Kindness in Kids

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I have a tiny one at home. A five-year old.
He talks incessantly, laughs monstrously, imagines creatively, and uses good adjectives like a pro.

A few days back, we were re-reading ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar,’ and he creatively thought of how funny it would be if the hungry caterpillar from the book wormed out and fell on the ground. In fact, he built up an entire story on this which you can read here, however, this post is intended to point out how important it is to inculcate kindness in a kid, especially towards our tiny harmless co-creatures.

If I were to keep in mind that a kid thought of a caterpillar making its way out of a book and falling on the ground, the next thought I would have is that he or she would squish the poor larva.

However, he didn’t do that. He didn’t end the story right there by squishing the larva. He built an entire story by taking care of the tiny creature and budding it into a butterfly right in his home.

 

I’ve seen more instances of his kindness towards pets and people alike. Sometimes it makes me feel that he could be a 10 year old boy, but one look at him is enough to know that he has learned to be kind irrespective of his age.

Speaking of kindness, we all teach our children to be kind. We instruct, and we preach the importance of kindness. We read out stories of kindness from books. However, it is our own actions which speak more than our teaching. If we as parents show kindness to animals, both tiny and big, they remember our actions and try to imitate them. If we teach them to appreciate the smallest bugs and not squish them, they learn to appreciate the beauties of nature.

Instead of hurting a caterpillar, if we point out how beautiful it looks, how pronounced are the dots on its body, how its legs carry it from the head to the end of the body, our kids will also look at it with kindness and beauty and not really stamp it.

While I’m not saying that kids imitate everything parents do, or that all their actions are a reflection of parents, or that kids don’t have any individuality, I’m only pointing out how important it is for us as parents to show kindness towards smaller creatures and set an example before the tiny tots.

*Note that we are also definitely teaching him how to remain safe from harmful creatures.*

*Also, this is not THE only way to inculcate kindness in our children, but it is definitely one good way to do it*

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Irony of a mom’s life

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I saw your eyes droop. You mumbled ‘Mama’ and slept.

I watched you sleep. I don’t know for how long.
The home is quiet. Absolutely quiet. Slowly, I disentangled my fingers from yours, careful not to wake you up.


You have already started sleeping in your room alone, and, to be honest, I don’t like it one bit.


Not one bit.

A lot of these nights, I just go and tuck myself in beside you. I love to hold your hands and sleep next to you. I pull your comforter on me and we sleep like the best buddies ever. I hold you, and you put your hand around my neck.


Let me tell you, as a parent, there is nothing more comforting than the hands of your sleeping little one around your neck. Nothing!

I love it when you hold me and sleep. I love it when you pat me in your sleep asking me to turn towards you.
I love it when we share the same blanket.
I love your smell.


I love it when, suddenly, some mornings, you come over and sleep on my bed curled under my quilt. When I sleepily ask you what happened, you say that you were cold. I hug you tight and we sleep facing each other, your little nostrils breathing warm air down and your tiny chin facing up. I want to hold those moments forever.
It is funny that if you are cold, you can just pull your comforter over yourself, but it is warming to know that you choose to slip in under ours. My eyes open the moment I can hear the silent patter of your feet walking up to our bed.

I can hear you.
In my sleep.


Yes, I can.

And now, now that you are growing up so fast, I feel insecure that these days will never come back. I feel that time is slipping away from my hands, and I’m trying to fist it up.
Harder and tighter. And faster before it slips away.


I notice how big you’ve grown. 5 years already, and I’m scared.
I’m scared that soon, you will not run after me because you will, consciously, be a bigger boy.
I’m scared that soon, you will not talk endlessly to me.
I’m scared that soon, you will not start everything with a screaming ‘Mamaa…’
I’m scared that soon, you will not hug me every time I stretch out my hands to you.
I’m scared that soon, you will not jump on my lap anymore.
I’m scared that soon, you will not curl your hands around my neck and sleep.

Soon.
Very soon.


Am I already feeling what they call the ‘empty nest syndrome,’ just a little early?

I have already realized that life can often be terribly ironical for a parent. Just until a year ago, I was trying to have you do a lot of your own work. That way, you could be independent, and I could also focus on the more mundane things we always strive to finish. Wearing clothes, taking a shower, eating, combing your hair, helping me with my work were few of the things on my to-do list for you. One step at a time, you helped me strike off these items on my list. Each time I struck out a bullet point, my heart both sank and danced. I felt weird.
My heart breaks when I see that you are getting so independent, but at the same time, it is very fulfilling to see your little nimble hands work out things for yourself. It is immensely satisfying to see your little fingers, soft palms, and tiny nails tugging at drawstrings, patiently buttoning a shirt, rubbing soap all over yourself.


