Posted in Parenting, short story

The girl who lived..

Reshma stomped inside her house tired and grumpy. She dumped her seven kilo bag on the nearest chair and sat cross legged on the floor. Just then, Rashida, her mother entered the room.

“Hey my princess! You are home already! Did not hear you coming… So, how was the first day of your last year in school?” Rashida asked her set of rapid fire questions.

“Ammi. I don’t want to talk about it, please!”

“Oh my child… look at me.” Rashida sat next to Reshma and coaxed her to look at her.

“Ammi, I was so excited for the first day. But it was a flop show.” Reshma complained.

This story is among one of the winners of the Muse of the Month contest run by Women’s Web. Hence, I won’t be able to post it entirely out here.

To read the complete story you can click here.

Pic courtesy : Google images

Posted in mom's life, Parenting, relationships, short story

The perfect mother (a short story)

It was a routine day for Pooja, who worked at an old age home in the heart of the city. She worked at the reception for six hours and also helped in the accounts and inventory later. It had been a month since she had started working there, and she knew all the forty five residents of the home pretty well. She had just finished her graduation and wanted to do something in her free time. This old age home was a perfect work place for her. Within walking distance of her house and flexible working hours. She liked it’s architecture too. It was an old brown building with ground plus two floors with a small garden on the backside. Each floor had fifteen rooms with an attached bathroom. There was a mess on the ground floor adjoining the garden. There was also a TV and a carrom board kept in the mess. They had enough nurses and care takers to look after the residents. They also had a doctor visiting them every week. Although the place was in the heart of the city, there was a sense of calm when she entered inside. It felt very homey. Her desk was directly in front of the entrance which was flanked by rooms on either side. .

She was particularly fond of Jaya aunty, an octogenarian, who would talk non stop and entertain her from all the gossips of other residents. Jaya aunty had voluntarily left her son and daughter who had settled abroad and made this place her home. She always said that she could never fathom the western culture and so she came back to her motherland and decided to stay here as it was difficult to stay all alone at this age.

Then there was Sudha aunty, Ashok uncle, Joseph uncle, Laxmi aunty who were other gossip mongers; and others like Sarika aunty, Pradeep uncle who preferred to keep to themselves. There were many others who were in their late seventies or eighties, some of them came voluntarily whereas others were forced to. They all stayed like a big happy family.

Pooja had noticed a particular man called Sagar, who would come everyday even before she came and he would leave by 9am. He was always impeccably dressed in suits and always carried a laptop bag. And on Saturdays, a woman whom she assumed was his wife would accompany him. They would spend a good two to three hours with Sarika aunty, who was staying in the last room facing the small garden on the ground floor.

Being new to the place, she did not know the health problems that any of them had, but the ramblings of Jaya aunty had kept her updated. Today, curiosity got the better of her and she thought she would take a peek at what Sagar was talking to Sarika aunty. As she stopped by her door, she heard Sarika aunty laughing at something that Sagar was showing her on the laptop. Then he turned to her, took her hands in his and told her, “Aai, mi aahe, Sagar. Tumcha Sagar. Mulga tujha?” (Mother, it’s me, Sagar. Your Sagar. Your son?).

Sarika aunty looked at him and said, “Ha Sagar, majha mulga, tula kasa visarnar?” (Yes Sagar, my son? How can I forget you?)

Pooja felt that she was intruding on a very private moment and she decided to leave. As she was about to leave, she heard Sarika aunty saying, “Aapan kon?” (Who are you?). Pooja was frozen in her tracks as she thought Sarika aunty had caught her listening to their conversation. But when she turned around, she saw that she was asking the question to Sagar. A stray tear escaped Sagar’s eyes, but before he could say anything, Sarika aunty started laughing at something she saw on the laptop. And Sagar’s eyes met with Pooja’s as she mouthed ‘sorry’ and went back to her desk.

When Sagar came out to leave, he was met with the curious eyes of Pooja. She din’t want to sound imposing, and so she did not ask him anything. The next morning, Sagar came with a cup of tea and instead of going to meet his mother he sat with Pooja in the mess.

“She’s my mother.” He began. “Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease three years back. It’s worsening with each passing day. We used to stay together, all of us, my wife, my twin sons and my mother until last year when it was too risky to keep her alone. She would lock the main door from inside and forget how to open it. Sometimes, she wouldn’t let us inside our own house as she wouldn’t recognise us and think we were theives. At times, she would keep my car keys in the refrigerator and we would end up searching the entire house. So, for everyone’s safety and more importantly her’s, we decided to bring her here. She’s been here since a year and sometimes she recognises us, sometimes she doesn’t.”

Pooja’s eyes had turned glassy on hearing his story. She said, “She’s a very quiet lady. Hardly talks to anyone. I was surprised to find her so happy when you come. I’m sure deep down she knows that you are her son. It’s not your fault that she doesn’t remember you.”

