My son turns 10 this month. Double digits. A decade old! Where has the time gone? I can almost have an adult conversation with him. At each stage in his life so far, I have thought it was the best one until he grew another year and surprised me. He is his own person and cannot be influenced by the opinions of others.
I suppose that’s an excuse to write something on the blog. Give it a sense of survival.
I have completed a year at my job! That’s a sentence I never thought I would be able to say if you asked me a few years ago.
I am still skeptical about driving. Although I can drive my husband’s car (a gigantic metal tin) I am worried about the geometry of it. With the narrow roads of Edinburgh, one can bump into anything if one is not careful.
Gone are the days of me sitting down for a couple of hours and reading. I can’t remember the last book I read. Here’s something else I noticed. I tend to forget the books and the plots of those books that I read on the Kindle. Is it because they all feel the same? No texture no uniqueness.
So it was a normal Monday morning. There was the normal rush for getting to school on time, pack the lunch boxes, get the breakfast done etc. We were well within time when I asked Son to change into the uniform.
Me: Come on S, let’s get ready, where’s your uniform?
S: It’s okay, we have time. Please help me with the clothes.
Me: a bit flustered, … Okay come on hurry up now!
S: Okay okay don’t get angry.
Me: more flustered – Am not angry!
S: Yes you are. You are always angry.
Me: (Angry but hiding it.) Am not angry, maybe I am. That’s my thing – being angry! Like your thing is to watch the iPad all the time and dad’s thing is to….. (wondering what to mention here)
S: (in a very quiet voice) Dad’s thing is to calm you down.
Hubby smirking in the background having heard all this talk!
Just back from the very first parent meet. I have come back with three very heavy work folders. The teacher talked about good reading, writing and math skills. The truly awesome thing was when she told me that S is a very good friend. He mixes with all the kids in his class, the bigger kids during outside play time and is a very happy and chatty kid generally.
Some of his friends do ‘tell on’ him but he never does that to them. I like it that he doesn’t get into the he said she said things. He stays clear of that kind of negativity. I am happy that he wouldn’t back-stab his friends and report on their mischiefs. I’m glad that he has that kind of understanding. Playground can be a cruel place and not everyone is considerate. I’m just happy that he is a kind person. 🙂
We have had the iPad for almost two years now and to say that Shantanu can use it well is an understatement. He is addicted. He can spend almost an entire day playing games and watching videos on Youtube on it. How did it come to this and who’s responsible? ME ME ME!
It started we me showing him around the workings of the tablet. I downloaded a few educational apps on it, drawing, colouring, tracing alphabets and numbers and puzzles. I was trying to be the über cool mom who taught through technology. Being an instructional designer, I have to promote learning through technology, don’t I?
Within a couple of days, he got the knack for using it. Soon he started mastering most of the apps, drawing, tracing, colouring, he did it all. Memory and puzzle games – he cracked it all and I realised I had a very intelligent kid. Soon, he started needing the iPad the moment he got up, during his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even the bed time stories were read, heard or seen on the iPad.
After a few months, he figured out how to search for games in app store and came up to me to download them. Thankfully, I had made the downloads password protected and he couldn’t just download anything with a tap on the screen.
Now, almost two years since we have the iPad, he hasn’t played most of the games on iPad. The day starts with Youtube and ends with Youtube. Octonauts, cbeebies, mickeymouse clubhouse, chip and dale, tom and jerry runs on it throughout the day. And I realised that he hasn’t picked up a paper yet, not touched a pen or pencil. Real puzzles and books are a thing of the past. Books and blocks are gathering dust and I have turned my four-year old into a couch potato just like me. Horror!
A couple of months ago, the iPad stopped working miraculously. It was another wake up call. We didn’t get it fixed for many days to break the habit. Der aaye durust aaye. Post summer, we started going to the library regularly. I now get him a lot of real hard copy books where he can touch the pages, smell them (if at all) and feel them. It’s already late but he has finally taken a liking to listening to stories (thanks Donaldson for her awesome books). Going to the library is a fun activity and we like to stay there for a couple of hours and read out some books there.
After some frantic search on the internet I found out many interesting sites for kid activities. Education.com has loads of activities that you can try out at home – arts, crafts, writings, tracing, numbers – you name it. You can see the step by step procedure to complete any particular craft or artwork. I use it regularly now for creative inspiration.
worksheetfun.com has dozens of worksheets. Capital small alphabets, numbers, math, reading, writing, shapes. All you need to do is print out the sheets. The schools here don’t stress much on writing. It’s much more laid back compared to the schools in India and I use this one to try to keep up with the extensive curriculum we have back home.
uk.ixl.com/ and readingeggs.co.uk/ are paid sites but they do offer some free stuff and it’s absolutely brilliant. Readingeggs is a great source if you want to teach your kid how to read and Shantanu is always excited to “start reading” now. It has some nice animations and repetitive exercises for memorizing phonics and word patterns. uk.ixl focuses on maths – counting, comparing, long and short, inside outside, sizes, positions etc.