While on one hand, I want you to grow up fast, on the other, I want to hold on to your childhood and not let it go! Grow up kid, just not so fast!
While on one hand my selfish mommy heart wants to hold you more and more, on the other hand, I understand how you are bracing yourself up for the times ahead, and how important it is to make you ready for your own life.

That consoles me.
That puts me at ease.
That makes me love you more.
And more.


When the caterpillar fell out of the book ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’

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The very hungry caterpillar from Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ came out of the book and fell with a ‘plop’ on the ground.

Ryan, a curious five-year old, heard the ‘plop’ and looked down to find a scared green caterpillar on the floor. Wasn’t this the same caterpillar he was reading about a few minutes back?

Yes, it was! It was the same caterpillar which was very hungry. Ryan looked closer and picked it up very gently. It was a scared, scared ringlet.

‘Sshh, sshh, it’s ok, it’s ok. It’s just me. I won’t hurt you,’ Ryan said.

Looking up with big round eyes, the caterpillar lifted one of its legs and squeaked ‘Friends?’

‘Friends!’ the five year old replied, and gave a high five to the little larva which toppled off with the impact.  Picking it up again and patting its back, Ryan invited it to play with him.

The caterpillar was Ryan’s pet now. It had a sleep-over in his room that night. Both of them slept together, Ryan sharing his pillow with the caterpillar. The wriggling larva slept on its back with all its legs up in the air. Ryan slept on his back, his hands and legs shooting up in the air in his sleep.

The next morning, Ryan and the caterpillar were heard playing car games in his room. The caterpillar would sit on his Hot Wheels cars, and he would swoosh them through the room. The larva would go ‘Weeeeeeeeee’ during the ride down the room. The day looked promising for both of them.

Both of them were hungry soon after their morning games. Ryan fed his new pet a pancake, a chicken sausage, and fresh watermelon juice. Soon, the pet was so full of food that it slept off. The kid took it to his bedroom where it slept for three full days.

The fourth day, Ryan screamed:

‘Mamaa, come to my room!’

‘Coming!’ was the reply.

When his mom entered his room, she saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering all over in the room! Ryan was ecstatic! It was the same caterpillar that had turned into this beautiful butterfly!

However, it was not an ordinary butterfly. It was one that performed a lot of antics. It sat on Ryan’s car on just one leg, on one wing, on its head and twisted itself in funny ways.

While the mom and the kid were watching the butterfly, it fell down with a light thud. It was trying to somersault and hurt its head. Ryan ran to get some ice and rubbed it on the insect’s head. It was fine in no time!

The butterfly wanted to stay with Ryan in his house. The boy, being a very nice host, decided to go out to the garden and get some fresh flowers. He planned that the flowers would be put face up in a bowl full of water so the butterfly could sit on them and drink nectar.

Ryan and the butterfly stayed together since then.

**The story was entirely conceived by the five-year old boy named Ryan. His mom is just the social media channel for the story.**

2017 – Resolutions Anyone?

 

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Instead of socks for christmas, I hung my sports shoes this year at my door.

I kept the kid informed that Santa will not come in his traditional red. He will come dressed in an Amazon tee with an Amazon box in his hand. He believed me because the delivery guy actually came in an Amazon tee. I’m happy that the 5-yr old understands satire.

Now:

I smell a new year.

I smell a fresh year.

I smell resolutions.  

Isn’t it that time of the year when we all are checking ourselves, finding out where our sports shoes are? Some of us are almost scavenging the house for the shoes worn exactly a year back. A few better of us are cleaning them and showcasing them and feeling smug about ourselves. A few of us are already telling others how they should start jogging and working out to feel fit. From the new year of course! What were you thinking?

Another set of people are talking and trying to team up with others so that they can start working out from Jan 1.

The whole year is like a doughnut. It is a doughnut of our hopes. All our hopes, especially of working out start on Jan 1, come a full circle and reach the same point when we realize it is the next Jan 1.

The only problem is the hole in the middle of the doughnut. The hopes, the decisions, the resolutions fall through the hole. Often our workout shoes.

Despite us being in our resolutionary best, (that is not a typo), our weight-losing resolutions are like hot-air balloons which disappear in the air even before we can hold them in our hands.

This is what usually happens to my gym resolutions in New Year.

The gym knocks and these are my replies:

On Jan 1 – No way! Are you still drunk?

On Jan 2 – Insane. Not happening.

On Jan 3 – Just getting over the hangover dude. Please hang on to your hopes.

On Jan 4 – I just started feeling fresh.

