Saturday, May 28, 2011

Big Boy and his bed!

Kids go through different phases in their day to day lives that can compare to changing fashion trends. What was in yesterday is out today! Some phases recur and some don’t; some phases are here to stay and some are over before they’ve even begun and some you like and some you spike! For instance, there’s a “No-eating Phase”and “Cant stop eating phase”, or the “Sleepless phase” and “Cant get enough sleep phase” or ‘Love my chocolate milk phase”and “Suddenly allergic to milk phase”, “Love my school phase” and “Don’t-want to-go-to-school phase”! Anyway, Abhay’s in the “I don’t want to sleep alone phase”! After bragging to my friends and on my blog about how my four year independently sleeps in his room, I’ve had to eat my own words! Every night as we tuck him into bed, we hear him saying “Sleeping on my own is no longer fun” or “Im tired of sleeping in my room” and whispers in his daddy’s ears asking him if he can sleep in our bed. The whispering is  because he knows what  the answer will be, if overheard by mommy! :-)

Anyway, for obvious reasons, today I read “My Big Boy Bed” by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Maggie Smith. Donny is excited to move into his big boy bed from a crib. Why? Because there are so many reasons to look forward to sleeping on your big boy bed! The bed has the big boy sheets and the big boy quilt spread out and big boys can read in bed too! Not only that, big boys can bounce high up on the bed  or hide under it to scare off a pet. At bed time, once the big boy is tucked into bed, he is free to get out any time and play around until his parents find out and ask him to get back in bed again!  But Donny gets out again and tip toes into his baby brother’s room to find his brother sleeping in his crib. As he kisses his baby brother good night, he bids good bye to the crib and climbs back to his bed meant for a big boy like him! So Abhay….ready to go to sleep in your big boy bed?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day and Night!

Every time we call India to talk to my parents, there is one question Abhay never fails to ask and that is whether it is day or night in India. Abhay seems fascinated by how his grandparents can see the sun in India when at the same time, in Portland it is nearing bedtime.  No sooner he hears a ‘hello’ on the other side, than he’s already on to his mandatory query “Is it morning in India?” Sometimes, my mom beats him to it and promptly informs Abhay the time of the day as soon he comes on the phone. But a relentless four year old that he is, he still feels duty bound to check on the day and night status on the other side of the globe! 

So last week when my husband traveled to Houston, he happen to visit the NASA museum and picked up a book that explains the science of day and night. Today I read “What makes Day and Night” by Franklyn M Branley and illustrated by Arthur Dorros. Though a Stage 2 book in the Let’s-Read-And Find-Out Science series, meant for children from age 5 to 9, Abhay seemed interested. The book provides a simple understanding and presents a creative demonstration of the concept of day and night in an age appropriate manner.  Though essentially a work of non-fiction, the illustrations gave a feeling of a story weaved in and Abhay listened with rapt attention. He even noticed that I skipped a few pages in between and wanted me go over them again. In order to make it simple, you are encouraged to do a small science experiment using the flashlight as sun and your little one posing as the earth. Of course, this book is meant more for older kids, but it’s never too early to develop a scientific temper. Isn’t it? At least, the next time he speaks to his grandparents, he can answer his own question on whether it is day or night in India!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Abhay is always fascinated to hear stories from my childhood, stories of the mistakes I’d make as a kid and the punishments I’d receive from my strict parents who are now his doting grandparents! Believe me, once your kid is interested in knowing about your growing up years, your most embarrassing moments make the most entertaining stories  and all of a sudden, you are thankful for them!:-) So one day, after hearing one of my funny stories, my darling son stumps me with his question “Amma, when did you grow up?” to which my husband replied “Well….not yet”!! 

