Archive for the ‘My Darlings’ Category

Google

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Chula: Amma, tell me about Lebanon.
Me: Errr…Lebanon?
Chula: I want to know about Lebanon.
Me: Okay, why do you want to know about Lebanon?
Chula: Because, I don’t know about Lebanon. That is why I want to know about it.
(Told with a sigh, eyes rolling, hand shaking and intonation as if explaining it to Rainman)
Me: But I don’t know anything about Lebanon
Chula: Googal it amma.
Me: What it?
Chula: Googal it.
Me: What is google Chula?
Chula: It is something that lives in our computer and when we ask a question it tells us an answer.

So we know about Googal, inspite of not introducing Googal formally.

[tags]google[/tags]

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Starving People Of Afghanistan

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(This is part 1 of 3)

Mieja neatly polished off the entire plate of ribbon pakoda, masala peanuts, maida biscuits I made for Diwali, in record time. This is a child who will stare at food on plate for days together and claim that she didn’t eat it because the food was not her friend. So I was naturally surprised and as a reflex I checked under the table. Finding no eatable of any kind stashed under the table, I asked her, with my eyebrows raised, “Oh, wow, you finished everything!” I had already offended the said child by looking under the table. So she replies to me in a very condescending tone, “Yes amma. We don’t waste food. Do you know people in Afghanistan are starving? They don’t have any kind of food to eat.”

Why Afghanistan? Will do a post on that later.(Part 2 of 3)

[tags]Afghanistan, pennies for peace, people starving, wasting food, preschooler eating snack[/tags]




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Sibling Mush

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I am currently dropping Chula’s classmate at her house on the way back home from school. This child’s mother is travelling and hence she requested I do the pick-up-from-school-and-drop-off-at-home service. This other child, let us call her X, is the same age as Chula. She is a mellow, sweet kid and gels well with Chula and Mieja. All three were having a conversation in the car that I was privileged to listen to.

Chula is narrating the events of last weekend to X. She is talking about the navarathiri trips, golu visits and the friends she meets only when there is an occasion. At this point she says, “…and I was crying in S’s house.”

This piques X’s curiosity and she asks, “Crying? Why were you crying?”

To this Chula replies, “That’s because my sister left me alone in S’s room and closed the door. She was holding the doorknob tight from outside. I tried to open the door, I tried and tried and I got scared. So I started crying for my mommy. My mommy was sitting in the couch with P chithi and P aunty and A baby and N uncle. She heard me cry and started wondering where I was and what happened to me. So she walked through the kitchen, listening to where my voice was coming from. She walked down the hallway and came to the room I was standing and crying. She removed Mieja’s hand from the door knob and opened the door and kneeled down on the floor and hugged me tight and asked if I was okay. I said yes and started crying and my mommy helped me go to my heart and calmed me down.”

Yes, she does not talk in sentences, but in pages. There is no period, only ands and commas and the narration goes on and on. She was shut inside the room, but she had vividly imagined how I would have reacted when I heard her cry, how I reached the room ‘listening to her voice’ and removed Mieja’s hand from the doorknob before I opened the door. This is my Chula.

As to Mieja, she must have felt left out with S and Chula jumping and having fun. She must have tried her best to talk the other two girls to include her in the play. I can totally picture her drawing her to her full 30 inches of height, hands on hips and saying, “Hey, but I want to play with you guys too”, for I have seen her do it only a billion times. She must have gotten frustrated that words were not making an impact, she must have been more angry at her sister than at S for not including her, so she must have taken it out on her sister. I am positive she would have waved her right index finger at her sister and would have said, “Then, I am not going to play with you any more. I am walking away from you.”, this I have seen a kabillion times, and closed the room door. One thing Mieja knows, if her sister storms out of the closed door, she would come out and express her displeasure physically. So she stood outside the door holding on to the doorknob, so that Chula cannot come out. While I understand what she did, I do not approve of it, disclaimer in case these kids grow up and get to read this and accuse me that I take sides, this is my Mieja and she is like this only.

