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Parenting

Movie Haami
Parenting

Bengali Movie Haami – A Curious Case Of Paranoid Parenting

posted by Anupriya February 8, 2019 20 Comments

I have some fond childhood memories of watching some coveted movies in regional language every Sunday on Doordarshan TV. Ever since, I have been quite open to watching movies in vernacular languages given they have acquired the acclaimed and appreciated status. One such movie I recently came across was the Bengali movie Haami. This movie was highly recommended by my Bengali friends in Kolkata and the title song ‘Bhuttu Bhaijaan’ also caught my kids’ fancy. Only that it took me some while to arrange for the movie to be viewed on television.

Why I call the movie Haami as a curious case of paranoid parenting is, because from the word go, the movie is a reflection of how indulged a generation of parents we are.  Here’s a peep into how this movie is a study in itself of parenting behavior and how it impacts our kids. Continue Reading

Equal Parenting
Parenting

Equal Parenting ? Not My Thing !

posted by Anupriya August 20, 2018 20 Comments

I know. I know! I can already feel your piercing gaze with your raised eye brows questioning my sanity. After all what kind of a woman I am who does not want her husband to be an equal participant in our kids’ upbringing.  Uhhh! Let me make a confession. I’d love for my husband to be an equal parenting partner. The kind who can make adjustments to his work schedule and spend as much time with the kids as I do. Or the kind that would allow me to be able to commit to a job or atleast spend some me time. But I never see it panning out that way! But I am not complaining. Why? Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018LifeStyleParenting

A Zen Life – #AtoZChallenge 2018

posted by Anupriya April 30, 2018 0 comments

Mr. Gunjal was busy getting the house in place. He also made his wife chalk out the food menu for whole of next week, and stocked up the kitchen with every single item that would make his grandchildren happy. Candies, lollipops, all kinds of berries available in the local market and kids favorite fruits – he had it all sorted. Mrs. Gunjal though, was more excited to have her girls to herself for an entire week. Their husbands were to join only a week later for the celebrations. Continue Reading

Kids Learning

5 Take-Aways from my first Parents Orientation Seminar

posted by Anupriya April 18, 2018 1 Comment

Trust Me ! The first day when your child goes to his big school (the one where he will in all probability spend the next 15 years of his life), it is a ‘Happy Realisation’ moment for you. Your responsibilities take a leap to a new level. It’s not just your kids food, hygiene and health that will be your concerns anymore. You will get into an endless process of planning and co-ordinating for your kids journey at school. When I recall my time at school, I have Goosebumps. God ! How did my parents manage me through all these years?

Nevertheless, this post is not about my musings and insecurities over how I am going to manage my son’s school life. It is about the orientation session that I attended on my son’s first day of school. Continue Reading

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kid HumorParenting

Of Houses and Inheritances – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 10, 2018 1 Comment

It was one of those rare nights when Amrita had a humongous task of putting Nik to bed all by her own and alone. Reason? She was at her parents’ place in Chandigarh where Raghav was to join them a week later.

The first day post their arrival was very eventful. Smita was up on a mission to shop for her little sister’s wedding. Smita had insisted that she travel from Mumbai to be a part of her shopping, because she just didn’t trust her parents to agree with the latest fashion trends and the seemingly exorbitant prices of designer dresses. Amrita had objected to Smita’s skepticism, but then was rudely reminded by her younger sister that she had married some 6 years back and had hardly been an active participant for her own wedding shopping. Amrita had been working in a different city and hardly had any time to go shopping. Moreover, before her wedding, she had been one of those rare girls, who did not see the point in fretting over wedding shopping. Though now Amrita did realize that it was extremely naïve of her to think likewise. Even today she shuddered at the memory of the ladies from her in-laws side, opening up her baggage to have a look at the collection of clothes that her parents had gifted her. She had even fumbled in utter dismay, when one of the older ladies had asked her, ‘How many sets of clothes have you brought along?’

But Amrita was wiser now. And she was not going to let anyone ruin her little sister’s wedding shopping. But that’s not the story her. It had been a tiring day and Amrita realised that Nik had felt ignored the entire day. During their shopping spree, he intermittently kept throwing the ‘I want to go home’ tantrum.

Once back home, Nik realised that he had not come back to his own home; he was rather back in his Nanu’s home. Amrita observed that Nik was deep in thought, but a couple of probes did not bring him to talk his mind. Amrita did not push further and got on with her chores.

As night fell, Amrita changed Nik into his night suit and tried to calm him to sleep. She realized that Nik was still distracted. So Amrita instead of continuing the lullaby, asked him if he wanted to share what he was thinking with his Mumma.

