Category Archives: Daughter a precious gift

Book of the week

This week we have been reading ‘ The world of Peter rabbit and friends ‘ by Beatrix Potter .

The book was sitting idle in our library for almost two years . The date written on the book shows we bought it on Pearl’s 5th birthday . As usual Ruby read it for once and discarded it . I had tried to read it to Pearl quite a few times before and then dropped. She was too restless to listen . She likes stories of princesses and fairies . A typical pinky girl 😀 Now that she has started reading on her own and can understand what is being read she is digging out all the old books from our library . And I am loving it 🙂

What attracts me to the book is the beautiful paintings . Peter is a naughty little rabbit and the stories in the series revolve around Peter rabbit and his friends and neighbours .

The stories of animals in Balarama and Poombatta were always my favorite . What a pity I did not come across Potter’s books when I was a child myself . I simply love her way of writing and her illustrations . Its a joy to read how animals spend their day . hehe 😀 😀 you are correct 😀 More than the kids I am the one who enjoys all these children’s books.

Now we have a collection of her books . I cannot stop myself whenever I come across a Beatrix Potter  book . Lately kids have started to haul me away 😦

Enjoy ! A good read with lots of plots to keep little minds engaged .

Clay Modelling

I think it is the season for clay modelling and Harry Potter .  Yesterday Ruby made some excellent clay models that I was forced to pull out the long forgotten Canon from the depths of my bag 😛

When he is not making clay models he is reading Harry Potter . And Pearl is busy with all her activities .  My favourite is her girly stories with loads of pictures in it .

Playing dough

Yesterday night itself we decided it is going to be a ‘Play- dough ‘ day tomorrow.  In the morning , somehow it turned out  Ruby and Pearl would do a guest post for me .They didn’t do much writing or typing actually . But they came up with a great clay model . They take it from here 🙂

My sister and I love to play with dough. We make flowers,mushrooms, diagrams and animals.When we went for summer camp they showed us how to make dough.Today we are making a scenery.It has a horse ,boat and a mushroom.

They outdo me when it comes to ideas and making models . So I just sit with them and enjoy their work . Clay has been a great help in bringing out  Ruby’s ideas.  They didn’t right away start making super- duper clay models . A great deal of clay has been lost in that journey . All Colours  got  mixed  up and  there was always a lot of mess . One fine day they started to make  nice models  and I don’t know when this transition really occured . Now they keep it  separate in their respective boxes after use and don’t mix up colours . Here are some other clay models done by them .

Butterfly mask

Snail garden

And this is an interesting link about clay and children .

Why do we yell at our kids ?

A few weeks back Shail Mohan shared some thoughts on her blog as a reply to one of my comments .


If we recognize our own confusion and fear as an adult, we will stop shouting at children for things beyond their control. The screaming and shouting can be kept as last resort instruments for more productive purposes, when they disobey our just demands for example. Don’t you think so??
But sadly most parents I have found shout when they are scared and confused. What signal does that send to the child??!

I was thinking about it for a while and delaying my response as it is one of the biggest problems confronted by young parents like me.I am noting down the random thoughts that crossed my mind .

Just take a look around you. Every where you will see parents yelling at kids as though they have done some fatal crime . Just now I saw a parent haul her son brutally after yelling at him  . This was just for sitting on the dust in the parapet . Yes , there was some dust there . I too agree. But I don’t think it needs that much attention and show off . Whatever signal she wants to send her child she is sending a message of supremacy to others who happen to sit there 😛

As Shail wondered what signal do we send our children by yelling at them? I gather the child thinks he / she has gone terribly wrong . Or that they are always wrong . And are not loved . In a way we are telling them we have more important things  . By doing that we are also closing the door of communication . The only door open to us parents to reach our kids once they venture into the real world far away from our protective wings . Mind you , this magical door is kept open to parents only in this magical young age . Soon the door will be crowded with strange looking friends and macho heroes that you will not even get a space to peep in to see what is going on inside there. Make the best of it while you can .

By screaming and shouting we are also putting the child in an equally confused state and taking away the safety feeling and confidence. After an outburst have you ever asked your child what he/she understood ? Just try it next time and you will get the most funniest answers. Most of the time the child doesn’t even understand what they are scolded for. The very thing that you wanted to convey is lost in the uproar.

The yelling comes from the fear that your child, the fruit of all your efforts , the prodigy who is going to gain you all the credits for being a super parent may do some thing wrong.  Instead of thinking that the child is just being a six-seven year old we take the short comings as our own failure in parenting and is eager to cover it up. Just like Shail noted , one of the grave aftermath of yelling , screaming and shouting is the fact that we are left with no arms and ammunition for the future when we are more likely to deal with serious problems other than jumping on the bed or playing ahead of sleep time.

