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Rhyme – Rewind – Recollections – Ruminations – Review

Rhyme – Rewind – Recollections – Ruminations – Review

My earliest memories of a nursery rhyme goes back to teacher Collins in Lower KG ferrying us into a classroom and having us listen to “How Much Is That Doggie At The Window?”

How much Is that doggie at the window?

Bow – Bow…

The one with the waggley tail…

How much is that doggie at the window?

I do hope that doggie’s for sale!

Okay I got carried away in that! I have faint fading memories of a classroom full of wooden benches and toys, a rocking horse and a very strict Teacher Collins who we grew up to fear even in high school. Back in the day Convent education started early and even as Teacher Collins magically transformed into Santa Claus every Christmas riding us toffees on a bike, her persona through the rest of the year scared me to death and back!

I must have learnt the usual bunch of Mother Goose Rhymes but then as the ‘Little Blue Song Book’ took over, most of my growing up tunes comprised of 5 Hundred Miles & Colours in the Rainbow. Rhymes receded into the unknown folds of kindergarten memories, never to be visited again until the moment when I became a mother!

Three decades later, I found myself at a loss of tunes as I tried to nurse, soothe and put my new born to sleep. Having been the voracious reader that I was, I had already started talking to the baby after the 17th week, knowing well that the Googly (the baby as we called him in the womb) was listening to his mum’s voice. But singing? What could I possibly sing? I hummed old Hindi film songs, the ones my father put me to sleep with. They worked! So the song list became a huge hit! While the bedtime songs worked, I worked on putting together another play list of songs to keep the boy awake. Having a new born doze off to sleep in the middle of a feed, or have less playful hours or cranky bath sessions meant I had to reinvent the wheel and come up with new distractions. And that is when the world of nursery rhymes came rushing back into my life once again!

However, like with everything else that came with motherhood, my sense of research and studies on rhymes and children’s songs took a diametric turn towards discovery and revelation! For example, did you know that Humpty Dumpty has several interpretations and allusions through history and literature? Popular perception attributes the anthropomorphic egg to King Richard III who had a humpback and lost a battle despite having an army. Another reference is to the city wall of the British town Colchester. The wall that was called Humpty Dumpty that crumbled under the heavy weight of its own cannon. Despite having men and armies, the wall could never be resurrected. At another point I discovered that Ringa-Ringa-Roses referred to the London Plague of 1665 that caused many deaths, particularly children. And so suddenly one day, from a young mother buried under excessive research, I decided to keep things simple.

Peppy, animated and easy to sing (with complete abandon & no regard for pitch or scale), nursery rhymes soon took over my preferred choice of music for varied activities. I would hum, sing and animate rhymes with actions and movement for my infant to watch with is eyes open wide. His tel maalish before his bath would be exactly five minutes and in all that massaging, tugging and squeezing I would sing One, Two, Buckle My Shoe. Bedtime rituals included Go to Sleep My Baby followed by the classic Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

As V grew up, we brought home our first iPad and while the father and mother customized the shared device with apps of our choice, we also looked at justifying the purchase by saying it would be so useful for the child! And that was the beginning of a terrible mistake that we made early on. V was only about a year old when we showed him his first experiential nursery rhyme on an app. Touch and tap and the stars moved, tap the cow and its moo-ed, tap the garbage can and the cat peeped out! To a little boy this was nothing less than magic. And then began the tantrums! Much to our horror, V would throw a fit if we didn’t show him the iPad and we were at a loss of ideas. All it took was a firm NO and an immediate disappearance of the gadget from all our lives. We used it only when V was asleep and removed it from his universe completely!

Did he miss out on rhymes then?

Oh no! For his humour and our play I downloaded songs from YouTube and put them on a pen drive to play on the television. With most of them being action based songs, every day we had a gala time putting our hands, feet and bodies moving.

The YouTube is an exhaustive resource of songs, rhymes and animated stories for children. I usually have a host of international channels subscriptions and downloads for the now rationed digital experiences that V has. Unfortunately, I have found very few Indian productions that meet the basic levels of quality. With poor pronunciation, music production and uninspiring animation, I have mostly stayed away from indigenous playlists and channels.

Breaking the clutter is a new, fresh and vibrant YouTube Channel called KidsHut with a host of Nursery Rhymes, Bedtime Stories and Things You Want to Know.

