Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011

Today is the last day of the year 2011 and as we get ready to welcome the new year, it is time to take stock of the year that was – events and non-events, changes - temporary and permanent, choices – voluntary and involuntary, all of which are dated 2011. As we see the best of everything in the year 2011 shown on television or in the newspapers, I thought I should recap my five favorite books of 2011 featured on One Story a day!
In no particular order, my personal favorites are:-

The Story of Ferdinand   by Munro Leaf : To be or not to be - the Stereotype!   A timeless classic that teaches all parents to love them enough to let them go!

The Sandwich Swap by Her Majesty Oueen Rania Alabdulla : Show me the Curd Rice!  A smart way to tackle picky Eaters!
When I grow up by Al Yankovic :What do you want to be when you grow up?  A children's book by the famous American-singer -comedian sure to make you laugh!
The Square Cat by Elizabeth Schoonmaker : Square's Fair The post earned a recognition from the author herself!

Oh!No! Its time to go: A book of Goodbyes by Rebecca DoughtyOh! No! Its time to go! A final goodbye to our life in the US and wonderful companion to say those tough words!

Hope we get to read more and more such books in the year 2012  too!

Story time - Guest post by Pooja

Pooja joins One Story a day in celebrating the picture books that her sons enjoy reading while she delights you with her adventures in Mommyhood!

Friday, December 30, 2011

December Vacation!

December has been my favorite month for various reasons! December is the season for many cultural events relating to classical music in South India; December means the onset of winter which was and still is mild in Bangalore when compared to the cold weather in the US. When growing up, December was the time for many outdoor activities in school like sports day, school day, etc. December meant Christmas vacation at school that happily coincided with my mother’s Christmas break at her college; December was also our annual vacation time as a family and finally my dad’s birthday also happens to fall on the month of December! So every year during the last week of December, we celebrate his birthday at my parents’ farm house, ever since it was built in 2006 at Dharmasthala in the South Kanara district of Karnataka. It is not just a house and a plantation, but truly my dad’s labor of love! My parents have not only invested so much of their time, money and energy but have given their heart and soul to our little paradise called ‘Shristi’! For Abhay, of course, it is an idyllic vacation in his grandpa’s farm house. For us, the lush green plantation, vast open spaces, panoramic view of the sky and my mother’s delicious cooking makes it a perfect getaway that beats any star hotel, resort or a homestay! J

Today, I read “On the farm”, a level 1 in the “I like to Read” Early Reader series. Initially I was not sure of how good an Early Reader it was, but I was pleasantly surprised! I must say that this Early Reader has an ideal blend of common short vowel and long vowel sounds for any emergent reader to read. Abhay was able to read the entire book with very little help. Bobby and Tina go to a farm with their pet dog Sandy and pet cat Kitty. All of them like the farm very much. Sandy and Kitty run behind the ducks, chicks and the sheep in the farm. Sandy then knocks off a pail full of milk that Kitty is happy to clean up.  Bobby and Tina enjoy doing things on the farm like sweeping off the leaves and taking their pets on a wagon ride. As the weather gets hot, Bobby and Tina dive into a cool pool and soak up some sun before it starts to rain and so ends their fun filled trip on the farm. Today being the last day of our week long stay at our farm, I dedicate this to the Shristikarta (Creator) of Shristi – Happy 60th Birthday Appa!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

It’s that time of the year again that has us nostalgic of our stay in the US. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I wish we could disapparate ( in Harry Potter language)  to Portland just to experience the holiday frenzy that would have enveloped the entire US!  It may sound like I’m exaggerating, but one must see it to believe it – Christmas spirit is so infectious that it rubs off a little on even the most impervious ones. In fact, we had even got our own little Christmas tree and hung all the embellishments that traditionally go with the Christmas centerpiece. So when we see Giant Christmas trees at malls and shops in Bangalore, we miss our little tree that we left behind in the US. So much so that even Abhay lamented over the lack of some of the customary decorations on a Christmas tree we saw at a shop…”Amma they don’t have ginger bread cookie or a snow flake on the tree” were his exact words! Anyway, Christmas tree or no Christmas Tree, we still had our in-house Santa come in with gifts! J

So yesterday on Christmas day, I read “Merry Christmas Mom and Dad” a book from the Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer. Little Critter is all set to make it a special Christmas for his mom and dad. He first attempts to put together a Christmas wreath but it falls apart as soon as it is hung on the door. He tries his hand at decorating the ginger bread cookies that his mom bakes but cant resist from tasting them. He goes to the toy shop to look for a present for his parents but gets confused as there are too many toys to choose from. So he leaves it to Santa to pick a present for his parents. He picks out a Christmas tree that is too big to take home; He plans on putting up the star on top of the tree all by himself but ended up seeking the help of his dad, after all. On Christmas eve, he tries hard to go to bed early but is just too excited to fall asleep. Finally, on the morning of Christmas day, he stirs out of bed at the crack of dawn and instead of waiting for his parents to wake up; he goes downstairs to find his presents lay at foot the Christmas tree! He then goes up to wake up his sleeping parents with a card that reads “Merry Krismas Mom and Dad”!! Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Noisy Book!

Abhay has always been sound sensitive from the beginning. Even as an infant, it was clear that he was irked by screeching sounds like that of a simple whistle or the whistle of a pressure cooker, though he made his displeasure known with a  high pitched screech himself! Soon we moved to the US and living in a quiet environment like Portland, he was insulated from all that noise typical to an Indian city. So when we moved back to Bangalore…..he had a problem with all those noises that most kids brought up in Bangalore tend to ignore or for that matter don’t seem to notice at all! For instance, it is only Abhay who notices that our neighbor has turned off her pressure cooker after four whistles, or that the next door maid is washing clothes on the wash stone or wonders why our neighbor hasn’t picked up the ringing telephone yet or covers his ears at a birthday party when the big balloon pops out glitters and candies or gets angry at vehicles with screeching horns or seems puzzled by the Namaz call at a nearby mosque or waits until the water pump has been turned off to go to bed! Well….as my husband says …. and it is only Abhay’s mom who makes a big deal out of it …by blogging about it!!!:-)

Anyway, sticking to my tradition of making each of his “issues” worthy of  a book to read aloud and write about, today I read “The Noisy Book” by Margret Wise Brown and pictures by Leonard Wiesgard. A little dog named Muffin gets a cinder in his eye and is taken to a doctor. The doctor puts a bandage over his eyes which he had to have it on the whole day. Suddenly as Muffin couldn’t see anything, he could hear everything – the tick tock sound of the clock, siss siss sound of the radiator, the snip snap sound of the scissors, ting ling sound of the telephone and not only that, he suddenly became conscious of the sound of his stomach growling, the buzz of the little fly, kerchoo of the sneeze of the doctor’s dog! As he walked back home blindfolded, he heard all the street noises – construction noises, car horns and the biggest noise of the street- the siren of the fire truck. Besides the obvious noises, Muffin managed to hear the sun rise, or the sound of snow, and other little noises one tends to ignore! Then he tried to figure out a mysterious noise that sounded like a garbage can, a big fierce lion, or the engine of a train, or a big boat or an airplane and that actually turned out to be a baby doll –a gift for Muffin from his well-wishers! Abhay quite liked the “Noisy book” and Im pretty sure that it has all to do with the way the story ends! J

Red Riding Hood!