Anyways, where was I? Yes, in the car driving to X’s house. X being an only child is mortified. All this locking out drama appalls her. But X adores Mieja, she probably thinks that Mieja is innocent, helpless and is not capable of such an act. So turns to Mieja and asks her, “Did you do that?” I am looking at Mieja through the rear view mirror. She is looking out of the window as if she is the only passenger in the car. It looks as if she never heard the conversation. At this point X appropriately draws her breath in sharply and in her most disapproving tone says, “That is so mean of Mieja”, Chula nods her approval. X says, “Mieja is so mean. Let us not play with her anymore.” For this Chula replies, “Okay, but I have to play with her in the afternoons*.” X is puzzled and asks her why and Chula replies, “Because she is my sister and I love her.”

At this point, Madam-pretending-not-to-listen turns to her sister and says, “Akka, I love you too. I want to be your friend too.”

I am smiling. I grew up as an only child I am not sure of all the sibling dynamics. When my children are constantly in each other’s face, I wonder if this is normal and if they will turn out to be tolerant and loving to each other in the future. But instances like this give me reassurance and satisfaction.

*Only afternoon because, they are doing different things at morning work time. At lunch they sit where there is a space. But afternoons, before and after Mieja’s nap time are the times they are together.
 

 


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The Very Particular Girl

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You mention one word to ‘The Very Particular Girl’ and she constructs such vivid mental images that if put in words would fill a book.

The mother says ‘ice cream’ and ‘The Very Particular Girl’ imagines one scoop chocolate ice cream with sprinkles and M&Ms with a cherry on top, in a kids sized waffle cone. This to be had in the Cold Stone Creamery close to her house, sitting at the square table against the wall with three chairs around the table. She visualizes that her mother would be sitting next to her with a white plastic spoon on her hand. She visualizes that she is allowing her mother to swipe her ice cream from time to time and swatting her hands away at other times. She visualizes her younger sister sitting across from her eating vanilla ice cream with sprinkles and M&Ms in a kid sized sugar cone. She had already visualized what clothes the trio would be wearing.

If the mother had said ‘ice cream’ during an outing in which the little sister had not accompanied them…. no problem, she automatically assumes that they would go home, pick up the little one, change clothes and then go to the ice cream shop.

See the way the four-year-old mind works? She constructs an image, actually a movie clip, by gathering snippets from her past experiences. If the reality changes, the movie projection in her mind does not change. Her four-year-old brain is not that agile cognitively, so she changes reality in order to achieve her mental representation.

Of course reality being pretty real, there usually is a mismatch in the end result and the mental projection. Thus resulting in hands-flailing-legs-kicking-rolling-on-the-floor-tantrums. At times the mother has been afraid of ‘The Very Particular Girl’. There is no telling what ‘The Very Particular Girl’ is thinking and after the hoops the mother had jumped to do something that she thought would make ‘The Very Particular Girl’ happy, she had to face-ear-splitting-brain-melting-tantrums. Most disheartening of all, ‘The Very Particular Girl’ would come back home and pronounce the verdict that would descend on the mother like thunder “You made me very unhappy amma.”

After going through painfully small improvisations, one at a time, finally the mother and the ‘The Very Particular Girl’ have settled in to a routine. For anything activity they do, no matter how small it is, they draw up ‘A Plan’. A plan is nothing but a set of expectations, both the mother’s and ‘The Very Particular Girl’s’. Then they analyze what they can do if something unexpected happens and the plan goes haywire. The mother tells/warns at least 1000 times that one can only plan and life can throw surprises. The ‘The Very Particular Girl’ nods her head understandingly. Thanks to the plan, if something upsets ‘The Very Particular Girl’, she says, “But amma, that is not my plan.” The concept of ‘A Plan’ helps put things in perspective not only for the ‘The Very Particular Girl’, but at times also for her mother, because when you are a mother, you tend to just do things. In your heart, you are doing whatever you are doing in the best interest of your family. At times like that the little voice, filled with reproach helps the mother find her balance.

THE END

CAST AND CREDITS(Like you guys didn’t know all along!)
‘The Very Particular Girl’ – Chula
Mother – Yours Truly

[tags]Toddler tantrum, preschooler tantrums, how a child thinks, why do children throw tantrums[/tags]

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There Is A Little Echo In The House

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Chula talk in bold, Mieja talk in italics.

Amma I want starwberries.
Amma, chabely amma.

Its okay baby.
Kis ok baby.

(Singing)Who wants to do it? Follow, follow me…
To wans a toowin, to wans a toowin. Fomo fommo me….

