Monday, February 28, 2011


Like most girls, I have always looked up to my mom and continue to do so. Today, being her birthday, I wish I was home with her. I have always felt like my mom was a superwoman, juggling between work and home which she has been doing for the last thirty years. Now that I am a mom myself, I wonder how she did it! How did she handle everyday sticky situations that seem to overwhelm any mom without any domestic support? More so, when she was preoccupied with setting the semester’s exam paper!! As much as I’d like give myself the credit for the being the ideal child, Im also aware that an ‘Ideal child’ is an oxymoron! Anyway, she has set the bar a little too high for me to live up to. I made a call during the early days of my status change. Having found it impossible to perform the role of a power mom, I decided to take a sabbatical from work to devote my full time to Abhay. However, I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never ever doubted the wisdom of my decision! As I plan to get back to work soon, I dread the day when I have to decide between my son’s running fever and an important case in Court. So I come back to the same question, how did you do it, amma?

In an attempt to get my son to appreciate his mom the way I just did, I read “My Mommy hung the moon” by Jamie Lee Curtis. This is a loving child’s sincere tribute to her mom who can make the impossible seem possible. As you flip through the pages of this “keepsake”, you are introduced to this bird-catching, car-pooling, cookie-baking, medicine-dispensing, ball-pitching and cradle rocking Supermom who also manages to hang the moon and tie it with a string. My mommy hung the moon too!!! Happy Birthday amma!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow is here

When your stay in the US is short term, there are many 'must-see' and 'must-do' experiences you wouldn’t want to miss before heading back. In my long list of ‘ "must-see n’ experience" still pending, I finally managed to get one more X-marked – witnessing snowfall. You may balk at me but please understand, it hardly snows here and I am acutely aware of how lucky I am esp. thinking of the recent snow storms in the East coast. That said, I sure wanted to see the falling snowflakes turning everything white! In Portland, it usually snows for a day or two during winters and when it does, the whole city shuts down! So you can imagine my delight this morning when I woke up to a two inch bed of snow neatly iced on our roads. So without waiting, we went down to play in snow. With everything turned white, the scenery outside felt like a calendar image for the winter months!

Aptly, today I read a book titled “Snow” by Uri Shulevitz. A little boy sees one snowflake in the air and cannot contain his excitement that it is snowing. But everyone else – his grandpa, the people outside, the TV weathermen are not hopeful of any snow accumulation. Unfazed, the boy is certain that one, two and few more snowflakes can only mean snow, snow and more snow! First the rooftops are covered and then eventually the whole city is covered in snow!

I only wish the same would have happened here!! With schools closed, Abhay and Abhay’s mommy were hoping to make a snowman. Though it was too much snow for a regular day, it was too little to make a snowman. Besides, the sun came out a little too soon and melted all the snow to make it seem as if it never snowed at all. Anyway, can’t complain as I still got to see the snowflakes fall and transform our apartment drive into a paradise draped in white!! Now….we can’t have everything …can we?!!:-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bedtime quirks

Staying on the subject of bedtime protocol, kids have their own quirks when it comes to falling asleep. Some of them want the night light on or the ceiling fan on. Some want the comfort of holding the parent's hand ( mostly moms get sucked into this). Some want books and others want lullabies. For a very long time, we used to sing to our son at bedtime, for which I have my father to blame. This is something he started when Abhay was an infant that we later continued only to realize how difficult it was to wean him from this dependency. I still remember, every night, my husband and I used to argue over whose turn it was to strain vocal chords for our son to fall asleep. After a few lullabies, the only person to doze off would be either me or my husband and Abhay ever alert for the next song on his play-list! Sometimes, before we can finish off the last line of the song, he would blurt out his next request! This is when we decided to end our late night music recitals and go for something easier – reading books!

As a sequel to last night’s bunny series, I read “Bedtime Bunnies” by Wendy Watson. As the day ends, the bunnies are hurried indoors in preparation for bedtime. They are seen making the same sounds as our little ones do or we hope they do while getting ready to wind up for the day – gobble, crunch, munch dinner followed by sip, slurp and gulp down their drink to wash, scrub and brush their teeth and readying to zip, button and slip into their pajamas to snuggle and giggle over a bedtime book after which they jump, bounce and climb on to their bed to end the day with hug and kiss 'good night'! Wish it were that simple right??

