SoftyPink n GloriousRed

…. the colours of life with my kids




This parenting jig is a tough one. We’re at a stage.. somewhere in the middle of a transition from the old order into a new one! I believe I’m amongย a generation of parents who are trying their best to conform to the new norms. Who are among those that listened to their parents and now, are compelled,by circumstances, to listen their kids as well!! I’m sure many would agree with this and relate to the fact that we’re wondering if we are the parent(s) or our kids are.

For one, the confusion arises from trying to be a friendly parent. From the outset, I wanted to be a friendly parent. But in one of the parenting counselling sessions at school, we were told to be a parent and a friend, not a friendly parent. Guess I’d got it all wrong. I went into the friend mode first itself and now its become quite difficult to be in that mode when all I want is to whack senses into the young one! Ha ha.

She adores me no end and for her there’s nothing more she loves in the world than being with me.At the same time she’s her own person, which is good, but not when it comes across as uncaring and insensitive to others around her who care a lot about her.

I feel good about the fact that she’s open with me about everything that goes on, but definitely not that great when she openly defies me on every single thing that I try to discipline her on. I honestly value good manners, ethics and a certain amount of discipline, more than anything else. But when these are not uppermost on her agenda, it annoys me no end. I wonder if its just her age or ifย its me that’s not doing it right… Sigh!




Growing up!

Its 7 years and 400 posts, since I started on this journey of blogging !! Long time indeed. I had not thought that I would keep this going for so long. But thanks to memes such as ABC Wednesdays, I’m able to infuse some amount of life into it from time to time and keep it going.

The kids are growing up and there is less and less of them on this blog. Nevertheless, their witty come-backs are still in place and they continue to amaze and entertain us. Just that I’m no longer able to keep ace with them, in terms of writing it all down! They make life worth living, in-spite of the feeling of exasperation that they lead us to from time to time ! ๐Ÿ™‚

And… along we them, we as parents, are growing up too! Its been a journey of learning, unlearning, relearning , not exactly in that order though. Its like a constant state of flux , sometimes happening in an orderly manner and sometimes, all at once , like epiphanies!!

The intent is to grow up as mindful parents. Though there are many difficult instances that test us and question ourselves and our decisions, we believe in our kids, in the fact that they’ll turn out OK. We trust in God’s grace and in our intent to groom them into sensitive and responsible individuals. And, being mindful is what I believe will help us grow into the parents that our kids need, to grow in an environment of trust and support.

Speaking of growing up, here is a poem that I love and one that I try to live by over and over again… In bold, the lines that most speak to me…and the lines after those are very powerful ones!

Sometimes Growth Is Just Seeing It Sooner

Sometimes growth is just seeing it sooner.

You see sooner that you are silencing your voice.

You see sooner that you are acting out of fear.

You see sooner that you are projecting the past on to the present.

You see sooner thatย youย are the one acting crazy, not them.

Because you did the work, you see it sooner.

Until our last breaths, weโ€™ll keep missing the mark.

We will dim our light and betray ourselves.

We will cause harm to those we love.

But if we stay awake, we can learn to course correct sooner.

Stay awake and you might see it this year โ€” and not let it extend for a decade

Stay awake and you might see it this week โ€” and not let it extend for a year.

Stay awake and you might can see it this hour โ€” and not let it extend for a week.

Stay awake and youโ€™ll receive those moments of grace, those crystal ones,

when in the instant โ€” before the first choice, the first word, the first act

you will catch it

right the moment of its beginning

and choose differently.

The turnaround is the most important part of the flight path.

When you make it, you move the whole world forward.

You plant a seed of love in the ground,

and all those who come after you thank you.

This is a poem by Tara Mohr. Hope you liked it ย too ๐Ÿ™‚

Linking this one to theย letter G at ABC Wednesdays – 18th Round




The parenting jig!!

This Mother’s day I’m in a rather introspective mood.
The thoughts are abuzz since a few days.. and I was wonderingย if I should write about this at all or not.

In the early years of motherhood I’ve been very short tempered, easily venting out my frustrations. This was due to so many things going on at that time and I hardly realized or even considered the impact that it would have on others esp Ammu.

Ammu turned out to be short tempered too. Even as young as 2-3 years old, she’d yell and tell others off when she disliked something or when things did not go her way. There definitely was a sense of entitlement and tinge of rudeness to go with it. I countered this with more yelling and more often than not it led to an altercation with my dad. Rarely did I handle such behavior with a cool temper and soft words.