As they say , the problem with parenting is it doesn’t come along with a manual . And your child is same as the surprise Kinder Joy you buy for them . You don’t know what is inside . No body tells you before hand what is right and what is wrong for your child . Trial and error is the only option.

It would have been great if there were some arrangements to train the expecting parents on the psychology of kids , different types of kids and the expected emotional behaviour at different stages and so on.

Some thing I have observed with great interest is parents , especially mothers are always eager to advice other young parents. I think this happens because they learn what is right and what is wrong only after bringing up their child  🙂

Grand parents could have done a great deal of help. But like most of the mothers reading this would accept it , we are not ready to take advice from our mother-in -laws or even mothers when it comes to bringing up our child . I think this happens because in our mind apart from the all the positive thoughts we have about our parents , we know what went wrong when they brought us up . And we don’t want that to happen to our child. So we try in every way to correct and compensate for it and end up doing some thing wrong in some other aspect. And the cycle continues.

One thing that I hate in a new born baby’s room is the hot discussion that goes on and on between mother’s family and father’s family about the right way of bringing up kids . And most of the times I see the mother’s family has to mutely accept what the father’s family says. I wonder why people cannot understand there are different ways of bringing up newborns  and each style is unique to the region.

I see that I digressed. It is such a hot topic 😉 Coming back to yelling,  I admit I have also done it many times . My son had had a real tough time while I was expecting my second born . And even after child birth . There were many people to help me but no one who can be ‘me’ even for some time. I was confused and scared . I was afraid if I would be able to do a good job bringing up both the kids . I took it out on the most vulnerable person around me . That was my son and I reaped the rewards.

Now I have deliberately controlled this misbehavior to a great extend . When my kids drive me crazy I tell them straight what is upsetting me. I suggest them ways to modify their behaviour. I explain to them situations . Quote examples to show what is right and what is wrong. Tell them stories from epics , movies etc. I give them chances . I tell them that it is not a pass or fail situation . They can always improve. And that they always have a next chance .

Here are some tips or points to ponder .

1. While you are with your child try to keep your anger on hold . ( yes, it is possible.)

2. If the issue in hand is not going to affect the child’s future go easy on it .

3. Hold the child and  give a two minutes ‘ silence time’ before you speak. This will help you to get the child’s attention and give you time to gather your thoughts .

4. Take the time and patience to explain to your child what is wrong . And also make it clear it is the action that is wrong and not the doer .

5. Please don’t make statements like ‘the child is the one who is causing all the problems in my life ‘ . ( I ‘ve heard it many times from several parents ! )

6. Please don’t tell you are taking the major decisions in your life because of / for the benifit of your child. You are the one entitled to your life. And your child is entitled only to his /her . Please don’t burden them with the weight of your decisions .

Let them grow light- hearted . And let us make them ready to take on the world when the time comes .

Pleas share your thoughts !

Moma – Daughter Painting duo

Pearl had been sick and at home for a few days . And she wanted to watch TV the whole day . So we came up with some instant games .

One is this painting competition where two of us painted our pictures .

Daughter dear's 'Rabbit in the forest'

Insane Moma's 'chick & snail'

In her opinion her painting is very professional and lively while mine is a bit plain and childish ! 😀


A journey to the lap of Sahyas ( Silent valley)

Ever since  I read ‘River’s end‘ by Nora Roberts I have wanted to visit a forest reserve and to go on a trail . I am not one who speaks loud about my dreams . May be this is the first time any of you hear about my innate dreams .

Then after I turned to child driven learning I was inspired by Tiffany’s posts on their visits to National Parks . My search for National parks in Kerala ended at Silent Valley . The valley formed by the southern range of Western ghats or ‘Sahyas’ and Northern range of Nilgiri hills. One of the most protected regions of Kerala . ( By protection I mean from human interference or invasion ) 😛 One thing is the word has a pull in it . The place was named ‘Silent valley’ by the British as there are no crickets in this place and the forest is some what silent in the night.The western ghats and the rain forests have been one of my all time passions . And after almost a year of chasing the season there Hubby  booked at Parikrama travel agency a couple of  months back .

I love to plan for trips even more than the trip itself. I like to set every thing perfect , sit back and watch the family enjoying . Kids also  love to pack for the holidays . Where ever she goes Pearl takes her swim suit and dolls and is good to go. Ruby packs every single book he can find related to the place plus his comics and story books . They love to sing along with the music cds .We have this habit of visiting places during off season and we love to have the place to ourselves . This time also it was the same as it  was the Christmas eve .