Picture of me dressed as Red Riding Hood!
As a kid, I have always been fascinated by the story of Red Riding Hood. In many ways I sort of identified with her – an innocent little girl who loves red and loves to visit her grandma! In fact, when I was about Abhay’s age, I had dressed up as Red Riding Hood at a fancy dress event in school. Now after all these years, I still love the color red and have admired my grandma, who is now no more, but I have somewhere lost that innocence or the unstoppable excitement that Red Riding Hood represents, or for that matter any kid signifies! You may call it a innocence or niavete, but there was something charming about Red Riding Hood that still appeals to the  little girl in me! So imagine my delight when I discovered that out of all the classic children’s stories like Goldilocks or Three little pigs or Elves and the Shoemaker, Abhay’s favorite is Red Riding Hood  …..and that too for the exact same reasons! He adores the color red and well.....need I even mention how much he loves going to his grand parents’ house! Though I had stayed away from reading the same old classics  thinking that he would anyways have access to them in school or on TV, I had to read this one...both for my little one and the little girl I once was!:-)
Though there are several publications of this timeless tale, I picked up this one from the British Council Library titled “Little Red Riding Hood from Award Publications, a Read along with Me book and CD. Abhay enjoyed reading with the help of pictorial representations of various words. Though this didn’t amount to reading per se, but surely encourages kids to read on their own. This is a story of  a little girl who was so good that her mother decided  to make her a little red jacket with a hood and she looked so pretty that everyone called her Red Riding Hood. So begins the story of Red Riding Hood who sets off to see her grandma and has a dangerous run-in with the wolf. How she manages to escape from the clutches of the evil wolf is what will keep your little one on the edge of his or her bed! Besides, the story also conveys a valuable message warning the young ones of the dangers in talking to strangers! If you or your little one is a fan of Red Riding Hood….dont miss this one!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My world!

Abhay loves his room! He loves to play by himself and conjure up his imaginary world within the four walls of his room. When my little monster is busy in his den, he wants to be left alone! When he is up in his room, building with his legos, or setting up his own version of the Island of Sodor (the land of Thomas and other trains) or the town of Radiator Springs (From the movie ‘Cars’), he is in a parallel universe! Nothing we say or do can get him back to real world! The real world where dinner is waiting, or visiting guests eager to meet him, or his grandparents expecting to hear his voice on the phone! So much so that there have been times when he has chosen to remain in his room over going to the park, or going cycling, or even playing or reading a book with me! In other words, my five-year old has already put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his door and I’m unable to understand how we got to this point so quickly!:-)

Today we read about one such girl named Padma, who wants to be left alone in her imaginary world of space and time travel instead of having lunch! “Padma goes to Space” by Swetha Prakash and pictures by Shreya Sen. Padma has been hiding under the sofa trying to read her favorite book “The Time Travel Adventures of the Amazing Eight” where eight adventurous children travel in a butterfly shaped time machine along with the green-eyed star pup called Glazza, who always gets them in trouble.  As she is immersed in her world of space excursions, fruit juice erupting volcanos, and giant tortoises holding the universe on their back, her mother calls her for lunch. Padma does not find her mother’s Bhindi curry (Okra) appetizing; Instead she wishes to eat Star Rock Salad from Galaxy Stellar 5689, the regular diet of the Amazing Eight during their space expeditions! Even as her mother rubbishes her claim of the Amazing Eight, she holds on to her belief that somewhere in the universe children travel in time machines and decides to build a time machine of her own when all grown up. But now her mother sounds upset as she looks for Padma all over the house. Too scared to crawl out of the sofa, Padma closes the book and lies motionless in order to avoid being caught by her mother who now seems livid with anger. Just as she tries to control her breathing, she imagines the green eyed dog, Glazza popping out of the book. Before she reacts, Glazza calls out to her mother and gets her into trouble just like it always does!  This book shows how books ignite the imagination of young minds and empower them to think out of the box! Though Abhay could relate to Padma and her fascinating world of space, I felt the ending was a bit abrupt. I guess Abhay felt the same and wanted to know more  – did Padma get a scolding or was she given a time out, did she have star rock salad or did she settle for bhindi? Left to your imagination……Abhay!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sports Day!

It was Sports day in Abhay’s school yesterday and though a regular feature in most schools here, it was Abhay’s first in his three years of schooling. Though  sports has been an integral part of the American culture, with kids being introduced to team sports at an early age, I did not come across many pre-schools in the US observing something like a Sports day! Whereas in India, every little school celebrates a Sports Day even though we aren’t a sports oriented culture! Anyway, since Abhay has never been the athletic type, we didn’t think he’ll enjoy sports day as much. But we were wrong and one of those rare moments when we were glad to be wrong! Abhay was all smiles during the obstacle race, or at the march past, or while dancing to a Goan Folk song or when receiving a medal as did his classmates who were all declared winners at Sports Day! In other words, who wins and who loses – who cares? We only care if they have fun! J

Speaking of sports, I recently discovered that Abhay is completely clueless about the most famous team sport in India – Cricket! So much so that on seeing the illustration of a boy swinging a cricket bat on the cover page of a book, he exclaimed that it was a game of baseball! So I turned to “Cricket” a little book on a big game by Sandhya Rao and the illustrations in the book are nothing but photogrphs of everyday Indians playing cricket. It’s a hot day with cool breeze when a boy hears the sound ‘Tthokk and Lo and Behold …it is a game of cricket! Any time of the day or any time of the year is time for cricket. Any place, be it narrow lanes or broad streets is the place for cricket. Anything flat will do for a bat and any object round will serve as a ball. It does not matter if we are small or we don’t run as fast, cricket is a game that can be played by anyone, anywhere and any time!   A bilingual tribute to the Indian sport that transcends age, gender, region and economic or social strata! As I read this book, I asked Abhay if he will play cricket in the future, he considered the question for a moment  before he replied “I can try”!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Memories of Portland!

