Friday, September 28, 2007

Help Needed...and this time Urgent

Hi Girls (ok Moms),
I say girls because that is the way I feel when I am with my friends around. Not ladies, females, women…no, just carefree girls who are also very responsible Moms.

Ok, first the good news is that the Desi Momz Club has made its presence felt is proved :) How ? Because now we now have websites/groups with almost the same names as ours who are trying to invite members from our Club to go and contribute at theirs, HUH ?? If you are still clueless check comments at the previous post.

Now why do I need help ? Because this is your blog and the thing is due to some commitments on the personal front I will be on a time crunch from this month. So I really, really need some help with this blog. I will still do all the admin stuff, but I need help with the other areas like posts, theme of the month etc.
I had requested earlier, but most of you missed. So I hope you will not give it a miss this time.

1. The Theme of the Month is a theme we decide for each month and request Moms to post. This needs fresh ideas. Please opt to take up a month and decide for a theme you think appropriate for that month. Conduct the Theme for the month you choose your way. Please send me a mail to volunteer. Following months are being done by:

Theme of Month for October -- Tharini

Theme of Month for November -- Kodi's Mom

2. Please come up with fresh interesting ideas and how we can implement them in this blog. I keep on telling, this is everyone’s blog so if you have ideas about making this a better community please let all of us here know.

3. Our club is not only about the Theme of the Month as you all know. So please feel free to share stories about your kid, interesting game ideas (remember Puzzles), activities (remember Rainy day Activity) and in fact anything that you think would be nice to share with all other Moms like us. I know many times I prowl around and ask you to post stuff but please please go ahead and share because I might not prowl that often :)

4. Many of the Moms here have a blog of their own where they chronicle their kid milestones. If you do not have a blog but would like to share milestones of your kids, or some incident involving them which you would like to chronicle and at the same time do not mind sharing with others, please feel free to do so. We would love to hear about your kids. Just remember to write "This post by X" for your posts, that way when searched with your name, you can get a collection of all posts written by you.

5. Last and the most interesting bit, after reading this post at Tharini's, Tharini & me ran into this grand idea to have a Kid Food Fest at DMC. The food fest would be showcasing Desi style food for kids that can be packed for school lunches without a mess and should be healthy and interesting enough so that the kids eat it without a fuss. Please,please respond with ideas as to how you would like the Food Fest conducted, would you pick a day each week to showcase Kid Food, does any of you want to conduct it ? Let me know and I will put up the general guidelines for Food Fest

Hope to hear from everyone this time and lets make this a wonderful community

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mommy Humor

Posted by Kavitha

Hey moms,
I had fun reading it, I know you will too..

(For those that don’t know about the popular TV show – SURVIVOR, read it

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of "pretend" bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a hair cut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care (weekend, evening, on a holiday or right when they 're about to leave for vacation).

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

Each father will be required to know all of the words to every stupid song that comes on TV and the name of each and every character on cartoons.

Each man will have to make an Indian hut model with six toothpicks, a tortilla and one marker; and get a 4 year old to eat a serving of peas.

Each man must adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep their nails polished and eyebrows groomed.

The men must try to get through each day without snot, spit-up or barf on their clothing.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must try to explain what a tampon is for when the 6-yr old boy finds it in the purse.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

He will need to read a book to the children each night without falling asleep, and then feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair each morning by 7:00. They must leave the home with no food on their face or clothes.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

They must clean up after their sick children at 2:00 a.m. And then spend the remainder of the day tending to that child and waiting on them hand and foot until they are better.

They must have a loving, age appropriate reply to, "You're not the boss of me".

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.

The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

After you get done laughing, send this to as many females as you think will get a kick out of it and as many men as you think can handle it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Preparing for school

This post is by Kodi's Mom of Kodimeow Kronicles

Last week of September and still only a handful of posts for theme of the month?! Come on guys, if you don't remember your first day of school surely you remember you kids'?
I remember my kid's first day with crystal if it was only the day before.