Dad was worried about the impact my temper would have on her. My thinking was that she would ‘adjust’ to her mom’s ways. Did we not grow up that way.. putting up with our parent’s quirks!ย A chance meeting with a counselor a couple of years ago made me do a ‘U’ turn on that. She told me that to reform my child, I’d have to reform. ‘Learn to manage your temper and she’ll learn to handle hers.’ is what she had said.

A change in my circumstances also helped me to manage my emotions better. Nothing happened overnight but definitely things have changed for the better, at least where my temper is concerned. I mostly yell only after repeated requests and warnings have yielded no results. Or when she insists on having her way when I’m really tired or busy with some other important stuff and she refuses to acknowledge that. Times when I yell and then regret are very very rare now.

The catch, however, is that she has not changed one bit.No amount of counselling, cajoling, explaining has made any effect. She’s even more stubborn now and insists on going on and on till she gets a whacking! The sense of entitlement is bigger and there is defiance in her manner and words, which generally comes across as being rude and disrespectful.

Between Ammu and Adi, there is one upmanship all.the.time.This of course leads to arguments and fights. Frankly speaking it has only gotten worse this summer vacation. Adi, though naughty and has a i’ll-do-what-i-want attitude, is the softer of the two. He relents much more easily when she requests or asks him something. Now, our worry is that her rebellion is rubbing off on him also and that is the reason he gets into a ti-for-tat mode. Not entirely sure of this. Though we hope that if Ammu is a bit considerate, it will have a positive effect on him. Of course, these are all conjectures and we never really know what to expect.

Not that she doesnt realize all the pain that she is causing. She does and even regrets her actions and promises to behave henceforth. But then, when things dont go her way, she immediately flares up and refuses to see reason. And, she expects everyone around to toe her line and fall in place. So the flaring up happens quite often. And, no one is spared! It is her own expectations that is causing her misery and that is a cause of great agony for all of us.

Since a couple of weeks, we all have been witness to her outbursts at one time or other and we’ve been worrying about how best to go about handling this. One constant thought is ‘where did i go wrong.. have i been too lenient.. have i not imparted any values to her’. I know it is a collective influence of all the people around her that has shaped her, but I feel the primary responsibility is mine.

Many a times, things have become clearer once I put my thoughts down in writing. This time too, I hope that the cloud will clear and I will see the way ahead. I believe that she will eventually turn out alright.ย She is sensitive and hopefully will become sensible too! This phase is a difficult one. I never worried when people spoke about teen and pre teen mood swings/tantrums, etc. But looks like I should brace myself up to expect the worst and then handle it in the best possible way. This year she turns 10 and then the years ahead .. I wonder what awaits us! Need all the positive vibes and good wishes to brave this one!!

P.S: This blog turns 5 !! ย And..this is the 350th post!! Yayy!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happiness is..

Seeing the beaming faces of the kids when they return from the morning walk! They are tired , exhausted due to the heat and sweat but the excitement shines through!!

For the past few years, at the start of the Summer vacations, I would suggest that they wake up as usual and go for the morning walk with granpa. But they never went as they wanted to just sleep in late and wake up lazily at their own sweet time. This time, however, I urged them to at least give it a try and they agreed ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 1 itself they woke up excited and joined thata. He walks up to an open space where he does his exercises. The kids had a good time running around the ground. On their way back, thata bought tender coconut for them. Were they thrilled or what!! And, that got them hooked ๐Ÿ™‚

‘Bomma! we walked at least 8 kms today!! ‘ is what Adi announced as soon as he returned from the walk. We walked to the ground…then ran and ran.. so it must be at least 8 km is what he reasons.. ๐Ÿ™‚

Reminds me of the times when me and sis1 used to accompany dad on his morning walks. I do not remember for how long we did it, but we used to enjoy it a lot!!

Today is day 4 and they are at it. I guess, the prospect of getting tender coconut, ice cream , chocolates.. is what is most exciting to them!! Last night while going to bed Ammu declared that she wont go for the walk today. But come morning, they both got up and got ready even though they were a little sleepy when thata woke them up. He too had been skeptical about them accompanying him today.

Well, we are all super happy that my efforts ..the little nudges.. have eventually paid off. And, dad.. it has been his lifelong mission to get us to take up morning walk. None of us ever followed this advice us of his, though. Now, that the grand kids are enjoying this with him, he’sย is super excited !! ๐Ÿ™‚

All in all… an awesome start to the vacations ๐Ÿ™‚

Reading! or is it Thank God! :)

.. for small mercies! or is it small ๐Ÿ˜‰

I meant to do a post on ‘reading’ as in my/our reading.. choices, patterns etc… but I’ll leave you with this instead ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night she plonked onto the bed as if she would doze off in a moment. She’d danced, read and danced [practised her steps] again before dinner, had had no nap in the afternoon.. so I was sure she would doze off by the time I went and joined her. To my surprise, she was still awake.. deeply engrossed in her book!! Tinkle btw ๐Ÿ™‚

She replied in the negative when I asked her if I could switch off the light. She assured me she’ll do it once she finishes and said that I could go to sleep !!!!