It’s been four months since we left the US and frankly we don’t miss Portland as much as we had expected, except for the little things. Like its green landscape, or the rain (I never thought I would say this!) or it’s walking trails or some of its gourmet restaurants! Similarly, it’s the little things that transport us back to our previous life in the US – like on hearing the same songs that used to play on our car stereo or the familiar scent of our hand sanitizer that we brought from Portland or the taste of strawberries, seasonal here and available all year round in Portland. Last but certainly not the least, remembering all our friends from Portland always takes us back to the good times we’ve had together while at PDX! Missing all of you guys!

The reason for my nostalgia being that yesterday, I happen to meet my long- time friend Rama who came down to visit Bangalore from Portland last week with her sixteen month daughter Eera. Rama has always brought wonderful books for Abhay and this time too she gifted a gem! Thank you Rama for giving Abhay something to remember Portland by!! “Spenser loves Portland” by Melanie Brooks and illustrations by Amie Jacobsen, an Early reader series based on America’s favorite travel dog named Spenser. Abhay loved reading the entire book and was also intrigued by Spenser’s interesting questions on each page. Spenser loves to travel to different cities in the US with his mom and they decide to visit Portland in the State of Oregon. Well prepared for Portland’s rainy weather, Spenser goes sight-seeing around Portland. He discovers that Portland is famous for its tall mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, its beautiful waterfront and colorful rose gardens. That’s not all, Portland is also home to a famous bookstore  and has some great ice cream too! Besides, Portland is known to be a green city with its environment friendly policies and practices. Finally Spenser concludes that he loves Portland and hopes that you too get to visit Portland one day! We couldn’t agree more!!!  A must read for all kids in Portland and kids who have been to Portland and kids who plan to visit Portland! J

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet Dreams!

While co sleeping with your little one is an exception rather than a norm in the US, it is quite the opposite in India! As Indian parents bringing up our son in the US, we were uncomfortable with an idea of letting our toddler son sleep on his own in a separate room all by himself! But three years in the US turned us from non-believers into staunch believers, even swearing by the practice of  having your son sleep independently in his own room. Initially though reluctant, Abhay soon gave in …or in other words reconciled to the fact that he must go to bed in his own room and that he really didn't have a choice! When we expected the same in Bangalore, we faced stiff resistance, not so much from our five year old, but from his grandparents!  Expecting a young child to sleep in a room separate from his parents, even if it is literally next door, was termed too American for our Indian sensibilities!  What if he falls off the bed; what happens if he has a bad dream; how will he be able to use the bathroom in the middle of the night?” were the kind of doubts that were raised. Our assurances that  “He can’t possibly fall off a 3 feet wide bed, or that with a night light on, he can simply walk up to our room if he has a bad dream or wants to use the bathroom” didn’t sound convincing to them! With the support of his grandparents, Abhay too began to rebel! Finally  we found hope in a method that most parents fall back on when nothing else works – bribery! Thanks to a reward point system ( where he gets a sticker for each night of independent sleep and a certain number of stickers add up to a reward), we were successful in getting Abhay to sleep in his new bed in his new all I have to say is…touchwood! J

Abhay now sleeps in a made to order bed along with his best buddies – Curious George, Nemo and Winnie the Pooh with Lightening Mcqueen flashing his signature smile at the head of his bed. So today I had him read “Ted in a Red Bed” by Phil Roxbee Cox & Stephen Cartwright, an Early Reader with short e sounds and blends from Usborne publications. This is an Early Reader that stands true to its name being easy enough for pre-schoolers to sustain interest in reading. Ted goes shopping one day and stops by Fred’s furniture store and likes the red bed on display. Fred, the Penguin, the owner of the store encourages him to hop on the bed and rest his head on the yellow pillow. As soon as he slips his feet under the sheet, he feels the need for a bed just like the one sold by Fred. He buys the bed and decides to put it to immediate use and falls asleep on the bed he just bought. Now it is up to Fred to have Ted and his bed delivered home! As Fred has his associates lift the bed and shift it inside a delivery truck, Ted who is sound asleep on the bed, has a dream that he bobs on a wave into a cave! As the truck carries Ted and his bed, Ted in turn has a dream that he can fly in the sky and as he is brought home along with his bed, Ted dreams that he is back by the stream! As he wakes up with a snore, he realizes that he is no longer in the store and is home with his new bed. Ted then concludes that his red bed must be a magic bed! Abhay loved this book and looks like it will be his new favorite for sometime now! Im not sure if he understood what actually happened with Ted and his bed, but he seemed fascinated by Ted’s dreams. Let’shope our little Ted  sleeps in and has sweet dreams in his own bed! J

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Old Favorite!

Revisiting your old favorites not only brings back memories, but also opens up a new perspective of looking at things. This is especially true with picture books as either your child would have grown up or you have evolved since you last read the book! Your little one may not have understood the underlying meaning of the text or you may have overlooked a subtle detail in the illustration and reading it again only confirms why it is, after all your favorite!
Today’s book is a famous title that we had read over and over again, but for some reason didn’t figure in the blog. I had picked up Eric Carle’sThe Grouchy Ladybug” sometime back and read it when Abhay was just over three years old. Like any Eric Carle’s work, this one too captures the imagination of the young and inspires the not so young too! J When I first read this book, Abhay could not tell time or could not comprehend the message conveyed through the medium of a not so friendly lady bug. But over a period of time, he has learnt to do both and when I read the book, probably for the 100th time, he was anything but bored!