We started early morning and reached Palghat by afternoon . If any of you pass Palghat at Noon see that you go to ‘Hotel Nalanda ‘ . Food is great . Especially sambar and the non-veg dishes .We stayed at KTDC ‘Tamarind ‘ . The valley is almost 20 kms from the hotel . But later we came to know there are tree top villas near to the park which could have been better choice . The entries to the park has to be booked in advance which is mandatory .Timings are from 8.00 am to 1 pm . There is a bus and few jeeps. No private vehicle is allowed .

We set out at 7.00 in the morning . Three of us ( me and kids) wearing camouflaged dresses and hubby in a blue kurta and jeans .

Inside the park it is real forest .  The trail has some tribal colonies and coffee plantations in the buffer zone .

Ruby looking down at the attapadi tribal village

The attraction to the place is not the animals but the forest . The undergrowth is very thick which makes it difficult to spot animals . For spotting animals Parambikkulam , Walpara , Karadimala etc. are more ideal choices . But as I have said earlier the name has a pull . With the classes on eco system and all just starting I wanted to introduce the kids to the habitat of Jungle.

Hubby asked the driver cum guide about the chances to come across big wild animals and he said people have come across bears and tigers but there have been no casualties yet . I prayed to God to spare my kids 😉 Once into the core area it is thick jungle . The environment changed and the sun light faded . Ruby kept on telling about the freshness of the air. On the way we got out of the jeep to see some black macaws and the silence pressed on us . It is a sweet and heavy feeling .

As a kid , I have always imagined this place to be the abode of Kapeesh, Pintu , Mottu, Peelu, Bandila, Balu,and all of them in ‘Poombatta’ . And it looked and felt the same !!!

The jeep carried us to a point called Sairandri which has a watch tower to see the mountainous beauty around. And that is the last point where any vehicle is allowed. In between I spotted two leeches on my feet. They seemed to be  great fans of geometric symmetry . We knocked them away and my feet bled for another two hours. Later I learned we can use salt to keep them away.

The watch tower is the high light of Sairandri . It is huge and even though climbing it is a bit tricky the view from up there is breath taking .

I stand here on the top of these mountains . The air is thick and resounds with all the poems written on the beauty of my land. Who would not want to write about this overwhelming beauty. I feel like a school girl listening intently to the Malayalam lessons . I bow my head to all those great poets who were moved by these immovable monuments of nature to pen verses even more beautiful .

The panoramic view reminded me of the beautiful lines from a patriotic song. ‘kaanuka kaanuka janma bhuvin komala malar meni’ which can be translated as ‘ come and see the gentle beauty of my mother land ‘ .

The Kunthi river as seen from the watch tower . It flows about 28 kms in the deep forest untouched by human hands. It is believed that Pandavas spend their hiding time during the exile in one of the caves near the river .

At Sairandri there is a forest museum with elaborate descriptions of the flora and fauna of the area. Every thing works with solar energy . The sound machine was not working . Instead Ruby mimicked some of the wild animals . 😀

We couldn’t go down to the river for the hike as the elephant herds were out and roaming and the trail was closed . They warned us there is no definite path to run back if the elephants came after us.  I was let down for a while. Anyway we couldn’t have walked 4 kms up and down with the kids. We saw some mountain squirrels and then started our way back.

On our way we came across forest turmeric, forest ginger, forest plantain , forest gooseberry …. Finally we got the trick we have to prefix every thing with forest 😀 We had started the safari early at 8.00 am and it was almost 1.00pm. Kids were getting tired. Sitting in the jeep I intently searched for lion tailed macaws up in the trees. Instead I was treated with a view of variety of birds, some more mountain squirrels and black macaws.

Then all at once hubby and the guide shouted ‘Tiger “!!! The cat came running from the level above our path and jumped to the next level. No. I didn’t see it . Neither did the kids. My eyes were fixed on the trees and kids were slumping on the front seat. Only hubby and the guide saw him. And the family who was with us was really disappointed. But with an open jeep and the beast running very fast probably in the midst of a hunt it was wiser to move on.  Anyway he ran into the forest and we couldn’t have followed him. Kids got very excited. The whole journey back was filled with tiger stories.

We were the ones dressed up in camouflage and all and Hubby was the lucky one to sight the real beast. And that is what I love most about him. He always get better of me without even trying. Even wild animals know who pays the bills hmm… I wonder how words get around in the jungle.

