Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Heard yesterday ...

... as I entered the room after brushing my teeth and changing into my night dress, both the siblings lying down on the same pillow face to face with a smile and deep in conversation

Vansh - Jiya kaunsi kahaani sunaoon? (Jiya which story should I tell you?)

Jiya - aaannnn ..Giaff wali (aannn ..the Giaff one)

Vansh - Giraffe waali nahin aati (I don't know the Giraffe one)

Jiya - aaaannnn ...Monkey waali (annn ..the monkey one)

Vansh - monkey waali bhi nahin aati (I don't know that either)

Jiya - phir kaunsi aati hai (which one do you know then?) (this is where my jaw started to drop, she actually has the logic and the righht words to express that??!! when? where? how?)

Vansh - accha main monkey or metro train waali sunata hoon (Ok I'll tell you the monkey and metro train one) (oh yeah, you just have to meet Vansh for 5 minutes to realize thathe's obsessed with metro trains.)

And he then goes on to narrate a 2 line story where the monkey first boards the train to Ambience mall and then after having fun there boards it again to City Square mall. And is met with generous doses of boisterous emphatic laughter from the captive audience who can never awe her brother enough.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The winds of change ...

... have been blowing through the Sukhwani household for some time now. And bringing about changes in ways more than one. Changing a largely self centred toddler/pre-schooler into a child who thinks about others, feels for them and at times even puts himself in their shoes and empathises. Changing a shy child who shut himself off just watching from a distance as relatives and friends tried to talk to him, grew violent if someone pushed too hard, into a child who's learnt pleasant talk and a pretty cute one at that :), someone who doesn't hesitate to wave hello to a boy accross the road whom he has been seeing board his school bus at the same time as himself in the morning or to an elderly gentleman whom he sees in the park in the evening and who is becoming increasingly competent at striking a conversation himself.

It makes me wonder as to how these amazing changes take place. There must be a variety of reasons I can attribute these changes to. I remember noticing some of them and date them to as much as 9-10 months back. I remember talking to Ashwini about it when on a pretty crowded Dandiya night, he had asked me to accompany him to watch some of the older kids play. He had joined in, albeit for a few minutes, after a long time of watching and it was a big leap for him to take because not very long back he had preferred sitting in the car alone in the parking lot in front of the small lawn in which we practised for the same dandiya night because the crowd intimidated him. Even after coming back to India, he had been shy at most occasions and preferred to stay by the people he was close to. At the park in the evening, he called out to me or Jiya to play with him when other children played among themselves. He reasoned to me and to himself in the process that shouting, being somewhat rough with each other, negotiating their turns for batting/bowling/swinging all of which is a part and parcel of playing among a coterie of friends, made them bad children and so he didn't want to play with them. Now I see him as a part of the same coterie, still not as steady, not as sure of the small to-be-made decisions he is faced with everyday. I see it on his face when someone asks him for a ride on his bicycle and he contemplates because this one is a good friend but yesterday he has had an unpleasant experience with another child who refused to return it to him even after a good amount of time, the uncertainty in his voice when he too wants to bat and makes an attempt to fight for what he wants to do. I see him slowly getting there as he tries to make sense of the dynamics driving various relationships. He makes quite a few assumptions like he'll be called a silly boy just because he is new wanting to join an already formed group of friends or he'll be left out and not played with because he decides to not share his cycle. His actions thus look like the wobbly first steps of a baby as he walks the fine line between being accepted and being rejected. I see the effects of peer acceptance and peer influence shaping his personality.

As a parent, it makes me sit up and take note. I myself wonder about what my reaction should be, what should I tell him to do and how, which battles should I let him brave himself and which are the ones I should get into myself. I walk the fine line with him where I want my child to be accepted and liked by his peers and at the same time not be walked over. To be honest, I wonder when other mothers remark that he is very sweet to be so forthcoming about sharing his things whether he is being a tad too sweet. For though I wouldn't dwell upon it too much here but I do see the society including the children becoming a bit too intolerant and self centered at least to my comfort. So even though morals and ethics ask me to tell him to be loving and sharing, practicality asks me to also make him skilled to fight his battles when the need be. And so at times, I do tell him in a humored way, making it sound funny, to threaten the child who teases him and doesn't stop even after Vansh asking him to do so, that he's going to complain to his mom. At this point it has been working. I do walk up to the boy who rides his bicycle as if its his own totally ignoring the fact that its actually another child's who's been sweet enough to share it with him and ask him in sweet but firm tone to let him have it back. Children today have become mighty good with their arguments, I must say and so I don't expect them to always listen to a 4 year old and so I intervene.

Peer influence also means that we have to deal with rough behavior, unpleasant sounding words and tones which he clearly picks up from children at school/summer camp. While his teachers are all praises about him being a good and polite child at school, at home he does try out whatever he observes/hears other kids do. We are still at a very very primitive stage in dealing with this behavior because its just now that we have realised the reason behind it. Earlier we addressed the behavior as his own but now we realise the focus would have to shift a bit to make him understand and realise where its coming from and its effects. I would so appreciate help from readers/parents who have experienced this on ways to deal with it.

I see that this post has already become a long one. And so I'll sign off here - the thinking about others and feeling for them part I'll leave for part 2 of the same post :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy jai jai jai jai :)

Dear Jiya

As I sit down to write your second birthday letter, the first thought as always is two years? Already? And the mind races back to the day and time it happened. At Michaels' right across our apartment building on July 1, 7:00 in the evening a sales associate asked me " When are you due?" and I told here " I am in labor right now!" and it was funny to see her reaction :)The ride to the hospital, who all I spotted on the way, the contractions, the joy on being told I was already 5 cms dilated all come back as clearly as they happened that day.

