28 Mar 2013
Was the topic Chula was asked to write an essay on by her teacher.
So the child writes…. ‘I love my family even if I get bad thoughts about them and also because they love me and we help each other.’
When I asked her what bad thoughts she gets about her family, she replied that she can’t explain, sometimes she just feels bad.
She also wrote, ‘My father’s name is _____. He works at _____. I like it when he plays badminton with me. I also like it when he plays monopoly with me. My mother’s name is _____. She works for _______.’
That is it!
No mentions of what she likes doing with me.
My feathers were ruffled and I asked her to explain this serious over sight and she patiently said, ‘Ammmaa, you do a ton of great things with me. If I list all the fun things, this will not be a short essay and I don’t know what to pick because they are all great.’
The child can save her behind through diplomacy.
She initially mentioned that she can’t think of one single good thing to write about her sister. Eventually decided that she will write how naughty her sister is.
Meija was upset with this character defamation and said that when she comes to second grade and when she is asked to write about her family, she will write verrry bad things about Chula and will supplement it with an ugly drawing of her. That did the trick.
The child can save her behind through black mail.
I have raised two good citizens. My job is done.
6 Jan 2013
Or at least trying to…
I am in my parent’s place in Chennai. The only way I have a signal on my cell phone is to stand at the right hand corner of the hall window and hold my phone towards the sky. Chula observed it and is asking me if my phone is ‘solar’ and if it is powered by the Sun.
As usual it is raining in Chennai. I always manage to drag the rain along with me when I visit Chennai. With the rain comes a overflowing laundry basket and wet clothes. I tied a clothes line inside the house, hung some essentials and switched on the fan. Meija was watching me do this. When it was time for scheduled power cut, the fan stopped and she asked me if she can implement her brain wave to dry the clothes even during power cut. I was curious what she was going to do and ended up ROFL when the child came back with a palm leaf hand fan. I thought it was cute. She thinks I was making fun of her. We have agreed to disagree.
I took a major risk this time, by using wash room without a functional latch, with only Chula standing guard outside the door. MONUMENTAL risk people, so it needs to be recorded here.
Sibling rivalry at its peak: Meija is imitating what ever I do. If I get up she gets up. If I put my hand on my hip, she copies. After observing this for a min, Chula says, ‘Amma, slap yourself R.E.A.L.L.Y hard. Quick amma.’
Getting in to my good books: We are getting ready to go to the beach and I was asking them to change out of their fancy clothes in to something that will be appropriate for beach.
Chula: Meija, I am going to listen to amma. I am not like you. I will wear regular play clothes because I don’t want to get my fancy ones dirty.
Meija: I LISTEN. I know our clothes will get dirty. In fact I was planning on wearing something from the laundry basket, something that is already dirty and needs to be washed anyways. Is it ok amma? Am I right?
Chula: <Thinks a bit how to top this> Amma I am going to wear some ripped clothes. What do you think about this amma?
I was seriously thinking about which wall I must bang my head against.
28 Oct 2012
Ok, we are now at a stage we are not repulsed by Hindi learning. By ‘we’ I mean the children. I haven’t warmed up to the idea since I get by pretty decently with my ‘Aaap, kaha hein?! Mein ghar mein hein. Aaap aathe aur nahin athe?! Kal pucca-ok?’
Chula still refuses to speak. So her Hindi teacher has now mandated that Chula speak one new sentence to her every time she sees her.
Many maps of the school were drawn. Every hide-able pillar was marked. Every alternative route was plotted. Numerous strategies on how to avoid A teacher were devised. In the end she saw the futility of the whole charade and asked me for my advise. Me being me, with all sincerity suggested, ‘You know the full song of Chamak chalo don’t you? So every time you see teacher tell her one line from the song. Problem solved.’ Needless to say, I have one furious child at home!
Have a fantabulos back to school week you all. We have one more week as all our teachers and older children are in the music workshop by the Wayfarers.
2 May 2012
I was telling her how hermit crabs do not have a shell of their own, but pick an empty shell to live in.
Meija: Where does the hermit crab come from?
Me: From an egg.
Meija: Where does the egg come from?
Me: From another hermit crab.
Meija: Amma, (with hand action) I understand that this hermit crab came from that egg, that egg came from thaaatt hermit crab and so on. But that very first hermit crab in the world, where did that come from? Which was first the crab or the egg?
