15 Jul 2007
You all know them as toddler and infant respectively. Chula (pronounced Choo-la) and Mieja (pronounced Me-ha) are terms of endearment in spanish. Chula means cute girl. Mieja means little girl. They are called so by their (Spanish)day care provider. Toddler loves being called Chula. When asked ,‘Who is Chula?’, she says, ‘I am Chula amma’. When her day care provider calls another little girl Chula, there is a look of confusion on her face! She goes to her day care provider and says, ‘I am Chula Mari. I am Chula’. Infant doesn’t have any opinions to offer at this point of time.
14 Jul 2007
This post refers to two ‘she’s – toddler and the infant.
Let us start with toddler.
Intro: When we went to India 3.5 months back, I picked up couple of Curious George books and a Bob the builder book from the library and used these books to ‘contain’ her in the plane. The books were duly returned after we returned from motherland. There was no mention of the books, what so ever after that.
Today: This day will go down in history as the day I fainted in the library.
Toddler is hating home. She would do anything to not go home. The minute I pick her from day care it is, ‘Amma, no go home amma, no go home’. So I took up hubby’s idea and took her to the library, which is three blocks away from our house, instead of coming home. To make it interesting for her, I made her bike to the library. I walked along with her, infant in the baby carrier, guiding toddler and shoving the carton of chocolate milk in to her mouth every now and then.
Toddler was quite hyper, she kept chirping,’We all going to the libllalee amma?’ every few minutes, ran to the children’s section, and started browsing. I was busy huffing and puffing from the walk. Toddler gives me a book and says, ‘Hele amma, have CG goes to school. You have it amma’. I was still not paying attention. I thought that she is mentioning any CG book by the CG book she already read. I grab the book and before depositing it in my bag see that it IS CG goes to school! I froze. Then she picks up another CG and hands it to me, ‘Hele amma, have CG costume palty’ and it IS the right title. Then she also picked out Bob the builder’s birthday party book. She can’t read(…..I think). She must have remembered the books from 3.5 months back! If with my simple memory I could remember the silly things that happened 8 years back (and pick fight with hubby, “that’s what you said on Jan 31, 1999. I know what you meant”), what does this girl have in store for me???? I fainted.
Now to infant.
When she has her heart set on something, no army can stop her. She wanted to grab some one else’s key. The other lady distracted her, jingled the keys here and there and with a ‘Kaka ush’(Meaning: the crow took it and flew away) hid it behind her. Infant smiled wide and pitter pattered to the lady’s back and found the keys. I jumped to the rescue, distracted her squeaky with toys while other lady put her keys in her purse. Infant played with the squeaky toy for 5 whole minutes, threw the toy away and made a bee line for the table on which perched the purse which contained the keys, as if she was the one who put the keys in there! And here I am always seen with a piece of paper and pencil because I have to jot down every single thought that pops in my mind because a small distraction and I forget the while thread!
PS: Now that infant is walking strong and steady, asserting her presence with tantrums, preferences and wisdom(?!) that would put teenager to shame, I am obligated to promote her from infant-dom to toddler-dom. So there will be new nicknames for the kids. How is the PS connected to the post? Who said that it was? I just wanted to put my thoughts in writing before I forgot.
12 Jul 2007
It was midnight. She went around the house checking and rechecking every window and door, making sure that they were all bolted down. She switched the security system on and turned off all the lights. She put her cell phone and her hand set under the pillow(in case she needs to call 911 in the middle of the night) on her husband’s side of the bed, the one that will not be used for a week to come. She sat on her bed seriously considering if she must put the big kitchen knife also under the pillow – just incase some intruder entered the house. She seriously questioned herself if she was the stabbing type. She equated the two innocent children, sleeping peacefully in their cribs, in to the scenario and reconsidered the knife. She shook her head and forced herself to think about something else.
Why did her husband have to go away? She had known about this trip for three months now, but still the minor details scared her. How on earth can she get up in the morning, make breakfast, make the baby’s daal rice for lunch, wake up the kids, feed them, wash them, drop them at day care and make the 8.00AM class? She was used to doing as much as she could and dumping the rest on the husband and runnig out of the house at 7.45AM. It was not just the work. She just felt kind of insecure without her husband, especially in the night when the thoughts of all the psychos she had read about clouded her mind from thinking straight.
She had always been like this. Even when she was young, she felt antsy when her father went off on one of his very are work related trips. She truly believed that these two important men in her life could protect her and her precious children from harm. Its funny because both her father and her husband are small built – they were hardly 5 feet 6 inches tall, not even 130 pounds and didn’t know any kind of defense arts what so ever! Yet, the thought that there was some one to fall back gave her the security.