Ahem. It really was the day before yesterday. My son is a week away from 2, and we started his daycare/school/pre-school/whatever-you-want-to-call-it this week. And this is one of the worst weeks of my life. The only consolation is after the initial tears have been wiped away, he ends up having a whole lot of fun. I thought I'd share my experience of what I did to help with the transition.
(Please don't take this as tips or advice - for I haven't seen results of any of this working so far. As of today he cries, even as we are getting ready for school.)

Kodi is a shy kid. In group settings, he prefers to cling to me and observe for a long time, before participating. He does not like crowds, and does a whole lot better in one-on-one interactions. With familiar faces, he is somewhat at ease.

Keeping that in mind, I thought making the environment familiar to him would help him majorly.

1. Even before we had picked on the school, we took him on a tour. There were different family members we wanted to show the school to, and each time we went, we took Kodi along. One of those times, the class was doing water play outside, and they welcomed him to join. He was thrilled and had no problems stepping in and playing. (yes, yes, only because we were right there in his sight!)

2. When we did finalize on the school, there were forms to be picked up and dropped off, and each time, I made the extra drive home to pick him up and take him with me. I took him to his classroom and he'd look longingly at the toys there and itched to go play.

3. A week or so before the start date, I took him to meet with his teacher. One hello from her and he turned the other way! But at least she was no longer a stranger. At that time, the classroom was empty and with permission, he went in and played to his heart content. Well not quite, I picked him up just as he was having fun, so he would want to come back.

4. Later that week, we made use of the free observation sessions that the school offers. Typically parents pick this option before they select the school - so they can come in with their kid, stay for an hour and observe the classroom. We choose to do it as close to his start date as was possible, on two consecutive days and timed it to coincide with outdoor play time. Both sessions went well and we left on a positive note, with Kodi refusing to come back home with me.

5. During the observation sessions, the teachers talked to me in detail and asked several questions about Kodi to get to know him better. It was good to know that they took the effort. A lot of my initial doubts were cleared, and whether it helped Kodi or not, it helped me big time!

6. At my request and after the first day's progress, we hashed out a plan to let him go only for 2 hours the first week. Based on how this week goes, we plan to increase it to one hour at a time...include lunch one day, include naptime the next and so on till he's fairly comfortable going the whole day. As of now, he is there for a little over two hours, does not eat any meals there, except for a snack, and does not stay for naptime.

7. Beyond this, school featured regularly in all the stories we told him. And we tried to paint a very luring picture.

8. I am sure reading appropriate books would have helped too - but we didn't try that - he is in a I-don't-care-for-books phase.

Added: Can't believe I forgot to add these!
9. Based on the strong recommendation from Tharini, we started homeopathy for Kodi. Just to give a boost to his immunity to fight those ball of germs that will come at him!

10. We also requested his grandma to come for a visit, since having her at home for at least a month would make it possible for him to go only a few hours a day.

11. And last, but most importantly, I blogged! Post after post about school - and the support, cheers and comfort I got from moms (and non-moms!) from everywhere was so touching. I think this was more to prep me than Kodi :D

So that's it! We don't know how long the crying period will last - or if any of this helps him at all - but I had to do whatever was within my bounds. And yes, I know it is a matter of time before I come back here to whine that he's picked school over me :)

Now over to you - either in comments or in separate posts, what did you do to prep your kid (and yourself!) for first day?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Childhood Eczema?

Hi, everyone.

How're the school runs going?

I've been thinking of bringing up this topic on the club, as perhaps some nice Mum or the other here may have experience with childhood eczema, seeing that it's becoming so common. Have any of you mums out there have children/infants with eczema?

My 1 year old has atopic dermatitis (=atopic eczema) and I'm wondering when it'll get better :-(. I use the emollients and steroid creams. (And lots of prayers, which might indicate my desperation). In spite of these, there isn't much change in her condition at 1 year. It's about the same as it was at 5 months of age. I had an impression that it would improve as she got older..... but she's still as scratchy as ever. She can't live outside babygro's (full baby suits) because she literally mutilates herself. If my watchful eyes stray from her for longer than a few minutes, I return to a bloodied arm or leg (she scratches herself till she bleeds). The mitts/socks on her hands are useless now because she can pull anything off.