Anyway, when I spoke to Abhay about growing up and what he wants to be when all grown up, he announced that he wants to be a daddy like his daddy! Well….sweet…but not exactly the answer I was looking for! In order to direct his thoughts towards what was in my mind, I read the book “When I grow up” by Al Yankovic. In school, everyone is asked to prepare a “Show and Tell” project about ‘What will I be when I grow up” and Billy can’t wait to present his project. When the teacher Mrs. Krupp asks who wants to go first, Billy raises both his hands. Billy starts off by saying he plans on becoming the greatest chef ever, the one who makes rigatoni sautéed with black truffles or shrimp flavored lollipops. That’s not all, he also has a whole list of back-up plans – to become a snail trainer in a circus, or a gorilla masseuse, or an artist who sculpts out of chocolate mousse, or a professional pickle inspector or a dinosaur dusting museum curator and so are his innovative ideas to make a living. When Mrs Krupp asks him to pick only one amongst the whole range of vocations he’s presented, Billy remains unfazed and claims that he’s only eight and is allowed to have his options open and further declares that he may just have time to do all of those things!” So I asked Abhay what he wants to be when he grows up, to which my four year old replied “A truck driver”!! Okay…that’s at least a start…I thought!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Abhay's big move!

 Abhay is a little too sentimental for a four year old. He finds it hard to let go of things – be it places, his possessions, people or memories associated with them. For instance, it’s been more than eight months since we moved to our new apartment, and Abhay still gets nostalgic when we pass by our old apartment. He can’t understand why a place that was once his home no longer is and it doesn’t matter that the old house has been emptied of all his favorite toys, his bed and TV. He finds it hard to accept that there are others living his old apartment just as he is probably living in a house that was once home someone else.Clearly, he still wants to hold on, when all we want him to do is to move on. More so, when we’re planning our next big move – back to India in July. Of course, Abhay is aware that we’re moving back to Bangalore soon but I don’t think it has sunk in yet…..and he's not the only one .... it hasn’t sunk into us either!:-) 

Anyway, in an attempt to prepare him (and myself) for our impending move, today I read “Bella and Stella come Home” by Anika Denise and Christopher Denise. A young girl named Bella and her soft toy friend named Stella are sad as they bid good bye to their old house and are about to move to a new house. As they enter their new dwelling, they are disappointed to find that their new abode is nothing like their old home – the entrance has eight steps instead of three, the kitchen is yellow and not blue, the garden does not have an oak tree just like the old garden, the doors make a creaky noise and worst of all, the new house simply does not feel like home. But as her room gets filled with familiar things like her dresser, her round rug and her favorite toys, Bella finds the new house slowly inching towards being called her home! I just hope both Abhay and me get that same feeling as quickly as Bella and Stella did, when we move back to our new house in Bangalore!:-)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feeling good!

What makes one feel good? As we transition from cold weather to warmer temperatures, I feel good if I hear the weather forecast for the coming weekend as warm and sunny!! My husband though does not share the same feeling as it means he cannot laze around at home with the excuse of bad weather!! Abhay feels good when he sees the candy aisle at the grocery store and we do not reciprocate the same feeling! While on a stroll, my foodie husband feels good as he inhales the smell of onion pakodas emanating from an  apartment building obviously inhabited by Indians! On the other hand I cannot say that I feel good about the same as Im sure a 'food request' is on its way! :-) Anyway, there are so many things that you see, or do, or plan on doing that make you feel good. Thinking about them too makes you feel good, isn’t it? 

Today I read a book titled “The Feel Good Book” by the well known author and illustrator, Todd Parr. A great book to read to your little one who’s feeling sad and blue for some reason. Abhay was feeling tired and exhausted today, so I wanted to cheer him up with this book. Who doesn’t feel good when given a great big hug, or when tickled, or while taking a bubble bath, laughing out loud or watching grandma and grandpa dance, playing under the sprinkler, making monkey sounds…….? At the same time, other things like, making new friends, showing the new friend around, sharing your treats, visiting a sick friend, being brave, giving somebody something special and saying I love you also make you feel good!  I read this book to Abhay at bedtime hoping he’ll feel good as he goes to sleep, but his ‘feel good’ request instead is for me to read the book again...and again and again! Now:...Im the one who's not feeling good!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The "Sharing" business!

Children’s playdate goes through its own process of evolution – from being mostly chaotic with a few moments of peaceful play to mostly peaceful play with a few moments of chaos and disagreement. Thankfully, Abhay now is at the second stage of this evolution! But he still has  some sporadic outbursts of “Its mine” syndrome that used to dominate most of his play dates before. Today, his best friend Suhas came over and I must say, both the boys seem to be doing much better than their past record in playdate history. However, at times, when it comes to sharing a favorite toy, they rediscover their love for the game of tug of war!! 