She never told her husband about the insecure feeling. She was too proud to admit to that kind of thing. She was not the type. Every day of the eight days was a mad rush. The days were long and the nights were longer. To make it worse the toddler fell sick. The child was running 105, throwing up, shivering and shaking – all this at 1.00AM. She had managed by calling her dear friends for help.
Finally eight days passed, her husband arrived. She went and picked him up from the airport. There was a bear hug, no I love you-s or I missed you-s. Her husband is not good at expressing how he feels and she had a big fat ego. They started talking, one thing lead to another and they had a fight over nothing. That’s just how they are – two quirky peas in a pod!
11 Jul 2007
Toddler goes to day care full time. Infant goes for four half days. They go to day care at 8.30AM. After my class, I go to day care and pick up infant, feed her and put her down for her nap. I make another trip to the day care at 4.00PM to pick up toddler. This is our routine.
Most of the days, toddler is asleep when I pick up infant. Some days she is just rolling around trying to go to sleep. In any case, I don’t want toddler to see me and start crying that she wants to come home too. So, I put a big show. I call ahead, inform the daycare provider that I will be there in 15 minutes, I wait at the door, pick up infant at the door and leave.
I have always wondered what goes on in toddler’s mind? Just before her nap, her baby sister was lying in a crib not more than 5 feet away. She wakes up and the baby isn’t there. Does she even notice this?
Last week, I picked up infant, toddler was rolling around singing, ‘Go to sleep J, go to sleep. Go to sleep M go to sleep’…. basically she was singing a lullaby for the 12 other kids in the day care. I wait at the door and pick up infant. As I was about to close the door, toddler sings, ‘Go home with amma, infant go to home’. She knows!!!!
4 Jul 2007
In class, we were discussing children with attention disorders and one of the students mentioned that a kid she knows is taking drugs for ADHD only on weekdays. He is ‘perfectly fine’ on the days he stays at home, he needs drugs to adjust at school. This information and the discussion that followed just sent a chill up my spine.
A child with ADHD is a child with ADHD, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Why is that he needs drugs only on the days he goes to school? Obviously the drugs are for his ADHD like behavior caused by something else.
A 6-hour or an 8-hour school is simply not for all children. This is where ‘Goodness Of Fit’ comes in. A child cannot simply be branded as lazy or stupid or hyperactive based on his behavior. We also have to look at his temperament, family’s values, the learning system, his teacher’s patience and accommodating tendencies before we tag him. Looks like the present system of learning is not compatible with the child and he is drugged to fit in to the current school system. I am not judging the parents. The minute I became a mother, was the minute I stopped judging parents. Either they do not have the right amount of information or they deliberately took this decision because they desperately want their child to fit in!
Why this gets scary for me is because US is a country with options….lots and loads and tones of options. If the child does not want to go to a regular school, they can be home schooled or they can go to a different kind of school. But consider a country like India. What options do we have? At least I am not aware of any. We believe in route learning with a fierce emphasis on academics. Even if we have options we tend to pick a school that values academics more than anything. We derive our pride from the fact that our children can read much before the other kids. This mother I met at a Parent and Me class told me that she does not prefer a Montessori kind of teaching because, ‘They encourage the kid to do what the kid likes to do. What if my kid wants to paint and draw, when will she learn math and science? What good is it?’. First of all, that is not what goes on in a Montessori. They do teach math and science, but in a different way. Secondly what if the kid does not want to learn 1+5=6, in the traditional way, at the age of 3?
The lack of options is based on culture. Indian culture, for that matter most of the eastern cultures, is all about fitting in. While the western culture teaches independence, eastern culture teaches interdependence and conformity. The western culture encourages you to be unique and be proud of one’s achievements, the eastern cultures tells us to take no pride in our actions. So culturally we lack the ability to analyze a rebellious behavior and end up blaming it in the individual.
I know how hard it is when you don’t fit in. I spent my whole school life trying to fit in. I loved math and biology but sitting down and memorizing and spitting it out on paper in three hours is simply not my style. Boo talked about hating school, I can so empathize with her. I spent four years of college and three years in a software company making sincere attempts to fit in. All through college I kept telling myself that I am making my parents proud. The three years of work, I told myself that I can do it, I can do anything, only if I put my heart to it. Well, I was able to get things done, but I lacked initiative, I lacked imagination and I was not 100% myself. It kills me when I am not 100% myself. Do you know what a big toll that takes on a person’s confidence and self-image? You cannot give pep talk to yourself every single waking moment. Analyzing every single action and coming up with a reason is so draining.