If any of you have experience with a child with eczema, would you share your experience(s) about it? What meds/preparations did you find most useful and not? When did the eczema start and when did it get better? Did anyone try dietary modifications or not? Any tips you can share? And most importantly, did steroid use leave the child with any side effects like discoloured/pigmented skin? I admit that it's the steroid ointment use which has me scared the most. I've been reassured by my dermatologist that at that small dose, she won't come to any harm, but I still worry.

I would appreciate it very much and look forward to hearing from you.

[Now if nobody here has dealt with eczema, you're one lucky bunch :-)]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

First Parents Night and some Art for School

A couple of days ago I went for my first Parents Night at little S’s daycare/pre-school. This was the first time I was going for such a thing. I had been to a Parents-Teachers meet before but that was more like a one-on-one.
This I had no idea about and D was not in town, so I went alone and was thus heavily influenced by solely my own views.

Apparently it was an introductory sort of an evening where the teacher discussed her intention and goals in life and also in her classroom. She gave us printed sheets, materials and even made us do hand on stuff like painting apples and cutting them up and discussing them !!!

Now before I go on my rant, let me tell you I am the kind of person who is not very comfortable with “change”. So I was very upset with this whole transition thing where S was moving on from her pre-school class to pre-K class. I was getting comfortable with her teachers when this announcement came and I was really sad that S had to move on from Ms. A’s class. I even wanted to cry on her last day…yes I am weird.

Now again S is not really supposed to go to a Pre-K class because she is a December born and all schools here have a September or October cut off so she cannot make it to Kindergarten next year. However her teacher(Ms. A) and me both thought that it is better if she moves on to Pre-K than Pre-School2 (an intermediate) class because there is more stuff done in Pre-K and she can benefit from that. That being the case she is the youngest in this class.

The teacher for her Pre-K is a young woman(Ms. K) just done with undergrad in Child Ed and as a result very enthu to put all her theoretical knowledge to work. In fact, too enthu I felt. In her discussion she kept stressing “how she will get the kids ready for Kindergarten” by next year and blah, blah, blah….At a point I told her that a kindergarten in a public school does not really expect a lot from the kids but she insisted that it did.

The thing I disliked is she went on to say that she will start giving out homework to these kids starting November. “Homework” at this age ??? But why ? Most of these kids spend at least 8 hours with her (this being a daycare) and I thing that is ample time for her to “get them ready for kindergarten”. Why give them homework ? I do make S practice her name etc. at home but nothing regular and it is more in a fun way, like she makes cards and signs her name on it and such stuff. Don’t you think Homework might not be a good idea at this age ?

This put me off. Next I noticed this young woman was too animated, not in the warm way but you know the kind who move around their hands daintily and make amazing faces while they talk. It is all very fine in many situations, but for a teacher for smal kids I prefer someone with a warm & kind smile and then you can flay your hands as much as long as you do not hold your fingers straight daintily.

I know I am being judgmental but hey come on I need to judge when it comes to my daughter’s teacher. I do not also want to dislike my daughter’s teacher. I want to be sad and misty eyed when my daughter moves on from this class. I want to like her teacher. Let me hope she turns out to be fine and her exuberant theoretical knowledge gives way for more love and tender care for these kids.

Ok she also made us do a family project which I grumbled about. The end result was nice though. All you artsy-crafty moms can try this out for your next project

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Me Board

For this “Me Board” you need the following

  1. A posterboard
  2. Cardborad or posterboard to make cut outs of your kids hands and feet
  3. A paper plate to make the face
  4. Lots of pics and other stuff to glue on the posterboard
  5. Decorate the face with hair, googly eyes, beads etc.
  6. Paste the feet and hand cut out as shown

Friday, September 21, 2007

Memory Cards

[posted by Sheela at The Joy of My Life. Many thanks to Sandeepa for reminding me to post it at our DMC! ]

memory pairs children's card game concentration
Concentration or Memory is a simple game that helps improve memory in children (and adults). There are several versions of this game. Some involve objects, but this here is for little Ana, with home-made cards.

The cards are laid out face down. Each player takes a turn and flips 2 cards at random. If the cards match, they get to keep the pair. If they don't, they put it back exactly where they flipped them. The memory part is that, they should try to remember which position had which card, so, that as the game progresses, the matching act becomes less of a random guess and more of a test of memory.

