From N’s mouth

In the train on the way to Bathinda where my sister stays currently, N looks at me and says”Are you excited about seeing your sister?” I say “Yes”. N gives me a raised eyebrow look and says “Okay, but when you see her don’t go all hyper and run to her saying yayyyyyyyyyy”.

When did I ever do that???

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At my in-law’s place, I was helping my mother-in-law in the kitchen. N wanted me to play with him. I told him to wait till I was done helping daadi (grandmother). He crosses his arms and says “Hmmm now that you have got a mother you have forgotten your son. That is very nice (said with a sarcastic twinge)”.

Huh, too many Bollywood movies I say!

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N was having a candy bar. My mother asked him if he would share some of it. N paused, looked at the half eaten candy bar and said “Here you can have the wrapper. I can share that with you!”

I swear this is not what I have been teaching him about sharing!!

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While watching a show on Discovery Kids about how salt is made,

N: I know where salt comes from. It comes from water!

Me: How do you know that?

N: When we were in Thailand and I was playing with my friends in the water on the beach and the water came on my face, I licked it and it was salty. So I membered (for remember) from there.

Me: 🙂

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Walking back from the library nearby in Bathinda, N while walking in some sand: I am in Egypt mamma, want to join me?

Me: Why are you in Egypt? Where is Egypt here?

N: See there is sand below my feet. Egypt has sand dunes and camels. So this is Egypt. I read in Diego’s adventure in Egypt book.

Me (to myself): Fine! I will not hold a prejudice against Diego and Dora!

Day 22 – Things to do before I die – Theme post day

This week’s theme post brief in the December 2012 Marathon Blogging event was – Let us lay our hearts open, and talk about our “Bucket List”, 10 things you want to do before you kick the bucket. It may be a plain and simple bucket list, or a contextual subset, 10 adventures you want to try, 10 foods you want to try, 10 holiday locations you dont want to miss, and the list goes on! Run your imaginations wild and entertain us all 🙂 10 is just a number, it will be easy for people to read and interact, else sky is the limit.

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I had made a sticky note for myself about things I wanted to do in the next 5, 10, 15 years here. This was almost a year and half ago.

I am listing the ones not yet completed on that list along with some new ones.

NOTE – This is a work-in-progress list.

– Travel within India – Leh, Jaipur (to get a bandhini saree), Agra (to see Taj Mahal – yes clichéd, but still), Gujarat, backwaters in Kerala (boat house anyone?).

– Travel internationally – Bora Bora Islands (this one is going to be a no-kid-with-the-spouse-only holiday), Italy (for an authentic pizza), London (this time a longer trip), Antarctica, Dubai (to buy gold, yeah right!), be a volunteer at the Olympic games.

– Read books, loads of ‘em and collect all those books for my collection at home. Here is why I love to read?

– Write a children’s book – this one is inspired by my son.

– Take a cruise to Alaska.

– Take N to Disney world. Just once! Before he outgrows love for all those characters.

– Do something that I REALLY LOVE and have natural passion for (money and time not being constraints) – something that makes use of my spatial skills (my friend A says I am good at these), my love for books, decor and photography.

– Watch plays at Ranga Shankara (as long as I’m in Bangalore) and else where too. Addendum to this one – See a broadway show -front row, center 🙂

– Learn to cook amazingly, fabulously, awesome-ly, stupendous-ly and some other -lys. I am such a foodie and love to try new things, eat visually appealing food but I want to be able to make those dishes or at least half of them. Some day!

– And the one dream that I have been harboring since a long time – Live in Manhattan, on the island, even a studio apartment will do or a loft overlooking Central Park (I know I know I am not that rich but it doesn’t cost anything to dream, does it?), walk to work amongst the teeming crowds, watch theatre on Broadway, take the subway, have a picnic in Central Park! – This has been partly fulfilled! I am living in Wellington downtown. The apartment is one of those modern, white, ceiling-to-floor glass windows wala thingies. I walk around to everywhere possible. I use the public transport when needed. The city has a waterfront that I really like and often walk down to. But I am still going to keep this one on the list for sentimental purposes.

What is in your bucket list? 

Books I want to read

My latest list!