We had some great activity time at home and am happy to have broken that tablet addiction.
Let me begin with saying that I am amazed at the kiddo’s nature to adapt. He was an angel during the flight. I think he actually enjoys the travel – the experience. He is always super excited when we travel by train or even by bus. Although, I think he was a little overwhelmed with all the emotional welcome and affection thrown his way by his grandparents and other relatives. He recovered soon and on our entire trip from airport to home, he was a chatterbox – counting the buses, autos, trucks and tempos.
I, in turn had a little adventure. I made my husband pick up someone else’s bag – (not on purpose!) when we got them off the conveyor belt. Thankfully our own bag had our number on it and the bag’s owner called us before we left the airport. Luckily for me, the saint had to deal with the security officers 🙂 After this minor mishap, I truly felt that I have landed in Mumbai!
Kiddo’s cousin, my SIL’s son, is eager to play with him and surprise surprise! the kiddo plays with him too. In our last visit kiddo had turned into a human magnet and stuck to me all the time whereas now, both are behaving as if they are kumbh ke mele mein bichade hue bhai. I am hoping things will be so for the rest of our trip. I doubt whether he will be the same when the rest of the family joins in for Ganpati. I am trying to prepare him, as much as possible, for the number of relatives who would soon join us for Ganpati festival.
Two things have amused him a lot:
The ceiling fan – he can look at it for hours and he wants to switch them on every time he walks into a room
His cousin’s antics – enough said!
It is a truth nationally acknowledged that a grandchild who lives abroad must be in want of continuous overwhelming attention from his/her grandparents on his visit to India. He must be showered with constant affection, love and gifts on a daily basis. I have come to believe that the line between affection and obsession is very thin indeed.
In such cases as this, the grandchild soon falls under the impression that he is a superior being who should be worshipped and be the centre of attention. Given the current situation the kiddo will soon be the above example.
As for me, I am hit with nostalgia and I go awwww at even small things…a familiar lane, atmosphere, even the vegetable and fish vendors lining up a street. Having said that, I also end up cursing the heat, pollution, dust and such sundry stuff that is part and parcel of Mumbai. At one time I am craving to travel local trains and at the very next, end up frustrated at the crowds that I would encounter.
Family and friends are eager and excited to meet us and hopefully we will find time to meet everyone. All this attention makes me feel as if I am a celebrity or at least someone very important… hee hee.. soon I would be waving and blowing kisses at random people I see on the road. 🙂
I picked it up as I was excited to read a new author and mystery based in Sweden. Something new, something exciting. The premise is interesting but am having a hard time finding the motivation to keep reading because am halfway through the book and nothing is happening. After reading a couple of pages, am turning to another book just to pep up.
Perhaps it’s the kind of book that takes up speed in the later half. Am not sure. So far I am not hooked.
My son just finished his second colouring book. He has shown patience to complete a whole a page before jumping on to the next, ability to keep the colours within the lines and has torn only 2 of the 15 pages – a vast improvement from the previous one which is lying in shreds somewhere in the dark recesses of and beneath the sofa.
When you are young life is so beautiful around you. Everyone appreciates you, motivates you and makes you think that you can achieve almost anything if you put your mind to it. You feel anything and everything is possible for you. You just need to walk out of the door of your house and there’s a whole world of possibilities out there for you to grab.
Such are the thoughts that I get when I look at my son.
Life is very beautiful for him right now he can turn it any which way he prefers.
In this last year he has learned so many new things and diverse activities that given the opportunity and infinite resources at his disposal, any activity of his can be considered as a serious career opportunity. This is another manifestation of our unachievable ambitions and dreams. Here are a few that are at the top of our minds:
Artist/Painter: The colouring book number 2. Just yesterday he coloured for an hour. Continuously. He was even humming to himself during that time. I agree he gets confused between light blue and dark blue and most often the clouds are red instead of grey but then he can always paint a modern art. Here are his masterpieces:
While we are talking about modern art, check out few of his samples. I mean do you really think he should give up on such talent?
He loves to draw on his erasable slate. From son, moon – sorry moon crescent to smileys, fridge, mobile, Tom and Jerry. He can even draw himself and my ma ki nazar can make out an uncanny resemblance. Once he even drew a fat dad and a thin mum who oddly resembled a long thin broomstick. My son is very talented I tell you.