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bedtime business

Bedtime is serious business, the preparation for which begins a couple of hours ahead. Like everything in life, it pays to start early and like everything else with parenting, it’s all about planning and scheduling! It doesn’t end with serving dinner a couple of hours before your little one’s bedtime, but continues into how conducive you make your surroundings for them to let out a yawn and drift into sweet dreams. If you live in a house with their room in close proximity with your living area( read as television) ….then you better watch out for the volume or worse still, not have anything on TV that may even remotely interest them. When Abhay is tucked into bed, we are stuck watching CNN!! Watching anything funny or comic carries the risk of your little one wanting to join in the late night entertainment! Care must be taken to make sure conversations don’t revolve around any of the day’s events or else your eavesdropping kid may have something to contribute! And yes…..all moms will bear witness to this….if your little one hasn’t had a nap in the afternoon, come what may….you cannot have them even accidentally fall asleep post 6.00 PM! If they do, you can forget about your bedtime!

Anyway, today Abhay missed his nap and so I wanted to read to him something that can lull him to sleep almost as he soon as he hits the bed. I read a book called “Bunnies are not in their beds” by Marisabina Russo. It is finally nighttime and bunnies are tucked into their bed. Just when mom and dad find time to do go over the mail or read a book, they hear strange choo choo noises emanating from the bunnies’ room. As they tip-toe into their little ones’ room, the bunnies are not in their beds but are chugging their toy engines on their toy tracks. As the bunnies are ordered to go back to bed, the parents return to their unfinished business. However, the bunnies continue to spring out of their beds and repeatedly make – riding, racing and marching noises every time they are wished good night and lights turned out! In the end, the bunnies, again out of their beds, walk into their parents’ room to hear the sound of mommy and daddy tucked into bed and fast asleep! Although they rejoice over being able play all night, they fall asleep before they realize and before they even reach their beds. A wonderful bedtime book that will definitely get your bunny to bed and make him stay there!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Presidents' Day

Today is Presidents’ Day, in the honor of US Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays fall in the month of February. Consequently, schools and many offices have a holiday on the third Monday of February. A convenient practice in the US is to have all the holidays observed on Mondays so as to combine into a long weekend. For instance, Memorial day is on the last Monday of May, Labor day on the first Monday of September and so on. I wish we could do the same in India, but most holidays being associated with religious festivals, the stars are not so kind!:-)
Anyway, Abhay’s school was closed and so were the library and other recreation centers. So I had a hard time keeping him occupied at home! As usual, I had my best friends to keep him company – Books of course! In order to give him a little insight into the American history, I read a book titled ‘Presidents’ day’ by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by Mike Gordon. This is a Ready-to Read, Level 1 book that is best suited for early readers. On the eve of Presidents’ Day, the first graders are keen to understand the importance of this day and learn fun facts of all the earlier presidents, where they live and the name of the current President, all narrated in an age appropriate manner. The children even wonder why they don’t get to choose their school principal just as the people choose the President! A good book for a precocious kid interested in an early lesson on political history. As far as Abhay was concerned, I’m not sure how much of it sunk in. When I asked him later “Who lives in the White House"? to which my little dreamer replied “ME”!:-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I love trucks

I wonder why the makers of children’s programs find the non living more interesting than the living! They are anyway shown as having the same feelings, quirks and pleasures as the living….so what’s the point? Apparently, to stimulate the minds of little ones towards whom the programs are mainly catered to. It is a different matter that the parents end up watching it too! Once you have kids, you probably watch more children’s programs than the ones meant for your age. In fact, even after my son has left the TV midway, I find myself continuing to watch some of his programs!

Anyway, in the last couple of weeks, Abhay seemed to have graduated from the talking engines to talking trucks, in other words, from Thomas and his Friends to another series called Bob the Builder. Unlike the former series, this one at least has humans calling the shots and not the other way round. So today, I read two books on his current fancy – Trucks. “I Love Trucks” by Philemon Sturges and illustrated by Shari Halpern features different kind of trucks that we see every day at construction sites. It follows the same pattern as “ I love Trains” by the same author. In the end, the truck that is named as an all time favorite is the ‘Ice cream truck’!

The second book called “I am a Backhoe” authored by Anna Grossnickle Hines whose fresh take on a familiar subject is sure to engage your little builder! A little boy in his own way, demonstrates various jobs undertaken by the trucks from a back hoe to a steam roller. Of all the jobs done, his favorite is the role of the flatbed truck that carries load on its back just like daddy carrying the boy on his back. As I read this book to Abhay, he looked up at his daddy and flashed his million dollar smile at him! Mommy reads and Daddy reaps!:-)