Saturday, June 26, 2010

Entry for 'Mommy Guilt' Contest

At last, just at the nick of time... here's my entry for the Mommy Guilt contest. Those who haven't already submitted your entry, read this on Apu's blog and this on Womensweb. There's time till Monday ladies - do rush your entries... am sure you all have lots to say on this topic...and there are some exciting prizes!!!

I have been unwell for a while now and I thought of chatting up with a doctor who also happens to be a relative. Among other things that we discussed, she made an interesting observation about stress. Stress is not just the work load or work pressure but the pressure that you experience as a result of boredom - because you are probably not doing things that you really enjoy doing and in the context of motherhood, she called it the, "Indian Mommy Syndrome". We feel guilty about 'enjoying' when it does not include our children. Try leaving your child behind to meet up with friends, for some indulgence at the parlour, a movie, a concert, a holiday and the likes. The monster called 'Guilt' will be unleashed on you.
Now, where does this monster dwell? Mostly within us, sometimes around us. Let me explain - why do we feel guilty? 1. How does it make me feel? 2. What will others think of me?

1. How does it make me feel?:
You decided to keep out of the kitchen one day and fed your child milk, cheese, noodles, bread and the likes. Now, no one knows this but it still leaves you guilty. Why? Because you think you could have done much better for your child.
2. What will others think of me?: You left your child with hubby and in laws to watch a movie with friends. How many calls have you made to check on your child? How many times have you worried about what your in laws would think about you? Did one of your mommy friends tell you how she has never even thought of doing anything like this till her child was big enough? Yeah, woman, too bad. You should have dialed me for some counsel! Bah! Are you thinking that I don't care for some medals and honors? Oh, no, I do, I'm a sucker for those. But I decide, 'at what cost' these days.

I realise that it is extremely important for us to be happy and feel worthy of ourselves to be able to nurture a healthy self esteem, to exude that positive energy around us. Without this, what we would eventually do is spend a lot of time, empty time, with our children and only end up feeling miserable about all those things that we could have otherwise achieved. There are mothers who enjoy giving up their career for the child and there are mothers who enjoy finding the balance - this is not a situation with 'only one right answer'.
If we assume that children don't understand, we are grossly underestimating them. They would rather have a happy mom for a few hours than a grouchy, miserable mom the whole day. So, momma, do things that'll keep you happy - its important for your baby ;) ....we all come around to it, don't we :D

I also see that women who have interests besides their children, who have their own friends, either a career or a hobby are a lot more emotionally independent as empty-nesters. They don't feel the void suddenly. There are other things that they enjoy, that keep them occupied and positively engaged. This is good not only for themselves but also for the children who are less burdened to see their parents happy.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Story Blanket

Story: Ferida Wolff,  Harriet May Savitz
Illustrations: Elena Odriozola
Image Courtesy: Flipkart
Pattu Rating: 4.5

Babba Zarra has a heart that is huge enough to love everyone in her village. No wonder the children of the village visit her every evening for a story. Babba Zarra has a special blanket that she spreads out for her little visitors, to keep them warm and cozy. One day she notices a hole in Nikolai's shoes and decides to make him a socks. But getting someone to dleiver wool to their snow covered village seems to be next to impossible. Babba Zarra always believed that every question has an answer. As she mulls over the problem, an idea dawns on her. She just has to unravel a bit of wool from her story blanket! The story thus unfolds with Nikolai finding a pair of socks at his doorstep, the postman receiving a scarf, the school teacher getting a pair of mittens and the children suddenly find that the story blanket has shrunk. They cuddle up closer each day. By the time everyone in the village get their surprises, the story blanket has disappeared altogether. How the villagers find the source of their little presents and how they repay Babba Zarra for her kindness makes the rest of the story. I couldn't help feeling that Babba Zarra's kindness is what kept the villagers warm more than all the wollens that she knit for them.
What I liked about the story was that it didn't fuss too much over Babba Zarra's kindness, else it might have probably been a bit too cloying. The illustrations are beautiful in soft pastels and simple lines.

Pattu struggled a little to understand 'snow' and how people in the village felt 'cold' etc. I don't blame her - we live in Chennai :)
She slept over it the first day and took one more day for it to sink in. Then the questions started, 'what is snow like?' 'like ice?' 'hands will freeze?' 'what will happen if there's a hole in the shoe?' 'Did Nikolai cry?' 'you need thick blankie?' 'Babbu Zarra is a good lady' 'She helped everyone?' and so on. Unlike lot of other books that left her excited, animated, made her jump and scream and all that, this one left her deep in thoughts - positively, I gather.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rhyme away

Here's my bit for the Tulika Blogathon - Not sure if I'm on time...but nevertheless..