The two things I commend myself are discontinuing my MS after the first semester and now pursuing what I like, of course, much to my parent’s displeasure. Don’t get them wrong, I had a happy childhood, but it could have been happier if I had studied something like home science/bio tech/bio chemistry.
Sometimes we parents tend to ignore what is best for the child because we want the child to fit in. No I take that back, parents do it because thee want to fit in. It takes a lot of guts to explain to friends, relatives and the whole world why you are doing something different with your child. When there is no goodness of fit, life can be tough.
4 Jul 2007
This post is almost like taking a tag from Poppin’s mom. Contents of this post are purely my views.
Starting with a disclaimer? Eight years of living in the US is finally catching on!
I blog anon because I am naturally more inclined towards being secretive. I like the air of mystery associated me. In general, I never tell any one what I am working on, I finish the stuff and show it off with a ta-da, even if the stuff is absolutely of no interest to any one else other than me. Even simple day to day things like what I cook for lunch or dinner has to be a secret. If hubby walks in and opens the pots and pans on the stove and asks me what I am cooking, I loose it.
Though I would love to show off my babies through pictures and videos, I don’t post baby pictures online because, I am not a very trusting person. I can come up with obscure scenarios involving any good thing! Also I believe that every child is entitled her privacy. I would absolutely hate it if 10 years from now, my children are using MySpace and posting intimate details and family pictures. So I am following what I will be preaching in the future, “If I can blog for 10 years without giving up your identity, so can you”.
Just a general question to co-bloggers who put up baby pictures. Every body draws a line at some point of time. When do you think you will stop posting baby pictures online? No snide secondary meanings associated with this question. Question purely based on curiosity.
4 Jul 2007
Toddler, for the past 3 months or so has been ‘sit downing’ in the chair, ‘lie downing’ in the bed, ‘clean upping’ the mess she made, asking her appa ‘are you fasting?’ when he throws the ball fast and so on. That’s how she is using her ‘ing’s!
Hubby and myself have been enjoying these ‘ing’s because we thought that it is cute. Today I learnt that this is a crucial step in language development.
Almost all our kids at one point or another would have and must have used phrases like, ‘sheeps’, ‘childrens’, ‘mouses’, ‘I thinked’ etc. This means that the child is learning the grammar and is ‘overregularizing’ what she has learnt. The next step is to learn exceptions to the rules. When she learns the correct usage and makes perfect sentences, I will be back with a post about my little girl growing up and crying my heart out.
Ain’t this simply fascinating?!
29 Jun 2007
Long back I read this on The Mad Momma’s space. Now I have some information about it. Why this very late enlightenment? My simple brain was struck on interpreting, differentiating, comparing, analyzing and completely understanding physcho-analytical developmental theories from big shots like Freud, Piaget, Vygotsky and Bronfenbrenner. All the heavy stuff made me doze off and by the time I finally woke up, a month had passed. We all know the pace at which MM writes. She averages about 5 posts a day and this one, though was just 30 days back, is buried deep in her archives. So MM if you are still interested here is the information.
Signing, in the US, is no longer looked down as something that is restricted to hearing/speech impaired. Of late signing is catching on big time. Day care centers have signing as a part of their curriculum. People are paying tons of money to learn signing with their children.
Advantages of signing – do I have to spell it out? How many days, have I spoken through clenched teeth to toddler/infant in an ominous tone, “Yenna venum-nnu solen? Yen yennai paduthare?” (Meaning: Just tell me what you want. Stop taunting me. Oh – the translation simply does not cut it folks. It does not capture the essence of the dialogue.) So if the child is able to communicate, lesser number of tantrums and life gets simple for the caregiver.
Now to the controversy that clouds signing. Some argue that signing delays speech. That is absolutely right. If your child can satisfy its needs through signs, what is the initiative to make words and sentences?
Now comes the twist. Delay of speech is nothing to be alarmed about. Speech/Language development has always been associated with cognitive (brain) development. So a delay in speech is portrayed with a negative connotation. But language is not just making words and sentences. Language must be viewed as a means of communication. So, the initiative to communicate (in any way, not just through words) must be seen as a cognitive milestone. Otherwise we all have to falsely conclude that all hearing/speech impaired people lack severely in cognitive development.