For Ana, who is 2 years old, the maximum number of cards I use at a time is 12 - which involve 6 pairs, with each pair having a particular picture she easily recognizes and can match without any shred of doubt.

These are home-made cards, so, when I detect some wear, I make new ones. They are not as sturdy as the store-bought laminated cards, and the pictures are not as pretty and colorful. But, it serves the purpose :-)

memory pairs children's card game concentration

Supplies I used: card stock paper, paper cutter, rubber stamps, rubber stamp ink pad, some construction paper and dye-cut punch, pinking shears, glue stick.

memory pairs children's card game concentration

We don't use color cartridges in our printer, so, I didn't try to design graphics on my computer and print them out. At some point, I would like to print out just the black&white outline and color them, rather than using rubber stamps.

But, the reason I chose to use rubber stamps is so that I can make the cards with Ana. She likes to help me make things, even if she has no clue what I am making. "Let's make some memory cards, Ana" is all I had to say the first time, and when she saw me gather my supplies and settle down, she faithfully sat next to me, observing for a while, then asking to try and glue the flowers at the back and so on... Of course, I always go back and "adjust" it so it looks more uniform.

She is fascinated by the pinking shears and knows it as "Amma's soosuss" (scissors) and has her own plastic scissors with which she tries to clip her hair, her toys and such, of course, without success as it is just toy scissors.

And, while I try to rubber stamp her memory cards as uniformly as I can, she has a blast stamping on her "art" notebook. Her preferred ink color is the turquoise blue, for some reason!

Anyway, as she gets older, I hope to have fun having her design her own cards, and more of them - I can't wait to play with about 50 cards all laid out and trying to match them from memory with Ana...

D and I play with Ana. We don't really insist on turns, as sometimes Ana is so carried away with flipping that she does manage to get all the pairs. This can be played like Solitaire, so, if we can encourage her to get into this game, we could let her play on her own down the road and enjoy the "free time" we get meanwhile ;-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Krazy Kays & their Knack for Krazy Knicks

Heh! Couldn't think of a "kornier" title :D

[Posted by CeeKay at My Two Cents Too]

Note: I had so much fun writing this post that I decided to "pollute" the club-space with it too :D

I thought I was tagged by someone to list all the silly (and embarrassing, in our case) nick names that we have given to our kids but patrolled the blog sphere up and down three times and still couldn't find the "tagger". So I am taking up the tag on my own because I just loved the idea (of publicly embarrassing my children)!! But if there is someone who indeed tagged me for this, please own up and appropriate credits shall be given!

Mitthi (translated to Punjabi, means "sweet") and Ninni (means "sleep" in kidspeak and can be taken as a twisted form of "naani" meaning "little" in Gujarati) are their “official” nick names. Simple, sweet and harmless. Then I also call S “Sweetie Mitthi Pie” and Mitthi Mouse while Ninni gets called by the nick "Cheeni* Ninni Pie" and Ninni The Pooh (created by big sis). Their Kaka (dad's bro) calls them “Dudu” and dadi has reserved the name “Ghappoodi” :D

* Cheeni: Sugar

Other nick names I use for them are – “Koochie koo” and Chikoo which has now turned into “Chika Mika Pika”. Then there is Sweetums, Jhagdoo (someone who fights a lot), Jhagdoo-Magdoo (you can see my penchant for rhyming here, can’t you? :D Another rarely used but embarrassing name is “Susu-Potty Baba” which came from the fact that this is what they did most of the time during the first three months of their life :P The credit goes to their dad.

