Category Archives: Motherhood

Mathru Devo Bhava !

On this Mother’s day I salute all the single mothers and all the working mothers who try hard to keep the balance !

Last year I tried to note down what my mother means to me . She is the person who has influenced me most . I have wondered at times if she is some angel . I have never seen her take any selfish decisions . Frankly, it would have had done her much good :)She is the most sweet person I have ever met in this world.

This year , I would like to share with you the joy of being a mother . Yesterday I fell on the road while trying to ride the scooter and scraped my knee and arms. Hubby and Ruby was there . They said all the appropriate words , checked if I was injured badly and after being assured every thing is under control they went off  with their own chores . But when my daughter came to know about this she came and hugged me tight . Told me it is alright and that I don’t have to worry . She checked how bad it is . And said I am lucky that my other arm is not injured. She stayed with me till I applied the medicine . And all the time patted me and said all the soft words she knows.

Ten years I have only been on the giving side . Taking care of every one and also taking care of myself. Now I feel , I can sit back and take a breath. And it feels good to be taken care of . She is like that with every body .

At night she lulled me to sleep with lullabies she has learned from me . Only my mother has cared me like that 🙂

In the morning though , she claimed she slept very late after taking care of me and needs some extra time to sleep 😀 😀 And after checking the bruise told me she thinks I am not doing enough prayers . Otherwise it is time for it to heal 🙂 🙂 She suggested I should light the lamp and pray for some time . And all this very seriously 😀 😀 I can’t wait to see what a wonderful girl she would be when she grows up !

On another note today we had a  ‘ free medical camp ‘ and one mother came to me after being posted for cataract surgery . She doesn’t even know her full address . Apparently she lives with her son and DIL , but she came alone for the check up.  When I asked for address she gave me her ration card . I opened it and some  rice fell on my lap . She don’t have anybody to accompany her to the hospital and so cannot do the surgery even if it is done free of cost . She is not in a position to share their mobile numbers with us. And she started to cry saying she don’t have anybody who cares for her and why she should get her sight corrected .

All the fuss we make on Mother’s day suddenly flashed in my mind . And I stared at her blankly thinking about the ‘  Mother’s- day -special -post ‘ I was editing in my mind while taking down the details .

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 .

@Krishnaleela,

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 !

Vacation home work

I am making Ruby do the vacation homework  on a regular basis to avoid the last minute hurry- burry .  That is when we came across this question .

What is ‘a collection of pearls’ called ?

I thought it would be ‘ a string of pearls ‘. As always Google is our saviour . I stumbled upon this ‘collection of collective nouns’ link and printed it out for further use . It is says a collection of pearls is referred  ‘ a rope of pearls’.

You can also take a look here . ‘tinyonline collective nouns’ . It is pretty interesting.

Last week , I read somewhere dyslexic kids find it very difficult when they go to upper primary classes as the written work expected from them increases rapidly. And the nature of questions change to descriptive and essay types.  I have been thinking we have left behind the worst part for good . But I was so wrong . Two days into the vacation work have proven otherwise .

I really want to go back to that article and do some back to back reading and even look for some tips. But , now I can’t remember where I read about it .

Ruby is  stubborn as a mule when it comes to writing. And all the work I have done these years isn’t proving to be worthy enough.

What really saddens me is he knows almost every thing to the finest detail . But  just cannot put it on the paper in words and move on. This results in delaying – accumulation of work – frustration- more delay – more accumulation – more frustration . It is a vicious circle. And he is left out  helpless , until some body  steps in and help him out.

For the past few months I haven’t been linking and book marking any sites even though I learned and read a lot more about out-of – the box thinkers . I was thinking I have done enough home work . And also in my mind , didn’t want to make a big deal about it . But now I can’t remember any of it . What a loss.

While I rake my brain for the article I leave you with these three articles which I found very interesting and could not have expressed my early parent hood in better words . It felt as though the author is telling about my son.

Is my child gifted ? One mother’s experience

How to know your child is gifted ?

Even now I can remember the perfectly symmetrical building blocks he would make . If one piece is missing ,or if he cannot find out the exact symmetric block  he would get frustrated . So I always took extra care to  preserve even the tiniest block in our Lego sets.

This is also a good one . How to approach the endless questions of a gifted child. I figured it out the hard way though . This is also the answer to my ever growing Kids’ library. Somewhere in between I reached a point where my knowledge wasn’t enough to answer Ruby’s questions . He wants more details.

You know one thing , if I had studied along with my kids when I was a student myself I would have become a great scholar . Or they would have made me one 😀 But I believe a lot in the ‘ never too late ‘ way of putting things 🙂

When I met his resource teacher for open house she suggested it would do Ruby a lot of good if I can just soften some of his perfectionist traits . But it isn’t as easy as it sounds . I will have to find my way through and of course record it here as this blog also happens to be my memory cell. The ones I have in my brain is no better than a sieve .

