Parenting for dummies

Friday, April 25, 2008

Does it happen that when Moms blog, it ends up being something about their kids always? I'm sure it happens often. I think that's because kids are such great teachers. They make you think and change yourself for the better.

Last week, I found myself having fights and arguments with my daughter over something or the other every day. Most of these would end up in me losing my temper and screaming at her and her crying. Some of the times, I knew I was right. At other times, I wasn't too sure that I didn't just overreact. But every time, I knew that losing temper was not helping either of us.

After one of these bad fights, I suddenly realised what a bad example I was setting for my daughter. Normally, I'm an even tempered person and losing temper is pretty rare and happens only with my daughter when she is terribly bull-headed. But, she was unconsciously learning that losing temper and screaming like a banshee is okay. And also that, if you are REALLY angry, you can even throw some stuff around!(Yeah, I did that once too, I'm so ashamed! :-( ) I got a bad jolt! I certainly didn't want her to grow up an angry girl and become an angry, ill-tempered woman. And that too, because of me and my bad parenting!

I decided I needed to tell her that it's not right to lose temper and scream at people even if you did not agree with what they did. By then, we had both come to the stage of silent sulking. So, I said, 'Okay, there is no point in fighting. Let us stop fighting and be friends.' Then, we both had our evening showers, put on fresh night dresses and settled down to do the school work for the day. I told her that before we start, we should pray to God. I went first and said, 'God, forgive me for losing my temper and shouting. I know that it is bad manners to get angry, scream and throw things and I promise never to do this again.' From the corner of my eye, I could see her eyes open wide in wonder at what I was saying. She was clearly not expecting that! Once I finsihed, she suddenly came up to me and gave me a hug. She was feeling sorry for me that I had to let go of my ego and apologise, even if it was only to God. She sure knew how tough it was to say 'sorry'! She then said, 'It's bad to get angry, right? I know that too. That's why now I don't get angry with Aditi when I play with her. I share my toys with her and let her be 'teacher' when we play 'teacher..teacher'!'

I was not sure at all on how much truth there was in that last sentence, but I hoped it meant that the next time they played together, she would do what she said. And I went to sleep that night with a feeling that I haven't messed up too much........yet !!! Do we have a 'Parenting for Dummies' out there somewhere?

Happy (?) Birthday!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I've been going on long drives for some time now. In the UAE, driving from any one Emirate to another takes a minimum of an hour. I have to go to the different Emirates to give pre sales demos to prospects who are looking at buying my company's enterprise software. I enjoy these drives mainly because I don't need to drive on my own and can do my own stuff - last minute preparations, catching up with sleep, just looking out of the window, daydreaming, calling up friends. But most of the time, it is the FM channels here that keep me company.

City 101.6 is one of the most popular FM channels here, though I'm not a regular listener. I prefer channels that play old melodies and have less talking and more music. City 101.6 has a programme called 'Birthday Pappu'. What they do in the programme is wish someone on their birthday based on a request from a friend/relative. But the way they wish the person is by making an idiot out of him or her, 'Live on air'. Of course, once they have done that, they sing a birthday song, apologise and shower wonderful gifts on the 'Pappu'! But I wonder if the person is really able to enjoy the rest of his birthday after being made a fool of in the morning.

Well, anyway, yesterday I was listening to an episode of the Birthday Pappu. I was not sure what to think of it at the end of it. The whole thing was immensely funny and the RJ did a great job. But I also felt terribly sorry for the person who was being made a 'Pappu'.

Well, looks like this guy is a nice, serious, decent guy who has never done anything mischievous in his life! His sister wanted him to 'losen up' and conspired with the RJ to make a 'Pappu' out of him. This guy had recently gone to 'see' a girl and there are discussions on in both families regarding the wedding. The RJ poses as this girl and calls up. The families involved are conservative Muslim families. The girl makes the guy admit 'on air' that he liked her and says that she would like to meet and talk to him a couple of times before they take things forward. Since her parents are strict and she cannot leave home during the day, she asks him to come and meet her at night!!! The poor guy is shocked but does not know how to refuse. When he tries, she goes all coy and upset and says 'so you don't like me??' Finally he agrees to meet her and she asks him to come to her flat after the family is asleep and stand outside the door and meow like a cat!!! She even makes him practice a few 'meow's and ends the whole thing with 'main aapki meow ka intezaar karoongi' (I'll be waiting for your meow!!!!)

The whole thing was hilarious for the listeners, all right! But it must have been terrible for the guy. It was obvious throughout the programme that he is the silent, serious kind! Even after he was told it was all a joke, he was not laughing. He was very polite and was saying 'I see' and 'Thank you' . Neither did he laugh nor get angry.

Probably a sister is allowed to play such pranks on her brothers! Whatever be the guy's feelings about what happened, I think he just might have made a few female fans in the process! Girls like nice, decent guys....maybe because they are not so easy to come by!!! ;) Well, I certainly hope he finds a soulmate soon, like 'Sleepless in Seattle' did!!!

Happy New Year!!! :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

I sincerely believe that posts in blogs should have some message for the people who read it. But if I want to keep updating the blog, I guess I have to just forget this feeling. I don't know when I'd be able to write something that conveys a meaningful message to people. So let me keep it a diary or a place to put down anything I like and then hope that anybody who comes across just likes it.