Morning rush. The situation was getting explosive between Chula and I. She is sitting in front of her breakfast plate and I have given her the 20th ultimatum, but nothing is working.
Me: Chula, if I were you, I would take this more seriously and at least ask for help. I don’t know what you are planning to do.
Meija: Amma, if you were her, you would do the same thing that she is doing. She is doing this because these are the things Chula does. That is what makes her, her. So if you are her, you will do her things and not your things.
I am giving the child a bath.
Meija: Amma, you are putting soap so softly.
Meija: Yesterday when you put tiger balm for my back and chest, you put it so fast-fast-ly.
Meija: How do you know that soap has to be put softly and slowly and tiger balm fast fast?
Me: (Mockingly) Um, they teach all this in mommy school.
Meija: Mommy school? Can I go?
Me: Nope. One must have finished college, then go to another college, get a job, get married and only then they take you in to mommy school.
Meija: Do they teach you to make jokes like you do in mommy school?
Meija: Do they teach how to laugh like you do in mommy school?
Meija: Do they teach how to give hugs and love like you do in mommy school?
Meija: Hmmm, looks like you knew nothing before you went to mommy school.
4 Mar 2012
Tip of the hat to Arvind Gupta. I can’t tell you why right now. But a great man!
Wag of the finger to the Intercity Packers and Movers. Accepted to move our car from Hyderabad to Chennai. After unloading it from the truck and before delivering the car to the Chennai destination, got in to an accident (drunk driving). Hit a scooty, luckily the boy riding the scooty fell on impact and rolled off (HELMETS DO SAVE LIVES people). Dragged the scooty for a distance of 5 – 6 km, got the vehicle seized by the police, bribed the police and tried getting out of all ethical, moral and legal obligations to settle the dispute. Big mafia, these people are! Stay away.
Its been a year since I did my GUESS THE BOOK book quiz. Its not that I haven’t been reading any good books off late, but to find the right book, that is a challenge to decode at the same time encourage people to play is the challenge. So I have a book, how do you want the clues, picture or verbal? Will post on March 7th.
11 Feb 2012
Sheela-ki-javaani is out and over.
Chamak Challo is taking our house by storm. Yes, we are late and we are like that only. No TV and no computer, we are usually stuck in a different time warp. The children hear about songs from their friends. By the time they register a song, memorize it and start asking for it, the rest of the world would have ridden that wave and would have moved on. But we peak!
Now I can measure every place I drive them to, by Chamak Challo scale. Airport, one way, almost 6 Chamak Challo’s. Grocery store – 3. The auditorium where the children had their annual day function – 3. Copying place close by – 1 etc.
Enthused(and irritated) by the number of times the husband heard the song, the eager beaver he is and with his ever wanting need to get to the bottom of things and understand the meaning, he, of all people, asked the maid the meaning of Chamak Challo. The maid started blushing. I, who was dusting close by, froze. And gave him the look that means, ‘this maid is a keeper, don’t ask her meaning to Hindi movie songs, which usually contains lots of read between the lines material and make her stop coming to work’. The husband, as usual, blissfully unaware of all looks and meanings and implications, moved on with his simple existence.
Another song that the children are singing non-stop is Kolaveri and holds the record for entering the house while it is still in vogue. They dance for Chamak Challo, Mieja has two moves – a standard march past kind of move for male voice and a hip shake with hands crossing for the female voice. But their response to Kolaveri gives me the creeps. They lounge, please note, not sitting but lounging, on the couch and sing dreamily, ‘Hand-le glass-u, glass-le sctotch-u’. Suddenly they tell me ominously, ‘Amma your future is dark-u dark-u’. For which I reply is full childish demeanor, ‘Noooo, my future is not dark. It is bright. I am going places!’
Last but not the least ‘Dhinka Chika’. I don’t even know when it came, so can;t say if we entered this wave soon/late/at peak. But I can tell you that I have heard it so many times that it has filled my head, over flowing from my brain and finding its way out through my vocabulary. Yesterday I told the younger child, ‘Yes, I will tell no if it is not appropriate. Don’t expect me to do Dinhka Chika to all your whims and fancies.’ She missed the point and wanted me to play Dhinka Chika.
Ta folks, have a good weekend!