Travel and living: Not travelling in Mumbai and living in suburbs. That’s horrible. This is more like what they show on the Discovery channel. This one is also a secret ambition of my husband, an alternate career if you like. Since coming to Scotland, we have been on many trips – Amsterdam, London, highlands for short trips and many day outings and the son has enjoyed it. As long as he is outside the house he is happy. On weekends, when the kiddo wakes up and realises that Daddy is at home, he asks, ‘Where are we going today?’ He has his daddy’s genes. The husband can never stay at home for an entire day. He has to go out even if it is for grocery shopping or just to take a walk. The son is the same. The husband is enchanted with the Discovery channel and can watch it for hours specially the programmes in which the host travels to exotic locations. You get the idea.
Modelling: This ambition is nurtured by the kiddo’s grandpa, my Father-in-law. Bachpan se, the kiddo’s looks have been compared to that of Ranbir Kapoor. I don’t know what the connection is. He doesn’t look like Ranbir and I for one had a crush on Rishi. Anyway, I have been told that my FIL had this ambition for one of his nephews as well who he thought looked like some good-looking actor at the time. The FIL’s further secret ambition is to be his Manager. No comments. Here’s our model for you:
Chef: Cause, let’s face it cook is just mediocre. This again I believe has been the secret ambition of my hubby’s and since the kiddo shows some excitement about what’s cooking, we now have daydreams about his becoming a Chef. Not SRK in Duplicate, more like Jamie Oliver. Oh how my daughter-in-law would bless me!
Singer: ‘The wheels on the bus’ has close to 50 odd versions if not more. Did any of you know that? It’s been more than a year now and this is still the kiddo’s favourite song. It is played on Youtube throughout the day and when it’s not playing on Youtube, the kiddo is singing it. At the top of his voice. The best part? I have to do the actions for round and round, beep beep beep etc etc every time he sings it! He definitely has the sur and taal.
Dancer: He also has the laya. Apart from jumping around in circles and some other dance steps, he has perfected Dev Anand‘s walk! Dev Anand style walking he says. Now Dev Anand has been my first crush ever since I saw Paying Guest. Husband doesn’t like him, never did and makes fun of me every time I sit down and drool over his songs. The son doesn’t know who Dev Anand is – but he vaguely considers Ganesha to be Dev Anand – it’s the Dev in it, I think. The husband doesn’t want Dev Anand to be his dancing inspiration and idol and I am just happy that he picks up the beat for ‘beep beep beep from Wheels on the bus’ and can clap 3 times on it. Perhaps I should show the kiddo the song ‘Khoya khoya chaand‘. I haven’t yet told my husband that I sometimes secretly dream of enrolling the son for Kathak classes. 🙂
Acting: He sure can act and on cue. He knows when to throw tantrums, when to make that baby face that makes us go awwww.. and has perfected the tear faced look – when his eyes are filled with tears but not a single drop drops and his face looks dejected and saddened. What else do you need – dancing and singing along with acting! He is a boy wonder.
Writer/Composer: This child prodigy of mine has composed a song of three lines. I mean that’s something. And no, he poem is not like Rosesh’s. He has even composed a tune for it. I have already started nudging him to write a story because let’s accept it, most people like to read novels instead of poetry. At bed time though he does compose some short stories to tell us so I have hope.
Footballer: This is another one in his long list of passions. He loves to play football. In the house. He cannot bend it like Beckham as yet but he makes it up in speed and accuracy. He knows just how to kick the ball in the air and aim it at the ceiling lights without breaking a single bulb. That’s timing and accuracy. He can even aim it at the TV without breaking the glass. Seriously football it is for him!
Cricketer: He already has the timing, you know placing the ball and all. He doesn’t play cricket with the huge football. He likes the small tennis ball. My only disappointment is that he is a left handed batsmen, I would have liked him to be a right-handed batsman but then I guess that’s too much of expectation!
Seriously, why would you want to be an engineer, doctor, teacher or an IT professional when you have such brilliant talents and glamorous career options. Besides, those are just jobs and these are careers, mind you. That’s why I have excluded them.
So, you have any unfulfilled wishes that you want to intimidate your child with? 🙂
The kiddo started playgroup on 12th Jan. That’s where I have been busy for the entire week. Here’s his progress:
Day1: Played with the toys and performed all activities. I was present the whole time.