First as a parent and now as a storyteller I work very closely with children of all ages. With my own being a 3 year old bubbling toddler, I continue to work with young children. My Busy Bubs Happy Program is meant for the younglings, with toddlers as young 18 months attending my sessions with their mums. Children have a keen sense of music and it is always the one thing that perks up every session. Between a story and rhyme, songs and activities each session has a carefully knitted experience for the child. So if I read the book Goodnight Moon, we do the Twinkle Twinkle song with actions. Resources like Kids Hut then act as a complementary aid taking the experience to the next level of audio-visual stimulation where the child sees something familiar and learns to make connections. Now imagine explaining to a child why the moon shines!

V and I spent our morning going over the Kids Hut playlist in detail. We went over the rhymes that we all so love, with Wheels On The Bus inspiring us to sing it with actions.

Head and Shoulders is another ditty that inspires us to get up and flex our muscles. Try raising the tempo of the song and it will have all the adults huffing and puffing!

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Old MacDonald is a favourite that has been passed down almost like a family heirloom to us, with each generation loving the song as much. So no matter how many versions we have heard, there is always a fresh one at disposal.

I am still very traditional when it comes to bedtime stories, so as a rule I always refrain from any digital experience at bedtime. My stories are audio-visual all right, but that includes reading a book and me animating it with my telling. I always advise parents that videos like these are great teaching aids to pick and learn how to tell a story. So maybe, you can take cue and show these stories anytime in the day and just restrain it to simple telling at bedtime. J

What I really like about the Kids Hut stories is that they have created the lovely brother-sister characters of Tofu & Tia where the latter being the older sister very gently weaves in stories to explain simple concepts and morals.  After all, that’s what stories do?

Take the 3 Little Pigs for example. The story is a classic that almost everyone has heard of. Tia explains the concept of resourcefulness through the story of 3 Little Pigs and how finding a solution is not always tough!

If I were to weave in a lesson in the story, I would also try and teach a child about objects and weights. Making stories experiential have a better connect with children.

It was only very recently that I told V the story of Red Riding Hood. He also happened to hear a version of the story in school. In my telling I had the wolf lock up the old grandmother in a wooden cupboard. The thought of an animal wolfing down a grandmother could be a potential source of nightmare and so I changed it. In the school V heard the other version and the Kids Hut story has the same mention.

When I asked V to retell the story, his wolf ate up the grandmother too! There is just as much as we can tell our children!

Most of what we browsed in the channel is fairly good, especially the Tia & Tofu series of stories and ‘Things you want to know’. Some videos disappoint in terms of music and animation, falling into the trap of unimaginative and repetitive animation. Every Wednesday and Friday there would be new videos up on the channel. So pick and choose what you and your child like.

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Kids Hut gets a satisfied 3-thumbs up from V and his Amma.

 We would like to know what you thought of the Kids Hut YouTube Channel. Which are the videos that you liked and what did you think of the stories?

Thank you BlogAdda and Kids Hut bringing this opportunity to bloggers.

This post is a part of Kids Hut activity at BlogAdda.com

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16

Stay A Child Forever – Children’s Day Contest

When Vihaan was young

…wait a minute, I always have to check myself from saying that!

I am a two year old mother. And every now and then I forget that he is still very small. He likes aping his father, and like a typical fan-boy does everything his father does. He rolls up his sleeves, wants to wear a blazer the first thing in the morning, eat from his Baba’s plate, parrots him when he says something…everything that he does leaves me watching in disbelief. He has a preference for clothes, he likes to dress up and steal a glance in the mirror. He has favourite toys, and he watches over them with great care. Even a broken car cannot be thrown away because it is “Mumma-gaayi” (Mommy’s car – a miniature Nano).  He has favourite games on the iPad, which he knows how to operate. He picks up dances perfectly and almost any sound is enough for him to start tapping. When Baba and Mum-um are in the middle of a conversation, he joins us for his two bits. Mostly it is a babble of seemingly sounding intelligent words.

In everything that he does, I can’t help but notice that he is growing up! And oh! So fast…

I wish I could do something to turn back time. I wish could do something to freeze these moments. I wish I could keep my child a child forever!