Nik – Mumma? yeh kya humara ghar hai? (Is this our house?)

Me – Haan Beta, yeh humara ghar hai. (Yes dear, it is.)

Nick – Par yeh toh Nanu ka ghar hai? (This is Nanu’s house , isn’t it?)

Me – (in a sleepy and desparate attempt to put an end to his curiosity and questions) Haan beta Nanu ka ghar bhi humara ghar hai aur Dadaji ka ghar bhi humara ghar hai. (Yes dear Nanu’s house is also our house and Dadu’s house is also our house.)

Nick – Yeh toh Bahut achchi baat hai. Dono ghar humare ghar hain(It seems to be a good idead that both the houses our indeed ours.)

Amrita replied in affirmative without giving much thought to the conversation. The rest of the trip went off smoothly while they shopped for Smita and her parents. Raghav joined them a week later and got his task list for the wedding ticked off.

A couple of weeks after they had returned from Chandigarh, while Amrita was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner for Nik, she overheard her son’s conversation with his grandmother.

Nik: Dadi, you know what, I have two houses.

Nik’s grandmother raised her eyebrows and asked him to explain.

Nik: Look, grandfather’s house is my house. And Nanu’s house is also my house. So I have two houses.

My mother-in-law probably took his observation in good spirit and carried on with the conversation.

‘But that’s true with everyone. Everybody has two grandfathers and thus has two houses.’

Nik took a moment’s pause. He was probably gathering his thoughts. What he said next sent Amrita running towards the grandmother-grandson duo in a haste while she wished that a hole come on my way and she be swallowed by it.

‘No it’s different you know. In this house I have my cousin Kriti, so it’s a shared house. But in Chandigarh, I am the only one. So I am the sole person who has that house.

Amrita stood wondering how her almost 3 year had actually perceived the entire scenario and come up with his inferences and conclusions, when no one else had ever discussed similar things in his presence. She thought how awfully perceptive kids are and failed to understand how they process data to form their own little world of information.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018MotherhoodParenting

Death – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 4, 2018 6 Comments

Amrita put Nik in the car and took the driver seat herself.

‘Don’t fidget with the seat belt Nik. If you don’t put it on, Police uncle will come and take us to the jail.’ Amrita screeched at her son and then sighed at the futility of her own words. At 4 years, Nik really did not understand the gravity of ‘Police uncle’ and ‘Jail’. She turned the car keys to ignite the engine and raced off across the street to drop Nik to his skating classes.

Amrita was 8 months pregnant now and was struggling while driving. Her bump did not allow her to sit upright to have a clear view of the front bonnet of the car. She had to recline in her seat a little more than she was comfortable with as a driver. It was just that years of driving on the road had refined her traffic judgment and she was able to ply safely on the road. Besides, she loved driving.

She was disturbed by Nik’s squeal and abruptly applied the break, cautious enough to not ram her bump into the steering.

‘What happened baby?’Amrita plied the car on the left before coming to halt.

‘Mamma! There was a cat infront of the car. I feared it might get hurt.’ Nik’s innocent concern left Amrita smiling.

‘Oh! I am sure it’s ok. These street cats and dogs have a way of remaining safe on the road. They are experts at that.’ Amrita turned on the car to resume her drive.

And then a fear engulfed her. Had the cat died, what would she tell Nik? Nik did not yet know what words like ‘dead’ and ‘death’ meant, or atlest she thought so.

As Amrita dropped Nik to his activity class, more lines of worry appeared on her forehead. How was she going to manage the situation in her house next week?

Raghav’s first cousin Mita had passed away of lung cancer at a rather young age of 40 years, leaving behind her husband and two sons aged 12 years and 3 years. The entire family had been devastated. They all found it difficult to cope with their favorite cousin. Though Amrita empathized with the loss that Mita’s husband Deven had suffered her heart went out more for the kids. Especially for young Vansh. He had hardly spent any time with his mom since his birth. Mita’s cancer had been detected right after his birth and had since been struggling with the harsh treatment that the disease called for. Little Vansh was only aware of a person called mom in the house who was mostly ill and hardly had any opportunity to experience the joys of childhood with his mother. And now Mita was gone, forever.

Amrita tried to keep stress at bay by avoiding thinking too much about Deven and the boys. But her worries ran deeper. An element of this tragedy was about to touch her own life. They had invited Deven and the boys to visit them so as to ebb out the awkwardness that Deven felt since Mita’s demise.  Next week Deven would be here with the boys and stay with them for 2 days. Amrita’s fear was what or how would Nik react to Mita’s absence.