UPDATED TO ADD
27 Jan 2012
Mieja lurves diamonds. Now, according to her, diamond is anything that is smooth, shiny and the size of a lemon. At this point of time I would like to clarify that I am not feeding her with unrealistic expectations. Many a pebbles were picked up from the park, washed, spat on and shined till hands ached and disappointment levels soared. But the child being the tireless kind, decided to change the process. As a result of which multiple diamond experiments were carried on at home.
I nodded approvingly and decided to keep a photographic record of the experiments, because (a)once her heart is set, no matter I reason, she will refuse to listen and (b)if at all by blind luck she did manage to make a diamond?! I mean, the child was talking about rocks the size of lemons. It surely wouldn’t hurt to have a few, wouldn’t it?!
So here it goes, the process, pictures and the product.
Ingredients: Leaves from your garden, a bucket, water, scissors, plenty of sunlight.
Process: Watch out for the time sunlight falls on your kitchen faucet. Now open the faucet and check if the water sparkles in sunlight. Only sparkling water results in sparkling diamonds. Now fill half your bucket with sparkling water. Cut the leaves in to strips about an inch thick. Fashion these leaves in to little cups. Pour about half a teaspoon of sparkling water in to each leaf cup. Place the leaf cups in to the bucket. Leave the bucket in direct sunlight for a week. Check for readiness and leave them for an additional week if required.
was formulated after said child’s mother complained to every one under the Sun about the stink emanating from the bucket and scientists needing to clean up their own mess(“Marie Curie’s mother did not run behind her with a mop and scrubber” my exact words). The goal of this experiment was to (a)keep the initial experiment to small scale and if successful scale up as required (b)compress the process to a couple of days, so that said diamonds are ready before the leaves start decaying (c)avoid contamination from air borne pollutants.
Ingredients: One tbsp of chopped onions, leaves from your garden, one tbsp sparkling water, fridge in working condition.
Process: Clean a big broad leaf. Mix chopped onions with sparkling water. Fashion the mixture in to a diamond shape. Place the mixture on the leaf and place the whole thing in the fridge. You can place it in the freezer, will cut down the process time in to 1/3, the trade off being the three footer’s dependency on her parents(read mother) to check the diamond formation every millisecond.
Product: This time the mother raised hell that the fridge stinks of onions and the child gave up after a week.
Ingredients: Grape seeds, white acrylic paint.
Process: First eat the grapes, one needs the strength from the grapes to convince one’s mother about yet another diamond experiment, then collect the seeds. Wash the seeds in sparkling water. Pat dry. Paint every seed with white acrylic paint. Place in cup. Place the cup in fridge.
Amma had nothing to complain about. No decay, no stink. This experiment stayed for the longest in the fridge and was discarded after the unsuspecting spouse, looking for a late night snack, consumed about half of it.
Ingredients: Glass, preferably in a sphere shape. One tbsp sparkling water. Hard surface. Pointy, sharp tools.
Process: Take the glass sphere and drill a small hole. Pour the tbsp water through this hole. Place right side up and place in the fridge to set. When set, tap the water filled sphere on a hard surface to chip the sides to make a shiny diamond.
Product: Promptly nipped in the bud by Amma. So no pictures or products to complain about.
She is taking a break right now and I am shuddering that she will come back invigorated after the break.
16 Jan 2012
This is classic Colbert style, okay?
Tip of the hat to brake oil. Paint scratches on you car paint, the ones that have gone through just the clear coat can be repaired by rubbing over the scratch with a soft cloth dipped in a little brake oil. If the scratch has gone all the way to the primer then, there is no hope. Now DON’T you dare ask me how I chanced upon this information. Consider yourself warned.
Wag of the finger to Reliance shops. IMO, they are like cockroaches. Inferior(in quality) and pop up everywhere. I got a kurti from Reliance Trends (the model with no slits at the sides) for myself. Looks like it is specially designed to wear for people doing adipradhakshinam. Being an aggressively cut, fabric saver model, it is okay as long as I don’t intend to sit cross legged or take wide strides. I did try it out before I purchased it, but one hardly walks and tests comfort level for a piece of garment! The track pants I bought for Chula came out of the washing machine with small holes after one wear and one wash. Very disappointing.