Now on to the reeeally embarrassing nick names. There is a story behind them so I will narrate it first. Without it, those nicks just won’t make sense. When we were newly married, one day I called J “Sadela Gubrela” (Rotten beetle). Now J has a knack for playing with words. He can transform the sweetest, most innocent word into something wacky and funny in an instant. So pat came the reply “Sadeli Goo Bhareli”. To those unfamiliar with the middle classy word, it means poop (literally) and the last word means “full of” in Gujarati. So “sadela Gubrela” became “Sadela Goo Bharela” and then we applied this nick name to S (Poor, poor kid! Now you understand why I am saving for her therapy?) She is a good sport and didn’t throw a fit when we explained the meaning to her when she was old enough to understand. When M came home from the hospital, S very generously decided to share that nick name with her. She said she will keep the first part (“Sadeli") for herself, and generously hand over the second part (Goo Bhareli) to her little sis. Only, she mistakenly said “Goo Dhareli” instead of “Goo Bhareli" thanks to her broken Hindi. Now, I might not have the knack for witty/wacky names, but I do have a knack for translating ones that don’t have an apparent meaning. So I translated the second one as “Sitting like a poop” ( I know, I know – this post shouldn’t even have seen the light of the day) as “Dhareli” in Gujarati can be loosely translated to “dumped” in some instances. So now we have a Goo Bhareli and a Goo Dhareli in our house. And S has now generously donated “Sadeli/Sadela” to her mom and dad.

Remind me to start a savings account for M’s therapy too, will you?

Edited to add: S has made up a song with the most embarrassing nick name for M. It goes like this -
Ninni, Ninni, Bahut Sadeli
Also known as Goo Dhareli

(Yup! She got the genes!!!)
Oh, and I tag all the moms (and dads, if any) in this club who haven't taken up this tag already, and who don't mind embarrassing their kids publicly :D

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Do it yourself halloween costumes

I was looking at making halloween costumes and came across this site. It has instructions for the most beautiful costumes ever... And so easy to make.

I love this one particularly - the ladybug one. :)

and the blue butterfly.

I'd love to make one for my li'l one next year. (we'll be on an India trip this year) Anybody else making halloween costumes this year?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Frock designing and stitching

This post is written by Swapna Susarla of Susarlas kitchen.

I , myself desingned and made this frock by hand(not using a machine) for my daughter. My mother and all her sisters are professional in stitching.I never learned how to cut although i know how to make some small small stitches and how to stitch buttons.But never tried to cut cloth for stitching a frock.At first i thought of making some casual wears for my daughter.I bought some cloth and stitched .They were also nice.After that i took this cloth(2 yards) and planned to stitch a good one.I did lining also for this frock.(I don't know wether it is that great thing or not...but for me it is a very great achievement in my life:-) ). I was surprised to see the end result.I never imagined that i can do this.

My daughter is very happy to wear this.She is very excited and told everybody"my mom made this for me".Her happiness given me some more inspiration to do more things....Thanks and hugs to her....:-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The race to nowhere

[Posted by Cee Kay. Also posted at my blog My Two Cents]

I just saw a Leap Pad Learning System's commercial on the idiot box that talked about learning skills for pre-school. I went "WTF???" in my mind. Pre-school teaches kids skills necessary for Kindergarten. When did things get so screwed up that babies need to learn skills to get into pre-school? Here, in the US, even pre-school is optional for kids. Parents don't have to send them there if they don't want to. Of course, there are certain skills a child must have before he or she enters kindergarten - like they should know how to read and write the alphabet, count to 20, know how to write their first and last name, know their address and phone number. THAT'S IT!!! It isn't too hard for a child to learn that. And that is exactly what S knew when she entered kindergarten. She is doing great in school despite the fact that she didn't know anything else. In fact, she is among the top five students in her class. And I am being very conservative when I say "top five". She could very well be on the top but we wouldn't know because no ranks are assigned to kids here. And we couldn't care less.

Every year, just before the November Parent-teacher conferences (that's when parents meet their kids' teachers to learn how their kids are performing in school and get the first progress report), and later before the March conferences, S becomes this pensive, stressed-out mass of nerves. She asks us 10 times each day "What will you do if you find out that I am failing? That I am not getting good grades?". And each year my answer is the same - "If you were to get bad grades, it would mean you need more help with your studies and we would help you. We would help you figure out how to improve performance". I don't care about grades at all. Not in elementary school. Later, when grades do matter, I will see to it that she is putting in her 100% in studies and even then if she scores low grades then I'll accept that - however hard that might be for me to do. All I want is for my child to put in her best efforts. I don't want to compare her to others and drive myself nuts trying to see who reads better than her or who swims faster or who is better at math. All I care about is whether or not she is making a sincere effort at whatever she does.

