Sunday, June 21, 2015

Day out with dad!

Father's Day is meant not only to thank our own fathers but also to acknowledge the role of the fathers of our little ones! Though I have always been more than fair in giving dads their due on Onestoryaday, its not until now that I realised what it means for your children to have a "hands on" dad as opposed to mainly a "911" dad!      Right from changing diapers to understanding every nuance of their kids' actions and behaviour, today's dads are hand in hand with moms in every aspect of raising kids! While hands on daddies are a blessing for the mommies ... they are a joy for the kids! There's nothing like having both your parents wholly involved in your life... Be it homework, school, play, career and life choices or taking care of your kids....Just like I have my dad to thank for putting my little one to sleep as I write this blog:-) 


Ever since the birth of my second child, I have hardly had any time for Abhay, my older one and as he was in wanting of some serious pampering... What better occasion than this to have father and son spend time together! So Abhay and his daddy participated in a science workshop organised by Abhay's school as a "Father's Day " special program followed by a "boys only" outing all day long! So while it was the Father's Day weekend... It was the son getting pampered! So no wonder today's book is "My Dad, my Hero" by Ethan Long. A hilarious take on how a young boy feels about his dad. While conceding that his dad is not a super hero as he is seen stumbling over his building blocks, clumsily falling off while painting the walls, or fumbling with his razor and hurting himself and many such not-so-admirable things ...  in short a complete anti-thesis to a super hero figure. But there's one thing that he loves about his dad and that is the fact that he spends a lot of time with his son and ultimately according to the little boy .. that's what makes him his hero!! Rightly put, we may want to do all sorts of things  for our kids, but all they want us to do is to spend time with them. A nice little picture book with laugh out loud illustrations that makes an apt Father's Day read! Happy Father's Day to all the daddies! 
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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Meet Abhay's sister!

Our second bundle of joy arrived a couple of weeks ago and our little family now seems complete with the arrival of a baby girl!   In a way .. all babies look alike... and for now Abhay's sister looks exactly like a miniature Abhay when he was just born!  Though the whole experience felt like "dejavu" .....the initial few days post delivery are just as perplexing as they were the first time around. More so.... when everyone including yourself expects to understand why something is happening ... as if having had a baby before makes you an expert on babies! Invariably you can't help comparing and complaining that "this was not the case the first time.... or "this didn't happen with my first born"!  Abhay too seems to be curious to know if he was doing the same things as his sister seem to be doing... and any reported difference is taken as a compliment! :-) Anyway, despite the initial disappointment at his unfulfilled wish for a brother, Abhay now can't keep his hands off his baby sister.... wanting to hold her, hug her... and kiss her in what he terms as an affectionate  way... the prospect of which can be annoying at times! Abhay is comfortable being addressed as the big brother and is in a way relieved to find out that his baby sister is hardly a threat he'd reckon she'll be.... as all she does is ( in his words) "crying...nursing...sleeping...":-)

On the occasion of arrival of his baby sister, we had Abhay read "Neha, my sister" a NBT publication by Madhu B Joshi and illustration by Partha Sengupta. Preethy wakes up to learn that her mother is in hospital and it is her father who helps her get ready for school. In school, she worries about her mother's health when her teacher, Suman Ma'am assures her that her mother is alright and is in the hospital as she is due to deliver a baby. In fact her friend Salil joins in and confirms that his mother too came home from the hospital with a baby brother at which Minu complained that the same thing did not happen when her granny was admitted in the hospital! As she is picked up by her father from school... she is overjoyed to know that her mother has given birth to a baby girl and she can't wait to see her baby sister. As they visit the hospital in the evening, Pretty is smitten by her baby sister's small pink face, tiny black face and her toothless smile! So do her friends when they meet her a week later as Preethy's mom and sister are brought home. As days pass, Preethy beautifully takes over the role of a 'didi' (elder sister) and helps out her mother in taking care of her baby sister Neha. As her didi swings her in her cradle, accompanied with a soft Neha is seen slowly falling asleep with a serene smile on her face! Though a little basic in terms of text and illustrations, this book makes an ideal read for welcoming a new baby in the household. Of course... I only wish that in reality... things are as hunky-dory as they appear in the book!:-)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Waiting... Soon to be over!