And thank God! Its a big one for me ๐Ÿ™‚ ย I’m sure mommies/paappas who are readers, book lovers will vouch for it!

Yayyyy ๐Ÿ˜€

Wake up! tales..

… sweet memories to keep forever ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Waking her up in the morning used to be quite a task! It would take all my strength to stay calm and not panic. Especially during the days when D, our house help, had not yet joined us. It still is sometimes… which is another story altogether!! But, since D has taken over the cooking and packing of lunch boxes, I have become much more relaxed and that helps me summon the patience required ๐Ÿ™‚

Over the course of time, I realized that instead of saying or chanting ‘get up’ its better to say things that will catch her attention and make her respond.

Initially, I would try to wake her up by askingย how she would like to tie her hair. One pony or two ponies ๐Ÿ™‚ A lover of long hair and pony tails, she would wake up excitedly with her hairstyle on her mind!!

On some really difficult days, I would try to think if there was anything special about that day. Luckily, for me, most of the times it used to be a Tuesday!! Which made my job so much easier… I would tell her that it is the most special day because she was born on a Tuesday!! and, that would bring a on huge smile ๐Ÿ˜€

Then, gradually came the days of preferences ! .. with regard to her classes ๐Ÿ™‚

I ask her, what interesting class do you have today? And she wakes up excitedly!! She asks me to guess what interesting class she has and as I try to figure it out for the day, she’s up and about!

Art n Craft, Library, PT, Activity and Computer lab are her favourite periods at school ๐Ÿ™‚

I guess, she sub consciously awaits this question everyday… the day I wake her up without asking, she reminds me that I have not asked her the question ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing that has remained through all this is that I carry her from the bed, make her pray as in join her hands before the Ganesha, and then drop her in the bathroom ๐Ÿ™‚ From the time she was a kutti lil one to the now biggg girl… Sigh! ย Its something that I enjoy doing every morning…ย wonder till when I’ll be able to continue doing it

Next academic year, classes will start a bit earlier, supposedly to escape peak hour traffic. She has assured me that she’ll wake up early and get ready on time without any fuss. What will actuallyย happen, remains to be seen ๐Ÿ˜›

Change is the only constant!!

Changes .. quite a few of them have sneaked in silently. Or so it seems. They are now a part of life.. making me feel as if it has always been like this!!

From having to be at her side and make her do every single thing in the mornings to her doing everything; going to the loo with the door closed, brushing her teeth, having a bath on her own… From having no teeth to a full set of milk teeth and then some of them falling off.. and being replaced with new permanent ones…

Things have happened gradually as it should be.. without me getting anxious about milestones and such.. In fact, I’ve been so indifferent that I have not even marked the milestone when one occured ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Anyway, I’ve digressed .. right at the beginning itself ๐Ÿ˜›

The changes that I started to write about are completely different though. Ones that I had not anticipated or planned for in anyway…

Beginning of January saw us bewildered and a tad disappointed with Ammu’s results in the worksheets that were held prior to the Dec holidays. Very poor marks in most subjects. Silly mistakes.. of course silly in our eyes, not hers. It was not the marks per se.. but the realization of the inattention. Hers, and ours, more so. We decided that it was time to pay attention.

Earlier… back from school, the two would eat something and then take a nap. After waking up they would have their milk and watch TV in the meanwhile. Then hurry up with homework, if any, and rush to play. Which was topmost on their minds.. always! And, Adi having very little or no homework did not help at all. So, their main focus was TV and play!

A complete overhaul of their schedules was what seemed to be the solution.

Now.. they come home, have their fill and go to play outside. The nap has been done away with.

They come back, have some milk and then sit with the school work. Initially, BIL took both of them to their house and helped them with the studies.. especially Ammu’s, as I usually reach home a bit later. After a week or so, when the habit had set in, they continued at our home. The routine stuck.. and the best thing is that she’s getting more interested in her lessons too ๐Ÿ™‚ Which was the primary concern for us.

This time, she has scored good marks. Enabling her to understand ย ’cause and effect’ in a very practical way!!

The most fantastic fallout of all these is that TV viewing time is almost nil on weekdays. Maybe just a couple of hours on weekends. I had read on a couple of blogs about restricted TV viewing time for kids and how that is so very beneficial. Not even in my dreams would I think this possible in our home.. what with the kids being so obsessive about their favourite cartoon characters! Oh! how we cringed hearing some of the dialogues..