This is a story about a grouchy ladybug that refuses to share and pays the price! The author brilliantly illustrates a day in the life of a ladybug while introducing basic time telling concepts and taking you and your little one on a wildlife expedition. As the narration is repetitive, it makes an interesting read for toddlers and early pre schoolers too. The story begins at 5.00 Am in the morning when a friendly ladybug flies in from the left to feed on the aphids on a leaf, when a grouchy ladybug flies in from the right with same intention of feeding on aphids for breakfast. When the friendly ladybug offers to share them, the grouchy ladybug declines and declares that she wants them all and offers to fight her instead! When the friendly ladybug reluctantly agrees to a fight, the grouchy ladybug, unsure of herself retracts saying “You are not big enough for me” and flies off looking for a suitable opponent. And so begins her quest for someone who is big enough for her to fight – a yellow jacket, a beetle, a mantis, a sparrow, a lobster, skunk, a boa constrictor, a hyena, a gorilla, a rhinoceros, an elephant and finally a blue whale all of whom she encounters every hour and all of whom, according to her, are not big enough for her to fight! Each encounter ends with her audacious parting shot “You are not big enough me” except when it comes to the whale who lands her a slap that in turn lands the grouchy ladybug on the same leaf as she began in the morning.  But the only difference at 6.00 PM in the evening, is that  she is no longer a grouchy ladybug, but a humbled one who is now willing to share her dinner with the ever-so- friendly ladybug! What a colorful way to teach everyone the importance of sharing and being nice to others! A must read classic for all kids!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Your Favorite book!

With One Story a day completing a year, we decided to celebrate and no celebration is complete without a cake and when a cake is brought home, no matter what or who’s special occasion it is, by default, it is Abhay who always cuts the cake!  With close family and my friend Aparna with her daughter Nesara present, Abhay was glad to do the honors but wondered aloud if it is his sixth birthday already! Even so, he further probed ‘Why does the cake have only one candle’?

It’s been a year since I started blogging about Abhay and though he has seen his pictures in my posts, I’m pretty sure he does not realize what it means. Anyway, it will not be long before he discovers One Story a day and find his entire horoscope featured therein …and when that happens I hope it reminds him of our favorite times together - reading our favorite books!

Talking about favorite books, today I read “Charlie Cook’s Favorite book” by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler. A book about  a boy named Charlie Cook who curls up in a cosy chair to read his favorite books – a book about a pirate chief  who unearths a treasure chest which turns out to be a treasure of books; a book about Goldilocks who lay on baby bear’s bed reading baby bear’s favorite book; a book about a knight who tames a dragon by reading out a joke from a book; a book about a frog who jumps upon a book and goes “Reddit! Reddit! Reddit!”; a book about a headless ghost who puts her head back on again to read her favorite book and finally a book about a boy named Charlie Cook himself who is engrossed in the world of his favorite books! So everyone has a favorite book – what’s yours?


My Collection

It feels  so good to be invited to share my  favourite children’s books. Thanks for the same Divya. 

As I kid, I remember reading “Misha” -a Russian children’s magazine. It had beautiful stories, riddles, general knowledge stuff ,all beautifully illustrated with pictures. I  found  a cover picture of the magazine on the net and attached the same below.

After extensive browsing I found the following link : where one can read it online. Please check out.
As  a little girl, I loved all the fantasy stories. One of the best ways  to cater to my desire of reading fantasy were the Disney books. I had a collection of them. These include : Cinderella, Snow white and Seven dwarfs, Sleeping beauty, The little Mermaid, Peter Pan , the Jungle Book, Bambi , Dumbo and many more.
I was also interested in epics like Ramayan. My all time favourite  is Enid Blyton’s  “The Famous Five” which got me interested in reading  forever. I have the collection of all the volumes.
There is a wonderful website: for online reads for kids. Do check out. The one I liked in particular was  Who Did Patrick's Homework? “by Carol Moore. Read this  to Abhay and let me know what he thinks. The link is as follows :
Hope you like my collection .Thanks again for your invitation.JJ

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy First Birthday!

One Story a day turns ONE today and just like we find it hard to believe how fast our babies grow up, I cant believe that it has been a year since I started blogging about my baby and the books I read to him. It only seems like yesterday when I, fascinated by the world of picture books, sat curled up in my couch on a chilly December afternoon in Portland, USA trying to recall the different picture books I had read to my four year old son. As I began to type out the names and the authors of the books, I realized that there was no point in creating a word document that seemed more like a catalogue, if not anything else. What I really meant to do was somehow find a way to preserve the memories associated with reading those books to Abhay, record his reactions, share them with friends and family and create a scrapbook of those wonderful moments we’ve had while reading them, a kind of time capsule that I can revisit anytime, anywhere, anyplace – and that’s how One story a day came about. It has been a wonderful ride all along, with my blog accompanying us on our travels, on various special occasions and staying on even after our recent move back to India.When I began last December, I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with reading one story a day, every day. As I reached the 100th post this April, I was thrilled to have done it…at least most of the time. But the major challenge was to keep it going even after I relocated to Bangalore…..and all thanks to the new age libraries in my hometown, we could continue our reading journey together. So One story a day, though now as One story every other day, is still going strong! Thanks to my family, friends and all my readers for their continued support and encouragement and most of all thank you to the protagonist of my blog– Abhay!
On the occasion of completion of first year, I invite all my readers to contribute to One Story a day - share yours and your little one's favorite books, books that made both of you laugh, cry, or that touched your hearts or your soul, books that though meant for your little one, taught you something, books that you and your child wanted to read over and over again, books that your child never forgets and you never forget the response it evokes ....books, books and more books! Share them with the world!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who am I ?

After a gap of three years, we’ve come back to live in a full house and as Abhay is fascinated by how people are connected, he couldn’t have asked for more! In fact, he is obsessed with relations and family patterns to the point that it gets embarrassing when he asks long widowed grannies where their husbands are or newlyweds if they’ve had kids yet! He is quick to notice the different roles people play- his paternal grandmother is his father’s mother who in turn is my mother-in- law; His great grandmother is his father’s grandmother who in turn is his grandmother’s mother- in- law! (When I put it this way…it certainly sounds confusing right?)This led him to the conclusion that his mother will be mother-in-law to his wife!! As it is, it took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of being a mom, even after I became a mom and here I find my son already setting the stage for the next role!

After this kind of deduction, I couldn’t let matters be….I looked for a book to explain the different identities he needs to be concerned with. “Who am I” by Sakshi Jain is a bilingual book that highlights different identities and roles a boy or a girl plays in the world, at home and the social set up– as a human being amongst all living creatures, as a child amongst humans, as a son, in case of a boy, as a grandson, as a brother to his sister, as a friend to his pal and finally as a student in the outside world! Though not a story, it conveys the message pure and simple with appropriate illustrations. Im not sure if Abhay got the inner meaning that the author tries to bring out when the book begins from the front and the back with a boy and a girl respectively, displaying their differences as you turn the page only to narrow down as they converge in the center of the book. So a son, grandson, friend and a student – That’s all you need to worry about, I told Abhay! To which my futuristic five year old….asked me “Amma, you will be a grandmother to my son, right?”!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Playing Fair!