No bath amma.
No path. No path. No path. No path. No path. No path.

I want to play outside.
Ppplayousie.

My turn.
Mi tun.

You get the idea.

Mieja just hangs around every single word uttered by Chula. She copies, imitates and repeats verbatim whatever Chula says.

And of all the things,*Rolling my eyes*, Chula taught Mieja she taught her to say ‘poo-poo-butt’. Yes, she TAUGHT her, ‘Baby say poo-poo-butt. Can you say it? Look at me, I will give you a lesson. Say poo-poo-butt.’ And the little one is prancing around the house repeating ‘poo-poo-butt’ at least 108 time every day. Shobana I am waiting for my turn to be embarrassed, I can almost visualize that happening.

PS
To be fair to Chula: So far the little teacher has taught the little pupil how to count till 10 in three languages (tamil, english and spanish), ABCD song(with letters and with the letter sounds), tamil vowels and a whole bunch of songs(circle time songs from her montessori). But ‘poo-poo-butt’ is the most uttered phrase.

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  • Letters From The Mischievous Mieja

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    Hello, hello , hello. I just have to take matters in my own hands, otherwise things never get done. Never, like in N.E.V.E.R.

    Dear readers, I am 22 months old. My amma often forgets this. She is either stuck at me being 10 months old(and treats me that way, which I totally hate) or thinks that I am already two and a half, nothing in between for her.

    I like to think of my self as a mischievous little monkey, like the Kapish in Twinkle or Meera monkey from Karadi Tales. My mischief will not make you mad, but will make you hug me tight and plant kisses on my chubby cheeks. Okay, just not kisses, I also love it you blow raspberries.

    A sample of my mischief. The other day I was in the library with appa (father) and akka (elder sister). Appa was checking out some books. Akka was standing next to appa, with a mesmerized look( oh, she always gets that look when she sees books) on her face. I tried calling appa a few times and he continued focusing on checking out the books with an occasional ‘Hm’. I like to be given full attention, so what do I do? Do I roll on the floor and cry. Nah, that is so old school. I just pull Chula’s pants down to her knees and run away. That got your attention, right appa? (Sorry Chula, you were just collateral damage. Don’t take it personally, okay?) Amma couldn’t control her laughter when she heard about this, but she also secretly made a mental note, never to wear sweats when I am around. I could see that in her eyes.

    You have all heard about my scream-mication (screaming to communicate). Though, I occasionally scream to inflict the right amount of terror in my parents, I have come a long way. I talk!….full sentences,….and…..*drumroll*…… make conversations over the phone * :) *. Last week amma was changing my diaper and was talking to patti(grand mom) over the phone. I grabbed the phone from amma and said, ‘Patti, Mieja diapuul. Numeel four diapuul. Mickey moose diapuul.’ (Grand mom, I am wearing number four mickey mouse diaper.)

    I am still a very persistent child. I like my mother’s school folder and cell phone. But amma makes a big fuss. Honestly I don’t see why? Amma any ways drops her cellphone, like a 100 times. Whats the big deal if I drop it a couple of times? Regarding her school notes, I was just trying to add a child’s perspective to her assignments on child development. Any ways, she over reacts, as usual, puts the stuff away, carries me, sings and dances and tickles me. This charade goes on for 30 min and I play along. After amma is done I go back to the place where I last found the object that attracted me and look for it. I give amma that famous smile of mine, extend my hands and say, ‘thaaka’(thaanga, which means ‘give’ in english). If I sense that it is that amma means business, I add a ‘peesee’(please) to the ‘thaaka’. It is so irresistible that amma almost caves.

    I am a picky eater, just like my sister. But Chula gets easily distracted if amma reads books, but not me. If I says no, then it means N.O. You can sing, dance, read books, switch the TV on, it is still N.O. Amma failed to get the message, so I drilled it home by throwing the bowl of food at the wall couple of times. Now she doesn’t even try.

    I love to dance. Especially for ‘thee, thee, thee, chakka joey joey’ or ‘vaadi vaadi cd‘. There is nothing like putting on a skirt and doing my famous dabanguthu moves. My other favorite songs are the Indian rhymes for Indian kids from Karadi tales.

