Monday, June 18, 2012

Bigger than daddy thinks!

Just as the second Sunday of every May is reserved for moms, the third Sunday of June is dedicated to the paternal bond, a time to celebrate fatherhood with the father! Well, as a little girl, daddy was the always the lenient parent, someone who would rush to my rescue when mommy was upset, someone who was a little more lax with the house rules ….well someone who would understand no matter who’s wrong …someone who could be more easily prevailed upon! J My husband on the other hand, grew up in an environment where his father was less sparing then his mother and threatening to complain to the father was sure way to get the kids to behave. Even today I feel his mother (my mother-in-law) is more approachable than his father (with due apologies to my father in law)! Anyway, once I became a mom, I discovered that our little family has turned out to be a replica of the family I grew up in where it is still the daddy who is the indulgent parent, who is a little easy going with the rules, who always sides with Abhay when his mommy tries to ‘discipline’ him and who is hopelessly easy to be prevailed upon!! So you never know, one day Abhay might blog about how his mom being stricter than his dad, just like I am doing it right now! J

On the occasion of the Father’s day weekend, we went to dinner with all the daddies in my life – two senior Daddies, one junior daddy and a future daddy! So last night Abhay had his daddy read “Someone Bigger” book by Jonathan Emmett and Adrian Reynolds.  Although I would have wanted them to read a father’s day special book on the occasion of father’s day, this is all I could lay my hands on. A father-son book nevertheless, Sam and his dad make large kite and set out to fly it in the park on a windy day. Sam asks his dad if he can hold it first as he feels he is old enough to handle a kite. His father is not sure and replies that the big kite needs someone bigger! As dad lets go of the kite and unwinds the string, Sam watches it fly wishing he was someone bigger…like his dad to fly the kite. But the wind blows hard and Sam’s dad gets pulled into the sky along with the kite. As Sam runs behind seeking to hold the string and pull his dad back, his dad still feels he is too small and that the kite needs someone bigger! As the kite flies above the town, everyone tries to get hold of it …from a mailman with a sack of mail to a bank robber who flees from jail, from a police man on a horse to a bridegroom and his bride of course…but all of them are swept of their feet. Even then as Sam tries to hold on to the string, everyone cries out that the kite needs someone bigger still! As the kite flies above the zoo, now it has even animals like Rhino, tiger and a Kangaroo! Now finally, Sam catches hold of the kite and grabs the string and holds it fast and winds back the string while his feet stay firmly on the ground. No bigger than he actually is, Sam manages to bring, one by one, everyone from the zoo and the town back to ground! Sam finally has his father acknowledge that he always knew he was old enough as the kite needs someone just like him!:-) So while you may feel that your little one is too little for some things, he or she may actually be bigger than you think! Happy father’s day…guys!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A memorable Story....and Story time!

Though it will be almost a year since we got back from the US, there are some things we still miss. I’m not sure of Abhay, but I certainly miss driving him to the Hillsboro library every Tuesdays between 6.30 PM and 7.00 PM for family story time. There were times when the weather was awful, or we’ve been horribly late (that used to happen almost every time!) but I made sure we went for at least two of the four story hours every month. In fact, I had made friends with many Indian moms attending the story time the same time. Abhay especially used to enjoy attending the story time if he had the company of his good friends Gauri and Keshav. Anyway, if you’ve ever been to a family story time in the US, you’ll know that children of all ages - from infants, toddlers, preschoolers alike attend the story time. But whether they pay full attention to the story being narrated is a different question altogether! The story time usually began with reading of picture books with simple plots and then graduated to slightly complicated themes. Usually the story teller/children’s librarian will structure a few finger-plays or sing- alongs in between stories so as to hold the children’s attention lest they get restless. Even parents were encouraged to join in the singing and movement activities so as to get their shy kids to participate. So guess who was a more active participant – Abhay or his mom? J
Of course a few children’s libraries like Just book branches and the Hippo campus in Bangalore do hold story times on weekends, but they are either inconveniently located or have only limited seats available that always get filled up by the time we get there (a story of most free events in India!) So when Hippo Campus announced a reading of a Tulika children’s book  by the author herself, I had to make it to this one! Sure enough, we managed to get to Hippocampus just in time …..and even made to Tulika's May Newsletter that featured the very same story time with Abhay’s photo published along with the author and the other kids!!! Wow…Abhay attends one story time in Bangalore and he is famous!!!! J Anyway, today I picked up the same book that was read at Hippo campus story time, “Miaow!” a Bilingual picture book from Tulika publications by Alankrita Jain and translated by Sandhya Rao. I must say that we loved her rich and colorful illustrations especially of the cats, the rain and the moon in the night sky.  This is a story of a moon- loving black cat which turns white after slipping into a pail of white paint. Pleased at the turn of events, he lay on the roof smiling and identifying himself with the white moon. But just then it begins to rain and the white paint is washed off and the black cat reverts to being black again. He meows his disappointment and hears another cat meow back. He then sees a white cat with shining yellow eyes looking at him. The white cat complements him on his lovely green eyes and the black cat in turn likes the yellow eyes of the white cat and “Meow” they say in unison…with the moon appearing in the background. A charming little tale about how we don’t realize our own worth until someone else points out the same to us! A message not just for kids…right?

