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“Maa, I have a headache!”

It’s 10:30 in the night and the toddler suddenly announces, “It’s hurting Maa,” pointing to his head.

Shocked!

A 2 year old complaining of a headache? Too much tv? Lack of sleep? Hunger? I mull over my options in a nanosecond.

I look at the father as he quickly gets up from his position. He pulls the son close and ask, “Where does it hurt you baby, show me…”

The son pinches his temples and says, “here”.

The father panics. “Oh! His head’s paining. Why? Where is it hurting baby…show me again.”

The boy points to his knee this time.

“Arrey!” comes the response from an exasperated father.

The next minute the toddler turns to me and says, “Maa give me a medicine.”

The father and I look at each other
Our jaws drop open.

Flashback 30 minutes. 10 pm. Bedtime.

The father hurries us to bed. He has to wake up at 6.

“I have a headache ya…I want to sleep. Give me a Saridon na,” he says pinching his temples.

I give him one.

The toddler wants to eat a medicine too. The father makes a charade of popping a pill into his mouth and even gets him to gulp it down with a sip of water.

The matter is soon forgotten. Over the next 30 minutes we play our usual bedtime games. Rolling over, reading Old Mc Donald, fake punches and jumping. Yes, we’ve recently learnt to jump on both our legs!

30 minutes of mindless fun and then the boy fakes a headache.

I pop in a small homepathy pill into his mouth. He makes a huge charade of washing it down with water.

“Feeling better?” I ask.

In reply comes a nod and a flash of his dimples.

Five minutes later, “Maa I want more medicine!”

“Lights Out” I holler out.

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Making The Best Use Of A National Holiday

With a working mother who is out 6 days of the week, it gets really tough sometimes. So when a National Holiday comes in the middle of the week, we choose to use it well.

It began last night with these pots of homemade paint. We made a fresh batch of yellow, green, red and chocolate brown. The red and brown look similar in the picture though.

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The morning started with V’s favourite activity – kalaloo (colouring).

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We brought out yellow & green today. So first with brushes and then with fingers, our homemade paints painted a messy canvas. (Btw…these paints are totally eatable & washable)

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Next up, some fun with numbers. We brought out the ice-cream sticks and pipe cleaners. Happy to note that V can comfortably identify numbers 1 – 10.

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Lastly, we played with our colour flashcards. I made these sometime back and we hadn’t used them in a while. V enjoyed identifying his buu, oange, pulpul, edd, blaack. 🙂

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We also used the pipe cleaner for a quick game to put to test our motor skills.

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This comfortably took care of nearly 2 hours! Mommy was happy she could hold V’s attention for sometime. And V seemed pleased that Mommy wasn’t running away today.

More on these individual activities later…

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I hate dog eared pages, stained pages, broken spines and books that show visible signs of disregard.  My heart goes out to books that are peddled in second hand book stores. To me, they are like ageing parents shunted out homes to fend for themselves. But like I don’t run an old-age home, I don’t go bringing second hand books every now and then. I need to be convinced that it is a rare, out of print book for me to be compelled enough to buy it.

Of course, this argument doesn’t hold true for books I have inherited from my parents. One of the perks of having parents who read is that some of those habits pass on in the genes. So all the good habits regarding reading and loving books have been seriously passed on. So when I see my two year old ripping up a spine I cringe in pain! This is the third book that he has managed fo rip apart despite my brave attempts to keep his exploratory claws away from them! V likes to read. Let’s say he likes to be read. He turns the pages, looks up pictures and sometimes makes up his own stories. But how do I teach him to be gentle with his books?

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I try and buy mostly board books for him because at his stage they are easy to handle. But then there are a few paperbacks. On most occasions I am able to protect them, but then in his eagerness to explore the books he often tends to get rough. I have tried talking to him through it,  saying that a book feels hurt when torn and that we are friends and we should love our books. I am not sure it is working! A significant part of raising a reader bis to instill in him a love and respect for his books. I am not making any headway in that direction yet!

SOS! Anyone who can help me?

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Dear Son, Girls are NOT meant to be Raped

Another day, another city, another girl and another rape. Why does it not shock me? Or maybe it does, but I am beyond any sensation. It worries me that my child is growing up in a world that doesn’t learn from its mistakes. It worries me to see that the world my son is growing up is increasingly antagonistic towards women.  It worries me to see the commodification of women. It worries that I may have to tell him that a man must protect a woman. I must tell him that the world is an unsafe and hostile place for women. I worry that I will have to make him a custodian for a woman’s honour and safety.