    I like singing too. My favorite used to be ‘Jinkuwawe, Jinkuwawe, Jinku-Waaa-Weh’(Jingle bells, jingle bells jingle all the way). Last Christmas Chula sang this song in her school performance (which was conducted in the church close to Chula’s montessori school). I tried joining the chorus, but amma shushed me so hard that I stopped singing. But me being the productive person, that I am, I had to do something. So I picked up an application for membership to The Central Church of Christ from the pew and filled it up. Still waiting to hear from them if I got in to the church.

    Sometimes my love for singing transcends the time factor. I wake up at the wee hours of morning (5.00AM) and sing at the top of my voice, ‘Isabella, Isabella, ISABELLA……Alara, Alara, ALARA’* and wake up all the sleepy heads in my house.

    Though I like my sister when she gets all dressed up, I hug her and kiss her all over her face, I consider the few minutes before bath time as a special bonding time between us. Amma takes off all my clothes except my diaper, I run to Chula demanding that she strips down to her underpants and we make circles around the house, Chula singing, ‘5 little ducks ran up one day, over the hills and far away…..’ and run behind her shouting, ‘duckie akka, duckie akka.’

    Okay, that’s a long time sitting in one place. Got to go and do some mischief. See yaa later.

    Runs off singing,

    ‘Monkeys, we are the monkeys.
    We like to sing, we like to jump
    We like to romp around……’

    * – At Chula’s school, they have a cool routine at circle time. They call every child’s name with music from keyboard starting from the lowest note to the highest note. This introduces the differences in the ‘do-re-mi-fa-so-la-to-do’ notes. Mieja listens to Chula singing this song at home and repeats it often.

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    Chula Turns Three

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    …THE PLANNING…

    Me: Hey girl, how old are you?
    Chula: I am two. I will be threeeee!!!
    Me: Okay, what do you want for your third birthday?
    Chula: I want to be a butterfly.
    Me: Okay….
    Chula: I want cake and candies and ice cream and presents….
    Me: Okay….
    Chula: I want to come and celebrate me, sing happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, then I blow the candle and eat cake.

    Yes! Yes! Yes! This is exactly what I wanted. The quarter would be over, papers done, grades published, with holidays fast approaching I was in the mood to throw a party. Just the thing I wanted to do! And she gave me some thing to work on – BUTTERFLY, her recent fascination, craze, obsession, interest…. She practically had me eating me out of her hand. Except for the ‘presents’ part. This gifting and re-gifting business was eating me up. So I decided to make it a gift free birthday. IF the guests felt awkward about the gift business, suggestions were made to donate the gift amount to a charity or to their library’s giving tree and send the good will as the gift. But Chula now knows that birthdays and gifts go together. She does not care what is inside, but just gets a kick when some one hands her a gift bag. So it was decided that hubby and self buy couple of toys/books, wrap it, display them at the party and bring them back.

    With the theme and guest list handed to me, I had venue, food, decoration and cake to care of. After a little research I found this early child development center close to home where they agreed to do some activity for the varied age group children who will be coming to the party. Butterfly easel painting, play dough activity, (paper cut out) butterfly hunt, followed by art activity where the kids made a garden scene with the butterflies they found in the hunt and some circle time/parachute activities for the younger children. The much older kids were to be given ownership of conducting the activities.

    I had read a lot about this particular bakery where they bake a mean Guava cake. They infuse few other fruits along with Guava both in to the cake and also in to the icing. By chance I had it in another birthday party and decided Guava cake it is! I picked a butterfly cake picture from the internet and asked this bakery to pretty much copy it. So cake was done.

    Food was going to be simple – order pizza, make couple of appetizers and bow tie pasta at home. I also baked some butterfly shaped cookies as return gifts.

    …EXECUTION…

    Planning done. Supplies bought. Cooking completed. Things packed. Guest arrived. Kids ran wild. Cake cut. Small talk made. My younger one painted every single plain sheet of paper she could get hold of. At any given point of time the older one was found jumping/smiling/running/rolling from various locations! So were the other kids.

    …HIGHLIGHTS…

    The one birthday I decide no gifts, our family was gifted with the best gift any one could ever wish for. As an added bonus, it was a surprise! What more can one ask for?! Few friends made an audio CD with the voices of their little ones – all wishing my Chula a happy birthday. While the party was in progress, they played it in the CD player for all of us to hear. The puzzle was for me to match the voice with the cutie pie. I spent the day after the party playing and replaying the CD, figuring out the puzzle. It was lots of fun.