28 Oct 2011
On Diwali day, I did something I thought I would NEVER do! As a result of which child1 declared before she went to sleep, ‘Amma this is truly the worst diwali ever. I hope I make enough happy memories to forget this sad, sad day. It is the saddest and baddest day in my life. What is the use of celebrating if I can’t read amma?’
Yes! I told her she cannot touch or even look at a book for one more week. She needs to show and act like a six year old otherwise she will lose her reading privileges.
The reading, as much as I am proud of it, is reaching an extreme. Three volumes of Chronicles of Narnia in one day, forgetting the time entity and then whining that I didn’t take her to the park, I am not letting her meet her friends, not showing even 10% interest in making friends, always living in a dream world….. This is not just one or two days, has been going on for three months now and I have had enough of this.
Now that she has no fall back, she is making an effort to make friends. Otherwise the first sign of something that does not go her way, she would turn and walk to her book.
As for child2 she hopes she can irritate me as much, so that her reading privileges will also be revoked!
Two very different peas in a pod!
13 Oct 2011
- Met Uma and it was great. It was nice of her to stop by for a quick chat session, much to the cabbie’s dislike, on the way to the airport. She got the kids awesome scrap books made out of hand made paper. I have put it away for a rainy day craft activity. We talked like we knew each other for ages. Kids behaved. So all in all a good meet.
- Are you ready for CROCUS2011? At Saffron Tree we are busy over working our keypads and gearing up for CROCUS2011. ST is turning five and the CROCUS theme for 2011 incorporates our birthday. ST is five and the theme is ‘THE FIVE ELEMENTS – EARTH, AIR, FIRE, SPACE, WATER’. Stay tuned with us and you will not be disappointed. We are bringing our A-game, you guys prep your cozy reading chair. 7 days of back to back reviews, the famous CROCUSword, teacher resources, art, activities and much more.
- Mieja is in to making money for some reason. Of course I do tell her often that things do not grow on trees and that we have to work hard to buy things. After buying money from Target, her next idea was to grow a money tree in our back yard. The most recent in this unique line of thinking is, ‘Amma, let us sell the market. There are so many things in a market right?! If we sell the whole market, then we will get lots of money right?!’ Soon she will be selling me. The day is not too far.
- Chula….. something is going on. With every day, she is living a little bit more inside her own head. There is lots of dreaming, thinking, drawing, reading, shutting off her links to the world outside going on. Some of her pictures blew my breath away. She is drawing Little Mermaid scenes. Shading with her pastels, looking at it from right-left, top-bottom, just a shade here a shade there. Perfecting it, sometimes after spending hours on a picture deciding to throw it away and starting it from scratch. Finally when she is happy showing it off to me and asking me to frame it.
- Uma tagged me for Mommy Guilt, few months ago. When she met me, she was nice not to smack me on my head as I am still sitting on it. So here it is.
With every day, my priority in life is getting defined over and over again. Now it is clear – my personal space, kids, house keeping, thousand mundane things, at the very last bringing up the rear, cooking. The bandh and the kids lounging at home played a major role how this priority list got shaped up. The kids are no longer allowed to play inside the house. They have strict instructions to play in the corridor and to eat what is put on their plate at the time it is put on the plate or else wait till the next scheduled eating/snacking time. There have been few occasions in the past month, when they were hungry and I ruthlessly, said no to the unscheduled snack quoting that they nibbled their lunch and now have to wait for another hour for their milk/buttermilk.
If there is fresh made hot rice or idlis, I get first dibs. I have often fed the kids left over rice and kept the fresh made rice for myself.
I maintain it is for the greater good and do not feel an inkling of guilt.
- Went to Ohri’s Nautanki Gali. It gave me the impression of ‘wanna be a good restaurant’. The food was aplenty, the waiters were super nice. But felt as if something was missing. We sat in an auto and ate our dinner, definitely a high point for kids. I was not too kicked about the general garish do and loud music. Food was so-so. High point of the buffet seems to be the chocolate fountain, though the fountain looked watery.They also have Rajasthani style puppet show, but the puppets were resting when we went.
- Went to Skandagiri temple in Secunderabad. Major renovation going on. So I had to watch the kids like a hawk. Right next to the temple was a branch of Giri Trading. They have golu dolls, marapachis, all types of pooja items, devotional CDs/DVDs/books, golu stand etc. In general gave me a Mylapore/Saidapet feel. Also next to the temple an Anjeneya temple by Kanchi mutt.