How do I get my five year old to be a sport? How do I convince him that winning is not everything? How do I teach him to play fair and cope with the disappointment of losing? Any board game that we embark on almost always ends prematurely as either Abhay can’t take a fall or I lose my temper over his immaturity! So Abhay prefers playing all his board games from Candy Land to Tumbling monkeys with his 94 year old great-granny!!! Why? Because it means he does not have to stick to the rules of the game and instead can bend his way to victory! So in a game of Snakes and Ladders, he can climb up the snake and make his nonagenarian opponent step down the ladder; or choose to act only on beneficial picture cards in Candy land, or make up non- existent words in a game of GNU! This is what happens when the oldest in the house plays with the youngest!! Desperately need same age playmates who are just as competitive and cantankerous  as my five year old!

So in an attempt to get him to understand the rules of fairplay, I read Charlie and Lola’s “I’ve won, No I’ve won, No I’ve Won” by Lauren Child. Like any other Charlie and Lola story, this one is narrated from the perspective of big brother Charlie.  Charlie says that his younger sister Lola always wants to win at everything, without any exception! Charlie tries to pick a game at which he thinks he is a better player, like a game of spoons, or a game of cards, or a game of snakes and ladders, but Lola always manages to declare herself a winner, either by cheating, or by her absurd logic, or by simply altering the rules of the game!!! She turns a deaf ear to Charlie’s big brotherly advice that “You don’t have to win all the time”! SO finally Charlie thinks of a game that his little sister Lola cannot possibly win -   a race around the bendy tree, then swing on two big swings and finally down on the big slide. When Lola hesitates as she has never been on the big slide, Charlie challenges her to it and the race begins. Charlie is way ahead of Lola and when it is obvious that Charlie is winning and nearing the finish line, it appears that his little sister needs help sliding down the giant slide! Being the big brother, he retraces his steps and gets his sister down the slide. As both of them reach the ground at the same time, Charlie speeds past Lola to reach the finish line and screams out “I won, I won” when he remembers his father’s advice that he must give Lola a chance as she is younger. As he checks on Lola, it turns out that she had a lot of fun, even though she didn’t win! When Charlie is surprised, it is Lola’s turn to counter him with “You don’t have to win all the time, Charlie”! So with regard to Abhay, did the message sink in? We’ll have to wait to see if I won this time!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving memories!

It’s the Thanksgiving weekend in the US and Canada and though just a regular weekend in India, I can’t help but get nostalgic about this American Harvest holiday and the associated events like Black Friday – when you can literally shop till you drop!! Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November every year and is historically a celebration of the year’s harvest. Like any other festival, this one too calls for a feast and the centerpiece being a large roasted turkey, with cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy……not very appetizing for vegetarians like me!J Anyway, for non-American residents like us, Thanksgiving was a time to party, travel and shop!  Thanksgiving also means the onset of cold hard winter that is of course well compensated by the holiday season that lasts until the end of the year. In Bangalore, I happen to notice the traditional American holiday featured in many local newspapers and even on a couple of radio shows! In fact the Hippo campus in Bangalore has a special thanksgiving themed event meant for kids. Coming to think of it, it should hardly be a surprise as every fourth person in Bangalore has probably lived in the US at some point of time in their lives….so now almost all American holidays have been Bangalored!!!

Last year at Thanksgiving
In keeping with the same spirit, today I read “The First Thanksgiving” by Linda Hayward and illustrated by James Watling, a Level 3 in Step into Reading series of Early Readers. Being a little too advanced for Abhay,  I read this book like any other picture book. This book is about the First Thanksgiving dinner held by the Pilgrims who sailed to the US aboard their ship named “Mayflower”. It brings to light the challenges and difficulties faced by the Pilgrims in the new land. Added to that was the constant fear of attack by the native Indians, who were in fact equally apprehensive of the new settlers. The first winter takes a toll on the Pilgrim community with many losing their lives due to extreme temperatures, starvation, and strange diseases. It is only when the weather gets warmer, things brighten up and they befriend the native Indians with whose help they manage to build their houses, cultivate the lands, grow food and finally harvest their crop around November that year. Feeling extremely thankful, they decide to have feast and invite their Indian friends who are more than eager to attend. The feast begins with a prayer of thanks and lasts for three whole days and that is the origin of Thanksgiving.  This book definitely makes an interesting read not only for kids but also adults who are fascinated by history! To all our friends in the US and those who celebrate it here – Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Parks and Peak hour traffic!

It has now been three months since we moved back to Bangalore and though we’ve been doing pretty well on the transition front, there are still some issues that we seem to have an issue with! Patience is indeed a virtue and you definitely need lots and of lots of it, when living in Bangalore. Though we’ve been doing our best in trying to tolerate the otherwise intolerable, yet there are times we just can’t help sounding like “US returned” – something we’ve been consciously trying to avoid! For instance, our internet was down for the whole of last week (which is the reason for my absence on onestoryaday) and there was nothing we could do but wait; Traffic on the streets has been my sole problem ever since we’ve moved to Bangalore and l continues to be so even after three months! Walking on the non existant sidewalk is a nightmare and walking with a fiercely independent five-year old totally oblivious to the dangers lurking on the streets is a catastrophe waiting to happen! Anyway, though the weather has been ideal for outdoor play, I haven’t been able to take Abhay to the park very often as I probably should, partly, because the parks don’t even seem half as inviting as the ones in Portland and partly because jostling through the evening traffic is the last thing we want to do when heading to play! Though it is a too little early to say, in just three months of summer in Portland, we’ve gone to the park more number of times than we probably will in one whole year in Bangalore!!!

So as if to motivate myself, I got the book “Pam had a Map” by Francie Alexander and illustrated by Ken Spengler, a Scholastic Early Reader. Highly recommended for the preschoolers working on their short “a” sounds and blends, this is about Sam, his sister Pam and his dad. Sam has a map that has directions to the park. SO he sets out with Pam and his dad wearing a cap. But Pam who has a jar of jam, grabs the map and the map now has jam! So now they are faced with the prospect of trying to locate the park with the help of a jam smeared map and when they do, Sam and Dad have fun playing ball at the park and Pam has her fun too – she naps happily in the park! Not much of a story, but was glad that it helped my early reader nap while I tried to map the parks in the vicinity!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Children's day Costumes!

