Friday, August 11, 2017

Surprise Planning & Shaurya

So it was M’s birthday on 9th and I was working along with Shaurya for a surprise midnight celebration – it’s not exactly a surprise anymore though as we do it every year... maybe I can skip it one year and then it will truly be a surprise when nothing happens at midnight!! ;-p

On the evening before, I & Shaurya went out and bought a cake and flowers. Shaurya had already made a greeting card.. he made the card, decorated it with my help and wrote the birthday message himself and his gift to M was “200 kisses”. When we reached home, I kept the cake inside the fridge and hid the flowers, cards & our gift in Shaurya’s room. I had been telling Shaurya that it’s to be a surprise and we will celebrate the birthday at night. Frankly he has been doing pretty good in keeping the secret and I was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t tell M about his card or the Gift that I had ordered.

Since he was holding it all in really well, I was not at all prepared for what happened when M reached home. No sooner had M crossed the door, Shaurya jumped up, ran to the kitchen and covered the fridge with his arms yelling.. “Don’t look here.. there’s nothing inside”. We were so surprised that it took us a minute to realize what he said and then both I & M burst out laughing!! :-D He went on to uncover yet another surprise by running to his room, blocking the entrance and saying – “Don’t come inside this room either” :-)

In the end, I am just thankful that he held on to it for so long.. we had been planning for the gift (photobook and coupons) since 2 weeks and it was great that it did not reach M's ears till the last day. Shaurya was super excited on the last day and getting the cake just did it for him - he could not contain it within him anymore. A memorable uncovering of the surprise to be sure!

Saturday, June 03, 2017

A 'Mad'enning word

Be careful of what you say in front of your kids.. they will come back to you at the most embarrassing of times. So we tell Shaurya not to use bad words when talking. “Paagal” (mad) is one such word. Kids use it to tell each other off when they either have a fight or think the other person is talking nonsense. We tell Shaurya not to use it at all.

This Saturday, he was playing cricket in the society park with 2 of his friends. One of his friend’s cousin (a teen of about 15) came there and joined them. So she was batting and one kid was bowling. During the course of the play, the teen girl used the word “Paagal”. Shaurya immediately told her not to use it as it’s a bad world. :-) The girl immediately said “Sorry”. Shaurya told “Its ok” and then to make her feel a little better he said “My mom and dad also say it sometimes….” And then went on to add “….to each other”.

The girl laughed out loud.. of course, after our initial shock, we joined in as well! :-D But then, it made us realize to be extra cautious when talking in front of him! Let's see how we fare ;-p

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

IPL cheers

So the IPL season is in full swing right now. Both I & M have not watched​ or followed IPLs in the past; this time around though we are watching it. Sanskar (our nephew) is a keen follower :-). If TV is on, Shaurya is more interested in watching cartoons than anything else. In order to get his buy in, we ask him to cheer for his team. And Shaurya has some very interesting reasons for supporting and cheering a team. Sample this...

In RCB vs RPS match, shaurya supports
- RCB as Virat Kohli plays in it (shaurya is a big Virat fan:-D)
- RPS as we live in Pune obviously. Another reason Dhoni plays here.

In MI vs RPS match, shaurya supports
- MI as the team has 'indian' in its name.
- RPS as mentioned above ;-)

In DD vs KXIP match, shaurya supports
- DD as Shaurya's mausi lives in Delhi
- KXIP as there's 'Rangla Punjab' restaurant in the commercial complex of our apartment ( don't ask)

In KKR vs GL match, shaurya supports
- KKR as it has 'knight riders' in its name and when his skating sir teaches him skates at 'night', he has lots of fun... :-D

Sorry GL & SRH,  for you Shaurya hasn't found any reason to support yet. For GL, maybe I can tell him that Modi is from Gujarat. Can't think of any reason for SRH that would sway him Not unless you manage to get Virat in the next season ;-p

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Graduation Day!

Last week I attended the first “Graduation Day” function of my life.. that too for my 5 and half year old son  :-) (my first as I missed attending the graduation ceremony to get my engineering degree).  It’s funny how times have changed.. even finishing kindergarten is now termed as graduation. I and M were pleasantly surprised when we received the invite to attend the Graduation Day ceremony for our son who is finishing Sr.KG now.

The Graduation day event was very well planned. There were some cute solo performances from the kids – be it dance, songs, storytelling, music or speeches. At the end of it, the kids were made to wear Graduation gown, cap and were called out one by one to the dais. The class teacher gave each one a scroll and a sash. I especially loved the Sash – it had a picture of the kid and a name given to him/her rhyming with first letter of his/her name – Shaurya’s Sash read “Sincere Shaurya”. At the end of the event, the kids came together for a class photoshoot and gave a combined performance by singing a Graduation Song. Shaurya and his friends had lots of fun wearing the gowns and posing in it. The teachers ensured it was a memorable and special day for each.

It was a very touching ceremony and I am sure many parents got emotional. I was overwhelmed (and had to wipe my tears secretly least people think I have gone nuts watching the Kindergarten graduation ceremony of my son!! Dunno what I will do when he actually graduates ;-D).  But seriously.. more than the kids, this ceremony was for the parents.. to make them realize that their kids are growing.. and growing up fast.. with them entering a ‘little’ more serious phase of their life!

This is Shaurya’s last year with his pre-school Colours.  It’s a wonderful school and the teachers are absolutely brilliant. With love and care, the teachers have done a great job to nurture the natural curiosity that kids have – kids there know everything (and more) of what a kindergartner would know and still have varied interests and healthy curiosity. We just hope that the Primary school that we have chosen for Shaurya continues to help him grow and develop this way!