The story is  - The housefly (called Eee in Tamil) is suffering memory loss a la Ghajini ;). So she goes around asking everything and everyone... the pun here is that the fly's name is the simplest to remember (Eee) but she forgets that and remembers every other name in the world... she starts with the calf... and ends with the horse...but does she finally remember the name?

PS: I've corrected the first line after MIL pointed out a mistake.

Kozhu kozhu kanne chubby chubby calf
kannin thaaye  the calf's mother
kannu meikkira ayaan  the cowherd who grazes the cattle
ayaan kai kole The stick in the cowherd's hand
kola valartha kodimarame  the tree that gave the stick
kodimarathil irukkum kokke the crane that is perched on the tree
Kokku nikkum kulame the in which the crane stands
kulathil irukkum meene the fish in the pond
meen pidikkum valaya the fisherman who is catching the fish
valayan kai chatti the pot in the hand of the fisherman
chatti munayum kosava the potter who made the pot
kosavan kai manne the clay in the hands of the potter
mannail irukkum pulle the grass that grows on the clay (means the ground here)
pullai thingum kudiraai the horse who eats the grass
en peru enna? what is my name?
  And the horse neighs
Hhhee ..Eeeeeee

And that's how the fly remembers its name!! I like the way one thing leads to the other so logically. B Athai Paati used to say this to Pattu when she was 9 months old and when she was barely 10 months she used to finish every line and by 12 months she said the whole thing all by herself! And she used to wait with bated breath for us to say 'eeeee' :D

This one was alos Pattu's favourite and she used to do it with actions.

Aanai Aanai Elephant Elephant
Azhagar Aanai Azhagar's (Lord Krishna) Elephant
Arasanum Arasiyum yerum Aanai Elephant on whom the king and the Queen ride
Kovilai kandaal kumbidum Aanai Elephant that prays/ bows when he sees a temple
kattikkarumbai murikkum Aanai Elephant that twists the sugarcane
kaaveri aatrai kalakkum aanai Elephant that churns the kaaveri river
kutti aanaikku kombu molachudaam little Elephant has grown a tusk
pattanamella paakkavarum People of the city, please come and see...

Many a morsel have been successfully fed, thanks to these :)

Another favourite of mine is Biscuit Biscuit, Nila Nila and Kaiveesamma , and the kuruvi kadai go over to Hema's for a more detailed account.

To add to Hema's rich list is, 'kola kolaya mundirikka naraya naraya suthi vaa' - this is the desi version of 'I sent a letter to my father ...postman came and picked it up and put it in my pocket' game.
And one more ...

Oru kodam thanni oothi oru poo poothadu (We watered the plant with one pot of water and the plant gave one flower) and it goes on and on like that. it is a game and it ends when all the players have been counted...

Last one... eh promise pa.. this is a malayalam rhyme

Kaake kaake koodevide Crow crow where's your nest?
Kootinakathoru kunjunde There's a little one in the nest
Kunjinu theetta kodukkaanjal If you don't give food to the little one
Kunju kidannu karanjyeedum The little one will cry
Kaake kaake nee tharumo Crow crow, will you give?
Ninnude kayyile neiyappamThe neiyappam (It is a sweet made of rice flour and jaggery) in your hand?
Illa tharilla neiyappam No I will not give Neiyappam
Ayyo Kaake Pattiche Oh crow you fooled me!

 Edited to add two more.
Each of the Tamil alphabets are represented in every line of this rhyme

amma inge vaa vaa   
aasai mutham thaa thaa 
ilaiyil choru potu 
eeyai thoora otu   
unnai pondra nallaar  
ooril yaavar ullaar   
ennaal unakku thollai 
ethum inge illai
aiyam indri solluven  

ottrumaye balamaam
oodum seyale nalamaam
avvai sonna mozhiyaam
ahde enakku vazhiyaam

This one is about the sweet mangoes..

Maambazhamaam Maambazham
Malgova Maambazham
Selathu Maambazham
Thithikkum Maambazham
Azhagana Maambazham

Alva pondra Maambazham
Ungalukkum vendumaa?
Ingu oodi vaarungal
Pangu pottu thinnalaam

This is about Dosai - the making of it and the eating of it and some math adding up to 10.