    There were special wishes for Chula, from you all in ‘Circle Of Happiness’ and in my comment space. Thanks a bunch guys.

    Cake was A-mazing. People had thirds and fourths. At 10.00PM, I was sitting on our couch, busily licking the whipped cream from the cake board and was certain that come next morning 10.0AM, I was going to the bakery and get a 6 inch round Guava cake all for myself.

    …INTERESTING…

    The parents were okay with the ‘no gift’ clause. But the kids were uncomfortable. I was told that the minute they heard the words birthday party uttered, they declared, ‘Wow, I want to go. I want to take a NICE gift for Chula’. Apparently the little ones were not quite happy that there would be no gifts. They insisted that they bring something to give birthday girl and Chula received a Kit Kat, a box of cookies, plenty of birthday cards and a cute little hand painted wooden butterfly!!

    …AND SOME PICTURES…

    …AND RECIPES…

  • Cheese on Ritz crackers
  • This was the inspiration for the next appetizer. I shaped the rolls in to a butterfly shape. What started out as a healthy looking butterfly ended up as not so healthy and not so looking like a butterfly after I baked them and cooled them off. Also the topping was my own creation, 8 tbsp low sourcream, finely chopped green onion, finely chopped red bell pepper.
  • Bow tie pasta



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    Butterfly Butterfly Fly Fly Away

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    Day: Oct 15 2007

    Two little butterflies sitting in the Sun,
    One flew away and then there was one,
    Butterfly butterfly happy all day
    Butterfly butterfly fly fly away

    What is this song?
    This is a song from Barney. This was the song that I was mentally singing as I was driving Chula to the first day of her S.C.H.O.O.L. Yes, she is officially now in Pre-K.

    What was playing in the car?
    The song Vaadi Vaadi Vaadi from tamil movie Sachin. Chula and Mieja like the ‘dabbanguthu’. I am okay with it because I think the lyrics are okay and I must admit this song has taken our houshold by storm! If you make an unannounced trip to our home any time between 5PM-6PM, you will hear this song blaring from the laptop and the crazy mom and the two kids dancing to this song.

    What was she wearing?
    Her new blue denim capri from, flower embroidery over the right thigh. Pink turtle neck shirt. Purple fleece jacket. White sneakers. Two adorable pony tails.

    What was she most excited about?
    Her lunch bag. Shocking pink in color. She was holding on to it and was giggling every time she touched it. I think the lunch box was her primary incentive to go to ‘Montessoly school’.

    What did she eat for breakfast?
    Puffins cereal with milk.

    What was she going to eat for lunch?
    Grilled cheese sandwich – her favorite, watermelon – her absolute fav, carrots – hmmmm we are working to get it in the fav list.

    All the above she requested for lunch when I was talking to her the previous day about school, the new routine, new lunch routine etc.

    End of the day, only water melon was polished off, the rest was shoved in to her mouth in the parking lot.

    Where is she schooling? Why this school?
    A wonderful Montessori school close to home. Its been around for 15 years. I really liked it.

    A friend asked me, ‘So did you analyze the pros and cons of all the schools in the Bay Area and finally picked the best of the best?’. I did analyze (and at times over analyze) lots of schools and listed pros and cons, but the intention was not to pick the best of the best. I toured this particular montessori and loved it, kind of love at first sight. I thought that my kids will thrive in this kind of environment. So listing the pros and cons of other schools was more for justifying my decision to hubby and myself.

    Apart from the usual Montessori concepts I have seen implemented in other Montessori schools, they have some practical concepts like
    ‘Peace Table’ – if kids have an argument, a teacher takes them to a corner and
    teaches them how to talk it out.
    The kids are taught to be responsible for the environment. The school itself does not use diapers or any disposable things. So if you bring a child in with a diaper, the diaper is substituted with a cloth nappy by the teacher at the class room entrance.
    Every kid is assigned a chore – clean up outdoor toys area, mediating sand box disputes, feeding the school pet etc.
    Not to waste resources – They start with food. Be it the class snack or the lunch the kids bring, the kids are taught how to respect the food that is put on their table. (This is one of our families values. So this alone was enough to impress me.)

