How I Failed Trying To Raise a Reader

reader

I adore books. They are my favorite only next to food and sleep. When my daughter was born 7 years ago, I wanted to raise her to be a reader. You know someone who reads and reads and reads and doesnt even bother answering anyone. Someone who picks up any book and sits in a corner and reads all the while. The one who needs no one else but books for company. The one who wants books for her birthdays. The one who is okay going anywhere as long as she has her book along with her. The one who gets excited on seeing new books. The one who thinks that books are the best friends one could have!

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Dear Brats

You have taken over my life completely. Appa and I have no time for each other. Really! And thats not a good thing. the only way we communicate with each other is via whatsapp! I wonder what couples did before whatsapp and multiple kids!!

I am not complaining though. Its just a phase and hopefully it will pass soon and we can ‘Do’ things together as a family. You know take vacations, go out for kulfis and golas after dinner, go watch a funny play, attend a book reading, generally have a lazy sunday watching something funny on TV. Yes, I am so looking forward to these family things you know.

R2, am just waiting for you to grow up a bit more, gal. Its like we want to do things, but then we remember oh, you are too tiny to do anything at all!

You have been sick for the past one week, and it has been heart breaking to see you spend sleepless nights with your skin errupting into rashes. Your appetite is an all time low and you have even stopped feeding on my milk in the night, no matter what I do. The only person who can wriggle a smile out of you is your Akka. The only person who can make you take out that gummy smile. You have lost weight (Appa says, its a big percentage considering your overall weight hehe)

You dont seem to like me much. Whenever I greet you after coming back from work, you just stare at me, give a nonchantly shrug of your shoulder and get back to doing whatever you are doing. Errr..thats a bit harsh on my barely existent maternal love, but guess, you are one of a kind eh?

When you broke into rashes, I told the doctor, but but, my older one never had such issues. He told me ‘you have two kids and they ARE DIFFERENT!, dont expect the second one to react exactly like the first one to any situation. They are different’

I must admit in 7 months of your existence, this is the first time, I realised it really! Guess you are like your Akka in a lot of ways, but unique otherwise.
R, you have to let me cut your hair babes. Its getting on to my nerves. Everyday we have a fight. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! God knows why you think you have hair like Elsa and keep putting that 1.3532 inch of hair in the front from the back, as if its some 100 metres long…sigh! Girl, really, I am dreading to handle you in your teens…

You are your sister’s best friend but fight so much with her. Amma, you are always only doing R2 R2 you tell me and when I let her cry for a while because I am doing something to you, you push me towards her saying ‘Amma why are you making her cry, go go go to her’

Kid, you sure confuse me a lot!

Your behaviour sometimes, is appaling, but at times, you are the chammtest kid on earth…

Both you girls are getting very close to your Appa. Which makes him happy..and hey makes me also happy :) Go trouble him while I relax with a book and a filter kaapi in hand!!

Nothing much to add, I have tons to write, but just no time. I will try and squeeze in a letter once a while.

I love both of you a lot

Amma

I love my Akka and Akka loves me too, she squeezes me as if I am an orange, but I still love her

I love my Akka and Akka loves me too, she squeezes me as if I am an orange, but I still love her

Give me those chappals they are my favorite!a

Give me those chappals they are my favorite!

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Giving it Back to the Society

This blog has become a silent place. I have tons to write but no time to take the effort. Despite downloading the app on my phone, I dont seem to have the energy left to write.

R and R2 keep me busy and my job is ensuring whatever bit of sanity I had left, is gone. R2 has started bout of illnesses and my nights are sleepless and days tiring.

The purpose of this post is however, not to crib. Its to ask you folks for donations!

IMC is planning to raise Rs.5000 for a bridge school at Bengaluru.(http://www.indianmomsconnect.com/2015/06/24/giving-it-back-to-the-society-raising-funds-for-a-good-cause/)

The lovely Swaram was kind enough to facilitate this while the nice folks at Pratham Books thought we were worthy enough to ask us to do a campaign!

http://www.donateabook.org.in has so many organisations who have agreed to raise funds to get books for kids! Gives me so much hope :)

Anyways, here is the link to our donation page – https://donateabook.org.in/campaign/31

Any amount you give will be a value addition! So please do loosen those purse strings so that the kids in the bridge school get to read some awesome Pratham Books.