In fact, it took me a couple of weeks to notice that indeed TV time has reduced drastically and was elated to know that they dont ask for TV much, now that they go down for play in the evenings!!

And, no more fights for the remote!!! ย Between thata and the grandkids.. that is ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย I have stopped watching too, the only kannada serial that I used to watch ended sometime in January. Dad too is watching TV for lesser time than before and prefers to play songs on one of the radio channels while we have our dinner. Some transformation this!!

Come to think of it, the changes, though drastic and sudden, seem to have happened in a subtle manner .. making me feel that things were never otherwise. Or maybe it feels that way as I’m away most of the time. Any which way, good changes have happened and I only hope and pray that they last ๐Ÿ™‚

Aah.. and, last but not the least, they are enjoying the dance classes and that has helped in a way too.. to wean them away from TV. Now, we can spot them, especially Adi, spontaneously start tapping the legs accompanied by tai tai ๐Ÿ˜€ ย Makes for quite a funny and adorable scene…

On that highly satisfied and content note, I stop!!

Wish you all a very happy n fun weekend! Have a blast!!

P.S: Thanks Swaru for egging me on!! Managed to do this while waiting for a build ๐Ÿ˜‰

Revelations! Momentous ones..

These, I think have been possible by my being mindful and present to what was happening…

Ammu,when uncomfortable with what we are telling her or when she’s not in a state of listening to anyone, just changes the topic or asks us to stop. And, there are times when she just yells.. Sometimes I just let her be. At others, I yell back. Because that is the only way forward as I see it in that instance. Or it maybe due to my own lack of energy and patience at that moment.

Recently though, there were instances when she was shouting… almost hysterical. And during one such outburst, my heart went out to her. In that moment, I wished I could understand her totally. I wished I could take away the thing that was bothering her. I wished she wouldn’t be so harsh on herself.. coz in the end its she who will suffer as a result of that outburst. And in that one instant, I totally got what my granma, my dad, my sisters had been trying to tell me in all these years.

Yes! I used be hysterical.. ๐Ÿ˜ณย  it was during the darkest period in my life.. and still am sometimes.. very rarely though. It was granma’s face and words that first flashed through my mind in that moment. And I realized what pain she must have gone through to see me in so much pain. It was then that I realized, that me hurting them with my words or actions did not matter so much to them as me hurting myself!! I know I cannot undo any of that.. but I’m glad I’ve changed for the better and I feel blessed to have family that is so understanding and caring! And has helped me in becoming what I am today. Now.. the concern is to guide my darling onto the right path where she’ll learn to express herself in healthy ways.

I realize that the anger and frustration is just a facade that hides something else. Something that a child is unable to deal with at that moment. Maybe just the need to be not judged or maybe resentment for not being allowed to do what they want to at that moment! And its our love and reassurance that they need most at that time. Not a sermon on discipline or such stuff. It takes a lot of effort to give up my position and cool down enough to comfort her. But I have started doing that. And once she realizes that I am not going to be judgmental, she opens up.. even comes around to my view. It takes time.. but its happening!! That I was able to relate to her at that level, has helped me refine my ways of dealing with her when she’s in one of those moods.

While these are my experiences, Sangitha’s crisp post has pointers/guidelines for parents who are into the mindful or involved parenting route. And, for the others too, who care! As she puts it โ€˜A hug does the job where a string of words failsโ€™ which is so apt in this context. It always works!!

One major factor here is also the management of my own temper. I have always felt that my temper patterns have had a great influence on her. And that is the reason that, mostly, anger is the way she expresses her unease. A couple of months back, I happened to meet a lady who is into child counseling and counseling in general. And I expressed my concern regarding Ammu’s temper. All she said was, ‘you manage your temper and she’ll be fine automatically’. It made me very hopeful.I was glad as I was already on that path and being mindful more than ever, has helped a great deal in the process. I can see some changes already!! And I hope Ammu will eventually learn how to articulate her feelings in a better way.. in a way that won’t hurt her.