November 14th is celebrated as Children's day in India. Unlike other Appreciation days like Mother's day or Grandparents day,this one owes its origin in India, commemorative of the birth anniversary of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was known to have loved kids. Im sure those who've grown up in India can relate to this day as there being no class in school and instead a host of cultural and competitive events held amongst the children, for the children and performed mainly by the children! When we graduated from school to go to college, we'd often shy away from even ackowledging this day, or run the risk of being deemed "children"! As a young adult, this day is as uneventful as any other day except to feel a little nostalgic of the days of that were! As a parent, children's day means business - getting your children ready for children's day is no child's play!  In our case, it was time for hunt for costumes for Abhay's fancy dress, and this is when we missed the good old Target or Party city that would have been a sure stop, had we been in the US. But  thanks to our regularity in celebrating Halloween during  the last three years that we were in the US, we could breathe easy for Abhay's first children's day event ever! I know I will not be that lucky next year....but let's cross the bridge when we come to it!

Anyway, since Abhay is all set to wear his second favorite "Pirate Prince" costume (the first being Thomas)  that he had worn for Halloween 2010, I read "Costumes' a Curious George adventure written by Cathrine Hapka as an early reader adaptation of Margret and H.A. Rey's story. One of the 12 stories in the "Curious about Phonics" series, this one does not expect too much from the emergent reader; Being Children's day, I didnt want to hound Abhay with complex words that are phonetically tough to decipher. Anyway, Curious George is all set to go to a costume party and cannot figure out what to wear. As he opens his chest, he comes across some costumes  to be too small, some too huge, and some not the right color or some others too spooky. But finally, he finds a costume that looks too good to be true - a super cowboy costume, Yee-haw! So for all you parents, whether  on the look out for the perfect costume or not - celebrate the presence of those who made us parents - our kids - Happy Children's day!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The boy who drew .....

With Abhay's old writing desk back in place, nothing can stop him from doing what he loves doing which is to draw and drawing what he loves drawing, which off late has been houses. Each of his drawing is no different from the other except that one probably has two houses and the other has three houses!:-)Not very long ago he was into drawing trains, trains and more trains! In fact, his 'Happy Diwali' card too had trains, only those trains had diyas(lamps) on the windows! Now all his artistic tendencies seem to have transitioned from transport to dwellings and Im not sure what to expect next! Of course, as any parent, Im more than happy that he has found a way to engage himself in a seemingly constructive activity, but a whole stack of drawing sheets with nothing but houses or trains is a little too much for even the most appreciative parent on the earth!

Anyway, as soon as I saw this book on the book shelf of a bookstore, I knew I had to pick it up. "The boy who drew cats" by Anushka Ravishankar and Christine Kastl is a Japanese folk tale about a boy who drew only cats, nothing but cats! Instead of helping his parents with farming, he drew cats on the fields! As his father felt that he was not cut out for farming, he took him to a temple to study under a priest. But at the temple too, all he did was draw cats; When asked to write a word, he drew cats, when asked to do a sum, he drew cats; He drew cats even on the rice paper screens of the temple! So his head priest decided that priesthood was not his cup of tea and lets him go with a piece of advice! So he leaves the temple and sets out to find his true calling. As you read on, the story reveals that ultimately his numerous drawings of cats help him establish himself as a great artist who is always known as the boy who draws cats! Although this story was a little above Abhay's level of understanding, he understood one thing- this main continued to draw cats even when he grew up! So when I asked if he'll continue to draw houses even after he grows up, he said "No I'll draw other things" and when asked what those things were , he cooly replied "Trains"!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bugged by Bugs!

With his long lost toys back, Abhay finds no reason to leave his room except when he has unwelcome guests and when they arrive - all hell breaks loose at home! Its not only his room, they seem to be everywhere! Wherever Abhay goes, they find him, without exception - at home, on our street, at our neighbor's house, at the playground or a park, in the shop and even in the airconditioned environs of a mall! Abhay cant seem to understand why his American bred skin is their favorite  and neither can we!  They not only distract my five year old, but scare the hell out of him, they torment him and then suck his blood! You guessed it right - Im talking about the ubquitous Indian mosquito.  You may close all the windows after dark, literally shut the door on your visitors, clothe your little one from had to toe, hunt them down  using various devices, but just one is enough to ruin your good night's sleep! :-)

Anyway, its not only mosquitoes, Abhay is petrified of commonly found bugs like flies, ants and all kinds of insects! Recently I took him to an outdoor story session in the evening and Abhay was the only boy who seem to be bothered by the insects flying around when the other kids didnt even seem to notice them. So in an attempt to get him fascinated by the bug's world, today I read "I like Bugs" by Margret Wise Brown and illustrated by G.Brian Karas, a Mile 1 book in the Road to Reading series. A little boy declares that he likes bugs, all kinds of bugs black bugs, green bugs, mean bugs, bad bugs, bug in a rug, bug in the grass, fat bugs, round bugs and shiny bugs. Bugs- however they are, wherever they are - he is hardly bugged by them! Not much of a story, but one of the few early readers that is actually meant for an early reader. With short vowel sounds and picture clues,this book is a good way to get your emergent reader to perfect his or her alphabet sounds. I asked Abhay if he now finds bugs interesting to which he turned dead serious and proclaimed  "Im okay with ants but no mosquitoes"!

Monday, November 7, 2011

We're Home!


Our shipment from the US arrived yesterday and with that we’ve closed the final chapter of our move across seven seas! Well…what can I say….after over three months of wait, it was an emotional reunion with all our belongings that were a part of our day to day lives for three years – the french press we used for coffee every morning; our flatscreen TV, the value of which we realised after we got back to watching a standard definition TV, our travel souvenirs that were a common sight displayed in our living room, Abhay’s red bike and its accompanying music that we gladly missed and of course his wooden train tracks that resulted in his room being in a state of perpetual clutter …they are all back!:-) I must admit that in the last three months, there were times we wondered if it was worth shipping our belongings at all, considering that we had grown quite comfortable with the existing stuff in our Bangalore home and out of sight was truly out of mind! Added to that was the space constraint we faced as we already had a fully furnished set-up in Bangalore and weren’t sure if we could accommodate those eighteen boxes that just three months ago, we felt we couldn’t do without. But all our doubts vanished as we began unpacking one by one, all the items we had associated with what used to be our home and to be using them again in a new setting, truly makes it our home sweet home!!