After years of dilemma we finally took a call leading up to the nine month wait that is all set to culminate soon! Now that the D –day is set…and the wait is over….we are finally here. Frankly…I don’t mind the wait as I know what to expect when it is over and not exactly looking forward to the initial drudgery!:-) Though it appears as if we are more prepared than we were with our first one…..there seem to be more butterflies in my tummy now than the first time around. More so, with my older one who is at a transitional age and is being over-sensitive to the fact that these are his last couple of days as the only child and things are going to change….for life! Well…..he is not happy that he won’t be around the new baby as soon as it is born or as much as he wants…as the hospital has strict policy against admitting children below the age of twelve. Abhay believes that as an older brother…it is his birth right to be the first one to hold the newborn and is all set to play with the newborn! I can’t blame him as  I too have already been thinking of all the books that we can revisit and relive my childhood once again …. So it’s probably time for two stories a day….??? J

As a final read before I take a break post the new arrival…..we read the very charming “Waiting for Gregory” by Kimberly Willis Holt and paintings by Gabi Swiatkowska. A young Iris is excited as she is soon going to have a cousin brother to be named Gregory. But when exactly is Gregory going to be born? Each person from her daddy to wise old Mr.Connor gives her a different answer. While her father’s rather cryptic answer “ Soon …but not too soon”,  her grandmother’s belief that it will be when the cabbage in the garden is large enough to make soup for everyone and her friend’s rather confidant declaration that Gregory will arrive when her aunt’s belly is as big as a Jack-O-lantern….all this leaves her confused until her mother assures her that everyone is a little bit right. But Iris cannot wait any longer …she wants to be able to show Gregory how to make a snow angel but the last snowfall melts…..she wants to show him how to swim, but summer vacation ends and swimming pool closes. Finally autumn arrives and so does Gregory. As they prepare to visit Gregory, Iris’s excitement knows no bounds and she can’t wait to teach him how to fish… build the biggest snowman, or show him how to roll down the hill… only to find that little Gregory may be bigger than a huge cabbage but he is still too tiny to do all the things she had planned. Though Iris is disappointed that she has to wait longer, she realizes there are a lot many things she can do ….like push him in a stroller, play peek-a-boo and sing him her favourite songs. Soon, but not too soon Gregory will be waiting for her. The story is aided by spectacular water colour illustrations that transport the reader to an Elizabethan like time frame which forms the backdrop to this delightful masterpiece.

So here we are waiting for our little Gregory (boy or girl) who may be too small to play with its older sibling or for all the books we want to read. But here’s to looking forward to revisiting for the second time …the first moments of joy …hopefully this time with double excitement as we’ll reliving those moments through the eyes of my elder one! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Will it be a baby brother??

As everyone is probably aware…………since fetal sex-determination is against the law in India….expectant parents will have to wait until the D-day arrives for them to find out if it’s a son or a daughter. Of course….even abroad …one may always choose not to find out and wish to keep it a surprise…but having lived in the US for couple of years sometime ago and having seen many of my friends go down this road, I can’t help but envy the mothers who are well aware of whether to pick out the blues or the pinks! J

Anyway, Abhay may have warmed up to the idea of being an older brother (Well….its about time..isnt it??),  however he continues to squirm at the oft repeated question “Do you want a brother or a sister?”  Though he has always had a definite answer to this question ….he has come to realize that whatever be his response ….there is always a follow-up question of “Why not the other?” which he is quite frankly tired of! Well….as it is he has had mixed feelings about being displaced from his current status of being “only kid” in the household … he is expected to justify why he wishes for a baby brother and not a sister?? Hmm….that’s too much! No wonder….his current response to “Do you want a brother or a sister?” …… the jaded “whatever!” J

While most of us are hoping for a girl this time as it will offer the best of both the worlds, there are times when I admit to preferring a boy over a girl simply because it will treading onto what I may call “known territory”!  Wouldn’t it be nice to have both our boys pile on the older one (my husband!) …instead of each parent being responsible for their own tribe?? J

Anyway, I couldn’t have found a book more similar to the situation at home and all thanks to a relative who yielded to our last minute request to have brought a couple of books over from the US.