During the course of their play date, I read the book “The Boy who wouldn’t share” by Mike Reiss and illustrated by David Catrow. Edward has loads of toys and yet is unwilling to share even a single toy with his little sister Claire. He simply refuses to even consider letting his sister ride his rocking horse, or wear his wizard’s hat or hug his teddy bear or play with his truck, duck, train, bike or the doll. He has only one reply – “They’re mine and I want them all”. But one day, he gets stuck in a colossal heap of toys and finds that he cannot move. Just then his mom brings a plateful of brownies and unable to find Edward, she hands over the entire plate  to Claire! But does Claire hold a grudge against her selfish brother and deny him the fudge?  She does not; as the younger sibling, she does what younger sisters normally do - lend a helping hand! So Edward realizes his folly and discovers sharing is fun too! So as I read this story, I asked the boisterous four year olds  as to who was the boy who wouldn’t share between the two of them and the two brats promptly pointed a finger at each other!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who wants to make chapatti?

When Abhay was in the dreadful phase of ‘terrible twos’, it was nearly impossible to cook a simple meal when no one was around to watch my meddlesome toddler! So one day while rolling chapattis, I hit upon an idea; I gave him some chapatti dough to play with and the rest is history! Abhay grew so fond of playing with the dough, that whether or not I had enough dough for the required number of chapattis for dinner, I had to have some dough saved for him; Whether or not I even had any plans of making chapattis for dinner, I had to have some dough for him to play with; As soon as he’d hear the sound of the rolling pin against the chapatti board, he would rush to the kitchen, not to eat the chapattis but to play with the dough! Initially, he was satisfied with a handful of dough and then as time went by, he grew greedier! He then staked claim to the rolling pin. He even accused me of being selfish and unwilling to share the rolling pin when I expect him to share his toys with his friends! So then we bought another rolling just for Abhay! As if that was not enough, thanks to today’s book, Abhay’s has gone a step further; He now wants the chapatti board all for himself and expects me to take turns with him while rolling chapattis! 

Anyway, today I read “What should I make” by Nandini Nayar and illustrated by Proiti Roy. This is a book that will strike a chord with any Indian mom who rolls chapattis! You can imagine my delight when we heard the American librarian read this book aloud while taking the trouble to pronounce the words “Chapatti” and “Tava” right at the library’s story time! Neeraj’s mom is making chapattis and hands him some dough to play with. Neeraj is seen wondering what to make from this dough – should he make a snake, a mouse,or a cat which grows bigger and bigger into a lion that opens its mouth, when Neeraj’s mom tells him to roll it back into a circle. Neeraj flattens this round shaped dough into bigger circle and further rolls the same into a big chapatti that his mom roasts on the tava. Neeraj then tastes his very first chapatti and he declares it to be the best he’s ever had! So after reading this book, guess who helped or should I say did anything but helped me make chapattis tonight?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Car Wash Kid!

Most boys love accompanying their dads to a car wash center. Abhay too doesn’t miss an opportunity to watch his car get a bubble bath. His excitement peaks as we drive into the wash lane, roll up the windows and shift the gear to neutral and enjoy all the action from inside! Given a choice, Abhay would prefer we get an automated car wash every day! :-)

Today I read “Car Wash Kid” by Cathy Goldberg Fishman and illustrated by Barry Gott. This is a Rookie Reader publication, with a subject interesting enough for any emergent reader to want to read all by himself!! Frankly, Abhay is not too crazy about reading on his own and instead prefers I read to him, but this book was an exception.  Not only was he interested in reading this book,  but he wanted to read it again all by himself at bedtime, that too after an exhausting day!  A little boy finds that his car is need of a thorough wash. So along with his dad, he sets out to turn into a car wash kid! Dad becomes the soap man and the son the hose man, squirting water from the pipe and together they team up to give the car a shiny new look! With simple sentences composed mainly of sight words and short vowels sounds, this book forms a great incentive to encourage reading. So if you have an aspiring car wash kid at home, this one is for you!  