Today is Vishu (astronomical New year for the people of Kerala, India) and after several years, I prepared a Vishu 'Kani' (offering) at home. Vishu 'kani' is an offering which is a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like rice, vegetables, yellow flowers, fresh linen, gold, metal mirror etc. The concept is that if you view this offering first thing in the morning on a New year day, you stay prosperous and happy throughout the year.

Yesterday, I was feeling quite guilty preparing the 'kani' because I did not have most of the mandatory items required for it. I decided to go ahead with it because a friend told me that it is the spirit that counts. And I was better off than her, because, staying in Belgium, she was planning to arrange a 'vishukkani' with candles (instead of the traditional lamp) and silk sari (instead of the traditional white linen of the Keralites) and with most of the other things missing. In the back of my mind, I still believe that if something is done, it should be done right. But I guess my daughter's thrill at being woken up and taken blindfolded to view the 'Kani' first thing in the morning kind of made it all quite worthwhile! In fact, when I explained it to her yesterday, she made me practice it with her several times!!! :)

I still remember Vishu when I was a child. 'Kani' was a big suspense because my mother used to prepare it only after I went to sleep. In the morning, opening my eyes, feeling the warmth of the lamps, and seeing the splendour of the 'kani' used to be quite a wonderful feeling. And then, all the money the elders used to give, the crackers and the sumptuous lunch in the afternoon...on the whole, Vishu was lot of fun. Only problem was that I had to get up early in the morning, and that too during the summer holidays. And my father used to insist that we have to burst crackers also before sunrise...while I would have been happy to go right back to sleep after seeing the 'kani' !!!!

Well, anyway, Happy New Year to people celebrating Vishu today! How crazy is it that we celebrate New Year thrice every year - once in January with the rest of the world, once for Vishu and once sometime in August or September which is actually the first day of the year according to the Malayalam calendar!!! :))))


Friday, April 11, 2008

"I'll not play Barbie or Princess games any more. I'm a big girl now! I'm in Grade 2" That's my 6 year old daughter to her friend who has come over to play with her. Her friend is one year younger to her!

I can't really say I'm happy that my daughter is growing up so fast! She used to be such a darling little baby! I miss her baby days now! The trouble is, even though I can clearly remember my childhood and school days, I cannot seem to remember too much in detail about things that happened 4-5 years ago. When I remember my daughter's baby days, what comes first to mind are those monthly visits to the doctor..that deadly fear I used to feel every time she falls sick...the days when she had one of her fevers and I used to just sit up and watch her sleep, afraid to fall asleep myself...the helplessness and tears when she was in pain and I couldn't do anything to help.Even when she was not sick, I had developed this habit of putting my hand to her forehead to check for fever!

And now that she doesn't fall ill so often, she is all grown up!!!!

That's not to say I don't enjoy the time I spend with her now. I do! Now, I'm kind of able to make out what kind of a person she would grow up to be... I can see her character developing! For the last one year, we have kind of become friends and have regular conversations and I feel she understands me. I guess that's the wonderful thing about having a daughter. I have a friend with two boys and she says she just does not know WHEN they will grow up!!! And looking at some of the men I know (my husband included ;)) I cannot really give her a consoling answer!

I find myself wondering often what I was like at my daughter's age. Most of the time I end up realising that she is a much better person that I used to be at the same age. She is selfless and affectionate. In the games that we play together, she really is upset when I lose...she wants me to win and I can see her trying to lose so that I can win. I don't remember being that way when I was a kid!!!

It gives me mixed feelings...I feel happy that she'll be wonderful person but I'm also scared that she'll get hurt giving up too much for the people she loves!!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Well...after starting off with that last post, I found that I had absolutely no idea what I should blog about! Is there something called 'blogger's block' that I can use as an excuse?

I understand that the blog is an electronic version of a diary...but then aren't diaries supposed to be private? But I shall not complain. I am very much a people person. I like people and I like having people around me. I love to talk and also listen. So, in fact, the last one year when I've been working alone and not as part of a team has been quite strange. Some days I am all alone in the office and the peak team size in our office at any point in time is 3 people!!! If I did not have the internet and the option to chat with friends, I'd have probably gone mad!

Today is one of those days! I've been alone in office since morning and now it's almost time to leave. Couple of people from the partner company had come in the morning for a couple of hours of it was not too bad.

Also, today has been a day of phone calls and co ordinations. Sometimes it gets so crazy... I use the landline, the mobile, chat and voice chat all together. I use google chat and voice chat to interact with colleagues in India, I use telephone to talk to customers and colleagues here locally in the UAE. Today at one point in time I had 5 GTalk windows open, out of which one was on a call. The craziest thing is that out of these 5, 4 people are in the same team in India and are sitting next to each other or in neighbouring cubicles. So they chat with me and then tell each other what they told me on chat and then tell me on chat what they talked!!! Isn't it a crazy world today????? I still remember the thrill I felt when I could first open multiple windows in my computer and toggle between them!!! Guess that was Windows 3.0 or 3.1 or something!!!

What would tomorrow bring??? Wouldn't it be interesting to imagine?

Recently, a friend and I were laughing at the fact that we used to actually write letters to each other!!! And not that long ago either...must have been just 10 years back... I know there are people who feel that with all these new technologies, the beauty of communication that used to be there before, is lost. But I somehow don't agree. Even today when I get an unexpected mail or a chat window pops up with a 'Hi' from a special friend, I feel the same thrill! And I'm so glad I don't need to wait a week to know what my friend thinks about something I wrote in the letter.

But I have to admit that I'm old fashioned enough to still love complete sentences without cryptic 'sms' words. I still prefer sentences with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation!

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