    I also saw these concepts working! When I was touring the school, it was snack time. This little three year old boy, picked up his place mat, picked up a banana and before slicing it for his snack, went around asking all his classmates, ‘This is a big banana. I can’t finish it all. I don’t want to waste the rest. Will you share half a banana with me?’. And it was not an isolated incident. I saw a little girl asking if some one would share a slice of bread with her. I mentally gave these little kids a huge hug. I took Chula for a school visit, she was playing in the sand box and another child snatched the toy shovel from her hands. Chula started crying, would not accept any but a ‘YELLOW’ shovel. A little girl came to her and said, ‘Don’t be upset. You can talk to B and tell him not to snatch. If you want only a yellow shovel, you can have mine. I am more or less done with it.’ The she went to B and said, ‘That is not a nice thing, she new here and you can’t upset her on her first day.’ I have seen these little warriors armed with appropriate weapons cleaning/feeding/organizing the toys/instructing other kids to leave their shoes in an order…etc.

    How is Chula taking to school?
    I expected her to be head over heels excited on the day of the visit. Kind of hesitant on the first week, adamant that she hates the new place and wants to go back to the old place in the second week and settle down in the third week. Wham, bham, smack on target so far. End of week one and she now says, ‘I no want to go to Montessoly school. I only want M(her day care provider) school. Amma, you send Mieja to Montessoly with Appa’. :)

    The day before first day of school.
    Chula and self sat down and packed the things she needs to take to school. I let her pick out what clothes, blankets she wants to keep in her cubby at school. Also showed her her new lunch bag, lunch box, nap time pillow. She kept asking, ‘All this for meeee? Oh, thanq thanq thanq Amma. I like pretty new pink shoes’.

    I felt like crying. There was this huge lump in my throat. I kept visualizing this child to go to a new environment and applying all she learnt about survival in her day care to the new school. She is going to make new bonds and meet new people. Her brain is going to be working hard in writing and rewriting new schemas. When put in to words all this sounded like a lot of work and more like an adult thing. But my barely three year old is going to do this! Made me very proud! A mother thingy.

    The one thing that was more difficult than picking out the school itself
    Finding school accessories. All I wanted was a cutsey kiddie lunch bag, nice fun back pack, pillow and a blanket. Why does every single kids product has to have a commercial cartoon character on it? It was ‘Jojo’ the elephant, ‘Thomas’ the train engine, ‘Barbie’ goes to school, ‘Dora’ the explorer, ‘Hello Kitty’, ‘Disney’ princesses. Phlueese, something without a ‘name’. I had no choice in the one store I went and not much time to raid lots of stores. So I picked out a regular adult throw pillow, plain fleece blanket, plastic containers for food and plain rubbermaid sipper water bottle. I scratched the back pack idea and decided to recycle an lunch bag that was lying around.

    What I found most disturbing?
    I was touring a school and was asking if they have regular monthly visits – from firemen, cops, music presentations etc to stimulate the child and she said, ‘No. We try to limit that kind of stimulation. Long time back, homes gave children stability and schools provided the stimulation and excitement. But in present days with the busy working schedule of parents, single parent family life style and many many more factors, schools provide the children the stability and familiarity they need. So we have only two presentations a year.’ Sadly true.

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    I here by declare….

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    …that Chula is potty trained!!! :D :D :D

    Well there are still some stray accidents (especially if she happens to be watching TV) and last friday, at her day care, she refused to get on the pot. But….I think she is ready.

    Yesterday we went to a park with three other friends. We were there for 5 hours. She surprised by coming to me to tell that she needed to pee, held it in till I ran with her in my arms to the rest room and did her business where it is supposed to be done. Not once, not twice, but thrice folks. I now know how Edmund Hillary must have felt when he reached the top of Everest!!!

    Signed
    Proudest mom ever :D :-D

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  • How Chula Settled In Day Care.

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    I am looking for a preschool for Chula. I remembered going through the same routine not very long ago, when I was looking for a day care for Chula. I was looking at my personal logs/emails on how Chula settled in day care and it was a trip down memory lane!

    ****************************************************************************

    Chula started a day care on Vijayadasami(Oct 2nd 2006). She is 21 months. It is a Spanish day care, home based, walking distance from home. There are 14 children including Chula. But all the 14 are not there at the same time. The good thing is that the children are in different age groups. So Chula will learn to cope up with children of all ages. Also the day care is busy all the time, so she is engaged in one way or another.