Anyway, we shipped our belongings from the US through Universal Relocations and I must say that we had all our boxes, including our used electronic goods safely delivered to our door step. Abhay was really glad to be reunited with all his toys  and for the first time in three months, he didn’t leave his room the entire day today!:-)Today I read “Where is Gola’s home? by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan. Gola, the yak is upset that yaks don’t have a home like everyone else. So his friend Muri, the eagle shows him around different regions in search of his supposed home. Muri first takes him to the the sea where Gola finds the water too salty and then to the river where the mud sticks to his feet and then the desert which he finds too hot and finally to the forest where he gets bitten by insects. Fed up with his fasctidiouness, Muri gives up when Gola discovers a road leading to the Himalayas. Muri stares at him in disbelief as he climbs up the path to the snow capped ranges. As the air gets cold, his thick fur keeps him warm, and he even finds food and water amidst the snow when he soon realises that he has finally found his home! Similarly, I can see that amidst all his old toys, my little Gola feels he is finally home!:-)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Going to a wedding!

We are all heading to Mangalore tonight to attend the wedding of my close cousin. Weddings mean different things to different people. For kids, weddings mean a chance to legitimately cut school (something Abhay is also excited about) unlimited supply of food, uninterrupted masti (fun) with cousins and a chance to forge new friendships that are soon forgotten once the wedding is over. The excitement probably peaks for the youth (especially for girls) when weddings are all about clothes, accessories, make-up and the perfect look! Of course, not to forget ….your own wedding which breezes past, leaving you with a blurred memory of the specific details that only seem to be captured by the camera! But your appetite for weddings completely dissipates as you enter a new phase of life – motherhood. My heart goes out to new moms who have weddings coming up, that can’t be missed! All of a sudden, your priorities undergo a sea change! It’s no longer about the events lined up, or meeting relatives, or the clothes and make-up but about the cleanliness and privacy of the guest rooms, availability of safe drinking water, hoping for good weather ( in our case, no rain!), company of other kids the same age as your little one and most importantly kid friendly food!:-)  

Anyway, since Abhay has never attended weddings like these before, I thought he needs a little prep for the daunting task ahead of me! I found “Going to a Wedding” by Rukmini Banerji and illustrated by Santosh Pujari, a Read India publication. I expected the book to be more about the experience of attending the wedding from a child’s perspective but instead, the book is more about the journey preceding the wedding. Anyway, a little girl is excited to be heading to her village for her uncle’s wedding along with her parents and her brother. That’s not all, they are joined by her grandfather and grandmother, uncle and aunt. As they reach the railway station, typically both the kids are hungry for food and typically their mom asks them to wait until they get on the train( Even Abhay noticed the same!). When the train finally arrives, they discover their groom-to-be uncle missing! So the confusion ensues as they try are about to board the train – a quintessential story of every Indian family heading for a wedding.....including our own!:-)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Illusions!

Since last three years, October 31st has been a special day for us –it was time to get into the spirit of Halloween - time to carve Jack-O-lanterns , attend costume parties, and knock at your neighbor’s door along with your little one expecting treats! Well… feels like dejavu ….just like I used to wish I was back home in Bangalore for each Diwali the last three years, I now find myself wishing that I was in the US for this year’s Halloween only for the sake of seeing my five year old donning a funky costume! Though Bangalore can now boast of hosting a few Halloween celebrations here and there, nothing matches up to the real thing! Anyway, whether Abhay got to attend a costume party or not, I made sure he didn’t miss the best part of Halloween! We dressed him in his favorite Thomas costume and took him to a few houses and tricked our friends/family into treating him with candies….candies and more candies!

The best part of Halloween for Abhay may be candies, but the best part for me is that I get to read a special book for him just for this occasion! Quite impressed that I could find one in Just books, I read “Trick or Treat” by Melissa Arps and illustrated by Hector Borlasca. A board book in the shape of a pumpkin with a string on top that reminded Abhay of his very own pumpkin candy bag that we had left behind. A little boy goes trick-or treating on Halloween when a big hairy monster appears and asks for something sweet to eat. So when he digs into his candy bag to pull out a lollipop orange and white, another monster, a goblin wants his own bite! As he tries to meet the goblin’s demands, he finds goblin bringing in his other friends. So as he tries to satiate the monsters, one by one, he finds his candy bag empty, with chocolates none! As the monsters leave, he lets out a sigh as he has more hidden in a place that no one can guess – his hat! So it’s not only kids, monsters too can’t have enough candies on this haunted day!   For all our friends in the US –  missing all the witches, draculas, batmen, bunnies, catwomen, and ghosts of Portland and here’s wishing you all a very happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Diwali Dhamaka!

Well....this has been the story of our Diwali this year! I must admit that its not only Abhay but both my husband and I had rather fallen out of touch with the all the noise and smoke associated with Diwali in India. In fact, we were surprised to disover that my husband has grown allergic to the smoke from the firecrackers! If three years in the US does this to you.....then one can only imagine how dfficult it would be for people who've lived abroad for most of their adult lives! Anyway, we are happy we took the call and that too early enough for us as well as our son to live and experience India the way Indians do - whether at home, or on the road, or in the mall, or at the temple or even when bursting sound emtting crackers at 10 Pm at night! :-)

Anyway, with my husband's running nose and my son covering his ears, it was left to me keep up the spirit of Diwali!  So we did light a few sparklers and flower pots to celebrate our biggest festival  like it is meant to be! I guess there are many books on Diwali, and I particularly recall reading Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore and illustrated by Alice Priestly - the story of Gita celebrating Diwali in a place far away from her native hometown of Delhi, ideal for people living abroad.  But since we no longer fit that category, I was looking for something more informative on the Hindu festival of lights. Moreover, Abhay has no recollection of his first Diwali in 2007, this year, so as to speak is his first Diwali in a "Diwali" sense in India! So I read DK's "My first Diwali", a board book, the only book on Diwali I could lay my hands on! The book explains the story of Diwali in the form of colorful illustrations featuring children that may interest your little one. The book also sheds light on how Diwali is celebrated today - like wishing relatives and friends, exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes, decorating the house, lighting diyas, worshipping Godess Lakshmi, gorging on sweets and savories and finally bursting crackers! A good way to introduce your little one into celebrating Diwali without covering his ears! :-) Happy Diwali to everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Three's a crowd!