And I promise to return as soon as my world comes to normalcy.

Thanks to all of you in advance :)

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Dear R

You turned SEVEN!! I mean Seven is an awesome number you know…seven seas, seven sur notes, seven colours of rainbow, seven whatever (Ma is bad with numbers re!)

But wow, thats an awesome age to be in..trust me I personally feel seven to twelve is like the bestest age to be in..you understand everything, you are young enough so you get your way and you have no worries in life including studies and you are old enough to enjoy little joys of life, whether its slurping on an expected ice cream your thatha got for you in Goa, or beaming with joy and thanking loudly your Chitti’s mother in law for giving you that extra bit of chocolate. This is the age where you find big joys in small things and this is the age where you know that life is awesome!

You have taken to R2 as if she has been with us forever, and honestly, like the other day, you and I were talking, Amma, was R2 really not there with us before? I dont remember that at all :)

While we are not at a stage when I have started treating you like a friend, I am definitely telling you things and you are listening. Like how I liked a book I read, or a particular earring that caught my eyes, or if I am upset about something and you ask me what happened Amma?

AFter R2’s birth you have become very close to your Appa (yayyay!) and both of you go out together to do shopping and have fun and what not?

You still retain the habit of crying at the drop of a hat and if things dont work your way, unfortunately, you are bawling! I am hoping you get out of this habit fast…

You still have an inferiority complex about your complexion despite Appa and I doing our best to show you the positives…but I am hoping that your natural confidence and happy go lucky nature will eventually turn you around.

You are a pro at eating junk food, but thankfully demand your fruits and curd as well, This gives me some relief.

This year, I was the most astonished to see you make friends, so easily. When you went to Goa and got bored at home, someone suggested perhaps you could go to the local daycare there. When your Thatha Thathi took you, you just went in, said hello hello and sat down to play. After that, everyday used to be a fight because you wanted to go as early as possible and we had to make you stay back. I am really blessed that ways, darling…

Your reading skills have improved by leaps and bounds, and sometimes I am surprised with your speed and clarity of reading, however, much to my dismay, you are not a reader at all. I never see you pick up a book and read until I pakao you into reading one!

TV is your best friend, and the past one year has seen us have many a fights about your TV times. And I am losing the battle more than winning it. Now I have realised we just have a pact. You watch for x hours and we pre-decide on that…While weekdays have no TV, weekends seem to compensate it…again, I am hoping this is just a phase…

You are okay trying out new things and are yearning to eat Chicken lollipops at home..unfortunately, you have parents who dont eat non veg food which means you go to your Baroda Thatha and freak out with him :)

You still get bullied in the building, but you have started to take it in your stride. You come home, cry and little and once I explain stuff to you, you are like, yaa ma, let it be.

Goa also saw you improve your English speaking skills suddenly. Appa was surprised to hear you speak such good English on the phone. But your main language of communication is Hindi. You speak like a typical Mumbaikar with re and tu and stuff :)

You are good girl most times da. Helping me out with everything at home. Sometimes your way of talking borders to downright rudeness and I am trying hard to make you stop it. I am hoping you will get down the right path soon :)

Your birthday party started off with me wanting to make bhel/ pani puri/ chole bread for the kids, but Appa vetoed everything and just ordered samosas and chips. Thats good enough, RM, he said, you cant be a super mom. Be realistic and stop thinking you can cook for 25 kids..guess he is right and you were kind enough to agree to it as well. I do feel a bit guilty about not giving home made food, so I added cheese sandwiches to it as well :) We did have fun with the Cinderella cake and all that!

You love love love make up and yearn for me to let you put on some. This is a gene which got to you from where, I dont know :) I hope to let you start using make up when you turn 18 *sticks tongue out*

Your sister thinks the world of you and she reserves her biggest smiles her widest hugs and her jumpiest jumps only for you. You can make her drink her milk, eat her kooyi and even make her sit with all your singing and dancing. She loves the fact that you come in and say R2 meri paapaaaaaaa in your singsong voice.