When a baby is born, she has a few schemas/patterns in her brain. Based on these schemas they react, like they know to root when they are hungry, they know to calm down when they hear their mother’s voice/touch, they posses a sucking instinct. As they grow, as they experience new things, they compare it with their existing schema. For example, when you bring a feeding bottle to the baby, she analyzes with her sense of smell and sense of taste, concludes, “It is milk all right, just in a different form. I already know how to suck from breast. So if I do the same, I must be fine”. So she compares the new experience with her schema and assimilates the new experience in to her schema. When you start feeding the baby from a cup and a spoon, though it is the same milk, it is a totally new experience eating from a spoon. She compares it to her existing schema, gets confused that there is no match and evolves a new schema incorporating the new experience. This is adapting to the new experience.
At one stage the baby realizes that every object in her wold has a ‘name’. THIS correlation is a major milestone and her little brain is working hard, to rewrite a new, slightly complex schema that accommodates this new realization. This correlation occurs irrespective of words+object association or words+sign association. This association takes place much earlier in a baby who uses signs. Also the communication and the gratification because of the communication enriches her experience and her schema is getting more and more complex. On a two year scale, sign language baby vs non-sign language baby, the sign language baby definitly has the cognitive edge.
Sign language baby, after some time realizes that objects can have more than one way of representation – words and signs. Then she rewrites her schema and incorporates words in to her schema.
The flip side to signing is that not many people know how to sign. As MM has pointed out in her post, the baby does get alarmed if she is not able to communicate to a person who is not able to sign.
28 Jun 2007
In comments to my previous post, S had pointed out this link about how research points out that first-born children have higher IQ. Well…. this post is not a rebuttal to that article, but I just wanted to point out a few things.
In one of the classes I am taking, the professor taught us to analyze research data. This is to teach us that we must take research data with a pinch of salt. Why should we do this? Because we must realize that statistics are statistics and they go only so far. So as long as we don’t put blind faith in to the numbers and are aware of other variables, we are fine.
When some one tell us that, statistics point out that children in the US cry more than children from other parts of the world ( which is a true statistic! ), what does that mean? Some thing wrong with the babies born here? The right interpretation of this data is that children all over the world cry the same amount, but in eastern societies we never let the babies cry. When we see a little crinkling of face, we immediately run to the baby and start pacifying the baby. Here in US, people believing in crying it out.
Another myth that really irritates me to no end is this. “In our times there weren’t so many miscarriages. Now you people are doing something wrong. That’s why there are so many miscarriages” and this ‘something’ might vary from computers to blasphemy. The logical interpretation of many miscarriages happening now might be
A decade back they found out that a higher percentage of women in Marine county suffered from cancer and people were intrigued. They started searching for hidden carcinogens in Marine county and weren’t able to find anything extraordinary. On a more careful analysis they found that the people in Marine county had really good health insurance and were visiting the doctor on a regular basis and their cancer was detected on time. In other parts of the US, because of insurance limitations, people weren’t getting health checkups and their cancer, if any, was not getting included in statistics.
Now that I have irritated you all with my futile knowledge, do first born really have an edge over their siblings? May be, but I don’t trust this article (not the research, mind you) because the target audience were all males. They were from one single country – Norway. Their age group is a specific age group – 18/19 years. This sex specific, country specific, age specific data cannot be applied universally. There is no mention if the siblings were tested at the same time or at the same age. We don’t know in what context this test was conducted. Last but not the least IQ tests are coming under heavy criticism now a day. I can write one whole post on “Are IQ tests real indicators of intelligence?”. In the article, the conclusion states that, ‘….says the greatest challenge is to find other large data sets to investigate other possible explanations for the findings.’ In my personal view, it looks like WebMD just pulled out a research article gave it a attention capturing title and used it out of context. Sounds like a sensational headline in a magazine, “Chiranjeevi and Rajinikanth butt heads”. On reading you will find out that they dropped something on the floor, reached for it and bumped their heads !
All those first-born folks out there – stop strutting around. Not yet, nothing is concrete!
25 Jun 2007
If I had my child to raise over again,
I would finger paint more and point fingers less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I would take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I would take more hikes and fly more kites.
I would stop playing serious and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze more at stars.
I would do more hugging and less tugging.
I would be firm less often and affirm more often.
I would build self-esteem first and a house later.
I would teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
Ain’t this beautiful people? I am taking the “building self-esteem first and a house later” part VERY seriously and slowly letting the house go. The house is clean but not spic and span. Once upon a time I used to wipe the sink and the tub bone dry every time after I used it. Sigh….
I feel that I am lot more relaxed with infant than with toddler. Guess that’s pretty common. No wonder the tamil adage says, “Moothadhu mozhai, iilayadhu kalai”(meaning the second child is lot more confident the first one). Requesting a quick show of hands to let me know how many moms with two kids feel the same way as I do.