“I know it’s not my fault. But every single day, I feel sorry for myself for the way I have always treated her. She wasn’t very fluent in English, and when I grew older, I have always ridiculed her for that. I used to be embarrassed when she would come to school. I used to tell her that she’s not my perfect mother. She doesn’t know anything. I used to yell at her, tell her to leave me alone. But she would always smile at me and still cook me my favourite dishes. I was never thankful to her. I hardly expressed my love for her. But when my sons were born, I saw my wife struggle raising them. I would help her, but not that much. My mother stood by her, and we sailed through. But I was too busy with my career to even acknowledge her for that. And by the time I realised that how difficult it is for a mother to raise her kids, it was too late. Today, when she doesn’t recognise me, I feel broken, but then I think that I probably deserve it for the way I have treated her. I visit her everyday for a couple of hours, I show her videos on my laptop of whatever place she wanted to visit but now cannot. I show her videos of my sons growing up. I feel very happy when she recognises me even for a few minutes. I tell her everyday that she is my perfect mother and how much I love her! And she smiles, she always does.”

With that Sagar left to move on with his day.

Pooja couldn’t grasp the emotions she was feeling. She just started sobbing, but realising where she was, she went back to her desk. Later in the evening, when she went back home, she hugged her mom and told her, “You are my perfect mother. I love you. Always remember that.” Her mom laughed at that and told her, “I love you too, you are my perfect daughter”.

There’s a perfect mother in spite of all the imperfections.

Dedicated to all the mothers

Author’s note : This post first appeared on momspresso.

Pic courtesy : Google images

Posted in gaming, mom's life, Parenting

Why ‘screen time’ is good for my child 

As parents, we are always concerned about how much time our kids spend on the phones and tablets or watching the television. A few days back, I came across this TED talk addressing the fears of parents regarding screen time for their kids. I was amazed as the speaker pointed out so many useful things that can be done using digital media. I tried them out on my 4 year old son, who is extremely fond of my phone.

When our kids are engrossed watching their favourite stuff or playing some game on the phone, we often wonder that when will they go out and play and what about their physical exercise? My son is very fond of ‘fireman Sam and his adventures.’ So, one day I decided to ask him to role play his favourite character. And that’s exactly what he did! He went around the whole house, running and jumping, pretending to extinguish the imaginary fire in his imaginary fire brigade! And he still loves doing it. Some days, he also mimics ‘peppa pig’ and goes from one room to another playing different games.

Another very nice thing that he’s learnt from his screen time is the use of new words and his vocabulary has improved a lot. Just a few days back he told me, “Excuse me, I want to ride my bicycle. Can you sit somewhere else?” I was fascinated by his use of the word ‘excuse me’. So I asked him, “Where did you learn that?” He replied, “Mom, Grandpa pig was telling Peppa pig in the garden.” I made sure to reinforce what he’s learnt from time to time.

On another day, when I had taken him to the park, instead of running to the slides and swings, he went to see what the crows were eating. Of course he wasn’t very discreet and the bird flew away before he could actually see anything, but I asked him what he wanted to see. He told me that he had seen on my phone about crows and that they eat dirty food. So he wanted to check the same. I was surprised and actually quite proud of him that day, because the least likely thing to happen when you take your kid to the park is that they run to see what the birds are doing!

And I had learnt one very important thing as well. Talk to your kid about what he is watching and what he is playing. Interaction is very important. Otherwise the whole point of allowing screen time would be meaningless.

So yesterday, when I asked him what he was doing on my phone, he got very excited and told me that he was playing his ‘car wash’ game and then he went on to describe in details what he did and how he did it. This exercise made him more confident in recollecting his thoughts and speaking.

The key lies in talking. We need to talk to them and show interest in what they do in their screen time and not just merely hand them the phone and then forget about it. We live in a digital world. And when we use our phones for every single thing, we cannot deprive our kids from the same.

It is high time that we focus on the positive impacts that the digital media can bring instead of focusing on how to hide our phones from our kids. We should definitely harness the potential of digital media for the growth and progress of our kids. It is upto us to teach them how and why to use the phone.

P.S: I give 60 to 90 minutes of screen time to my son. Though everyone may not agree to it, but I have tried my best to do something good with the screen time for my kid and it’s definitely working for him!

Author’s note : This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Pic courtesy : Google images 

Posted in mom's life, Parenting, siblings

It’s time for some ‘live’ Tom and Jerry

The last four months of my life have been quite interesting. Or rather adventurous. The day my younger son started walking, things have not been the same. And add to it the enthusiasm of my three and half year old in encouraging his brother to walk faster, my once peaceful house has transformed into a cacophony of yells and laughter.