As the cover explains it all ………“Will it be a baby brother” by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Beth Speigel is a nice little picture book that makes an ideal read for kids expecting a new arrival in their household. Young Edward is all set to be a big brother and his parents have already shortlisted names “James” if it’s a boy and “Sara” if it’s a girl!  But Edward is quite clear …any day he prefers James over Sarah. As his grandma prepares to knit a nice little sweater for the little one to come, and though they settle for a gender neutral yellow…he prefers blue! Edward is not to be persuaded into picking out something for a possible sister at his mother’s baby shower thrown by her friends.  When Edward is asked what if the baby turns out to be a sister…..then to everyone’s surprise Edward has a plan …to give the baby to his aunt Elizabeth! As months progress…..Edward feels even more strongly about wanting a boy and fills the baby’s crib with his dump truck, cowboy hat, baseball mitt! But as the day finally arrives ….Edward peers into the hospital crib ….only to find an adorable baby looking up at her big brother……and then he cant help but declare “There’s no way I’m going to give our baby to aunt Elizabeth!” As we’ve read this book many times over….I have been carefully observing Abhay’s reaction in the end…only to find out that he’s been doing the same with me…….  as he asks “Amma …… will the same thing happen to us?” After all this waiting's now my turn to say  ……….“whatever”!! J

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cricket fever!

A latest addition to the ever growing number of cricket aficionados is our eight yer old son Abhay! It all began with the start of the cricket season with ICC World Cup closely followed by the Indian Premiere League this year. As he was always surrounded by cricket fans ( who isn't in India?).. and his close cousins growing up to be budding cricketers themselves... this was always expected but the sudden interest this year has been a surprise or rather bemusing! So from watching every match of the season to checking the sports page of the newspaper every morning.....Abhay is totally into cricket! Of course, for his father and grandfather at's like the son/ grandson's coming of age and they can't hide their delight as the three generations of men discuss Hows and Whys of the Gentlemen's game! Yes... This also means that they have to be ready with answers to his never ending questions that range from "How old was Dhoni when we first won the World Cup in 1983?" to questions sounding like he is a team-owner "Next season ... We are going to take Bravo..... Right?" and finally to questions from a true transformer fan " If it's between Gayle and Devillers.... Who will beat whom?" Okay... so another area where boys will always be boys!! So that's why I'm badly hoping my second one to be a girl!!:-)) 

That's why when I found this book in the Hippocampus list of recommended reads for 7-9 year old kids,  I immediately picked it up! " Diary of a Cricket God" by Shamin Flint is a Puffin publication that revolves around a young boy named Marcus Atkinson whose father for some strange reason is convinced that he has a future in sports and is determined to make him a cricketer! Marcus who till recently only believed that cricket was a kind of bug and that a bat only implies a nocturnal animal... receives his first lesson in spin bowling leaving him totally perplexed as to how could one spin ( meaning turn around) and bowl at the same time! Amidst his hilarious and laugh-out-loud antics on the field, Marcus learns a thing or two about cricket...just when his coach announces that there is cricket test the next day. As he wonders whether to bring a pencil and paper for the test, the coach puts to rest his doubts by announcing that there's no way he is going to be playing, much to his relief ... only to realise that his dad is not happy with the coach's decision! So like any anxious and edgy parent who believes that whatever it is, his son should be given a chance... his dad talks to the coach into making him the 11th player! So does Marcus live up to his dad's expectations ? Read on as Marcus surprises everyone in the final over  in the run up to what could be termed as a nail-biting finish... with a little bit of help from his ever faithful friend his dog "spot"!:-) So does he have a future in cricket, after all? Hmm... The way he runs through the fielders...  has his father change his mind to believe that Rugby is probably his game!:-) A hilarious read presented in a format that is most suited to emergent readers complemented by funny illustrations is worth picking up before the end of the current cricket season!