Monday, June 11, 2012

A visit from the Tooth Fairy!

During this summer, Abhay showed one of the first signs of growing into a big boy! Just before we took off on a vacation, I noticed a ‘shark tooth’ growing behind his lower milk teeth. Strange, I thought…isn’t it too late for a baby tooth? But since we didn’t have the time to make an appointment with the dentist, we decided to wait until we got back. A few days later I noticed another shark tooth burgeoning next to the first one. Even then it didn’t occur to me that the two emerging teeth might just be his permanent lower incisors!! Neither did my parents nor my in laws suspect anything, especially since none of Abhay’s teeth were loose, much less had fallen!  Since it did not seem like a dental emergency, I headed back to Bangalore leaving Abhay at my parents’ farm with the intention of calling on the dentist once Abhay returns to Bangalore. But my mother knew better than that and decided to consult a local dentist anyway. That when’s we realized that common sense had escaped us when it came to acknowledging that Abhay is no longer the baby he used to be! Frankly, I know it may sound stupid, but I never once thought it’s time for Abhay to let go of his milk teeth and make way for his permanent teeth …..isn’t that supposed to happen after he turns seven or eight? At the risk of sounding clich├ęd, I must say that it only feels like yesterday that Abhay was five months old when he began teething and his baby teeth first appeared! Five years later…they fall off to make room for the not-so-baby teeth! Every milestone in your baby’s growth is to be cherished and celebrated as time flies and you never know ….your grown-up ‘baby’ may fly away too!
                                                       Abhay then.......with his first teeth!
                                                                  Abhay now......

Though nervous about going to a dentist, Abhay managed to sail through his first visit to the dentist…all thanks to recent innovations in anesthetic medicine that has done away with petrifying injections and has been replaced with hassle free anesthetic sprays instead! Abhay though wanted to save his milk tooth to be handed over to the tooth fairy, courtesy the American Television! Of course, it didn’t matter to him that his dentist in Ujjire (small village near Dharmasthala) had no idea what or who the Tooth Fairy was!  Anyway, since we had heard so much about the tooth fairy while in the US, I read to him “Peppa pig and the Tooth Fairy”,  Peppa is upset that she lost her first tooth but her mother assures her of a surprise from the tooth fairy. With her tooth carefully tucked under her pillow, Peppa waits for the Tooth fairy her parents promised would come. Peppa however is too restless to go to sleep and tries to stay awake but finally gives into sleep. Peppa is disappointed in the morning but when she is asked look around, she is delighted to find a shiny gold coin under her pillow….supposedly left by the Tooth Fairy. Peppa then vows to stay awake the next time she loses her tooth!  We all know who is the tooth fairy…don’t we? We too played tooth fairy and placed a nice little gift under his bed as we went to pick him up from Dharmasthala. A gift for every tooth gone.....Abhay will not mind if another tooth falls soon!

                                           A giant tooth shaped gift from the Tooth Fairy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Back to school!