Abhay’s school had barely reopened after Dassera vacations when it closed down for Diwali...again! I mean seriously…….why do these kids have so many holidays….that too two days before Diwali? With schools declaring holidays so often, they are hardly a bankable childcare option.  Without home support in the form of family or hired help, it looks as if there are no easy answers to childcare concerns in India too!  Anyway, with schools closed all over Bangalore and two of Abhay’s closest cousins visiting us, ours is mad house of three musketeers – aged 9,7 and 5!! I need not get specific as to who is aged nine, seven or five as when they get together – age is just a number and boys will after all be boys! J

So in order to temper down the boisterous boys, I was on the lookout for some quiet activity and sure enough, I turned to books. I recently discovered a wonderful series called the Baby Bahadur series authored by Radhika Chadha and illustrations by Priya Kurien. A couple of weeks ago, I had read “Im so sleepy” – the first in the series. Abhay loved it enough for me to hunt for the others in the series. One of my readers even suggested another story revolving around these adorable animal characters. So I had these boys tune to the tales from the land of Baby Bahadur. In the hope of getting them to do the same, I read “Snoring Shanmugam” – a book published in three languages – English, Kannada and Hindi. Not being able to find the English version, I tried my hand at reading the Kannada book –“Gorakegara Shanmugam”. Though it had been a while since I read the Kannada script, I must say that I didn’t let my school Kannada teacher down!:-)
Anyway, this is the story of Shanmugam, the lion supposed to be the king of the jungle, who spends most of his day, sleeping. As if that is not enough, Shanmugam is also infamous for his loud snores – khhorrhrrh……. and breathing out sounding like ‘phsheew”! Unable to carry on with this noisy sleepy habit, all the animals decide to put an end to Shanmugam’s snores louder than his roars. With the help of mother elephant, they turn Shanmugam sideways that stops his snoring. But a danger lurking in the forest gets all the animals to retrace their steps and rather rejoice in his snoring. Thank God for Snoring Shanmugam, he inspired many more to the same!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Power cut!

With over two months since our move back to India, Abhay has completely settled down in his new home, new school and new surroundings. In fact, it seems as if he has always been here and never lived away for the last three years! It is we adults who can’t stop comparing the US with India, esp. when  stuck in Bangalore’s traffic, or try to cross a road, or see someone cut the line while waiting to be billed at a grocery store or when you greet someone you think you know who is determined to respond back with a grumpy face!!! Anyway, though Abhay seems to have got on well with his Bangalore life, there are still some things that give him away – mosquitoes and power cuts!
As I’m still working on his fear of mosquitoes, ( which, by the way, deserves a separate post by itself) I tried to tackle his ‘current’ problem. “Power Cut” a bilingual book by Sowmya Rajendran   came to my rescue. There is a power cut and suddenly everything is engulfed in darkness.  When mother lights a candle, shadows form that engage the entire family in a game of animals chasing each other. First comes a cat, then a deer followed by a snake and then finally an elephant all playing tag and forming a silhouette on the wall. But when the lights come on, they all disappear and reveal their true colors as father, brother, grandma and grandpa! As I read this book, Abhay was reminded of his grandma’s fun finger play and expected me to do the same. So amma, the next time we have a power cut, Im sending him to you!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grandma's Eyes

Last Friday was Grandparents’ day at Abhay’s school and Abhay was the only one to have all his four grandparents call on him while many others sadly missed theirs. One thing is certain, Abhay has been the happiest about our move back to India – with his paternal grandparents at home and maternal grandparents living nearby, he couldn’t have asked for more! As much as I'm glad that Abhay is surrounded by his doting grandparents,  I also envy him as I never had an opportunity to get to know my paternal grandparents and my maternal grandma was living in a different city. In fact, it’s not only his grandparents, Abhay also enjoys the support of his 94 year old great grandma, who rushes to her great-grand son's rescue the minute we pull him up for something. No wonder he cannot wait to come back from school to a full house with four generations living under its roof. Though not as active as she used to be, Abhay ’s great grandma makes the most patient audience for all his silly antics. Now confined to a wheelchair, she regrets not being able walk around the house with her great grandson like she used to.  But wheelchair or no wheelchair, nothing stops Abhay from plonking himself on his dodda-ajji’s lap! 

So today I read “Grandma’s eyes” by Sandhya Rao, pictures by Ashok Rajagopalan. A moving pictures book written both in Kannada and English, this is a book more for two-three year olds than five year olds. But the illustration of grandma in this book reminded me so much of Abhay’s great grandma that I had to read this to him. Also, I trust both my mom and mother in law to strongly assert that they look nothing like the “grandma’ in the picture…so I felt safe to turn to Abhay’s great-grandma to do the honors!:-) Anyway, a little boy feels that his grandma’s eyes watch him well, grandma’s arms hold him tight, grandma’s laugh make him laugh, grandma’s songs help me sleep. Though grandma’s stories are for everyone, but grandma’s lap is only for him! A book that celebrates grandparent-hood through the eyes of a grandchild – a must read for any grandma-grandchild duo!  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today is my day!

Kids have a mind of their own and most kids, like adults despise being told what to do. My son is no exception and in fact he tends to go a little overboard when it comes to doing the opposite of what we want! I’m hesitant to follow up on any of Abhay’s must-do activities, like brushing his teeth, finishing up his milk or food, washing up after an outdoor play or completing his schoolwork, etc fearing that he might launch a go-slow movement! The moment I begin to nag, he begins to resist and the more he resists, the more I nag – a vicious cycle I’m not able to break! What is the solution? Relaxing the rope or tightening it even more? 

Today I read a book that suggests a middle path - give them a day off, one day when no one tells them what to do or where to go. “Today is my Day” by Anushka Ravishankar and Piet Grobler. A little girl named Tala finds her entire day spent in acting on the orders of everyone else – her dad swinging his arms to wake her up, her sister sending her off to brush her teeth, her grandma ordering her to have milk, her math teacher instructing her to find the solution to eight ninety five multiplied by three, her dance teacher yelling at her to bend her knees and finally her mother turning off the TV and sending her to bed! She feels that time has come for her to rebel and today is her day, might as well! Today, she is in no mood to have other people order her around and decides to put her little foot down. So she lets her imagination run wild as she tackles all of them, feeling riled- she sees her father turn into a bird flying high in the sky, her sister’s mouth turn into a slimy snout of a crocodile, her grandma mooing like a cow, math teacher turning into a multiply sign, her dance teacher freezing into a statue and her mom singing bedtime tunes on the television. Tomorrow, she admits  is a different story as everything can go back to normal as tomorrow is not her day, but today she asserts is "MY day"! A wonderful rhyming tale serving as an eye opener into the minds of our little independence seekers!  I should say Abhay quite liked Tala’s mommy being trapped inside the TV, singing lullabies!:-) Well…..we all want OUR days ….don’t we? If we can’t have ours, the least we could do is give them THEIR days …..Till they become one of us! :-)