On Jan 5 – Sounds astronomically pragmatic.

Finally, finally, all in my best spirits, and with around 15 snoozes of the alarm, I wake up, look outside, feel drowsy and kicked at the same time and rush out of bed.

Fresh new sports tees, shorts, shoes, ummm, its a warm feeling right?

I reach the gym, look around curiously but with confidence and talk to the instructor about how my biceps need work. My core needs to be strengthened. My abs need love. He directs me to the nonchalant treadmill.

I walk.

I pump it up. I feel like a hungry dog.

I come down. Drink loads of water.

I look for the exit door when the instructor taps gently to ask ‘Madam, where are you going?’

The last person I would want to meet at this moment.

‘I will be here tomorrow,’ and I rush off.

I walk out. A smug smile of ‘I worked out’ plastered all over my face along with a ‘hah, you belly bag! Look at me’ snigger radiates from my face.

The next day comes, and the alarm needs to snooze around 20 times. Gradually, the alarm gets too tired to snooze constantly, and eventually, stops ringing.

So does my gym routine.

My shoes find a good spot somewhere in my store room.

Au Revoir my Nike until Dec 2017!

‘P’ as in Pneumonia

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I decided to be mischievous when I got repeated calls from a certain telecaller and wanted to end it all so he would never call again. EVER.

I agreed to give him my name and email id so he could send over whatever registration forms were needed. Honestly, I don’t know for what!

Let’s call this telecaller TC. Here’s how the last conversation went.

TC: ‘Thank you maam. I’ll email you the form. Please tell me your name.’

Me: ‘Ok, my name is Phebe Kynx.’

TC: ‘What is it maam?’

Me: ‘P-h-e-b-e K-y-n-x. Do you want me to spell it out for you?

TC: ‘Yes maam.’

Me: ‘Ok, here you go.
P as in Pneumonia, H as in Hour, E as in escherichia coli, B as in Buttercups-butterflies-dot-blogspot…

TC: ‘The first letter is T maam?’

Me: ‘No no, P, P as in Pneumonia.’

TC: ‘D maam?’

Me growling at him ‘I said Ppppppp, P as in Psychiatrist’

TC: A little confused and relieved at the same time, ‘okaay maam, I got you. Next?’

Me: ‘H as in hour’

TC: ‘R?’

Me: ‘No, its H, H as in Hour.’ I went on ‘E as in Escherichia, did you get that?’

Silence. Some fumbling again. I realized he was getting super confused and nervous. I realized that I had wasted at least 5 to 7 minutes in this farce.

Me: ‘Listen, I don’t want to waste time. Call me later.’

Click-I hung up. It’s been quite a few days, and I haven’t received that call yet. *Evil grin*

Note that the picture above is just a representation of goofiness, and has no connection to the post whatsoever.

 

#MicroblogMondays: When I am sad

dsc_0181Today has been a particularly hard day for me. I’ve had a bad morning, and therefore,the afternoon also looked bad. Now that the sun has set, and it is getting darker, my heart is feeling a little more sad with the disappearing light.  I think the night monsters will gulp me down tonight.
Everything is almost making me cry. When you are a humorous person, you really can’t be serious. You also can’t be sad. Right? Right. But now, today, everything is almost making me cry. Even my own #sravsquotes. Im reading them and laughing, but Im crying laughing. You know what I mean right. You must have been there.
Someone posted a Chinese Chili Garlic Sauce recipe with a vibrant picture, and that made me sadder than ever because the accompanying rice didn’t look so appealing. I cried again.
Then there are these life and motivational posts and pictures which are wrenching my gut from within. I can’t stand those pics right now when my nose and eyes are welling up.
I need a shoulder. A shoulder.
Not to cry on.
I need a shoulder to wipe my nose on.
Linking it up to Microblog Mondays.

Check Lays American Style Cream & Onion

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Please share:
This is something that needs the immediate attention of Lays Chips (PepsiCo). In the last 7 days, I have observed and been through four cases of intense sickness and dehydration followed by visits to hospitals and Emergency Rooms after eating Lays American Style Cream and Onion chips (the green packet).

Tagging Indra Nooyi  Pepsico  PepsicoIndia PepsicoIndiaCare and all the people mentioned below who were affected.

Case 1. My nephew (aged 7) got a packet of Lays American Style Cream and Onion in Bangalore on Nov 1 and had it at around 7 pm. From 12 am, he started throwing up. He had eaten only home-cooked food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The only thing outside of his normal food routine was this packet of Lays American Style Cream and Onion chips. He threw up 8 times throughout the night. He was given medication, ORS, but nothing worked because he was just too sick and threw up anything that was given to him.
He was taken to the doctor in the morning and given medicines.