This summer vacation saw you learn swimming, skating and learn how to use a dictionary. Of course, that makes you the jack of all trades and master of none, but hey, I am not complaining.

I just hope you continue to smile and enjoy life forever. I pray that you make friends wherever you go and you get out of this stupid complexion inferiority and all that.

Loads of love, kid

Amma

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Dear R2

So you turned six months old last week and Amma has started office. You dont seem to be much bothered about it as long as you get your food. 

We did a small anna prash ceremony for you last Monday and you were licking everything joyfully. Your Appa insisted that you be first fed by your Akka since she was the one who really really wanted you :) He again broke tradition and asked me to feed you next, and then he fed you along with both your grandmas :)

I guess the ceremony was pretty symbolic because you are back to eating your wheat porridge hehehe!

  
You are not a very fussy kid and am a lot more relaxed with you. Unlike the times when akka used to sneeze and I would rush her to the doc, I am like ‘sneeze 10 times and then we will see’

I dont know whether its good or bad but that is it :)

Yesterday we had gone to a function and I was pretty much ok leaving you on the floor and letting another aunty give you milk and rotis. You didnt seem much bothered either!

Guess thats what they mean by experience :)

I keep reminding myself that each child is different and you and Akka will be too. But guess you are following your akka’s footsteps till now. Crying after every meal that the meal got over no matter how much the quantity hehe! Refusing to crawl too much as it takes up too much energy and proving that my laziness genes are dominant in you just like in Akka’s. And giving me trouble while trying to sleep. Of course your Baroda Thatha blames it squarely on me saying you have travelled too much during both your pregnancies till the last minute, what were you expecting? 

Its been a good six months and I must admit I dont feel that time flew. Having a child is no joke and whoever tells you that kids just grow up and you wont realise obviously didnt have you and Akka as kids. Its be a tough six months for me with joys and frustrations alike. But the joys definitely overweigh the fustrations :)

You are trying to sit up and enjoy pulling everyone’s hair. Akka and I are your favorite targets :) Your best smiles are still reserved for Akka and Appa, and surprisingly it doesnt bother me too much ;)

A calender is your favorite thing and you love anything with numbers on it. Makes me think you are going to be a Maths Professor ;)

Love you and Akka both

Amma

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Digging Out That Treasure

I have been really lazy updating the blog. But its not only laziness..I guess I am at this stage when I am trying to decide what I want in life..when R was born, I was sure I want to get back to my job. my 9 to 5 one. But after R2, I am wondering if I really want to do that. I definitely want to work, but the idea of going back to that office, doing stuff which I dont even like, is somehow making me a bit apprehensive…I joined back full time work this week, and the very thought is making me sad…Leaving R2 is a bit easier, since I have already gone through the leaving R and going thingie….but lets see…I am very seriously looking for work from home options..my Amma says I am suffering mid life crisis heheheh!

One thing apart from Whatsapp which has retained my sanity in the past six months is IMC. The website is going places and its good to be a small part of the super group….

Preethi gets these brainwaves and one of those has been the IMC Treasure Box on which she worked like crazy and came up with codes and decodes and recodes and all that..anyways, so IMC is launching this treasure box thing…it all started with someone in the team lamenting about trying to find good Indian books for her kid. Then one thing moved to another and it was decided we will perhaps start a library kind of service but will ask the receiver to keep the book. Then the brains behind thought why not add a craft activity to it. We went scouting for crafters and met up aspoonfulofideas and beinggaya3. Both came up with awesome ideas to create crafts around the books we thought we will send across.

We spent many days deciding on the name of this service. I was in Goa at that time and chewed my Appa’s brains until he came up with the name Treasure Chest. We finally settled down to box, because chest seemed too heavy eh? then how to categorize between the age groups…I came up with explosive suggestions like dynamite and catalyze and what not until Aarti gently pointed out to me that it was not chemical reaction engineering but a box which a kid would want to actually open without being scared..gah! What do non chemical people know about reaction engineering heheh!

Afterwards, the calm and composed Preethi came up with Under the Imli tree for 2 to 4 years and Under the Banyan Tree of 4 to 7 years.…I loved the names, but since my reaction engineering names were vetoed, I took revenge by vetoing these names, you know just for the fun of it..but I lost it 3 is to one..and then finally admitted I loved the darn names eh?

