Monday, November 29, 2010

Helping Her Cope With Departing Visitors

It's always difficult for a little one to understand the fact that the visitor who was here till yesterday is gone today.

A family member who comes for a short stay and then goes back, will, in most cases, end up making your toddler burst out in tears.....Toddlers and young children find it especially difficult to adjust back to regular routine once the guest is gone. If it's a cherished family member who has now gone back, the trouble is even more.

Many times, children will not voice their sadness, they will not tell you they are missing the person who has left now. But the signs will be all over the house. A child will most likely be touchy once the house guest has left. They will be upset or angry at the slightest instance, not ready to listen and almost as if waiting to find an excuse to cry. Your child may be moody or sulky, may refuse to indulge in the regular activities they did before the guest arrived/left and may not want to listen to you at some instances, they may also accuse you of being unfair. All these are signs that your little one is missing that person in the home....that they are trying to deal with the separation of the house member who has left.

When her grandparents told her they were leaving, my three-year-old daughter went up to them and asked in the most innocent expression ever - 'Why? What have I done?" We realised she was taking their leaving as a sign of something wrong that she had done. It is wrong to tell children that their doing something wrong or naughty may result in mamma-papa or others leaving. We are guilty of doing this sometime or other, I am sure you may have done it sometime unconsciously too.

In my experiences with my little daughter, I have realised that children have a very short attention span if they have other options of distraction around. So, both me and my husband make use of the fact that once a visiting relation leaves, we give our daughter ample things to be distracted with.

This may not always be a materialistic way of getting out - we do not always buy her or a book or a toy. There are many ways this can be handled easily.

1. Two-three days before the date of the guest's departure, we keep telling her the guest has to go back home, that they have people there who are missing them and now they need to go back there and get back to their work.
2. We reassure our daughter that we are here with her and will always be - it is only the visitor who will be leaving.
3. Sometimes, if there is a new toy or a book that I know my daughter is especially looking forward to, I make it a point to not show her the same till the last moment, when the person has left. Then I sit down with her and help her go through her new possession.
4. I always take my daughter to see-off the guests. We do not tell them to sneak out. Leaving while the child is unaware will only make them more insecure, they feel that there is a chance that mummy-papa may suddenly vanish too...This is applicable in daily life too. It is always better to let a child know that mamma-papa are going out, and to let them say their goodbyes.
5. Let your child get involved in some activity when the person leaves. Christmas is round the corner. So I brought down last year's Christmas tree and asked my little one to help me with the decorations. We spent the whole day decorating the Christmas the midst of the lights and the mistletoe, she forgot who had left and that someone had left at all.
6. Sometimes we leave for a movie right after the person has left. That helps her get distracted too.
7. We avoid talking of the person who has just left, so that our daughter does not remember again and get sad.

Give your little one more love and affection and give them your full attention once the guest has left. Let them know and understand that mamma-papa are always around no matter what, and that together, you can still have a lot of fun....

And like I always say and believe in:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Day Papa Went To Live In The TV !!!!!

That day hubby was at work late and I decided it was a good moment to watch one of those home-videos, the ones we shoot and seal our memories in....

So me and daughter sat down in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn and saw the memories when we were just a 'couple' baby yet!!! And that was precisely the first question that came up......'Where is baby? Why is baby not there?" I explained that baby was doing something very important...she was busy somewhere else with some important that did the trick for some time...

After a few minutes the screen was filled with me and hubby and others....and all of a sudden came a wail from this side of the TV..... 'PAPA IS INSIDE THE TV!!!!'

I turned around to look at my little one and she had already given up the popcorn bowl, looking at the TV instead and pointing at her papa who was happily doing a dance inside the screen, oblivious to the fact that daughter was watching and missing and crying...

"Papa will not come back to Navya? Papa has gone to live inside the TV? WHY IS PAPA IN THE TV? Call him now...NOW...I want him here...PAPA...come OUT!!!!"

She got up and ran to the TV and asked her papa to come out immediately....and then started the tears...she got really upset and scared and sad that her papa had gone to live inside the TV...and she was extremely concerned that now papa was forever locked inside the would he ever come back to play and fight with Navya?

I tried to explain her but the concept was just lost on her.....

She got up and went and stood near the TV screen...then, as if a thought had occured, she went and got a glass.....
"I will break the glass and hold papa's hand and pull him out...then I will put the glass back..." she told me...the glass in question was the glass on the TV screen and the glass in hand was to break the TV screen.

I managed to pacify her and make her agree to wait for a few minutes and papa would be back home with her....switched off the TV and it made matters even worse...the screen was black and now papa was lost !!!!