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas – watching the TV series based on the book.

the happiest toddler on the block by harvey karp

battle hymn of the tiger mother by amy chua – done!

open by andre agassi – borrowed it from the library today. will get to it soon.

Betsy Brown Braun, author of Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk – Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – Done

Raising Happiness:10 simple steps for more joyful kids and happier parents – Christine Carter

Raising an emotionally intelligent child – John Gottman

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Short fat chick to marathon runner – Kerre Woodham

100 shades of white – Preethi Nair – borrowed from the Librarian’s recommendations at my local library – Done

 

What do I want to pass on to my son and give him as a foundation?

I read this post by Sangi for her son’s 8th birthday. The first thoughts I had were of relief that there is still time to build a foundation for N after reading this  – “So what I think I know today is that we’re over the first phase of parenting – that initial 0 – 7 block where most major physical development happens.”

She describes some of the building blocks of phase 1 (0 to 7 years) very well and what she and her family have accomplished in that category. That inspired me to jot down what I have been thinking about in bits and pieces. A sort of guideline I would like to go by in the years to come.

N is 3 years, 10 months and 12 days old as of today. And we keep working on a lot of areas of development – both physical and mental. But ideally there are some things I would like to focus on and achieve, more than others, over the next few years! I say years because a friend who has 2 boys mentioned some time back that it does take about 6 to 7 years to teach them all they need to know about the basics. The learning never stops though… it is a lifetime process. But around 7 years they are pretty independent and have a basic set of values, manners and interests.

~ Social skills – basic courtesy of saying hellos and byes when we meet people or go to someone’s place. Thank you’s and pleases are mandatory too! I normally ask N if he would like to show his affection or love by giving a hug or a kiss but I wouldn’t push him if he doesn’t want to. I feel that is the worst thing to do, you actually crush the child’s intuition and sense of good or bad and you put them in an uncomfortable spot.

~ Physical development – So far N has been a very active kid and sometimes on the extreme end in the sense he just cannot sit idle. He likes running around and playing games and is a big outdoor person. I intend to continue and encourage that. Maybe start a formal sport once he displays and interest in something and is at an appropriate age to learn that. For now I would like to make full use of the opportunity of being in New Zealand and their stress on learning the life-saving-skill of swimming. Lately he has been mentioning and showing us some gymnastics, partly because of the Olympics going on – the real ones and in his school too! I feel building stamina and endurance is also important along with overall physical development.

~ Helping around the house – I DO NOT want N to become one of those boys/men/boyfriends/husbands who think there is nothing they can do to help around the house or cooking is something they cannot do or the lady is there to take care of everything and she does it so well. I want him to be self-reliant and learn all the skills needed to manage a house and that includes cooking! He already displays an interest in cooking or helping me cook so that is good. He makes his bed in the morning by spreading the blanket on it, helps me set the table sometimes and I would like him to help with other stuff like, load the dishwasher, lay the table, do odd errands, load the laundry and help in general. His teacher at school says that he displays a keen interest in cooking and is the first one to help when things like pizza and jelly are being made at school.

~ Table manners – We need to learn to sit and eat properly without horsing around. Some days are good, some days are well best not spoken of – totally embarrassing and frustrating for both him and me!! We are working on picking up our plate and putting it into the dishwasher once done; to keep our elbows off the table and use our fork, spoon and napkin – okay maybe that last one will take some more time to achieve fully.

~ Sleep – After coming to NZ, N has a very good sleep routine. He is in pre school from 9 to 4 for 3 days a week. Once he is back he does one or more or all of these – play with his toys/blocks/cardboard boxes/pretend play/watch TV/videos/games on the laptop, then has a bath followed by dinner, brushing teeth, read a book or two and then zzzzzzz. He sleeps by 8 or 8:30 pm every night and wakes up at 7:30 so that is about 11 hours of sleep. But he still wakes up at night and comes to our room either wanting to sleep with us or asking us to put him to sleep. So I hope we slowly get rid of that and sleep pretty much through the night – that will mean N will have to learn how to put himself to sleep without any help. Note to self – Work on that aspect. Till then handle the dark circles around my eyes because of lack of an undisturbed 7 to 8 hr sleep.