Back at the hotel we visited another nearby dam and the next morning started our journey back home.  On our trips we rely mostly on fruits and our car smelled like a fruit cart . We discussed in length about leeches, vampire bats , their mechanisms and unique features , hirudin , how they are used in medicine and lot more.  We talked about the geographical specialties of Kerala , the western ghats , monsoons , the different uses of dams , how rivers form from springs. We moved on to evolution , dinosaurs , tigers, leopards and jaguars . We congratulated the smart tiger for his eminent camouflage that made it impossible for us to see him 😦 We wondered whether lion is a cat or a dog and promised ourselves we would check it first thing after reaching home.

Ruby spotted  some terraced farming and mushrooms and wanted to take pictures so that he can take it to his class. We passed through boards which say ‘ Agali ‘ is only a few km  and Pearl couldn’t comprehend why the place was named ‘Ugly’ !!;)

I changed the music into the 80 melodies and Ruby drifted over to the pile of books he had brought from home on jungle animals. Once in a while he put his nose up to update us on some new endangered species . By the time we reached home Pearl had convinced herself that she had seen the back and tail of the tiger and all she wanted was the school to open 😉

Just like the numerous hoardings that welcomed us at Silent Valley announced , journey to a forest is not a picnic . It is a pilgrimage to find ourselves. It is a place where silence and time speaks to you . Even if we come across the wild we leave them on their way . And we do not litter . Man is only a part of the whole chain and nothing more. We have no right to disrupt the balance of Mother nature.

2010 @ Krishnaleela

With the New year ahead just in a few days I was wondering what I was doing last year this time . With some back to back reading I figured out we were fully engrossed in exams and projects . This year with the ” Progressive assessment program ‘ CBSE schools have only two exams . Mid term exam and final exam . And with that our schedules changed a lot since last year .

Ruby and Pearl just has to study the every day portions and then , they are free .

And here at Krishnaleela we used the year for self-identifying and realising . WE were subtle . But we were also active . Kids were given complete freedom to follow whatever interests them . They are slowly loosening my ties on them and spreading their wings . I am watching them with awe .

This year Ruby had only group projects which they discuss among the group and do themselves . Parents just have to help the kids collect whatever they want . I sort of miss doing projects with him . We make a great team . But I am amazed at the ideas and organising put up by the little ones. So , I didn’t have much to post on the projects .

One other major step was Ruby started reading by himself . It had become a bit difficult for me to answer all his questions . But now I just have to see that library is well stocked . He uses his text books just as an index. He depends more on outside reading . And he carries all the relevant books to school to share with his friends .

Pearl has also started reading and every day she selects a book that I would read to her . And later she would read it on her own . Nobody asks her to . But she does this by herself. Now that she has this dance program coming up at school she is busy at school and home trying out the steps . If any of you plan to visit us, I warn you ! Please keep some time aside to watch her dance 😀

This year the only major problem from the school was /is dictations . One of the teachers is conducting a dictation program every day /any day . In fact the students do it. Any of the student dictate 10 words every day and all those who score less than 8 marks has to get a signature from the parent . With the students searching for the toughest words Ruby comes home with a score ranging from 0-5.

We were following a good spelling curriculum at home . We concentrated only on the key words according to his standards with out much pressure on him . And he was doing extremely well .   But this dictation has spoiled every thing . Now we don’t even speak about spelling other than for playing scrabble and flip words or to type on the internet . I don’t know why the teacher wants to torture the child every day of the week. It could have been done once a week or twice .

Ruby has been exploring his artistic skills with great enthusiasm . Now he is identified by his classmates as the one with great colour sense . And I too feel , his colour combinations are excellent .

I and Pearl have been through many trial and errors to bring her temper tantrums under control .  But it seems it would be wiser to leave her like she is .

I went through some major metamorphosis . I have some how managed to get a hold on my short temper which I did not think would be possible in this life . And I have finally found out something called ‘patience’ really exists. Now I can actually see people even when I am in a high temper and think beyond the moment which really is an achievement . And I realised life is not a one day match . It will not provide answers overnight .

The only thing man is entitled to do is ” Celebrate every day of life and don’t miss even the small moment of happiness life brings ” .

Between me and hubby and the ten years left behind we discovered that we will stick together through thick and thin . With every year we walk together the beauty of couple-hood is growing . May the years ahead bring more beautiful moments .

And with all these 2010 is slowly fading away and I plan to make this my sticky post until the New year and spend the holidays with lot of cuddles and snuggles in our own little world , unless I stumble upon something really interesting to share with you .

A very very Happy Christmas and Happy new year to YOU !

image courtesy - Google search