Finally she heaved a sigh of relief as papa came back home and hugged her :)

That evening was a discovery!!! And an experience.... What innocence...I had never imagined there could be such a reaction to seeing papa on TV !!!

Lovely....ain't they?

And like I always say and believe in.....
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ
Happy Parenting!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Because I Said So....

How many times today did you tell your little one to do something, just ‘because I said so’?

How many times did your little one question you back about something you asked them to do and your instant response was – ‘because I said so.’

Think about it, we all do it all the time. Telling our kids to do a certain thing they may not want to do, or may not really understand, and when they come to us with the question ‘WHY’, the best we can offer them is – ‘Because I said so’ or ‘I am your mamma and you do as I say’ or ‘Don’t ask so many questions, just do what I said.’

It’s the easiest way to get out of a tricky situation, or to make it easy on ourselves and evade clarifications, but think about it – what if everyone around you would always tell you to do something of which you didn’t have a clue, and the only reason you kept doing it was because they told you to…how frustrating would that be?

Babies don’t come out in the world with their little heads full of wisdom. The tiniest bit of knowledge and understanding, logic and reasoning that will help them grow into intelligent and better human beings is something that is given to them by us – the parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, peers, family and all other associations they will make over the years.

It can sometimes be exhausting to answer each and every question they have. And sometimes, there are really no answers to what their young minds come up with. It is at times like these that we end up giving them the universally used ‘escape route’ answer of ‘Because I said so.’

My little three-year-old is a pro at questions now. Her curiosity had begun to develop as she was crossing the months, be it trying to understand what that little thing was hanging on her baby crib, or what was that big thing (tree) she saw outside her window. When she could not speak she would point with her finger and make those gurgling noises, the ones that indicated a question. And of course, the day she started to talk, there was no stopping the flow of questions that had piled up.

A few examples of her questions:
“Why are you big?” “Why am I small?” “Why is the moon white?” “Why is the moon in the sky? When will it come down to me?” “Look mamma, the moon is torn (referring to a moon partially covered in clouds)” “Who put the water inside the tap? (when she wanted to put water inside the tap herself using a mug)” “Can Minnie Mouse jump out of the TV if I hold her hand?” “Why is papa inside the phone? Why is he not coming home to me? (talking to her papa and missing him)” “Can I fly? Why? Plane can fly. I want to fly.” “I will not share. Why will I share (referring to sharing toys with her friends)? You don’t share your toys and books with friends na?” “Why are you not sleeping? Its night no? (referring to when I put her to sleep but don’t sleep myself).” And there are many many more….

Most of these questions, when asked at moments when I am occupied, has seemed to be rather absurd and I have committed the sin of dismissing it with a ‘I said so.’ But these same questions, when I thought back later with a clear head, had a deep sense of curiosity and an urge to know. And I realised what a mistake I was making as a parent.

It is much easier now and better too. For I have made it a practice to try and answer as many of her questions as I can. It is informative for her and her seemingly innocent yet practical questions give my thoughts a fresh perspective, a new way to look at things. I cannot but admire my ma at moments like these, who used to answer to my each and every question when I was a kid. She never once dismissed my questions as being useless, and it is to her that I owe any of the good things that I can claim to pass on to my daughter.

'Heal the world we live inSave it for our children' - MJHappy Parenting!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All Of Me That Is She.....

So now that I have a little daughter I am really beginning to understand what my parents used to mean when I would question them on something and they would say - ‘you will understand when you are a parent yourself’, or when they would go through the family albums checking old pictures of me and my brother or talk endlessly about my antics as a child and I would ask them to stop, they would get back with - ‘you remind us so much of our own selves its amazing’. I did not really understand any of it then, sounded more of just the ‘parent-talk’ that children get all the time. But now that I am a parent myself, things seem to have come back full circle.

It is amazing how a little new life can be so much like you. When you have not taught her your own characteristics, your own likes and dislikes, and yet she knows all of it, even the most eccentric ones, down to the last detail.

I see so much of me in her all the time…..especially now that she is in the wonder-stage of being a toddler, it is amazing how she already knows all the details of my likes and dislikes and has started emulating much of me…most of my habits now a part of her daily routine too.