Battling perfectionism in Children

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.

I am that mom !

Got all inspired by Tiff’s post which was inspired from  Ronnie‘s blog carnival .

Here is mine !

I am that Mom who simply loves to sing and dance with her kids

I am that Mom who loves to watch movies with them

I am that Mom who loves to hang out with them. Just the kids way .

I am that Mom who loves to enjoy her childhood once again along with her kids.

I am that Mom who loves to linger at the Toy shop along with the kids thinking how to spend the pocket money.

I am that Mom who stands with her kids no matter whatever trouble they are in.

I am that Mom who will see through it silently when her kids behave in the most unexpected way and every body else expect her to do something

I am that Mom who loves to hug and kiss her kids and get the word across rather than giving long long lectures .

Note : When I changed my parenting style a couple of years before it received a lot of questioning eyes . It was a tough decision to believe in my kids and ignore the usual norms . It was an effort to let the mother in me go to the back and to let the child in me be free .

The responsibility of my motherhood had become a menace to me , my kids and their father .Then one fine day I decided to change myself . To stop and see the beauty and happiness this world can give us . To enjoy every moment of my life along with my family . And here we are ! Instead of following the usual rules and regulations we set our rules . And I never had to look back again !

Happy Mother’s Day !

Mother and child - Raja Ravi Varma

To My mom, For she is the only one who understands what is in my mind. I can fool the whole world . But not her !

To my Mom , For she taught me to love . That love can make miracles, That love is the only answer !

To my Mom , For she taught me selflessness !

To my Mom , for she taught me to smile , hug and kiss !

To my Mom, for she taught me to cook with passion and serve with love  !

To my Mom , for she taught me the most important lesson in my life ; To forgive when some body hurts you !

To my Mom, for making Me out of me !

Aswathy.

On Mother’s day , Indus Ladies has compiled an ebook of Indian Mommy bloggers .

Indusladies Mommy Bloggers EBook

@ Cherai Beach… Before and After !

Before:

Two or three years before, I realised with shock that my son is really suffering for what we want him to be. Every thing was in chaos .I wondered were I went wrong. After I realised, he is a dyslexic child from the movie ‘TZP’ , it took me weeks, even to make a meager plan of what could be done. And even more effort to explain to every body what he might be going through.

The first decision I made was that I will just step back and see what he would do with out me asking him what he should.Because right then my kids would not listen to anything I say.(seem to be eons ago 😀 ) . The words I spoke most was ‘DON’T DO ‘ and ‘YOU MUST ‘.

I learned to let them do what they wanted. Swallowed the words that came to my mouth. A few days later, we all went to  Cherai beach for a picnic. I told his father also to let him free , not to tell him any ‘ dos and don’t s ‘ but to make sure that he is safe. It took a lot of effort to keep our mouth shut. But it was worth it. In the evening when we were about to return, Ruby came to me and said with twinkling eyes

‘ Mother, it is a great day! isn’t it ? It is my most favourite day! ‘ .

Thinking of it even now bring tears to my eyes. Then I realised the pressure we put on him every day to make him behave like normal kids. ( sorry, I don’t have any snaps of that day as I wanted nothing to take away my attention and kept the camera away )

It was about 2 or 3  years back . It has been a long way since then. The only thing he needed was somebody who would believe in him with no bones in it. And we believed in him .

My daughter , Pearl who is the most unique and smartest among three of us almost hated me then . There was no effective communication between us. I always tried to draw the line which was the last thing she wanted. It took  even more effort for me to reach her.

I was busy making both of them perfect , seeing that they had all they wanted , making sure they were well nourished and well groomed , that I didn’t had enough time to have fun with them.

After  3 years:

We went to the same old beach again a few days before.  It is one of our unsaid family agenda to go to some place once in a few months , where we have nothing else but kids to distract us. Whatever they say is the rule !

I was amazed to see two of them ( who are too difficult to be controlled any where ) to be completely  in tune with the nature , as though that is the place where they belong !

And Ruby announced that it is his dream come true !

A lot has changed . I don’t take them to meetings or club parties unless that cannot be absolutely avoided because it is impossible to manage them there. Instead we go to parks where they can explore to their will, to exhibitions where they can linger as much as they want, read all the boards and see all the domes , follow whatever they find interesting , to beaches or to any place where they enjoy themselves.

Now three of us are the best friends and my kids are my treasure. ( And Hubby is most proud of it even though he does not let it spoil us ).

I always thought I am a bit crazy( or exaggerating ) . I could see in other people’s eyes ‘ Why you are taking so much effort just to bring up two kids ? They will just grow up. ‘  But all of them would never realise how different my kids are.