~ Empathy – N has always been a little rough physically and he tests the boundaries we set for him very often. That has resulted in a very stressed out me in certain situations! 😦 But it has become better over the years. He is using words to express feelings. We need to keep working on that though, gentle touch, please use words, what would you do if someone did that to you (this one does work). Over the last 6 months I have noticed him listening more easily, understanding situations. And I have been reading a lot of parenting books too, to understand the working of a child’s mind somewhat better. I wish he learns to empathize with other people and their situations – a demanding wish, I know. This is something that even adults fail to do most of the time!

~ Reading – If there is one thing I would want to pass on to my son that would be the love of reading. Books have been a wonderful companion for me and I would love for N to discover the joy of reading books, the doors that books open to a magical, make-believe, sometimes real world! We read every week, go to the library often and are catching up on self reading too. One very good site we have come across is http://readingeggs.co.nz/ we have a 5 week free subscription right now. If any of you are interested, do let me know I have some free trial codes which I can share via email.

~ Respect – First, I would like to respect N as an individual and treat him the way I would want him to treat me. Second, I would like N to respect his parents, family, friends, teachers and any other individual. The same that he expects from them. Talking back and foul language puts me off totally and it can spoil my mood in an instant (yes, yes I am working on it!!).

~ Know his family – I want him to know his immediate/extended family – his maternal and paternal grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins on both sides. I want him to know that the circle of trust goes beyond just mommy daddy and there are other people who adore and love him to pieces. He should have the luxury of spending time with his grandparents, his cousins, his close friends; to know them and mutually share experiences and love. I feel it is a privilege of having family, one we tend to ignore too often, by seeing only the negatives.

This is not a full or final list but more of a guideline for me. I know this list could be longer, shorter or different for other people. To each his own 🙂

To end, I read somewhere that focus on making your kids good human beings and the rest will just follow. Amen!

Books we have been reading

N and I have been visiting the Wellington library pretty often – once or sometimes twice a week.

He goes to school 3 days a week. On his off days – Monday and Friday we go off on our expeditions! We visit the library or the indoor play area Capital E (which also has books, sponsored by Gecko Press) or Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, which is super kid friendly and has a lot of educational/fun/interesting stuff on display in addition to the museum-y kind of stuff. Sometimes we just hang around at home and step out for a walk or to play in one of the many near-by parks or just for a mommy and son lunch 🙂

We bring almost 15 to 20 new books every week. N chooses some of them and I pick some. So we have a good mix and have been learning quite a lot of new stuff – a good mix of cultural, moral and fun element!

Here are some books that I really liked. Just for your reference (if you don’t know already) N is 3 yrs and 10 mos as of now.

Topsy-Turvy Bedtime by Joan Levine

 This could be just the story at our place on some nights! The last-minute requests for a glass of water or choosing which books to read or “not feeling sleepy” etc. It was fun reading this with N and he tried out some of the tricks too and appreciated the routine and effort it took to keep that routine in place! A good read if you want to change your child’s perspective about bedtime routine (hopefully it shall help with that).

 

 

 

Benny’s Had Enough by Barbro Lindgren

This is such a cute lil story about Benny a piggy who is fed up of being at home where his mommy keeps cleaning up his potatoes and sticks and then she wants to wash his dirty little rag cloth piglet in the washing machine (How could she even think of that, huh!). He decided that he doesn’t want to clean up and leaves home to find a better one (didn’t we all want to do that as kids sometime). But once he steps out he realizes that home is the best place to be and cleaning up is not that bad 🙂 Good read and N sort of empathized with Benny (yes I am a stickler on clean up after play!). But he enjoyed the read and told Benny “Cleaning up is fun Benny, you can sing a song while doing that.” 🙂 The illustrations are very nicely done too!

 

Good For you, good for me by Lorenz Pauli

A book about a dormouse and a bear doing stuff that is good for both of them. Also passes on the message about sharing and taking turns 🙂

 

 

Green eggs and ham by Dr Seuss

I know this is an old Dr Seuss classic and N has read it long back, but he wanted to read again and so we brought it home. N loved reading it again – the whole rhyme and repetition was “awesome” in his words. And here is some trivia about the book.