Every single day as I get up in the morning wondering what my now four year old preschooler and sixteen months old toddler have in store for me, there’s always a surprise waiting. Some day all the diapers are out of the diaper bag scattered all over the house, some day all utensils are out of the kitchen and on another day, all their clothes are out of the cupboards! 

One evening, as I sat on the swing in my house (I consider myself very lucky to have a swing indoors) watching them play or rather fight with each other, I remembered the cartoon ‘Tom and Jerry’. I imagined the older one to be Tom and the younger one to be Jerry. And then, it was time for some ‘live’ Tom and Jerry. As I sat there watching them, various scenes unfolded before me.

Scene 1: 

Tom was playing with his favourite car and Jerry was trying to stack the rings. But he was not able to do it properly. He looked around for help. He saw Tom and started pulling his T-shirt to get his attention. But Tom was very busy. So Jerry decided to snatch his car away to get his attention. What followed after that was a maniacal chase throughout the house and Tom finally got his car back. Then I had to intervene to calm down Jerry and help him with his stacking rings. The chase wouldn’t have happened at all if Jerry would have come to me for help in the beginning only. I was sitting right there on the swing. But where’s the fun in resolving things quietly? In fact, I too, enjoyed the chase! I was actually laughing and telling them to stop. But they stopped only when they wanted to.

Scene 2:

Now, it was payback time for Tom. After Jerry was done exploring or rather scattering his stacking rings, he sneaked behind Tom and took a couple of his cars. Tom din’t realise that. Jerry came to me with his prized possession and started playing with them. He must have played for a few minutes, then he got bored and started throwing the cars in Tom’s direction. After that, all hell broke loose! Jerry was laughing hysterically and Tom was yelling at him and I was enjoying being a mute spectator. Before the violence started, I calmed them down and distracted them with other things.

Many new scenes unfold every single day. Sometimes, I enjoy watching the ‘live’ show, sometimes it gets on my nerves! Sometimes, I also participate in their antics. No matter how much they fight, they love each other equally well. When any third person threatens (albeit jokingly) to take either of them away for a few days, the other one gets all possessive and caring.

It’s heartwarming to see their love for each other blooming with each passing day!

Siblings won’t be siblings if they don’t fight with each other and then make up only to fight again!!

Although in the cartoon, Tom and jerry weren’t siblings, but they did show concern in each other’s well being. And they did put their rivalry aside, when they had a common goal to pursue.

Do your little ones keep you entertained? And do you also get to witness ‘live’ Tom and jerry in your house? Do let me know in the comments section below. 

Àuthors note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Pic courtesy : Google images 

Posted in mom's life, Parenting

My son’s best friends

My four year old and me were having a casual conversation about his school one evening. He becomes very excited and animated whenever he talks about his school and his friends. He kept on talking about what he did, what toys he played, what he painted and other things that he did with his friends. Then he said, “Mamma, D is not my best friend now.”

“Oh. Is it? So, A must be your best friend then”, I told him. 

“No, nobody in school is my best friend.” He told me looking very sad.

“So, who is your best friend then?” I enquired.

He pouted at me, thought a lot and suddenly his face was lit with joy when he said, “It’s Peppa and Sam! They are my best friends.”

Of course I knew who Peppa and Sam were, but to know about his fondness for them to the extent that he considered them as his best friends was shocking for me. But in a good way.

He is not fond of watching TV per se, but I allow him 30 to 45 minutes of screen time on my phone where he watches whatever he wants on you tube. Earlier, he used to watch all sorts of nursery rhymes and ‘Ryan’s toy reviews’. He would sometimes imitate what Ryan would do with his toys in the video. But lately, he is become very fond of Peppa pig and Sam, the fireman.

He watches Peppa’s adventures with so much interest, it is quite fascinating to see him like that. In fact, he introduced me to peppa pig and her family. I wasn’t aware about such a character myself. Similarly with Sam, the fireman. He watches Sam as he goes off in his fire brigade with his colleagues helping all those people in trouble in the town of Pontypandy.

Some days, when he is very engrossed in playing with his toys, I just observe him. He role plays the characters he loves. He calls himself Peppa and his little brother George. And then he imitates them. Drives his toy fire brigade and pretends he is Sam, and goes to save Norman Price with Penny and Elvis! Sometimes, he makes a garden with his lego blocks and plays with George and Rebecca rabbit! It is truly fascinating to watch him like that. The way he talks to himself, pretending to be the characters himself; it’s truly amazing. But the moment he catches me watching him, he abandons everything, starts laughing and runs out of the room! 

I really enjoy watching him play with his ‘best friends’ or rather imitate them and I have learnt to be discreet while he is at ‘work’.

Yesterday, as he was going to school, he told me, “Bye bye Mommy pig.. see you later..”

“Bye Peppa, take care,” I replied.

Then I told him, “No, wait. You are not Peppa. Peppa is a girl, but you are a boy. So now what shall we do?”