Like books. The reason I mention books first of all, is, well, because for all these years, all my friends and those who know me, always seem to associate me with books. Ask them about me and I am always the ‘girl with books.’ So it was with great pleasure that I noticed her first inclination towards this magical world of books, and now she is one of the biggest inhabitants of the book-world. Not only that, as a child, and I must admit, even now, I had this peculiar habit of keeping my current book that I was reading under my pillow while sleeping, it was as if unless the book is under the pillow, it will vanish when I wake up. And I realised one day with amazement that my daughter too keeps her book under the pillow before she dozes off. Not only books, I used to keep all my girlie little treasures under the pillow and she does the same, some days it’s a favourite hair clip, some days a torn old pic of a cartoon character she loves.

Of course I don’t have to go over my emotions once again as she shows an inclination towards the cuisine from the part of India where I originally am from. I know I am being biased here, but who can not help but smile when she goes out for a lovely family dinner and all she wants is fish…cant keep the ‘bong’ness away for long.

My parents say I used to hate those days when I was home from school, that I always talked about school and was eager to go to class. My daughter is on a two-week break due to school holidays, and even though she is only three, she is hating each and every moment of it. Not only does she cry each day to take her to school, she tells me before sleeping each night what to prepare for tiffin the next day at school, asks me to keep her uniform ready as she will go to school in the morning, and when she sees that both mamma and papa are not sending her to school, starts calling friends and family and asks them to take her to school. She even has dreams about school.

I have always had an immense love for music, I love to sing and hum and listen to different kinds of music. And one of my sure-shot ways to uplift my mood is to sing along loud to my favourite music… daughter LOVES music of all kinds…and all languages…she loves to sing along…even before she was two, she knew the lyrics to many songs and could identify a song the moment she heard the first note.

I am a crazy lover of dance and my daughter can dance the whole night non-stop..she can carry on dancing as long as we choose to have the party.

Play acting….I could spend the whole day making up stories and playing different characters all on my own….my daughter weaves her own stories now and play acts all the time at home…..

I had a fondness for raw lemon, that harsh taste of extremely pungent and sour lemon drops on your tongue….my friends used to gawk at the way I would savour the taste…my daughter does just the same. Take her to any restaurant and the moment she sees a slice of lime, she will pick it up and savour the juice.

I loved playing teacher teacher…it is one of the most favourite games of my daughter’s.

I love bags….have to admit she loves too….already!!!

I sleep on my right…she does too.

I loved to draw as a child……she loves too.

I always used to recite poems on the swing….she does too.

I was always fascinated with planes flying up in the sky and the dot disappearing in the night sky….she loves watching planes

Durga Pujo was and still is my most favourite festivals…..she has started loving it too

People say I have expressive eyes. I make a lot of signs and expressions with my eyes….so does she..

I don’t like spicy food…same for her. I don’t like chilled water….same for her.

I don’t like colas….same for her.

I was always an inquisitive child, always asking millions of questions for each sentence my parents uttered…so does she

As a child, if my parents happened to be talking amongst themselves, I would get between them and turn their face to me…………my daughter does the exact same thing now.

I always used to fight with my mum as a child, even now do, but I loved and love her with all and more than just my heart……my daughter too has all her fights and tantrums and sadness pangs with me, but she wants my hug and my assurance and even for a single moment, she does not like it if I am not there….she loves me like no one can ever love me.

So much of me in her already.......and I know each new day will bring in some more discoveries soon……

Like I believe in and always say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reconnect Time With My Little One - A Weekend Getaway

Just came back from an amazing long break – three long days of what I will call ‘reconnect time with your little one.’

The past few weeks had been extremely busy for hubby and me, and the one person who was getting affected by all this work, by no fault of hers, was our little daughter. With mommy and papa both busy and stressed, she was missing those long hours in the garden, as mamma would have to rush back home to finish something or the other, she missed those bedtime-stories with papa, as he came home too tired and too late, sometime late enough to miss saying goodnight. No, all was not well when we missed that smile and those long hours of cuddling and doing nothing really with our little one.

So a break was an absolute must…..away from all this noise and stress, away from the never-sleeping monitor of the laptop, the constant ringing of the phone, the many social obligations and that ever-the-culprit ‘I-will-just-finish-this-in-a-minute’ and spending the next hour on the laptop…..we knew we had to get away from this and that is exactly what we did.

We knew pretty much what we were going to do on the trip – nothing! And that is exactly what we did – nothing!

So the first trick was to select a destination which would hardly have anything to do outside the hotel.
That decided, we knew the hotel we were going to stay in was one of the leading names today, both within the country and abroad, as the epitome of Indian hospitality. So there was no hassle of worrying about what to expect in terms of hygiene and food and other so-many thoughts that invariably cloud a parent’s mind on every trip.
We wanted this trip to be one close to nature, where we had consciously decided to plug-out ourselves from the eternally-grinding machine called ‘urban life’. So no laptop, no work, no phone and no TV. Instead, our car was loaded with kiddie books, colouring books and colours, kick-ball and swim suits and our books that we were looking forward to read at leisure.