Stay a child forever title

It is not just about moments…it is about the child-like qualities that I cherish about our journey as child and parents. I have forgotten many things about my childhood. And my parents only remember a select few…small snippets that are our pet conversation points when we meet. But I often wonder if I shared the same qualities that V exhibits today; his ability to deal with rejection, for instance. It’s a sheer moment of delight to watch my son walk up to absolute strangers and befriend them. With a smile and an tiny hand outstretched, he believes everyone will be his friend. The very next moment my heart is broken into a million pieces as I watch him being turned down. It hurts to see him being turned away from a game of play by the older boys. Unflinchingly, he tries again. I wonder if I was like that as a child. If I was, then what happened as I grew up? How come I am disappointed with rejection? Why do I give up so soon? Why have lost patience?

Childhood for most of us is a pretty memory of the past. And as I watch my son grow up, I hope it isn’t the same for him. I hope and pray that he doesn’t grow up thinking that his childhood was an idyllic world. I hope that my child grows up to carry some special qualities into adulthood. I believe that childhood doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. Childhood is special to us because of the worldview we had has children. It is remains an idyllic world because it wasn’t coloured by prejudice. It remains a fond memory because as children we were ruled by our hearts.

So dear V, please stay a child forever. Please carry these beautiful qualities all your life. Carry them with pride and believe me, life will be just the way it is now…

Curiosity-final

Stay the curious child that you are! When you were just a few months old, all you wanted to do was be held up. When you began to crawl, all you wanted to do was explore your surroundings. You find intelligent and crazy ways to discover things around you…sometimes even yourself. Your are curious about your reflection. But I can’t help imagine what if there was really a mirror image of you? Am I curious about that thought? Umm…I don’t know! Don’t let that happen to you when you grow up.               

forgiveness-text

Every morning I trick you on my way out of the house. My heart breaks every time I step into the car because by then you realize that I am gone for the next 10 hours. And I can hear you cry for me. I think of you all day, wondering if you are thinking of me too. But your little big heart soon forgets me. By the time I return in the evening you forgive me for not being there. Please be forgiving. There will be bigger disappointments in life, more hurtful moments and things that wouldn’t be pleasing. Don’t hold a grudge ever…may your little big heart have it in you to forgive forever.

Smile through your tearsIt takes a lot to smile through tears. And looking at you, I know how effortless you make it look. That time when you were hospitalized, even between those raging fevers and painful injections, you kept the whole hospital staff smiling. May you always find a reason to smile…not just for yourself but also for those close to you.

Sense of Wonder-text

From you I have learnt that there is music when utensils are banged. That there is beauty in watching the rain and sailing little pretty paper boats. Never lose your sense of wonder. Give the world a chance to surprise you. Keep the discoverer in you alive and don’t be scared of taking risks. Yes, but when I ask you not to jump on the bed, please listen to me!

little joys in life - text

When you came into my life I learnt that there are little things in life that matter. You taught me to play with a broken toy. You taught me to enjoy a hug. You taught me that it is fun to sit at the dinner table and eat together. That it is beautiful to watch a Youtube video of a baby chasing a tiger in a zoo and laugh as if it is us! The tickles at bed time. The silly mix of hockey, cricket, football and golf that Baba and you play. The silly steps that you make us do. The selfless kisses you give me…life is about these moments. These are the little joys of life. May you always find your moments of happiness.

collage-stay a child forever

Never give up - text

When you have to walk a mile, you often ask to be picked up. You are not a cranky child…and you know that no matter how hard my resolve it will eventually dissolve. In this world, dear son, everyone’s heart is not as vulnerable as your mothers. There will be many roadblocks ahead. There will be many challenges. Like your little persuasive self, that you are now, never give up. You will have your way. It will be tough, but not impossible. So hang in there!

Imagination - text

You believe us when we attempt to threaten you with a lizard. As you grow up you will know it was just the light we’d switch on in the balcony…but in your little child’s brain, you would imagine a lizard, flashing its eyes. You humour us…just because we are trying to scare you! Sometimes you turn your blocks into a garage for your cars. Sometimes you make a room for your soft toys. I love to watch you pretend play…keep imagining my child. The world is yours, as long as you look beyond the obvious.

utility

Looking at you, we know a toy basket is not just for storage. We look at you and learn that a souvenir can become a driver in your car.  Or that the cushions on the sofa can form a hurdle for your cars. or Pooh can take a plane ride. To me, you are the master of all things juggad! Keep it that way, and you will find many solutions in your life.