Thursday, May 12, 2011

In the mood for food with mood!

Kids’ moods are as unpredictable as the weather! Some days they pleasantly surprise you and some days they seem determined to act difficult. Sometimes, they owe their mood swings to lack of sleep and sometimes it’s too much sleep! Sometimes it’s just before school in the morning and sometimes its right after school in the afternoon or evening! Sometimes, it’s the end of a playdate and sometimes it’s the beginning of one! Sometimes they are simply bored and sometimes they are simply tired! But most of the time, your little one will always be in a mood for a book! :-)

Today I read the book titled “How are you peeling- Foods with Moods” by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. A brilliantly illustrated book, this one is sure to cheer any grumpy face, be it of a child or of an adult. Believe me, your little one will love to see the carved fruits and veggies mimic facial expressions that we commonly see in them which they in turn probably see in us! You’ll never find a green bell pepper looking so sad, a turnip feeling bad, a smiling tomato cheering up a dull looking jalapeno, jumpy orange looking relieved to see his friend lemon arrive, an amused looking red bell pepper, a surprised apple, a confused tomato, an angry pear, an embarrassed peach, disappointed onion, sweet lemon looking all apologetic, tired looking turnip and a sleepy kiwi letting out a yawn! So next time either you or your little one feeling broody, then peel off your foul mood by reading about the foods with moods!!! :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mommy's magical purse!

Having kids changes everything – perspectives, priorities, tastes and interests, sometimes even appearances and the accessories that you may carry! One of your accessories that is most likely to become a victim of circumstances would be your handbag! Gone are the days of carrying a clutch purse, now you need to make provision for every possible need, craving, eventuality or mishap. Once you have a baby, not only do you stop being brand-crazy as far as hand bags are concerned, but also stop caring if your diaper bag goes well with your outfit! As your baby grows older, you may not need to carry diapers or wipes anymore, but you still need to fit in food, snacks, water, first-aid, sanitizing tissues, umbrella, caps, toys, books so on and so forth. In other words a mom’s hand bag is truly a bag of wonders – you never know what you’ll get!:-)

Staying on the mother’s day theme, I read “Momma’s Magical purse” by Paulette Bogan. David is skeptical when he hears Rachel say that her mother’s purse is magical and has everything anyone could possibly want. But when he sees mommy pull out a bandage to nurse Rachel’s injured knee, sweaters for both of them when the wind gets cold, a perfect picnic lunch when they ‘re hungry, raincoats and umbrellas when it starts to rain unexpectedly, even a bucket to collect raindrops and finally a rescue kit to save David from drowning in the pond, he is finally convinced that momma’s big purse indeed possesses magical properties! Good to know that I’m not the only one slinging a huge ugly looking handbag wherever I go. At least Im well prepared when Abhay asks for a ‘cookie’, the moment we get into the car, even if he’s just had lunch!:-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's day!

Today is Mother's day and it was time for a mommies day out! So I went out with a group of  my mommy friends, all of us taking some time off from our kids - the very reason we are called 'mommy'! Just like any other demanding job, a mom's job too is not without its pressures - pressure to be a perfect mom, pressure to be a mom who does it all, peer pressure (X's mom takes her to music class, should I enroll my son too?!!),  or simply pressure to live up to a maternal Goddess status! Of course, there are days when you look at your wailing baby and wonder "What was I thinking?", or days when you want to disown your little one who's throwing a fit in a public place, or days when you wish you could just quit doing what you're doing and feeling this way is but natural as ...we are only human! At the same time, it is also true that any mom would trade the world to see the smile on her little one's face! After all, God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers!!! To my mom and moms all over the world - three cheers to motherhood!!