In the 'Graduation' attire :-)
Edited to Add: Shaurya thought this was Dracula costume and they were made to wear it for fun!  :-D

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Diwali Preparations

As Diwali approaches, the usual preparations have begun! Starting with shopping of course :) Now both I and M don't like shopping and its the biggest biggest chore for us. With less than 4 days to go, its still not complete. This year we will not be able to go to our hometown in Odisha for Diwali celebrations. We are going to be in Pune and Shaurya will have his elder brother Sanskar to help in bursting crackers. (This will be the first Diwali that Sanskar will be away from bhaiya bhabhi, mummyji, papaji, dadi and Archi; I hope that he has fun and doesn't miss them too much! ). 

M and I are no longer into bursting crackers and had totally stopped it. However post Shaurya's birth, we usually get  a few so that he gets to enjoy this part of the festivity as well. Till last year, even Shaurya was happy with bursting few crackers on the main Diwali day. Everything changed last year, he has learnt the joy of bursting crackers. In our hometown, kids start bursting crackers a week before Diwali which continues till a week after Diwali. Shaurya had loads of fun last year bursting crackers at his maternal and paternal grandparents home. Even this year, he was looking forward to bursting crackers however last Friday he came home from school and told me that he has promised his ma'am that he will not be bursting crackers. Seems his class teachers have told the kids about Noise and Air pollution and how crackers are not good for our environment (Bless them!). Not sure if Shaurya will be strong enough to keep his promise... some moments he tells "I will not burst any".. and some moment he tells "I will burst only 3 - 1 chakri, 1 anar and 1 phuljhadi".. I guess his heart and mind are still fighting over it. Lets see what the kiddo finally does! :-) 

I generally start preparing sweets and savories 2 days before and do it each day post dinner. Now that I work 3 days a week, I am hoping to start it tomorrow when my weekend officially starts.. yayyyyyyyyy!! :-) All the men in my in-laws side are big time into sweets; Shaurya specially loves Gulab Jamun and this is something that I make even if I am not able to make anything else. So with my weekend beginning tomorrow and Diwali falling on Sunday, I have a super hectic long weekend planned. Along with all the cooking, I will also be taking out all the decoration items (candles, LED lights, torans,etc) from previous years. We will also be making trips to the local market to buy fresh ingredients and flowers, clay diyas, puja essentials & gold jewelry for Dhanteras. Even though the festival turns out to be super hectic, it has a beautiful madness to it. You remain in a 'happy' zone during this time. Looking forward to making Rangoli outside my home, lighting beautiful diyas and eating to my heart's content! Not to forget, bursting crackers with Shaurya, Sanskar & M :-)

Happy Diwali!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Kids and Gender equality

This post is a result of an incident involving my son that happened today evening.. We live in a small residential society where we are blessed in having majority of neighbours who are in similar boat as us - In their early to late thirties with one or two young kids/toddlers. This ensures that my 5 year old has lot of playmates. (Touchwood!) (Note - there are some cons as well but then what doesn't :-) ). Today evening he was playing with the daughter of my front door neighbour in their house; all well till it was just the 2 of them. Then one of her other girl friend joined in. After some time, my son came back home. Since its rare that he comes back on his own, I asked him what happened. It seems they told him you are a girl since he was playing with them (2 girls). This is not the first time it has happened and luckily this time he didn't come back crying (it has happened in the past when he was told to go play with boys!)

I get annoyed when I see kids not involving others of the opposite gender in their games. I am sure boys do the same and I am seeing my son learning to differentiate based on such experiences. As kids, boys and girls play in their own different ways and I have seen that by nature they make play groups based on their commonality. But they should be able to play as they want - In our society, I see 1 girl playing with 3 boys and she is not told to go play with the girls. But if it's 1 boy playing with 3 girls, he is told to go and play with the other boys - and I am not just talking about the kids telling each other here (kids are kids and their behavior is sometimes mean.. they fight, they cry and they forget & makeup), even we as parents support and unknowingly perpetuate this bias. Girls playing with cars doesn't raise eyebrows but boys playing with dolls does. A boy in a pink trouser is pointed at but not a girl in a blue dress. Equality should not be just about giving equal opportunity to girls, it should include boys too. I believe we need to move from gender equality to gender neutrality. Since the seed of bias is planted since childhood, it just grows slowly and steadily along with them. The repercussions of such bias by our earlier generation is already there for all of us to see.

In this era when we talk of equal pay and equal opportunity, we can't really wish away this inequality if we start to differentiate between boys and girls since childhood and tell them that they should things appropriate for their gender. Kids are like wet clay who get molded into adults based on what they learn from their surroundings; the little natural gender based difference that they have increases based on the gender based stereotype that they see around them. There are lots of boys more sensitive and caring than girls and lots of girls more successful and hard working than boys.. no one is better than the other,  Just different. We should just give them an open hand so that they can remain equal with their differences.  And we should avoid making boys the victim as we fight for equality of our girls! 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Real 'Chipko' Movement

Few months back, M had told Shaurya a little bit about the 'Chipko Movement' - trying to instill a little social awareness and make him aware of the importance of Greenery in our life. ;-p So M told him about Suderlal Bahuguna being one of the pioneers of it and how he went about saving trees from being cut!

Today while I was playing with Shaurya, we were chatting and revising random stuff. He has been absent from school since 3 weeks now (We are in my hometown in Odisha on extended vacation and it will be few more weeks before he rejoins school) so I thought of doing a little revision of his A's & B's.

While talking, I asked about the Chipko Movement and this is how our conversation went;

Me: Who started the 'Chipko Movement'?
Shaurya : Sunder lal Bahuguna
Me: Right! And what did he do?
Shaurya : Bad uncles came and cut the trees. Good uncle then got glue and stickers and used it to stick the trees back. 
Me: Speechless!! 

Ofcourse, they had to stick them together if it was to be a real 'Chipko' movement! :-D