It worries me that I have a son. It worries me that I have the gigantic responsibility of answering the questions he may have about violence against women. As he grows up to songs like ‘Fevicol Se’, hear politicians say that his colleague is a ‘tunch maal’, or a society that judges a woman for what she wears and who she goes out with; I worry, that I have a lot of answering to do for him.

 I worry that I have will have to watch him closely, give him the right lessons, monitor his actions all his life. I worry that my son’s view of women is a reflection of how I have brought him up. The way my son behaves now and when he grows up will be a judgement of me.

This was the Rakshabandhan week. A prominent festival on the calendar, we had a very curious theory about it when we were in school. Some guys liked sporting a handful of rakhis. Some girls went about tying rakhis to a mass of boys. While some others joked that how so and so will not tie one to so and so; and sometimes it also became a matter of heart break when someone approached you to tie a rakhi when you were hoping she would be a girlfriend! Were heart breaks so uncommon then? I don’t think so. But not every spurned lover turned murderous and landed up with an axe in class.

You can read the rest of the post on Parentous. 

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The Camp Diary

Last week V completed a month long summer camp at Maple Bear. He moved from being a 20 month old toddler to a month older and was one of the youngest in the class. I can’t say about him, but I definitely learnt a lot of things and grew up as a parent in the last one month.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the last one in the world who will push her child towards academics and look at ‘teaching’ him just when he has barely learnt to say a few words. Much of my family cringed at the thought of sending him to ‘school’. But I was clear in my head…I wanted V to go and spend ‘quality time’ with other kids. And by default, with me!

Getting back to work has been a struggle. Not for me, but for our relationship. Over the past few months I have seen V grow from a happy child to an irritable, angstsy toddler with visible signs of anger. In an earlier post I had mentioned that I considered these to be ‘teenage’ symptoms and so began a process of diverting his attention and energy towards positive results. The summer camp was one such distraction.

A month long ritual of going to ‘play’, mother, son and nanny, we had a joint activity that we looked forward to five days a week. In the process, were broken a few misconceptions, many lessons learnt and some friends earned. Not to forget the ideas that I came back with!

 

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You will find the rest of this post on Parentous

 

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My Recipe to Handle Toddler Tantrums

It’s the precursor to the ‘Terrible Twos’ – the stage that we as parents have been dreading all along. With V however, the signs of the TTs (Terrible Twos) came in earlier than we imagined… as soon as he turned 18 months.

I don’t know how many of my readers here have toddlers, but Sirisha in an earlier post wrote of the ways she handles toddler tantrums.

After all, when you are 19 ‘months’ you still qualify as a teenager!

Much to our horror, we discovered that V had turned violent. In his quest to assert his independence, he was, what I called it, “Going through teenage angst”. After all, when you are 19 ‘months’ you still qualify as a teenager!So tempers were flying every now and then. Deny him something that he wants and he would start hitting his own head with his hand, pinch himself on the cheek and screech at the loudest decibel… enough signs to get us worried.

By and by he learnt the fine nuance of self-defence. So if the kicks and slaps didn’t work then some head banging followed and when everything failed, he discovered that he has grown enough teeth to bite! Phew! Much of this experiment has been with us… his nanny and me.

I soon realised that V was more patient with kids of his age.

Worried as much as I have been, I started looking up for ways to divert his mind and anger! I enrolled him into a summer camp. What better way to utilise nervous energy than spend it playing. I knew we had the risk of him venting his anger at other kids, but I soon realised that V was more patient with kids of his age. He would steer clear of the aggressive kids and play solo (which is a normal thing to do) and if someone wanted a toy that he was busy with, he would just cry. In the last one month I have not seen V retaliate and hurt another kid.

But has that affected his tantrums? I like to think that it has. He is growing more tolerant and I have learnt more ways to divert his mind. More so, I have learnt a few things about tantrums…

Read the rest of the post at Parentous.

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Let’s go for a drive!

So Mommy’s car has gone for servicing and the little man keeping up with his custom of going for a drive / walk in the morning insisted that we go out. It’s another thing that he howled from the balcony when I went down to talk to the driver who came to pick up the car. Standing with his nanny, V saw the driver take ‘Mumma’s Gaadi’ away. But then he wants to go on a drive now!!

“Go, get one of your cars…Mumma’s car has gone baby. How can we go on a drive now?” I say.

The little man walks towards his toys. He sifts through them and pulls out the biggest car he has in his garage.

With one hand he picks up the car and with his other hand he takes me to the door. He asks me to open the door and points to the stairs leading down to the road.

V is convinced that he can lend Mommy his car. After all, she’ll take him for drive na!

Well…I have to give it to the man’s sense of imagination and innovation!

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