    After one month of meticulous searching, I finally learnt a lesson – there will never be a place that I am completely satisfied with, no one can take care of my baby like I do. So the one with least cons will be the best place. Hubby and I took her on the first day. We had a big speech on the lines of ‘Amma and appa love you. We are not abandaning you, we will come back to get you….blah,blah,blah’. But the minute she saw the broom in the backyard, she wiggled away from us, didn’t even bother to give us a second look, she started raking leaves with the broom. Few minutes later she looked in our general direction, we got ready to deliver our speech. But she was looking past us at a ball behind us. She picked up the ball and ran away. I waited in my car, outside the day care for about 30 min and pushed off after confirming that she was alright. We never had a chance to give our speech. Just tore my heart to see that she didn’t need us any more.I went to pick her up after an hour. I could hear her screaming “amma, amma” at the top of her voice. It was lunch time and she didn’t want to eat from any one but me and hence the screaming. As soon as lunch time started she kept pulling her day care provider(M) and dragged her to the door, pointed to the door and kept repeating ‘amma’ itseems. Also when ever M tried giving her snack, she pushed it away and said ‘amma’ itseems! Yes, my baby still needs me. Yippee, yipee yay, yay! Wait a minute, what if she doesn’t eat at all?!!! I have to worry about something or I can’t sleep.

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    Two weeks since Chula started day care, she is still getting used to the day care. The first two days she was quite enthused because she was in denial that we have left her some where. Then she realized that it is going to be a regular affair, there is a lot of screaming and crying. She is getting nightmares; she is getting get up screaming in the middle of her sleep, “amma, vannach, school all done, amma vannach, school bye bye”(Amma has come, bye bye to school). She is in day care only for three hours and she cries non-stop for the whole time! She pulls the day care provider to the door and says ‘amma, amma’ itseems.

    She does not sit down anywhere in the day care. By sitting down she is acknowledging that she belongs there for half a day, so is up on her feet all 3 hrs! In fact her place for all the three hours is next to the door, against the wall. She has her lunch bag in one hand and her blanket on the other hand, she never takes her jacket off. When M tries to take her bag or her jacket off, she says, “No, no, amma vannach, school bye bye, me bye bye”(No amma is going to come and I am ready to go home, so don’t take my stuff away.). Can you believe it?

    Today M said that, she disrupted kids who were sleeping. M is very nice, patient and gentle, but also concerned that Chula is not happy. Her exact words are, “Well, may be she is not happy. It tears my heart to see that she is crying so much and she is not eating anything. May be it is a little too soon for her. Let us give it one more week and take it from there”. I got a feeling that Chula is very close to getting kicked out of day care.

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    Now, after three weeks she does not cry all the time, only when we drop her off. When I go to pick her up she cries a fake cry, her way of letting me know that she is not cool with us leaving her at some place! Finally after 3 weeks she sat down yesterday it seems. Big break through. M and self almost hugged each other and danced around in joy. Couple of days before that, she allowed her bag to be taken away from her. So looks like we have broken her will. But she still keeps her jacket on, blanket close to her, refuses to eat (not even a sip water) or go to sleep. She has cereal in the morning and by the time I bring her home, she is so tired that she dozes off and has her next round of food at 6.00PM. Hopefully she will start eating and sleeping there.

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    4 weeks from the start date, Chula loves her day care. She keeps saying school, school. She is puzzled why we don’t take her there on Sat and Sun. She eats there and sleeps for couple of hours. She loves the bean burrito her day care provider makes. She asks for ‘peans’ all the time.

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    Its been 10 months now. She calls M ‘mommy’ when I am not around. I am a little green about that, but…….what can I do? Also she speaks fluent Spanish and English. Tamil has gone down the drain though :(

    About M, though I thought I settled, I couldn’t have picked a better place or person to take care of Chula. M has a masters in Math from Mexico. She worked as a high school math teacher. After coming to US, she raised three of her kids. Now she is majoring in Child development and Child Psychology, hoping to teach Early Childhood Eucation classes in a college/unniversity some time in the future.

    It is now time to pluck this little flower and replant it in a new environment. Sad, but has to be done. Replanting depends on how potty trainning goes. So any tips on PT?!

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