Day2: The session leader asked me to step out for some time so that kiddo can adjust to the concept of his mommy leaving him for some time and coming back again. He wailed and cried the entire time I was outside and his screams could be heard from outside the sound proof hall. This happened for all the 4 times that I left the room. After all of this, he gave me the look ‘am-scared-and-angry-but-I-won’t-cry-and-show-anymore’. The heart-rending part in all this chaos was, once when I peeped into the room to check on the kiddo, a few kids had gathered around him and were smiling and trying to make him feel at home.
Day 3: Much the same. Only this time he knew I was going to leave him so he kept an eye on me all the time.
Day 4: He kept asking me all the time whether I was going to leave him again. The kids had a separate exercise session in a room downstairs so I was present all the time. He enjoyed.
Day 5: I stayed outside the room for a whole of 10 minutes. He cried for a minute or so but then was happily drawing clouds and painting them blue! I kept peering into the room but he painted away to glory and kept calling my name in between without crying. Oh god! My son staying away from me in a whole new atmosphere with strangers and enjoying himself. I was in a panic. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad. I knew that this day was to come sooner or later. He would be staying without me in the company of strangers and other kids but actually seeing him go through the transition was heart breaking.
I always kept complaining to my husband that I don’t get any free time and me time and now that I know I will be getting a couple of hours for myself, I feel so lost. What would I do for this whole while without my son tagging along? I wouldn’t be part of his life for these 2 hours. I know soon he will be at the playgroup for the entire morning and then he would go to pre-school, I was so focused on this being hard for him that I didn’t realise how hard it is going to be for me.
The umbilical cord is being cut, am suffering from separation anxiety.. 😦
It’s a bright sunny day to put down my thoughts. Autumn has not started yet officially but the leaves have started changing colour and it is lovely to watch. For once, I am not suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Although all is going to change for a couple of months. I am going back to Mumbai (yay!), home sweet home in a couple of weeks. It’s a planned trip, well ahead of time, and yet I am sure that I will forget to carry something and wish that I had shopped some more 🙂
I’ll miss Autumn in its full bloom, the leaves, the colourful gardens, the fruits, everything but am going back for a very important event. My kid brother is getting married (still can’t believe it!) but there it is. I still get worried about him and how he can manage himself let alone another person, but I guess after a certain time you have to let go of the people you love. You cannot control them and look after them forever and they are able to take care of themselves. This sounds as if I am his primary care taker but then you always feel responsible for your loved ones. Anyway, all this is for another post. Though I know that his mum will find it the hardest, this is a glimpse for me and my kid but well, that is far away in the future. So I have been busy with shopping and not so much of packing.
On the other hand, my son seems to be obsessed with symmetry! All his toys, are arranged in perfect order, be it cars, soft toys or other mixed assortments. When he is bored with toys, he picks out spoons and forks and arranges them in a straight line on the floor. (We believe he has great potential to become an architect but then his grandpa wants him to be a model! Let’s hold the argument about his profession some other day). Among the many cars that he has, he points to the most shiny bright blue one and tells everyone that this is his dadda’s car. Not his but his dadda’s. His dad is his hero and the best of best belongs to dadda, yet. His words and vocabulary have increased ten folds and can now hold great conversations pertaining to his interest.
At bed time, we have tricked him into telling stories to us as both mum and dad are dead tired, and he kindly tells us stories or cows, tigers, dogs and horses. It is a little surprising though to find that everything these animals do is what the kiddo has done during the day. The cow eats Weetabix, drinks chocolate milk, the tiger goes to the garden and puts stones in the pond and plays with his dad and so on. Papa madhe dagad takato..Du-book! (puts stone in the water…du-book!)….that is how the stone goes…with actions! 🙂
His social skills have also improved in that he talks to random people while travelling, in buses etc and starts his chatter in Marathi having no doubts whatsoever that the person understands every word he says. And his favourite song is still ‘Wheels on the bus go round and round…’ Yesterday I took him to his play school in bus and the entire time he kept singing in his clear, distinct and loud voice ‘Mommies on the bus go chatter chatter chatter..all day long’ giving me sheepish smiles in between.
When it is time for his dad to come back from office, I keep telling kiddo, ‘Dadda aala ka bagh’ (See is dadda has come). This goes on for some time till his dadda actually turns the key in the lock and enters. Then kiddo will rush to him and ask ‘Tu aala ka dadda? aala ka tu?’ (Have you come dadda?) to which his dad will solemnly reply, ‘ho mi aalo’ (Yes, I have come)! At other times, he wants me to open the door and he will stand outside with crossed arms and one leg outside the door with a big smile on his face to welcome his dadda home.
Anyway, I started with updating you guys about what I had been up to and digressed into a mommy post, but life is seriously revolving around the kiddo. Am not sure how often I’ll post once I am in India, but still, do keep visiting, if not commenting. 🙂