No! Nik obviously was too young to be attached to Mita, but he was very likely to be curious by absence of Vansh’s mom.

How was she ever going to explain to her 4 year old that Vansh’s mother wasn’t with us for good! Her fears got confirmed later that week when Nik came up hopping to her,

‘Mom! Grandmother says that my cousin Vansh is coming to our home next week. Is it true?’ Amrita nodded kindly.

‘Will Vansh come with his mom and dad? Because I hear that he is even younger than I am.’ Something tugged at Amrita’s heart as she pondered for an appropriate reply.

‘Tell me mom! Which room will Vansh stay in with his mom and dad?’ Nik nudged further.

Amrita held Nik by his shoulders and engulfed him into a bear hug. She then made him sit by her side, her arms still around him,

‘Baby! It’s true that Vansh is coming to stay with us next week. But he is coming with his father and elder brother. Remember Gora bhaiya? You met him on our last visit to Jaipur? Vansh’s mamaa was not well, she is in the hospital for treatment. So she is not coming with them.’ Nik heard Amrita’s words with a lot of concentration and nodded as if on cue.

With a heavy heart, Amrita continued, ‘Baby! Vansh might miss his mother. So you must not ask him anything about her.’ Her hold tightened a bit around Nik’s shoulder. She was very skeptical about the effect of her words on a tender 4 year old mind. By now Nik was really distracted by the noises of kids playing right outside their home and nodded absent mindedly before running out to see big boys play gully cricket.

Next week when Deven arrived with the boys, Amrita and family welcome them with warm hearts. They tried to make their stay as normal as it could be for everyone. It was quite evident that everyone was missing that one person who had bound them in the past and now the common grief of her absence put them together. Amrita kept her fingers crossed for Nik to not make true her worst fears. He was extremely friendly towards Vansh, but never once did he check with anyone on where Vansh’s Mamma was.

Two days later when the guests left, Amrita took a sigh of relief. She dreaded the moment when she would have to tell her little boy about what death or dying meant. For now she had managed to keep the question from surfacing,  but she wondered for how long would it be before she would have to face the demons of parenting.  And as she feared, the moment came very soon.

‘Mamma! Vedansh bhaiya was very upset in the car pool today’ around a fortnight later, Nik spoke out as he returned from school and out his shoes back in the rack.

‘Why so?’ Amrita knew Vedansh was a companion in the car pool that Nik used to ply to and fro from the school. He was around 3 years elder to Nik.

‘He said that his pet dog had died.’ Nik said concern lurking in his eyes.

Amrita stopped short in her tracks, as she heard Nik’s words. She turned to look at Nik who was busy pulling out his tiffin box to keep it in the kitchen for washing.

‘Mamma! Vedansh Bhaiya said that his dog was very ill and could not eat or drink anything. He became so week that he had no energy to walk around. Last evening he did not wake up. They had to put him to permanent sleep in some other place, where he would not be disturbed.’ A tear rolled down Amrita’s eye as she heard a child account of what death meant. She felt all blood drain out from her system as Nik came to her and hugged her legs. In an impulse her hands went around her son’s head.

Such was life. That day Amrita realized for the first time that this world was warm and harsh both. Parents fear for their kids’ getting exposure to the harsh realities of life. We protect them as much as we can, yet there is no running away. Life finds its way towards kids. They come to understand everything, as and when the right time comes.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

AtoZ Challenge 2018Kids LearningMotherhoodParenting

Competition – AtoZ Challenge

posted by Anupriya April 3, 2018 5 Comments

Amrita finished with her daily house chores and sat down with her liquor tea to have some time to herself before her elder son Nik, returned from school. She checked upon the time once again, worried why her mother-in-law wasn’t home yet. She had gone out grocery shopping 2 hours back and should have returned by now.

The bell rang, and Amrita cautiously rushed to open the door for her panting mom-in-law.

‘It took you a little longer than usual. Isn’t it?’ Amrita asked as Radhaji handed over the plastic bags to the domestic help. Amrita signaled to the help to bring her a glass of water and ushered Radhaji in the living room to relax.

‘I met Shilpa on my way and spent some time chit chatting.’ Radhaji told Smita as she gulped down the cold plain liquid that the domestic help had just brought her.

‘Oh! Shilpa. How is she? And how’s Somansh. He is going to school now, isn’t it? He’s just 6 months younger than our Nik.’ Amrita inquired. Mention of Shilpa piqued her interest as a long standing family friend. Her husband Raghav and Shilpa’s brother had been classmates at school and Shilpa had come to live in their neighborhood after her wedding.