One other thing about Ammu that has made me feel helpless and frustrated in the recent past is her refusal to study.. as in revise or practice. She just wont do it sometimes. And I end up feeling frustrated when I can’t convince her to do it. Or when I give up not wanting to push too much. One such instance was just before her Hindi test in Feb. And I ended up feeling overwhelmed that evening.. and it continued into the morning as well. I felt inadequate.. and all the associated feelings that go with it came to torment me ๐Ÿ˜

Once again, it was Sangitha’s words that came to my rescue. Stage 5 : Acceptance…’My child is who he is. Now I need to figure out what he’s come to teach me’. It put things in perspective. And calmed me down. Acceptance is something I’ve been working on since quite some time now. But it has so many flavors to it. And it needs to be done again and again and again!! Was so glad to be reminded of that ๐Ÿ™‚

So I sat down and asked myself what was making me feel overwhelmed and frustrated.What was I expecting and why.I reasoned that it was because I know that she is capable of doing so much better and that she’s not putting effort into reaching her potential. What a revelation that was!! About myself more so. Reminded me of all the times when dad said that we could do much better. And how we had always felt that why parents are never satisfied with what we have achieved so far!! Is it nothing at all? Its the same as I what I now felt about Ammu. The whole thing has come a full circle. Parents want us to reach for our potential!! Quite a revelation.. is it not! It might be the most obvious thing for many of you, but for me it was an AHA moment! And I feel so fortunate that I figured it for myself now!!

The next question that came up was ‘How much should I push? How much is fair enough?’ This is quite tricky! And I haven’t been able to figure out ‘how much’ would be right and fair as well. I’ve just decided to tackle it on a day to day basis. One day at a time.. depending on ‘how much’ she’s able to take on that particular day. Like, everyday is not the same for us, so it is for the kids and we need to factor in that, when we form our expectations.So, we go from here and see where it’ll lead us to. For now, I’m glad and satisfied that I’m doing the best I can in my circumstances. And I hope and pray that this will help her march forward in the right direction!!

Going ahead on this parenting journey. With hopes and aspirations. With apprehensions. And, most importantly, with faith, in the love and trust that binds us all ๐Ÿ™‚

Of lil joys and inspirations..

Ammu *gushing and without preamble*: Mamma, i’ll have to say my name and then say a thought for the day in Hindi. I dont know why US* said my name to the teacher! But it will be easy mamma. Its just Thought for the day. Not news item. I can read. *Leaving the room* Thank you mamma for making me practice reading Hindi!!
Left me speechless and grinning… ๐Ÿ˜€

When I had chosen Hindi as the second language for Ammu, I did not know what it entailed. As in, I was not aware that the course content would be nothing like what we had, that so much more would be packed for learning within an year and the teacher would be rushing through it.. simply because she has to complete the syllabus. For me, learning Hindi had been a breeze and I assumed it would be the same for her! Duh? I know!!

In fact, I was blissfully unaware of all this, until almost the end of the first year. I hadnt been checking with Ammu’s lessons on a daily basis. I knew that she was finding it difficult to cope with the Hindi barakhadi. I reasoned that since we dont communicate with her in Hindi, its a bit tough.. but that she’ll catch up in a while. It was one of Ammu’s classmate’s mom who, while waiting for our turn to talk to the teacher during one PTM, voiced her concern to me regarding the syllabus and the manner in which things are being rushed.ย  Only then it dawned on me that there really was an issue and that I needed to do something about it.

I don’t remember my parents ever helping with homework and stuff. And had thought that it would be the same with Ammu n Adi… She did well in her Kindergarten without my help or intervention. And I had believed that it will continue in the same way!!

I began helping Ammu with her Hindi. She resented it.. did not like the fact that she needed to practice. Nothing I said could convince her that she could learn Hindi! She even started saying that it would have been better if I had chosen Kannada for her instead of Hindi. Somehow, she felt convinced that Kannada is easier. I realized that it would be quite an uphill task for me to reverse this!

Whenever possible, I helped her with understanding and practicing of the barakhadis and matras. This year, I started reading the lessons with her.. sometimes at bedtime. She would look to me for prompts for words that she could’nt say immediately… but I would ask her to think through… to add the consonant and the matra to form the word.. which she would do after a few wrong attempts. She would be thrilled whenever she read a whole sentence or paragraph on her own. I asked dad to help her with lessons sometimes. BIL and sisters too chipped in whenever they were with us and Ammu needed to do her Hindi lesson ๐Ÿ™‚ All through, I had been telling her that it would be difficult as long as she didnt practice. But with practice, it would definitely be easy!

For the test, in the previous quarter, she was determined to score full marks in Hindi. And she practiced writing to some extent. The result has been good, much better than the previous ones..though she didnt score the full marks. And she’s much more confident now. And I felt glad that I had egged her on when she had all but given up on learning Hindi.

The above conversation happened last night when I came back from work. I was especially thrilled to hear the last sentence. It was an affirmation to me that what I/we convey to her does get ingrained and am delighted that she’s conciously aware of it!!

Muahs to you baby! I feel so inspired ๐Ÿ™‚

P.S: US is her close friend since LKG ๐Ÿ™‚

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