Vidhya who is my current technology guru (Ha, RD, Gah to you!!!) is also an awesome cook. Aarti and I have decided to serve her only maggi if she ever visits us..anyways so she came up with the idea of including a child friendly recipe card which can be indexed away by the kid into the box…

Preethi and I have always had this never ending arguments about allowing technology to children…she always wins but I pretend not to notice…so she came up with an idea of suggesting a curated child friendly app to go into the box as well..

What was started as a casual conversation now snowballed into a big box of things…which seemed exciting and interesting..

Poornima of spoonfullofideas and Gayathri of beinggaya3 came up with such awesome activities related to the books, that I just stood aside gaping with my mouth open wondering how can God give so much talent to folks!

And funnily all these contacts have been through via blogs. Preethi and I are second cousins, but the rest of us know each other via blogs. This blogging world, I tell ya, is a treasure box in itself :)

So finally, IMC is launching its treasure box…whats in it?

1 A book which one of us has read and reviewed and recommended
2. A craft related to that book designed by the super talented women Poornima and Gayathri
3. A recipe suggested by the superchef Vidhya
4. An app appropriate to age group suggested by the techo queen Preethi

In short, its a real treasure box.

Get its details here…Go on show some love to our venture and to your kids and subscribe it eh?

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A True Vacation

Finally after 9 years, I spent 3 weeks at my parents place, if I dont count the 3 months I spent when I delivered R. This 3 weeks have been truly a vacation for me. I would have called it a perfect vacation if RD was around, but he was enjoying his bachelorhood in Bombay while I enjoyed in Goa with my parents. While I had started work from home, I decided to take 10 days off to spend time in peace. And I am glad I did it! Though I am low on leaves now (we really need to change this 84 days maternity leave thing, its just too short!) I am glad I took these days off! I have piled on 20 kgs (this is after what was left after delivering R2) but I have truly enjoyed myself.

I ate what I wanted with no inhibitions, I took long walks, I drank coffee in the mornings my with parents looking at the pigeons come and peck the grains from my parents garden. I have shopped for clothes (which I never do for myself) I cooked whatever I wanted and made my parents the scapegoats. R and I cooked the dinners first few days, while my amma made all my favorite food (the list is pretty endless actually!) Appa got us the usual tons of fruits and we had pineapples, and mangoes, and chikoos and bananas and guavas, and tender coconuts and watermelons and apples. I binged on junk food big time with no care of anything.

I realised that R loves going to daycare because she started insisting on going to the daycare near my parents place, and I even managed to wean R2 off morning feeds completely as I plan to start work soon.

Its been an amazing three weeks, and I doubt I will ever be able to have so much of leave all my life again, but am so glad I came. I am glad that RD insisted I take days off to spend time with my parents.

Here are a few glimpses of our stay

Took swimming lessons

Took swimming lessons

made a lantern rangoli on Vishu with hindi Alphabets (check out the ulta la!)

made a lantern rangoli on Vishu with hindi Alphabets (check out the ulta la!)

Saw Vishu kanni and earned a lot fo money

Saw Vishu kanni and earned a lot of money

Climbed trees with Thatha

Climbed trees with Thatha

Saw pretty foilage

Saw pretty foliage

Plucked fresh brinjals and cherry tomatoes from Thatha's garden

Plucked fresh brinjals and cherry tomatoes from Thatha’s garden

Played scrabbles every other night with Thatha Thathi and Amma

Played scrabbles every other night with Thatha Thathi and Amma

Asked chitti to make new hair styles for me

Asked chitti to make new hair styles for me

Saw a beautiful white chapel on top of a hill

Saw a beautiful white chapel on top of a hill

Saw a giant mammoth in the Science Centre at Panaji

Saw a giant mammoth in the Science Centre at Panaji

Helped hang R2's clothes every day

Helped hang R2’s clothes every day

Helped Thathi with flower decorations

Helped Thathi with flower decorations

Sat in the car and snuggled each other

Sat in the car and snuggled each other

Learnt to use a dictionary!

Learnt to use a dictionary!

 

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