Never Stop Learning - text

Be it words, numbers, colours, or the beginning of alphabets. Or the sheer joy of reading. I watch you in delight as you naturally pick up learning skills. I am not doing anything here…I am just trying to make learning fun. Even if it is to learn how to make funny noises in your mouth! So far, it is…and as long as it remains that way, I am sure you will keep learning. Never close your mind to anything. There is so much to read, see and experience. There is something to learn every day. Today Radha Maashi (your nanny) teaches you numbers. Tomorrow someone else will give you life’s lessons. I hope you are always open to learning. Life ends, the day you stop learning…

get your hands dirty - text

You are a child now, and it is the one thing that you instantly love. You love your hands messy. You love to colour your hands, to squash a tomato, or sit on the floor and get them dirty. Just like when you paint, remember you have to sometimes get your hands messy in order to make something. Don’t be scared of it…

Contest Details

Share with us that one childhood memory or quality you would want your child to remember forever…because childhood doesn’t have to be a thing of the past.

Open to parents of all ages! It doesn’t matter how old your child is! If she is grown up like me, tell us how she resembles the person she was a child. Or if she has lost that spark in her, why she should she bring it back! I would love my parents to share. 🙂

Contest Sponsor

This time round, we’ve got not one but three different sponsors! Each of them Entrepreneurs in their own right, building their companies through passion and talent.

THE MOTHER’S BASKET 

A mother takes care of the home, hearth and family. From mothering a baby, to setting the perfect table, to fluffing the pillows, to knitting woollies for the grandchild, to weaving the perfect shrug for her daughter. A mother, a homemaker she has her hands full all through the day. The Mother’s Basket is a home-business for one such enterprising home maker. What began as a hobby grew into a preoccupation, and today Shampa Ghosh at 55, is venturing into the world of entrepreneurship with a hope to make lives of other mothers beautiful. 100% handmade, 100% homemade, these items will make your life truly colourful.

MOTHERS BASKET

Shampa Ghosh (who happens to by my mother :)) will give away a hand-crocheted stole. Made of baby-soft wool, this pink, cosy piece will go well with all outfits and silhouettes.

CREATIVE BOX

Started in 2006 by Bhairavi Malkani, Creative Box began its journey by conducting art & craft workshops, with environment as a theme. Taking this theme a step further and combining it with a personal penchant for folk art & fashion, it ventured into fashion accessories, home & living products and wall art.The little box brings out a mix of clutches, handbags, trays, coasters, boxes and home decor products which are purely hand-made and up-cycled. All the products are made from left-over,unused or extra fabric, accessories, materials etc, which are sourced from various tailors, shops and almost everyone who has something that they don’t know what to do with. The products are hand-crafted with skilled artisans thereby supporting their welfare and livelihood and also preserving our folk culture. Bhairavi also conducts art & craft workshops for all ages. At the workshops various kinds of art are taught – warli painting, glass painting, paper craft, upcycled art(using waste things and turning them into utility or decor products) and regular drawing & painting. Bhairavi was born into a creative family with her mother and sister into baking, and other siblings as a professional artist and advertising. For Bhairavi, her husband is her biggest source of inspiration and ideas.

Creative BoxBhairavi will give-away a specially designed Vanilla-Creme handbag…a perfect accessory for the fashionable mum!

YELLOW GIRAFFE 

Richa is the founder of ToyTasting, a video channel on toys. After its success, she launched an online toy store called Yellow Giraffe. Apart from being a regular contributor to international toy magazines, she is  part of the international Trend Committee at the International Toy fair which is held in Nuremberg, Germany. Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg is the largest international trade fair for toys and games held annually since 1949. Richa stays in Mumbai with her husband and two daughters.

YG-Final

Since toys are personal, Richa and I agreed that parents should be allowed to select the perfect toy for their children. As the third prize, we give away Rs 1000 discount voucher for a single purchase at Yellow Giraffe.
All You Have To Do

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On-board the MommyshipCreative Box & Toy Tasting

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VeesMother (That’s Me!)

Tell us in not more than 150 words that one quality you want your child to remember all his / her life. You can use the blog or the Facebook Page to post your comment. You can also send me your entry by email. Send your entries to: rituparna (dot) doc @ gmail (dot) com.

We would love you to share one image as well, although it is not mandatory. There are prizes for all entries, so you’re a winner anyway.

Contest is open to residents of India and is open all through November!

So write in! 🙂