A friend recently mentioned to me that she is thinking of holding her son back from school one year because she thinks he isn't ready for it yet. That, in my opinion, is the smartest, and the toughest, decision to make. Only a parent can know their child's capabilities and if one honestly feels that starting a year later will help their child, I admire their courage. I say "courage" because this friend said she is expecting a lot of resistance from her entire family including her husband. We Indians, for some reason, place so much importance on starting school early. It is beyond MY comprehension. We don't seem to care how much the child understands of what has been taught, yet we are very worried about how early he or she can say the ABCs and recite the nursery rhymes or how far he/she can count.

At the beginning of this rant I was going to add the note that people shouldn't take offence to what I am going to write because I am not judging anyone. But then I realized - Heck yeah! I DO judge people who push their kids too soon too far to acquire skills that they might as easily learn in due course of time without being pressurized. How does it matter if a child can say the ABCs before going to pre-school? He/She is going to learn it there anyway, right? So, why not let the child sit back and enjoy life without any pressures of formal learning? They do a lot of learning while playing anyway. I am not against teaching them the alphabet, colors or the numbers during play. I am against sitting them down to teach these explicitly. I am against teaching them stuff just so they are "one up" against other kids in a gathering. I am dead against formally teaching anything to a child under the age of 3 years. I know this might not have gone well with the way things are done in India and for that reason I am happy that I live in a place where I can practise what I believe.

We started sending S to KUMON just before she started Kindergarten (a little before she turned 5). Even then we worried we might be pushing her too much so we decided to give it a try and stop if we saw any signs that she was being overworked. Fortunately, the owner of the KUMON franchise that S goes to, has the same philosophy regarding teaching kids. In her opinion, learning is only fun if the child doesn't feel overburdened. So, on occasions when we saw S taking a long time in finishing her KUMON homework (more than 15 minutes), she cut back the number of pages that were given to S for homework. She suggested we always make sure that she gets only as much homework as can be completed within 15 minutes. That really helped. S never felt overwhelmed. And we let her take a break from KUMON for one week 2-3 times a year. This ensures that S does her KUMON work willingly without us having to ride her constantly. Every year her teachers ask us if she feels pressured by the extra work. We don't think she does. For one thing, KUMON helps her stay ahead of the rest of her class at school. She was very proud of her math skills in Grade 2 when her classmates dubbed her the "Math Wizard". Small things like that keep her motivated to do the extra work. And we do see it paying off. Last year, by the end of Grade 3, S was already doing Grade 5 math (division and fractions). If all this can be accomplished without pressuring and pushing a child, then I think we are on the right path.

Once when we were at KUMON (S doing her classwork and I waiting outside in waiting room), an Indian lady came in with her 3 year old daughter. She wanted to sign her up for Reading. Professor P, owner of the KUMON franchise, tested that girl to determine the level she would start from and told the parent that she will be starting the child from the level that taught letter recognition. The parent immediately took offence to that and informed Professor P that her daughter already recognized all letters, thankyou. Upon being told that the girl got confused between lower-case p and q, and lower case b and d, the mom was furious. At her daughter! She started scolding her right then and there, demanding to know how she could confuse p with q and b with d when at home she always recognized the letters correctly. Now, I know children do get confused between these letters quite often and I don't think it is a crime punishable by public humiliation. The lady could very well have signed the kid up for the recommended level and if the child indeed was very comfortable with letter recognition, she would have sailed right through that level in no time anyway. That is MY thinking. We never pressured S into completing a level fast. In fact, on occasions we have requested that she be allowed to repeat a level so that her concepts become clearer (when we feel she is still a little hazy on the concepts). On other occasions, Professor P has recommened that we have her repeat a level and we have happily accepted because if S isn't a 100% comfortable with concepts taught at one level then she WILL face difficulties in future levels even if she scores good on the test. We do have a "positive reinforcement policy" under which S gets to buy a new board game or a book if she completes one level at KUMON. We NEVER associate having to repeat a level with failure. As a result, while friends tell me that their kids stopped KUMON after a little while because it became too boring or challenging or whatever, S is well into her 5th year at KUMON and wants to continue. Our original goal in sending her there was two-fold. One, she would gain self-esteem if she found she was better at something than the rest of her peers and two, it would help her in the (waaay) long term with SATs. We were bang on with the first one and seems like we might be correct about the second one too.