Case 2. My sister-in-law ate Lays American Style Cream and Onion chips on Nov 2 and had a violent case of nausea and sickness. She had had basic home food and nothing apart from this packet of chips. She too had to be given medicines and ORS.

Case 3. My son (aged 5) bought a packet of Lays American Style Cream and Onion from Namdhari’s in Bangalore, Whitefield at 12 pm last Friday, Nov 4 and had them. We came back home and he had a very light home-cooked lunch. At around 5 pm, he started to throw up violently. His lips became dry immediately and we administered ORS. He threw up multiple times and was extremely dehydrated. He had to be given medicines and ORS until the next day. Note that everyone else in the family was fine and he was the only one to have eaten the chips.

Case 4. My friend got a packet of the same Lays American Style Cream and Onion on Nov 7 and had it in her office. Almost immediately, she started throwing up and had to be taken to the hospital where she was put on saline drips until late night because she was too dehydrated from the violent throw ups. She is still weak today and is on rest.

Mapping all the cases together, the only common factor here is Lays, specifically the American Style Cream and Onion chips. I urge Pepsico to please look into either their ingredients, or the hygiene of the manufacturing units or particular batch numbers for clarification before more people go through this ordeal.

Keka Saha Soumitra Saha Sandeep Giri Sravani Saha Priya Amith AcharAmith GopalaKrishnachar

The Woman

 

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I was going through Ellen Barry’s article in the New York Times that talks of how young rural women are moving to the city (Bangalore) with hopes of leading their own lives. Coincidentally, a friend of mine shared the same article on Facebook highlighting this section from the well-researched piece: ‘Each morning, before she is allowed to eat, the daughter-in-law must wash the feet of her husband’s parents and then drink the water she has used to wash them.’ My friend was almost flabbergasted to note that such practices still exist. Knowing that such neanderthal practices do exist, I replied to her, and a vigorous discussion ensued.

To be honest, a lot of such ignominous practices, or norms, rule women’s lives in our society, a little too strictly in the rural areas, and masked in the urban. It is surprising to note that a few of my friends too (highly educated, working in the top tech firms of the world) have been through these ‘societal norms’ after marriage; some of which, if not the same, are similar, and equally abominable. A few examples are as follows:

The daughter-in-law is not supposed to sit on a chair or a bed in the presence of other family members. Her ‘place’ is on ‘the ground.’  She is supposed to sit on the floor.

A daughter-in-law is supposed to touch the feet of her in-laws EVERY SINGLE MORNING. The sad part is that this rule has to be strongly followed even if the woman is heavily pregnant.

A newly-wed woman should not eat her meals in front of other members of her family. She should be eating away from anyone’s view, especially of the elders, and that can be in  a dark, dank, storeroom!

Why? I ask why?

Note that I’m not waging a war against in-laws here. I’m pointing out the daily oppression our daughters have to go through. Silently. At home.

If you dig deeper rationally, you will notice that the blanket of our customs and traditions is so huge, and so thick that a lot of such practices are easily covered under its hood.  Our girls suffer from some of these draconian rules, but they are expected to follow them. The moment a girl revolts, she becomes a stigma. Questioning or not willing to adhere to these ‘customs’ exacerbates the situations and makes her the wretched one.

Coming back to the discussion we had on Facebook, someone suggested boycotting the author of the article because she was portraying India in a bad light. I found the comment funnily fanatical. Rather than boycotting the author, we should boycott some of the oppressive and demeaning traditional practices that are widely prevalent here. We can choose not to speak about these maladies, because sub-consciously, we want to maintain the status quo of the society; but at the same time, we can’t really squelch the courageous one who chooses to talk about and bring such issues to the forefront. Sadly, the patriarchy ingrained in us makes us immune to these social ills around us, and we pretend that they don’t even exist.

In addition, the roots of such social malaise are so deep that thinking of changing anything makes us shudder. Uprooting them will probably take a few lifetimes. It is often sad to note that our with our education, we have not moved too far ahead from where we started.

Nevertheless, a change can start somewhere. It has already started. The fact that a Sashi or a Prabhati (from the article) can garner enough courage to be the aberrant daughters and move out of their homes is enlightening.

We can start the change with small steps.

In our own homes.

The article referred to in the post above is by Ellen Barry and appeared on the New York Times on September 24, 2016.

 

 

 

What type of Facebook ‘Liker’ are you?