Today, on the occasion of mother's day, I read "The Mommy Book" by Todd Parr. In this colorful book, the author brings out all kinds of mommies one sees - the mommy who drives a pick-up van, the mommy who drives  a motor cycle, the mommy who loves to dress up, the mommy who plays in the rain, the mommy who likes to dance, the mommy who teaches you to paint, the mommy who teaches you to swim, the mommy with short hair, the mommy with long hair, the mommy who cooks, the mommy who orders pizza, the mommy who flies kites, the mommy who sing songs or reads stories and so on. But all mommies like to hang out with their kids, or watch them sleep or hug them or blow them kisses and finally all mommies want their kids to be who they are!! Happy Mother's day!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just like you!

We all love it when our kids turn out like us, don’t we? But along with everything else, what if they imbibe even those attributes of us that we aren’t proud of? Would it worry you or amuse you that your child is a lot more like you than you had ever imagined!! What if your child inherited all your quirks, phobias and insecurities or in other words turned out to be a mirror image of your own personality – how would you handle it? For instance, what if you found out that as a kid, you were petrified of water just like your child or was a picky eater, just like your little one?  Would you turn to your parents and ask them how they dealt with it, or if it was ever an issue back then, especially since most ‘early childhood troubles’ that we confront as parents today didn’t seem to bother our parents at all, when we were children!:-)

 I’m not sure if I’m making any sense, but today I read two books in which a grandma regales her grandchild of her own experiences of being a parent to her mommy/daddy. The grandchild is of course all ears to the stories of her mommy/daddy growing up. “Your Mommy was just like You” by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by David Walker is a book meant for girls who’d love to hear about their moms from their grandmom! Abhay liked the book meant for grandsons, “Your Daddy was just like you” by the same author and illustrator. Grandma recalls how her own son was born puny and red faced just like her grandson who in turn finds it hard to believe that his daddy was a baby and was also scared of the doctor! The little boy feels consoled when he learns from his grandma that his father too had found school tough and boring at the beginning, that he too loved to play but had not won every single time, and that daddy was subject to time-outs, just like him!  ( This was Abhay’s favorite part…I could see him smile at the thought of his own daddy being punished!) Grandma shows him pictures of his daddy speeding like a race car or playing a cowboy or rolling in the mud or splashing in the tub….just like him! Abhay felt relieved as the young boy in the book gets to know that his daddy was afraid of the dark and too scared to sleep with his door shut….. just like him ( and Abhay!) Finally, grandma plants a huge kiss on her baby’s cheeks …..Her baby who now has his own baby! So….when in doubt, just remember Abhay, nobody can understand you better than us because we are….after all…. just like you!:-)

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Red Bike!

A home with kids is a houseful of toys and our home is no exception, it is in fact overflowing with toys! Abhay’s toys are more than just toys in his room; they are a part of our home decor! On any given day, our house resembles Toys R’Us more than any ordinary apartment! If you want to relax on our couch, you’re most welcome but you’ll also be cruising alongside race cars like McQueen and Mater who have their race tracks set up on the sofa’s arm rest. You sit to eat at our dining table; you’ll find Thomas and his Friends also resting on the table, tooting their whistles.  The center table at the living room has more children’s books that regular books or magazines! (Frankly, Im the one to blame for this!) Anyway, one ubiquitous toy that can be found wherever Abhay goes is his big red tricycle! So if Abhay has to use the bathroom, he doesn’t walk, instead he rides on his tricycle that also pulls his Pluto along. If he is called for dinner, though his room is right across the dining area, he has to arrive on his red bike in all pomp and splendor. Not to mention, we’ve even decided to put up “No parking” signs to avoid tripping over his three-wheeler parked at all the wrong places!! :-)

Today I read a book that most kids who play with their ride-on or pull along toys will enjoy and Abhay too was not disappointed – ‘Red Wagon” by Renata Liwska. Lucy got a brand new red wagon and had a whole list of games to play with it  and grocery shopping was certainly not on that list. But as her mother insists, she decides to go shopping pulling her wagon along. The book follows Lucy in her adventure as she pulls the wagon up the hill, down the hill, through rain-storms and sunshine and finally reaches the market where hoards all the vegetables in her wagon and tugs her useful pull-along toy all the way back home. On reaching home, Lucy can’t wait to play with her wagon and when she finally does get a chance, she is seen all curled up and fast sleep in her favorite red wagon! Now we all know who’s to pull the wagon….Lucy’s daddy!!:-)