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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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Agle Janam Mujhe Daddy Banayiyo

Okay, so this one is a polite makeover of a song and television soap title. I know I may be grammatically wrong, because I have dared to marry Urdu, Hindi and English, so please overlook the syntax and semantics here. What I mean to say can be translated as, “(Dear God) Please make me a Father in my next birth!”

ImageWhat’s wrong with being a mother? Well, there is nothing wrong really. I love being a mother and I can play this role all over again, every time I am born again. But yes, for my next birth I would like to be a dad!

Now don’t read too much into my desire. It is not (necessarily) born out of habit and a belief that fathers have it easy. I am not saying this because fathers usually don’t have to do all the dirty work mothers do. I am not saying this because dads don’t have to feed, bathe their kiddies all through the week. I am not saying this because dads don’t have to deal with an ugly baby flab post the baby. I am not saying this because dads have to stay up all night, night after night, week after week and month after month. I am not saying this because dads usually don’t have to deal with the schism between hearth and work. I am not saying this because of anything…but one thing…

Dads know how to win hearts!

Read the rest of the post on Parentous

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A’s to the Q’s!

We talked…and talked…and talked again! While I was nervously excited about the baby growing within me, I was equally paranoid about a thousand things! Is this the right time? There is still so much that I wanted to do! We’re married just two years, isn’t it a bit too early?? How will I handle the baby with no help? I am barely able to run the house with an office to go to, how will I handle the baby now? Will I be okay being a stay at home mother for the first six months? Will I turn into a demanding nagging wife, looking at blaming her husband for getting her bumped before her time? Is Aniruddha ready? Am I really really ready for this? 

*waves her hand in the air*

You get the picture? A perfectly planned event pre-poned without warning isn’t a good thing for the nerves! And I blame it on my raging hormones at the moment that I suddenly got worked up with a lot of anxiety…I really needed some time out to have a sane conversation with myself! Thankfully I did…and the answers came soon enough…

Q – Is this the right time? 

– Have I not answered surprise tests before? Have I not taken an untrodden path before? I have never been scared…so why now? I wasn’t planning for it…it was designed to be this way! I may not know, but perhaps, this is the right time!

Review of the A above – Okay, this is sounds highly spiritual and very unlike me…but what the hell…now the whole world knows how ‘traditional’ I feel about it! 

 

Q – There is still so much that I wanted to do! We’re married just two years, isn’t it a bit too early?? 

A – Mmmmm…how long have we been together?? Ten years…we’ve had our roller coaster rides! Time for responsibility!

Review of the A above – uh hello! Why does a baby have to change my relationship with my husband?? May sound idealist to all those who have experienced a change…but I know ‘us’…we won’t change! 

 

Q – How will I handle the baby with no help? I am barely able to run the house with an office to go to, how will I handle the baby now?

A – Get help! A house maid, for 24 hours…who will help me run the house and handle the baby when the time comes! 

Review of the A above – It’s easier said than executed! I am still running around to find one…damn those commission hungry agents!! 

 

Q – Will I be okay being a stay at home mother for the first six months?  

A – “Take a break girl…you need it!!” 

Review of the A above – I still believe that! 

 

Q – Will I turn into a demanding nagging wife, looking at blaming her husband for getting her bumped before her time? 

A – No! As long as he remains the lovable adorable husband that he promised to be whenever I become pregnant! 

Review of the A above – I have fallen in love all over again!!! 😀 

 

Q – Is Aniruddha ready? 

A – Oh boy! Yes he is…

Review of the A above – He is the one who has told more people…I am still holding my horses! 

 

Q – Am I really really ready for this? 

A – I am born ready! 

Review of the A above – Maybe not born…but growing everyday with the baby! I am a little more ready today than I was yesterday! 

 

 

 

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Hmm…how??

That’s what I thought when I first discovered I am pregnant! We hadn’t been planning…I mean we had planned it for next year, since we wanted a late 2012 baby…but then is it this easy to get bumped without even ‘trying’ for it??!! C’mon…we haven’t been even living together for the past two months!! With wheels on our heels, Aniruddha and I have been zipping in and out of town for a while now! And without getting into details of our ‘private’ lives here, all I can really say that we haven’t been really really working too hard!!

I’ve heard of too many tales of couples in their 30’s trying for a baby…and to be honest I was ready to be one of them, and not just because I was battling my mother’s concern of having a late baby, but because I knew I didn’t have the healthiest body to conceive without a lot many hits! So hit and trial is what I was mentally prepared for…! So you can imagine my shock and disbelief when I discovered the double lines in the home pregnancy kit! I was anyways too sleepy in the morning, but those two distinct lines really woke me up! Next up, was a phone call that I had to make…to the father of my child and break him the news!

The father was on his way to work…and until then I was trying to control my breathing and sound normal, my heart was jumping a beat to hear the voice on the other end! And the reaction was just the same… “hmm…how??” Thank God, for an understanding husband…a doubting Thomas would have asked for a DNA test! The next step was to go for a doc’s check up…just to make sure that we weren’t getting worked up for nothing! An USG confirmed a 5week + pregnancy and both of us again did our math! We decided to keep it to ourselves for a while…but that ‘while’ wasn’t too long!