Radhaji widened her eyes as she let her hair lose to detangle it and tie it back into a bun. ‘Somansh is now going to the good old school where his father went. She was all praises about the school. Somansh seems to be doing very well there.’

Amrita narrowed her eyes into a slit and grinned with her lips towards one side, ‘Doing good? How do you measure the performance of a 3 year old who has just started school.’

Radhaji clucked her tongue, ‘It’s not that. She was telling me that Somansh nows how to write all his alphabets and number up till 70. I mean, I was like already, our Nik knows nothing in comparison. Do you think it was a mistake to send him to this new age school. I sometimes wonder what they teach the children their.’

Amrita listened to Radhaji, all amused about the way she was making it sound all dramatic. She nodded her head unalarmingly, ‘Mom! There’s nothing to worry. Nik is just 4 years and they have started with numbers and alphabets in his school just a month back. And what’s the rush, eventually every child is expected to read and write only when they reach the age of 6 years.’

‘No! But I did not like it when I had to admit to Shilpa that our Nik was lagging behind in his skills and abilities. It was almost mortifying. You must make a visit to the school and talk this out with the teachers as to why are our kids not at par with kids in other schools.’

Amrita arched her brows and bit her lower lip. She couldn’t believe her ears. ‘What was it with their parents’ generation? They  seemed to be so tied down to my-kid-is-better-than-yours way of life.’ Amrita thought not daring to speak her mind, lest it may offend the old lady.

‘Mom! It’s OK. Seriously I am not too worried about Nik’s capabilities. I know for sure that we are raising him well and that the school he is going to is doing their job. He is developing all the required skills for his age. Please don’t get into such rat race kind of discussion on ‘my child knows this, how about yours’. It will do nobody any good.’ Smita folded the newspaper and got up to stack it on the shelf.

Radhaji puffed out a mouth full of air, ‘Leave aside this discussion. Go and have some rest. Once Nik comes home you will have no time to even breathe.’

Amrita nodded unenthusiastically, ‘I don’t know what’s up with this boy. I have to force him to his skating and dance classes every day. If I don’t drive him down to his classes, he just won’t go. How will I manage him once the baby arrives?’

Radhaji smiled empathetically. Raising the elder child with a younger one on the way always came with a mixed bag of emotions. There was joy of having a child and giving your elder child a sibling. But there were more anxieties about how to cope up with the elder child who seems to get into a war for attention from the parents. Smita sure had some difficult months ahead of her.

‘It’s OK. Nik is very young. He can re-join the skating classed once you are back in action after your delivery. Let him enjoy at home only till then.’

‘No Mom! It’s not done. There’s so much competition these days. Every child knows everything. And if we don’t start young, he will get caught in the rut of school and academics. He will never be able to develop any interests or passions. He ought to go for his extra-cirricular classes.’ Amrita sounded very determined.

Radhaji smiled at her daughter-in-law who stood with her hands on the small of her back. She observed that it was now just a matter of time. They may have to rush to the hospital anyday now. But she did not like the creases of worry on Amrita’s forehead. And for what reason? Because Nik hassled over going to his skating and dance classes!

‘Amrita! Aren’t you contradicting yourself here? Sometime back when I was fretting over what Nik was studying at school, it was you only who assured me that everything will fall in place with time. Then why are you now fussing in a similar about his willingness to go for his extra-curricular classes? You should be unfazed by competition and focus on the unique requirements of your kid.’

Radhaji’s words hit at Amrita. She realized that while she had internalized the fact that her son will come around academically, she was worried that he may lose the race of over-all development by not being very keen on his extra-curricular activities. Amrita then reminisced her childhood, where her parents had always been focused on the studies and often mulled that their middle-class roots did not allow them to think beyond academics. Extra-curricula’s and extra classes were for the affluent.

She was probably fighting her own demons when she pushed Nik to participate in activities other than academics. She was scared that her son may lose out on this very important avenue of learning and enjoying his life. Nik really was very young. She must give him time and nurture him to an age where he may be able to decide his own passions and have the courage to follow them. Her role was that of a facilitator, ad that she could do later too.

I am participating in the challenge of April with #Blogchatter

Read my AtoZ Challenge posts here

Parenting

Did You Know About The After School Meltdown Among Kids

posted by Anupriya March 16, 2018 8 Comments

Madhu is winding up her DIY Project to make customized cushion covers for her kids. She is in a hurry, because Shaurya will arrive any moment and then there will be no time or energy to do anything other than run after him.