After thinking for a while, we came up with a solution. “Dear, let’s name you ‘Peppo’. So now, you are peppo pig and we are all your family members!” I told him.

He was so happy with his ‘new name’ that he literally went skipping to school!

He really has a wonderful time playing and imitating his best friends. Do your kids enjoy their play time with their best friends? Who are their favourite cartoon characters? Do let me know in the comments section below!

Author’s note : This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform. 

Pic courtesy : Google images 

Posted in mom's life, Parenting

Tell me more, why why why?

It’s been three and a half years since I was blessed with my first son and I embraced motherhood.

The first year with him was terrifying yet amazing. Learning to breastfeed him and later learning to wean him off! From changing his diapers to bathing him, from charting all his ‘firsts’ to see him grow every single day has been an amazing journey.

Then came the next two years or the infamous toddler years. Sweet mamma became monster mamma. From yelling to throwing things to crying; we did them together! He started running, talking and talking and talking. Mamma stopped talking, but he would never and still doesn’t.

Now, in his fourth year, he thinks mamma is a living encyclopedia. So, everyday mamma has to brace herself for the storm of questions that may come her way absolutely out of the blue and at the most unexpected times. Sometimes, I literally dread his questions!

“Mamma, why is it raining?”

“Why did the rain stop?”

“Why is the sky blue?”

“Why is the crow black?”

“Why do we sleep?”

“Why do we eat food?”

Tell me more.. Why why why?

So, each day when I’m bombarded with all such questions, I try my best to answer them. And those which I can’t, I tell him that mamma will tell you tomorrow. I do not want to feed him the wrong information as it is very difficult to unlearn at their age. Sometimes, I feel like diverting him to his dad, but then I avoid doing that as he expects me to tell him the answers. Of course I help him to ask some amazing questions to his dad as well. 😉

Recently, he has learnt a new thing. Whoever goes to pick him up from school, he asks ‘why this person has not come’? For example, if his grandfather goes to pick him up, he will ask that why mamma din’t come? If I go to pick him up, he will ask why papa has not come? And so on.

In school, they are being taught to write standing lines and sleeping lines. So now, he comes home and asks me, “Mamma, why are standing lines standing?” And also, “Why are sleeping lines sleeping?”

And I’m left dumbstruck with his questions.

So here, I take your leave to figure out the answers to his amazing questions! Adios!

 

Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.

Posted in mom's life, Parenting

When my son taught me ‘sharing is caring’

When my elder son had turned two, we had him enrolled in a playschool and from that time onwards, they were taught concepts of sharing. Right from sharing toys to their snacks; they were taught everything.

And then as he entered nursery, the concepts were reinforced. And additionally, he assumed the role of an older brother. So, it was drilled into him that he should share his toys with his younger one.

But, he only shared his stuff when he was in the mood to. And we did not pressure him either. And he shares his stuff only when he is requested to do so and not forced. 

I would like to explain this with an example.

He has about a dozen or so collection of cars of various sizes. So when I tell him to give a few of them to his younger brother, he refuses flatly. “These are all mine.” He says.

On the other hand, when I tell him, “Please, dear. See he is your younger brother. He is so small. Give him one or two cars to play with. Atleast for some time? Please will you share them with him?” After about 5 minutes, he willingly gives his cars to his brother and tells me, “See mamma, I’m sharing my toys!” And all of us are happy!

Similarly, even when we are out, say on a beach and he is playing with his sand toys, a few kids who do not have them come and try to take the bucket or the spade. So I simply tell them to not take the toys forcibly and instead just sit around for some time. And then, my son willingly shares those sand toys with the other kids. Again, everyone is happy and he has new friends to play with too!

One day, my mom had come over to play with the kids. And as I was searching for some ingredients to make her something, I came across a gulab jamun which was the only one remaining. Ideally, I should offer it to my mom, as she was the guest. But, there was only one gulab jamun remaining and it was too tempting to resist. As I was contemplating what to do, my mom came in the kitchen. And she saw it too. Both of us are mad behind sweets. As soon as she took it, I yelled, “No! That’s mine!”

For a moment, she was shocked as to what happened. But then she realised why I was shouting. And we both started arguing as to who should eat it. Hearing all the commotion in the kitchen, my elder son came in. And when he saw what we were fighting about, he did something exceptional.

He took the gulab jamun and broke it into two halves. He gave one to me and the other to his nani. He looked at me and told me, “Sharing is caring mamma! Remember?” And he went off to do his stuff.

Both of us were speechless at what he did. It was so heartwarming to see him do that. I was so proud of him!

I would like to sincerely thank his playgroup and nursery teachers for instilling this concept in him so well that he actually implemented it in a real life situation!

 

Pic courtesy: Google images

Author’s note: This post first appeared on mycity4kids parenting platform.