I actually pity a child when his/her parents start telling us how they taught their kid X, Y or Z at an early age. Or when they start comparing their kid with other kids "just to see where they are at". I am all for buying age-appropriate learning games for kids. But this commercial about teaching kids skills to get into pre-school got me. And the "Baby Einstein" DVDs get me for the same reason. DVDs and videos for 6 month old babies??? Come on! One friend of mine proudly told me (a few years ago) how her 6 month old was hooked on "Baby Einstein" videos. So much so that he whined and screamed if someone blocked his view while he was watching one. I guess she took it as a sign that he was a genius. I definitely took it as a sign that she needed to use more common sense in her parenting. (Hey Cee Kay! Bitchy much??! :P)

I think this race to get their kids to the top is all in the parents' heads. The kids will take their own time getting where they want to get, if they want it. And staying at the top once they get there is another matter. One can push their kid to the top, but they cannot keep their kid there if the kid him/herself is not motivated. And most kids eventually catch up to grade level learning. One might be able to push a kid to the top at an early age, but we also have to keep asking ourselves two questions.

1. Is it really going to make a difference in their lives 20 years from now? Will learning the alphabet at age 2 help them when they are 20 and in college?

2. Are they having fun (while learning things to "get to the top")? THAT, in my opinion, is the most important question of all. In my opinion, learning that is done while having fun stays with us longer than learning done under compulsion.

Note: A few comments on this post at my personal blog have prompted me to start another post about KUMON, its drawbacks and why it still works for us. I realized some parents might appreciate information on this topic from someone who has already had some KUMON experience. I hope to be able to put that post up soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

School Chale Hum

(This post by Sandeepa)

School Chale Hum....Beautiful !!!!

Found it at Ammani's

Friday, September 7, 2007

Protect yourself and your family - Online Safety

This issue is close to heart for many reasons - One, I've had a stalker(not creepy but very annoying nonetheless) during my teen ages and that had bothered me in many ways. Second, two of my online friends were troubled by a stranger, who knew their whereabouts from reading the online interaction of my friends in a discussion group.

We blog, comment, write about ourselves pretty freely, mostly with the idea that you are sharing the post with like minded bloggers or moms...which in our mind translates to harmless people. But , in reality, we never know what kind of 'creatures' read our posts. Some of the mommy bloggers had figured out a way to see what brings the readers to their sites and some of the search words are not very nice. So, we have to watch out for the kind of information that we are sharing on our blogs.. It might reveal our/our children's whereabouts which we don't want those unwanted readers to know.

What not to reveal
  • Full names, date of birth, place of birth etc - not yours, not your child's and not anybody else's.
  • Places that you visit frequently... eg: Every Wednesday you goto this xyz park... or every Sunday we attend the Presbyterian church near to this school etc
  • Address and phone numbers of course
  • About an activity that you are planning in recent future - say, a blog meet at starbucks on 3rd street at 3 pm... or a birthday party at chuckycheese on el camino and lawrence at 6 pm.
I could go on, but this list had made my life more easier. It is a list for young children to keep in mind when they talk to strangers online, but most can be relevant to us too. Please read that and pass on to your friends or young kids that you know, who hang out on the net.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Potty Training Tips That Help

Some days back Dee had questions on Potty Training. From all the responses I have gleaned gems and gathered them in this post.
Since these are experiences and tips from real life Moms they should definitely be very useful

Right Time to Start

This is very debatable and also differs from child to child. Also the climate, your patience, how much help you have, determines the right age to start.
In India kids are potty trained pretty early on as the climate being hot it is possible to let the kids go diaper/panty free for a longer period of time. When there are accidents which is bound to happen, a quick wash both of the bottom and floor resolves the problem
This I found a difficult aspect here, I was hesitant of my daughter going around without diapers and wetting up my carpet and stuff everyday if I started to train her at 1 year. As many of the moms said the entire task of training is much easier and shorter if we start when the child is ready.
How do you know ?
Try training at around 22-24 months by making a routine of taking the child to the potty at scheduled intervals. If you feel the child does not understand the concept let go and wait for a couple of more months

Here is what mummyjaan said
Our DD started demonstrating awareness - at around 20 months alright. By that I mean if I left her nappyless (in short/pants without diapers) she would squirm and get uncomfortable before needing to go. We didn't actually try to potty-train her till she was 24 months.But it wasn't until she was about 29 - 30 months before she actually 'got the idea'. And when it clicked for her ('the *small* potty seat is for *me*, for going to the potty'), then she kinda self-trained in a week, with little input from me.”