The drive in itself was fun – for a change we decided to chuck the music system, instead, our little one sang and recited poems the whole way and we all joined in. She would look out at the speeding country-life outside the window and point at the hills and the forests and the animals and the lakes…stories were born and tales told, some by me, some made-up by her.

My little darling is a huge bookworm, and what could be better for her than to be left free in the bookstore and browse through books? Since we were not watching TV in the room, she made many dashes to the bookstore in the lobby, going through the many books and pages of stories and fairies and monsters.

As it was the Diwali weekend, the hotel was decked up in lights of the diyas and colours of the rangoli. Our little one loved to see the countless plays of fireworks up in the sky from the balcony. The whole city lay decked up in front of us, the sky a stage of many colour and splashes. She enjoyed every different colour, shouting ‘red’ ‘green’ ‘yellow’ at the different bursts of colours in the sky from the fireworks.

We all indulged in the luxury of endless hours of sleep, not being disturbed by the phone or the calling-bell. Our daughter had carried her collection of books from home, and she had also added to it at the hotel, so now she had a whole new set of books that awaited reading. Our family-bedtime was spent snuggling inside the comforter, propped up on the pillows, papa reading page-after-page of animal stories and santa and princess. Each sentence would be followed with a little voice chirping with endless questions and we would patiently tell her all that she wanted to know, before proceeding to the next line in the story. We never knew when we all dozed off to sleep.

Breakfast was fun time, sharing from each other’s plate and sampling a different fare from each plate.

That over, it was time to rush out to the huge sprawling lawns. Long walks and poems and our little one was in love with the routine, and so were we. The touch of naked feet on soft wet grass, playing kick-ball and running around with abandon, no boundaries to adhere to, every space yours to enjoy…….the flower bed formed under the trees were a big draw for our little one. She would pick up the many different flowers from under so many trees and form her own pile, the game being to see how many different colours she could get. She collected twigs and started a counting game, seeing how many twigs she could collect before she came to a stop in counting. She ran with the butterflies in a game of catch-me-if-you-can. The swing was a favourite part which she indulged in for hours, singing aloud songs and poems at the top of her voice.

Back in the room it was time for more stories and colouring and snuggling and playing together.

We never realised how these three amazing days came to an end. But we did realize one thing – sometimes it is really important to let go of the many deadlines that so become a part of our lives and instead, head out somewhere, just to be yourselves. After all, no joy is worth that smile you see on your little one’s face after a story-session or as you are throwing that ball to her at the park…..

As I believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Juggling Her Vacations With My Work....

The holiday season is on and it is a full 02-weeks I have with my little one now....Well, of course I am happy....ummm....well....yes, really, I am.....

But I am also a lot of more things.....can't help it you see, it comes with the territory of being a working mum!!!

So the moment the 02-week vacation was announced from her school, my first reaction, yes, I admit it, was - '02 weeks!!!! Oh no no no. What am I gonna do now??!!!!!" Well, yes I knew I would have her with me the whole day, and we would have tonnes of play time and story time and song-n-dance time, cuddly time....all those lovely moments that only your little one can bring to your life...But then, I would also have all those mails to work on, all those messages to revert to, the phone calls to answer, the meetings to be planned, the work to be assessed and planned for the coming days, all the writing and editing and everything else that is my work...Where would I fit in all that with a toddler in my lap, asking all my attention and time?

So the day before the 'vacation' really began, I spent the entire night sitting up and planning the next two weeks..and of course, finishing off any pending work I had...
The morning of the first day of vacation I was really hoping she would wake up much for my wishful thinking, but I guess now that she is tuned to her 'school' routine, she anyway wakes up at pretty much her school time all seven days of the week...Yes, okay, I know it is a good thing...
My forces were all ready - colouring books all displayed in prominent places in the house, colour box ready and full of lovely colouring pens and pencils, baby-movie DVDs stacked up, board games and jigsaw puzzles, books, activity books, toys...everything ready to assist me for the next two weeks.....

So its either a lovely picture-colouring book and a box full of crayons while my daughter is sprawled on the floor creating her masterpiece, or a big tub of popcorn while she is settled on the couch with comfy cushions....And where am I? Check for me behind a door or a different room altogether, talking into the phone urgently and trying to finish off all my work before the masterpiece is complete or before the movie is over....

Oh, for now...I really gotta go :))

'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!


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