Come June and we all know what it means to a school-going kid in India. Technically, since this summer break was Abhay’s first ever summer vacation (since he went to a day care that was open all year around in the US), it was his first re-opening day this week. It was the first time he got to experience that sinking feeling one feels as one enters the school gates after a gap of two whole months! After a fun-filled vacation that almost makes you forget that you ever went to school, the reopening day feels like a harsh reality check that reminds you that a vacation like this is only once-a year whereas school is throughout the year and not the other way around! For most kids moving to a higher class, a new academic year ushers in new challenges in terms of syllabus or studies which would only mean more work for them and not to forget, their parents! Abhay for instance, was a little anxious about starting new subjects including a second language this year and honestly, after binding 17 notebooks and 11 textbooks/workbooks with transparent wrapper roll, even I am left wondering if he is actually going to class 1 or a higher class!

As we are slowly getting settled into our ‘back to school’ routine, I read “Frankling goes to school” by Paulette Bourgeois. Though it is Franklin’s first time in school, I guess “first day jitters” are the same for everyone and so Abhay could probably relate to Franklin more than anybody else. At the crack of dawn, Franklin wakes up excited as it is his first day of school. His enthusiasm doesn’t wane as he gets ready and heads to the bus stop. But as he reaches the bus stop and sees his other friends waiting for the bus, he experiences cold feet. He hears his friends Beaver and Rabbit talking that they know how to read and write when Franklin knows neither. After a lot of persuasion from his parents, he climbs onto the bus that takes him to school. At school, Franklin’s teacher Mr. Owl asks him what he wants to do. Franklin admits that he does not know to read and write but knows all about colors at which his teacher asks him to do what he loves. Franklin enjoys his first day at school and brings home two pictures for his parents who in turn have his favorite snack fly pie ready! So Abhay …don’t worry about starting Kannada or computers right away.......start with drawing pictures!:-)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ajja, Ajji and me!

When I left Abhay at my parents’ farm house last month, I honestly didn’t expect him to stay on for three whole weeks without me! In fact, I even held back from calling him often lest he begins to miss me or his home in Bangalore. How wrong I was! Not only was Abhay blissfully happy in his ‘summer resort’ but he was in no mood to return home! These three weeks have been one of the most memorable vacations for Abhay and for my parents who left no stone unturned to make their grandson’s stay as comfortable as possible. At his grandpa’s farm, Abhay was on vacation from all of his ‘duties’ – he was allowed to sleep in as long as he wanted, didn’t have to eat on his own but was fed breakfast, lunch and dinner as if he were a toddler, was constantly fussed around with toys and ‘surprise gifts’, supervised while he played with the farm pets, was taken on regular outings to the village or to visit relatives and cousins, was entertained with on-demand-no-repeat stories weaved around themes and subjects of his choice at bedtime and of course he loved cuddling up to his grandparents at night only to have his doting grandpa wait on him until he woke up the next morning! So…after all this…can I blame him for not wanting to return home?

So it took a constant reminder played out every day for the whole of last week for Abhay to reconcile to the fact that all good things must come to an end! So as we went to Dharmasthala to pick him up over the weekend, Abhay seemed to ready to bid farewell to his own little paradise and head back to reality! Reminiscent of the wonderful time he had with his grandparents, I had to log into Grandpa Ken's rendition of “Grandma Grandpa and me” a Little Critter adventure from Mercer Mayer. Little Critter is all excited to have a sleepover at his grandparents’ farm. At first he sleeps by himself in the guest room but as soon as thunder strikes, he hops onto his grandparents’ bed apparently because his grandparents fear thunderstorms! While he drifts off to sleep lying in between his grandpa and grandma, he is woken up by his grandpa’s loud snoring (Abhay could totally identify with this!) The next morning he decides to help his grandpa milk the cows, gather eggs from the hens but ends up making a mess instead. But like all grandpas, Little Critter gets away with his mischief. He then decides to let grandma benefit from his helping nature and assists her as she bakes a blueberry pie for a baking competition at the farmer’s fair. Little Critter has lots of fun accompanying his grandma and grandpa to the fair where he watches his grandma’s pie win the prize and he just knows why – because it is made with lots of love!  Thanks Appa and Amma for taking Abhay in during his summer break and being the kind of grandparents even I would have loved to have!