‘Oh God! This boy has become such a ruckus.’ Madhu thought as she mentally braced herself for the daily Tsunami that was to hit the home in a couple of minutes. Even though managing a hyperactive kid who hardly took time off the entire day took its toll on her, Madhu was ok with him being active and playful. She was more bothered by the possibility that Shaurya might be raising havoc in school too. Everyday she saw a restless Shaurya nit-picking on items in the house, running around incessantly and shouting needlessly. She dreaded the day when she might be summoned to his school for his mis-demeanor. As she prepared herself for such an encounter with her son’s teachers, she also thought of questions that she would ask her so that she could help Shaurya become a calm kid. Continue Reading

LifeStyleParenting

5 Things I want to Tell My kids About Love – #ValentinesDay

posted by Anupriya February 13, 2018 0 comments

As I see my two boys grow up everyday physically and emotionally, I wonder how they perceive love. Then I wonder, what is it that I am doing to help them understand the meaning of Love. This Valentines Day I delve into how I can contribute towards helping my kids to perceive Love in its true glory.

Here are 5 things I would want to tell my kids about Love. Continue Reading

LifeStyleParenting

What Happens when Parents Fight infront of Kids

posted by Anupriya January 22, 2018 12 Comments

As a child the most frustrating moments I experienced were, when I saw my mom upset because of a tiff she had with my father. These arguments did not always happen in front of me or my sister. But looking at my mom teary eyed left me worked up and frustrated. One day in my innocence, I walked up to my mom and said to her,

‘Let papa come back home today, I will ask him why he makes you cry?’

My mom suddenly forgot about her hurt from the argument with papa, and replied wide eyed,

‘Oh dear! You must not speak up in elder’s matters. If we have had an argument, we will sort it out ourselves. You must not get involved.’

I nodded to her thoughtfully but thought in my mind

‘If Mom wants me to keep away from anything to do with the argument, why subject me to the effects of their argument. ‘

I was a teenager then. I had the ability to judge the situation, understand it and form my opinion about it. But what happens when parents argue infront of their kids who are much younger?

Through what I have read about the research on the subject of ‘Parents Fighting Infront of Kids’, there are two schools of thought –

Scientific Research

  1. Physiological changes – Increase in blood pressure, Heart Rate and increased secretion of stress hormones has been observed in kids as young as 6 months, when parent fights happen in their presence.
  2. Kids subject to regular exposure to their parents’ fights grow up with characteristics that render them incapable of recovering from stress. They are unable to regulate their emotions or calm themselves.
  3. Such kids run a higher risk of anxiety disorders and depression.
  4. Stress also cripples kids’ immune system. Children in emotionally unstable households catch cold much more frequently than other kids.
  5. Such kids are also known to have lower IQs and lower chances of excelling academically.

Spiritual Schools

  1. Right from the time a child comes into the womb, until 5-7 years of age the aura of a child is attached to mother’s aura. Every emotion that a mother feels has a direct impact on the child to an extent that the child develops the same characteristics.
  2. The child’s aura picks up thought forms from her parents’ aura which affects her personality. Aggression, anxiety, short-temper, low confidence, limitation to communicate are some most common personality traits that kids prone to fights at home are likely to grow up with.

After having read the above, one can only conclude that it is absolutely wrong to fight in front of kids. As parents we hold this responsibility to provide a nurturing environment to our kids and not subject them to such growth limiting situations. Such behavior is completely non-negotiable, if we want our kids to grow up to be emotionally balanced and matured human beings.

Silver lining to the Dark Cloud

Bestseller John Media writes in his book, ‘Brain Rules for Babies’ that if we fight in front of our kids, then we must make sure that we reconcile also in front of them. This will help the kids create a conclusive mind-map that reads that, ’OK, my parents had a difference of opinion and they argued. But they still respect each other and love each other enough to make it up between them.’

According to the author, this single thought form is almost a game changer and can reverse the negative effects of the argument that the kids witnessed.

Yet, I have my own set of do’s and don’ts when it comes to parent fights and kids –

  • Try and keep your voice low when kids are around
  • Mind your language. Like literally, kids pick up vocabulary very fast.
  • If kids come up and check with you later, explain to them that there was a point of disagreement between you two and thus the argument. Don’t forget to add, ‘Oh it’s just this one thing dear. Mom and dad are still best friends.’
  • Make a genuine closing conversation in front of the kids. Let them understand that there can be difference of opinion, yet that does not change much.