 

Alex Did It! by Udo Weigelt

A book about 3 naughty hares and how they keep blaming an imaginary hare Alex for everything they do, till a real hare named Alex turns up. Was one of those books with a moral lesson hidden and it helped. We have just started having a li’l bit of fibbing at home, along with stuff like “Not me!”, “someone else did it”, “pretend friend did it” etc. Reading this book where the hares realized its ok to tell people if something bad happened and not okay to blame anyone else – real or pretend helped!

 

 

Waiting for later by Tina Matthews

We really really needed a book like this. N being at the age he is, doesn’t understand the concept of later! It is just now or never. As of now we have to give him clear pointers/reference points like when you are done having lunch and your bath then you can watch a cartoon. Simply saying “Not now, later” does not work, which is fine at this age but eventually he needs to understand. The book helps to learn the concept of waiting via a girl’s story who has to wait, for later, to play with her family and while she waits she understands that later is not that bad at all 🙂

 

We have also started bringing books that N can read on his own. So these are small and thin books with not too many words on each page and a lot of repetition of words. They have different levels to suit self-readers of all types – beginners, intermediate and advanced. He reads one of these series every night (or most nights) and then I or S read 2 other books for him.

We have slowly started the journey to read independently, lets hope N loves that and gets hooked on to it!! Amen.

I plan to…

– learn one new thing every day for the next 7 days! Lets see how creative I can be and how enriched I am at the end 😉 Why am I doing this? Just to add some fun into every day life!!

– visit other blogs (I have been very lazy in doing that) and read, catch up and comment!

– work on finding a weekend getaway with something to see and do in winter in New Zealand, preferably not too much of a drive from Wellington.

– work on my resume and send it out – that would be step one in looking for a job.

– have a family chat at the dinner table, about some basic rules and guidelines that the 3 of us need to follow in home and outside.

– go to the library and pick books for N. We are done with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also want to see the movie based on the book, with N.

– catch up on my reading! I am still on my Douglas Adams and I want to read all of these books next (not necessarily in this order) –

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Open by Andre Agassi

 Just Tell Me What to Say: Sensible Tips and Scripts for Perplexed Parents by Betsy Brown Braun

Phew! So much to do and so little time!

What are we reading these days?

N is reading or rather being read to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl. It is one of my ALL TIME favourites! I love seeing the movie too, and it is one movie I could watch over and over again (Normally, I cannot watch re runs, just can’t).

So I was walking back home after dropping N off to pre school the other day and I passed by this local book store chain called Whitcoulls (a la Barnes & Noble in the USA). They have their annual sale going on and on the display section, was this book – ON SALE – NZ $5 instead of the regular $20! The book-lover and sale-lover in me stared with eyes wide open!! I grabbed it lest someone else picked that copy up. Ya ya I was being paranoid, but for Charlie and Willy Wonka its ok to behave like that, right?? I know some of you are nodding your heads 🙂

N is also loving the book. We read a few pages or chapters every night. I love the characters, the simple yet detailed descriptions and language, the fun and quirkiness!!

The love of reading is one thing I would like to pass on to my child (err excuse me Mr Gibran this doesn’t mean I “seek to make him like me“). I have read to him from the day I brought him home from the hospital and even before that. And he does love books now and enjoys our routine of reading a book every night.

I believe books open newer worlds for us, help expand one’s horizon and make a person a better human being in the grand scheme of life! Which brings me to what I am reading these days? I am onto The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Its one of the quirkiest books ever and something that I had been putting off for a long time (still don’t know why!). And I think it is going to be one of those books which grow on you and then stay there forever! A classic in its own sense and genre. I am halfway through 2nd part – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and am loving it 🙂

There are so many books I want to read – to myself and to N! The next one being – Andre Agassi’s autobiography “Open” (have always loved the guy) and then I shall pick something from the Whitcoulls Top 100 books!!!

For N, I would like to start some books that he can self read. He can identify the alphabets and he reads them out from sign boards, newspapers, books etc. But is yet to group them into words like c, a, t makes cat! So I would like to get him some easy to read, self read, big letters books which he can start reading himself. I think some scrabble or phonetics also might help in spelling words. Any thoughts/suggestions/book recommendations for him? He will turn 4 in October!

Have a great week!! 🙂