Get a Potty or Potty Seat

Get a colorful character potty seat or a potty. I personally feel the seats are much better. Start a routine. After breakfasts in the morning try to make the child sit on it. While he/she is there, try reading books etc. to give an idea that it is fun. Again try to take him/her to the bathroom after fixed intervals.
If your child already has a routine when he goes potty (i.e for BM) it might be easier.

Asha says
Boys are little tough to train. Still buy a colorful potty with cartoon characters on it and tell him it's for the "big boy" and make him sit on it even when he is not needing to go.Some kids are just scared to go near it if you make them go when they need to.He will slowly get the idea.Accident happens when you start without the diaper but he will learn eventually.Reward him even if he just sits on it.”

Swapna and mnamma echo similar thoughts

Give Awards

My daughter’s daycare teachers helped a lot with the potty training. She started both the part time day care and subsequently the training around 25-26 months after a failed attempt by me at 23 months.
One thing I noticed that at school the peer pressure helped. So the teachers gave out stickers etc. for success and the clamor for getting more stickers gave a big boost to the whole process. I continued the award series at home too.

DR says
Bought some the day he succeeded he was given one and he could paste it on his cupboard door..and we would count them together..sometimes even call papa to have a look....and he glowed and beamed!!”

No Pull ups or Diaper

I did use pull ups for some time but I stopped using them at home when I started training. It seems using the pull up and also using the potty gives a child mixed message. It didn’t really take very long to get trained once the idea got into her head so there were very few accidents and my carpet was dry :D

GTN says
The discomfort from being wet without a diaper propels them quickly into wanting to use the potty :P But then, every child is different so what worked for me might not work for you. Also, don't make a big deal out of it (or any accidents for that matter). Don't worry about carpets if you have them and keep a lot of paper towels, newspapers and the phone number to a good carpet cleaner handy :P

Night time training

Start this once the child is trained during the day. Do not give milk or water at bedtime. After a drink, brushing etc. take him/her to the bathroom as the last step in the bedtime routine. Try to take him/her once more around mid night.
In my daughter’s case she does not go to the bathroom during the night. This I had seen from her pull ups being dry on most days so night training had not been difficult.

Some good tips for night time training are here :

Important Tips on Hygiene while Potty Training

Some very good tips are in here :

Remember little girls wipe front to back. Also it seems rather than wiping hard we should teach them to go “pat, pat” to avoid irritation
Another thing is have the pack of moist wipes ready. After the child has cleaned himself/herself do a clean up with the moist wipe. At least I always do that.

Don't Stress, Be Cool

Do not get stressed or stress the child. Make it a fun thing. He/she will get trained maybe a little early or late, doesn’t really matter.

Some more tips from here

August has passed ....

Linda has a great theme for this month Back To School!. The scramble to get everything in order, the alarms that stop working, the school bus being missed, the argument over lunch, the list is endless. It will be fun to see what members come up with.

I want to thank everyone for participating and sharing ideas for the August Theme SAHM Vs WM. It was an interesting exchange of ideas for sure. One of the most surprising aspects at least for me is each posters comfort and satisfaction with the choice they have made. It has been a healthy discussion and we come away with a greater realization and understanding of different viewpoints and should try our hardest to respect them.

We all agree that SAHM Vs WM is not one versus the other rather each one's most comfortable way of getting there. "It is meant not to mean what Plaintiff Vs Defendant would mean rather travelling by Plane Vs Travelling by Train, means to the same end." And Tharini summed it up nicely "May we all get there, in this life, without too much heartache...."

We also realize and should never forget the fact, that for a majority of moms in this world There is no Choice...

Here is some food for thought, an article from Yahoo Finance - To Raise Baby Einsteins, TLC Will Suffice

Thanks everybody and have a great weekend.