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There are different kinds of ‘Likers’ on Facebook.  Well, the different kinds cannot really be as neatly arranged in jars and shelves as in the pic above, but, ask me, and I’ll tell you the broad categories of ‘Likers.’
In all good humor, of course all our Facebook friends do fall into any of these categories. They may move from one category to another, but they will remain in one of them.
The major buckets of ‘Likers’ on Facebook are:
1. Loyal Likers – They ‘Like’ everything you post. Or even if you don’t post anything. You eat something and you write about it, they like it. You got constipated and you post about it, they like it. Your pet ant waddled in egg yolk for a whole 29 seconds before drowning in it, and you mention it up here, they like it. They are your true Facebook friends, truest in the real sense of the term, and will be there through your ‘thick & thin’ post days.
2. Reciprocal Likers – Much to your chagrin, yes, they exist. You ‘like’ their posts, photos, videos, etc and etc, and they like yours. You don’t like their updates two times, and they stop too. Try it with a few suspects.  Let me not stir up hornets nests here.
3. Moody Likers – The first of every month, and this category is on a ‘liking’ spree. A good meal, and this category is on another ‘liking’ spree. You got it, right?
4. Lazy Likers – They just hit the ‘like’ button when something catches their eye. They don’t go to the extra ten miles to select a ‘love’ or a ‘wow’ button. Everything they love is a ‘like.’
Oh, and I wanted to mention the ‘Shy Likers’ above, but I didn’t, because I respect the fact that they are shy to declare they like something. A lot of people don’t hit the reaction buttons on my status updates, but they do tell me how much they enjoyed reading something I posted. My take: They don’t like PDA. (Public Display of Affection).

Hi, I am a Stay-at-home mom

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“All day long, I sit at my sunny window, staring at the cerulean sky dotted with real birds and motor-birds. I look at the moms and dads who are forever running to work in their hurried best, and I feel so blessed watching them from my eighteenth floor balcony. All day long. When I’m not looking at the sky, I lounge on the sofa, twirling fresh hand-picked Red Globe grapes in my mouth, watching soaps on the tele and sipping on luxurious teas; the hedonism of my ‘housewifey’ life interspersed with peppery talks with my equally jobless friends about my MIL.”

That’s what I do being a stay-at-home mom.

Thank you for the amazing question, and yes, I do notice the enchanting disbelief in your eyes.

It would be a meaningless cliche if I tell you what the question is.

Stay-at-home mom. A term that a lot of people often use disdainfully while trying to figure out what these moms do the whole day, and while just shrugging them off as housewives who don’t know how to ‘kill’ their time. But that is not what I want to talk about here. The point that I’m trying to make here is that we often overlook the real strong women behind these mom-faces, and how we stereotype them as just ‘women with kids’.

Strangely, and sadly enough, what the world fails to understand is that stay-at-home moms have made a wilful decision of being with their kids at their formative years, a decision that is unparalleled in its own, and a decision that is a product of conscious deliberation and extreme gumption. They have not made a sacrifice. They have chosen to be with their kids wilfully. The sad part is that we often end up putting these women into a nondescript bucket without actually looking at who they are as individuals. We never ask them what they are capable of because we have already written them off. They are perceived as just the bearers and the rearers of babies.

I’ve personally tested two scenarios: the first, in which I’ve introduced myself as a mom only; and the second, in which I’ve mentioned that I’m a budding entrepreneur. The second introduction sparks interest and follow-up questions appear (obviously), but the first introduction dies a natural death at the mention of ‘mom.’ It is true that there is no intention to belittle, but not a single person has ever asked what I did before I became a mom.

Let’s face the truth that being with a mini-me 24/7 is taxing and emotionally draining. We all have been there, and we all have felt isolated at some point in time. On the positive side, this is when moms make friends; at the park, the paediatrician’s, at daycares or at nurseries. During the time when I was a complete SAHM, I’ve made a lot of new friends who are moms; mostly stay-at-home. And what I’ve discovered is that behind a lot of these moms are actual strong identities, strong people, intelligent minds. In the last 4 years, I’ve met mums who have been Professors, Lecturers, Illustrators, Biologists, Language experts, and Artists. It has been fascinating to know such wonderful people from different spectrums of life who have revealed gems of personalities beneath their frizzy uncombed hairs and faces tired with babysitting. However, the same professors, biologists, artists are often quietly put aside as just mothers, with no focus on who are as individuals, or who they have been.

Having said everything above, it is also extremely positive to note that most of today’s SAHM’s have ignored the naysayers and are not letting themselves just be moms. They are fulfilling all their motherly duties, and are actually carving out time to nurture an interest, or a passion, or a business right from their homes. They are still growing as individuals while being moms. That is exactly what can bring about a massive change in the way they are perceived.