So to relive the joy of the day and the life ever since, let me pen dpwn the lovely and the not so lovely things you are upto these days :)

You talk in paragraphs now. "Jiya bhookha nahin laga, pyasi laga hai. Chana nahin do, pani de do." (Jiya is not hungry, she is thirsty. Don't give me chana, give me water) You like to assume the role of the entire family's caretaker when you ask whether everyone's taken a bath ,combed their hair and whether everybody's water been taken when we go out.

You sing turning even the simplest of sentences into loud laugh inducing pieces. So hard as we try to pretend to be fast asleep so that you also decide to do the same, a little voice falls in our ears singing" Elephant pillow pe soyega Jiyaaaaa", "Jiya ne dudhu pi liyaaaaa" and we burst out laughing joined in by delighted squeals from you as well. Even the classic 2 year old "nahin's" to every question we ask come as songs :)

Its amazing to see the various shades of your personality, sharing delightedly one moment, willing to give away everything you have and fighting fiercely the next for that one single block even if you have the whole box. The tantrums are fierce, lying down on the floor and screaming ones and nothing seems to work when they happen.

You refuse to walk more than five steps when we step out and ask to be picked up in mamma's godi. Except if we are in a quiet, cool, sparsely populated with people and densely populated with flora and fauna place like Kasauli and closer to home India Gate where you walk with a charming jig and humming a tune often. You also like to be held very close when we go to the park and I a stop to talk to friends even if there are other children you see on a daily basis playing around. But I am sure you'll realize soon that most of the fun happens away from mom rather than in her lap.

You used the end of your washcloth as a pacifier when you slept or in general when you felt the need to pacify yourself. thsi ahppened for the longest time, so much so, that its even recorded in your chacha's wedding video and pictures. I finally gathered the courage last week to do what it takes to take take away an addiction. Expectedly you have been dispalying withdrawal symptoms. So if I don't, for some reason, take you inside for sleeping while you are still in a good mood (which is when the above mentioned songs flow out), I have had it. Last afternoon, I spent over an hour and a half pacing the floor with you because you wanted to sleep in my lap being carried and the moment Ilaid you down seeing that you were fast asleep, you bawled and woke up. This happened thrice. And at times like these, its impossible to calm you down. Last week the game on my phone worked. Yesterday it didn't. Fianlly it was 'lakki lakki' (lakdi ki kathi) and 'bum bum bum' (bum bum bole) with earplugs in your ears that did the trick. I wonder who was more exhausted at the end of it when both of us slept like logs for two hours.

You are such an entertainer. The songs, the dances - whether its imitating steps while watching the latest Bollywood chart toppers on TV or singing "Saas gali dewe, te samjha samjha dewe" or singing "jai jai sai, jai jai sai" yourself and clapping and dancing to the the same, no one can help but smile at this charming little two year old, that's you. You make Vansh too laugh out so loud when you we ask you "papa kahaan gaye" and you reply "dance karne" or when I ask you "Jiya ko itna badmaash kisne banaya" and you say "Chacha ne" or when you sing "Happy jai jai jai jai" instead of "Happy Birthday to you." And all of this you do with much elaan as if you know so well that all that you are doing is being appreciated by the captivated audience.

You follow your big brother like an idol. So wanting water, not wanting water, wanting to eat chau (rice), not wanting to eat chau, wanting to drink froma sipper/cup/bottle, wanting to go potty, wanting the same red block - all happen in pairs. The result is hilarious at times and hair pullingly frustrating at others. But I have to tell you something. While I would like to be absolutely fair to both you and Vansh, many a times in order to maintain oeace when VAnsh is in a good mood, I do tell him to let you have your way. Most of the times he is pretty good about it. At others he does so grudgingly shotuing "Jiya gandi ladki hai." but he loves you to bits. Yesterday in part frustartion and part inquisitiveness as to how he would react, I offered to him to take you back and leave you in the hospital. In his way with clenched teeth and a voice which came out with a lot of force, which in my style would translate to an extremely teary eyed response, he said "Jiya acchhi lagti hai. USe mat chhod ke aao" (I like Jiya a lot, don't leave her in the hospital).

Whatever catches your fancy, you decide to do it innumerable times in day. So a while back it was playing with the magnetic letters which you demanded to be taken out the first thing in the morning and the last thing at night., then it was Vansh's transport puzzle and now the latest obsession is Leap Frogs' Letter Factory and Word Factory DVD's. You watch them at least 3 times in a day if not more.

And now the most special to me - I love the way you love me. I love the way you get me whatever it is that you are eating when I am in the kitchen and insist that I eat it from your hand, the way you ask for me first thing in the morning when yiu wake uo and walk out the door, the way you keep showering me with sloppy kisses and hugs and singing "I like mamma" as you do that, the way you look at me when I am feeling low as if you understand everything and then come close to me and cuddle and put your little face in the hollow of my neck. I love you sweetheart for all that and more. And I wish for you the very best always. I look forward to mothering you for yet another fun filled and eventful year for I know that it sure is going to be a big one. I wish for it to be filled with wonderful moments, loads and loads of love and happiness and joys.

Much love today and always