to try in the last few months has been to try growing more on the ground. Easier said than done, as I cannot just "buy" a farm and hope it all goes well, not even talking about the process of actually finding something appropriate. I had been hearing of the concept of leasing small patches of land, and was thrilled to come across one such option that was at a reasonable distance from home.

Lots of greens - this one's Palak
They are called Green Thumbs Mini-Farms, located at Kodathi village off Sarjapur Road. The owner, Anand, is an enthusiastic gardener/agriculturist himself and has a banana plantation next door to the farm area. He has segregated patches of approx 10x10m, which is quite large believe me, especially for an amateur. Just that much area can provide a big percentage of a family's veggie needs if planned and nurtured properly. As of now, I am trying to plan a bit, but also want to experiment with how well different things grow in a space like this. Daily watering is part of the deal, but looking out for pests and so on is something we have to do diligently if we want this to work.

It has been a little more than 2 weeks since I sowed seeds, and this is what things look like right now. I am hoping these are going to serve as "before" pictures and in a few months I can update with some lovely harvest pics too.
Some bush beans - a local variety
A few more I haven't yet clicked are okra just beginning to sprout, some tomato seedlings that had not yet established well, some climbers like beans, bitter gourd, cucumber that are still very small, as well as coriander that is always late to germinate. 

Wish me luck!!