Dosai amma dosai 
amma vaartha dosai
arisi maavum ulundu maavum arachu vaartha dosai
appavukku naalu
ammavukku moonu
annanukku rendu
thangaikku onnu
aaga motham pathu
thinna thinna aasai
innum kettaaa poosai

This one is more like Rock-a-by baby

Saanjaadamma saanjaadu
Thanga kodame saanjaadu
velli vilakke saanjaadu

Mayile mayile
vannakkiliye saanjaadu

Inikkum thene saanjaadu

.... and this goes on, I used to add my own verses like

Pattu kutty saanjaadu
Chutti kutty saanjaadu
chamathu kutty saanjaadu
vaalu kutty saanjaadu

etc etc...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

"I'm sooo proud of you"

Said the Pattu to her Amma with a big bear hug. Just in case you all are wondering why the Amma's feet are not touching the ground today :D

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bubbles and a colourful 100!

This is my 100th post - Yay!

Shruti guessed it! Our bubble wrap block print for the Artsy Craftsy June is here:

Cut out bubble wrap in desired shapes and print. Make sure the air in the bubble is intact for better effect. Make sure that you don't take to much paint - it'll get smudged.
The Rooster & Peacock: (Inspired by Tulika's Rooster and the Sun) The rooster and peacock are friends and they were playing. The rooster saw the sun and smiled and the peacock saw the clouds and started to dance.

The Dirty Peahen: This peahen didn't listen to amma and fell into a ditch and got dirty. Now no one is playing with him.

Flowers for Ummachi: This one is my favourite because it was conceived and designed and executed entirely by Pattu. Story by Pattu as well: There are no flowers for ummachi in the sky (which is why we keep flowers for ummachi see?) so Pattu has planted some flowers in the sky. Potato carved for flower and pegs and blocks for clouds.

Hand Print- Pattu who loved colour: Inspired by Tulika's, 'The boy who loved colour', Pattu painted her hands (in fact the whole of her arms and legs..)

Okra Art: The Caterpillar who loved flowers. This one is also pattu's work - almost 90%. There's a caterpillar who liked to eat flowers and not leaves and when he became a butterfly he wore flower printed wings.

These two are newspaper strip art that we had done earlier... not for the Artsy Craftsy...We painted whole sheets of newspaper in different colours and cut them into strips and smaller bits. Then drew an outline and stuck the strips within the shape...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Guess Guess...

Pattu got lots and lots of gifts from her friends and cousins in Australia. We opened the packs one after the other, surprise followed by more such surprises, excitement mounting as we unwrapped and discovered books, more books, some more books, clothes, more clothes, pictures from cousins, yummy pasta, yummy sauce, yummy cheese, a bag, chocolates, a scooter...whoa!

And guess what Pattu likes best? Guess... guessssss.... let's see who gets it right... :D

Friday, June 04, 2010

Safe...Are we?

Another borewell accident! Just how many lives do we have to sacrifice before enforcing some stringent safety norms?!
I realise that we take so many things for granted and what is shocking is that safety seems to be one of those things! We just get so 'used to' things - recently someone from US was appalled at the way infants and toddlers were carried on the two wheelers, forget not having car seats and seat belts. I see them all around and each time I send a prayer for the children - that's all that I can do. For those who don't understand this, see this picture and this and this.

1. The lady is mostly wearing saree so she can only sit with both legs on one side - bad for balance since weight is not evenly distributed
2. She (most of them) holds the man's shoulder/ waist with one hand - *throwing up my hands*  just what sense does it make to hold the man for support! There's a handle on every bike!
3.She holds an infant with the other hand with no form of protection whatsoever and it almost always looks like the infant/ toddler is slipping off what with the slippery saree and all that! Of course we use towels to protect against the sun so that the child doesn't become dark - now, that is important! See our priorities?
4. And they drive in thick traffic.

I've heard arguments such as, 'Oh they can't afford the ricks and cabs and public transport is terrible, so they are left with no option'. I considered it but don't quite agree. Most of these kids I see are clad in thick gold/ silver jewelry. Now, if you can afford that, and if you can afford a two wheeler, you can definitely afford a bit of safety for your child. The point is, most often we don't even reach this stage of the argument - we simply believe that it is quite safe to travel like that with a child!

When will we have better safety standards? Where are the rules where they are really required?