Monthly Archives: August 2009

Toys

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I have a confession to make – while commenting on Art’s post on toys, I proudly claimed to have kept plastics at bay. However, that bubble burst as soon as I looked into Pattu’s room. More plastic than I had imagined – lots of Funskool toys – gifted and bought, a kitchen set – gifted and she likes it a lot, lego blocks, some bats and balls, and a few others. About 40% of her toys are plastic. Revelation!

What struck me was not just the amount of plastic toys that we had, but the fact that I consider myself to be educated, quite conscious towards environment and averse to plastic and I have so much plastic at home. I wonder what a home that is not averse to plastic must look like.

I personally like the wooden toys – of course if the finish is not good, it can be dangerous. I do have some from Ringo, Vanilla Place, Cane & Bamboo and exhibitions. I especially love the wooden choppu set that I have.

Another favourite is the stuffed cloth puppets – I had a witch and a clown – the clown survived and the witch died (she was more popular with the kids and suffered more wear and tear therefore 🙂 ). I like the monoact with these puppets – Pattu likes it too and joins in sometimes. My childhood favourite is the ‘thalayatti bommai’ that thanjavur is famous for.

Pattu seems to have these seasonal preferences – for some time she would just be obsessed with one kind of activity and dump it completely once she has had enough of it and moves to the next obsession. Anyways, this topic has been an eye opener and I have vowed to be more and more conscious about the plastic invasion.

The Weekend that was

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Tomorrow is Pattu’s ‘Happy Birthday’ – she turns 3, a big girl! She would jump up and touch a low hanging twig and say, ‘see amma, I’m a big girl!’. Yes indeed!

Planning the party this weekend. So, that was my reason to go on a shopping spree – went berserk and thoroughly enjoyed it. And then there’s this added joy in spreading out all the little knick knacks on the rug and sharing it with rest of the family – I haven’t quite figured out which part I enjoy more – the actual shopping or the sharing later with family.

Peeped into Toyzdayout (thanks to Art) and Peek-a-boo. My Reviews here.

Sunday started with wishing Ganesha a ‘Happy Birthday’. Pattu wore a new pavadai chattai for Ganesha’s b’day and happily went and sat on a low stool that was decorated with kolam and flowers, meant for keeping Ganesha’s prasadams -she just declared that it is her ‘special stool’ and that became her obsession for the day. She was almost about to inaugurate the prasadam but paati somehow managed to save it for neivedyam.

And when pattu was napping, I managed to rearrange her room to include the new ‘writing desk’ that had arrived just in time for the birthday. I like the look on her face when she walks in to a rearranged room 🙂 …she’s been happy so far with my experiments…

And then we went out – without an agenda. We first went to a terracotta place and didn’t pick up anything. Then we were wondering what to do when sk (hubby) suggested beach and so we headed to the sholinganallur beach on ECR. Pattu is scared of waves, she won’t even tread on wet sand and would hold me really tight when the waves come near. But yesterday she was quite adventurous and allowed the waves to just about kiss her toes. Well, we are trying to be friendly…just need some time. Since we were tired from running around, we were hungry and so we drove straight into Delhi Dhaba. Pattu slept on the way back – tired, but happy tired…only to wake up at 11 PM! Had to humour her till 1 PM and then we kept tossing in the bed to sleep only at 3 AM! And a Monday morning to look forward to!

Smooth & Pink, like a pig!

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We were reading this book, “Who is my Mummy’ where the kitten gets lost and goes around the farm asking every animal, ‘Are you my mommy?’… so, when it comes to the pig, it says, ‘No, I’m not your mommy, my skin is smooth & pink’ – its a firang pig obviously. So, while acting it out, I said, ‘smooth & pink, just like pattu’s cheeks..’
…for a long time after that she went around saying, ‘My cheeks are smooth and pink like that pig’ leaving the paatis and others disgusted and wondering…

..and I love the way she does the kitten act and hugs me at the ‘happy ending’ of the story… 🙂

Pattu’s Post – The Making of the Birthday Card

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This is Pattu, I’ve taken over this post so that you all get the real story and not just Amma’s version.
Amma asked me if I wanted to make a b’day card for a little girl like me. I didn’t mind, but wanted to know if she is a good girl (if it is worth the effort). Amma said, ‘yes, she obeys her mother’ – that is biased, coz I don’t always obey my mom but I am a good girl. So, I asked her if she would give me chocolates, amma said yes and so I agreed that she is a good girl. So, we set out to make the card. After some debates and discussions, we decided that we will make a house, plant a tree next to it and also have a small pond near it. Amma then cut out a triangle and square that she insisted was a rectangle. Whatever! I didn’t want to contest. I had the more important task of colouring these shapes – the sight of water colours, water, brushes, crayons excited me. I picked blue for the triangle and white for the rectangle-square. Amma said the rectangle is already white so I don’t have to paint it white again, but I just though I’ll make it whiter.
Now comes trouble, amma kept nagging me about the paper tearing off what with a watery brush and the pressure (I’d call it passion) that I was putting on it. I managed to ignore her and kept the creative energy flowing. We somehow managed the house, then the tree and then the pond. Amma asked me the colour of water and I said green, but amma said it has to be blue. I haven’t seen blue water anywhere in all my 36 months! So, I just stood my ground. Then after other options like brown and black (that’s how the lakes out here look! I like to do realistic pictures!) we settled for pink. When amma was not looking I smeared some purple and red into it. We stuck all of these on a nice big sheet of paper and just when I was about to fill the pond with water, amma shrieked! God knows why- what’s a pond without some water in it! Not just that, she snatched the water jug from me – now, that was bad behaviour, even by her own definition, it is. You cannot snatch things from others! She told me that! But I let it go…she doesn’t do that often.
So, we were kind of done, so I thought when amma said I have to help her clear up – I thought she ought to do atleast that in return for the card. Moreover, I thought the floor looked really pretty what with the colours and all… anyways, I looked around for something to clean the floor with, found appa’s hanky – washed and pristine white – good enough to clean the floor – wooshhh…and that did it… floor was clean. Amma put her hands up in the air – funny she looked :D.
So, finally after all this, she forgot to take a pic of the card before handing it over and appa tried a last ditch effort with his camera phone – from what I overheard, the pic hasn’t come out quite well.

The Gift

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Pattu was excited at the number of gifts that she received on her second birthday. That was really the first time she understood ‘gifts’ – or so we thought looking at her excitement. Neat boxes, colourfully packed and secured with pretty satin ribbons – so many of them in various shapes and sizes! She just couldn’t wait to open them.

As I helped her open the boxes, I wondered how she would react to what is inside the boxes. I opened the first one for her and she almost grabbed it from me, opened the box, threw out whatever was inside (she didn’t even give it a glance) and held the box close to her and said gleefully, ‘this is my gift’! That’s when we figured out that it is the box that excites her and not really the stuff inside it.

Once while getting ready for a friend’s wedding, we had a tough time telling pattu that a Re 1 coin inside a shoe box does not make a great gift for a wedding. She just wouldn’t budge. She insisted on carrying it all the way to the wedding and wanted to hand it over to the bride. She wouldn’t trust us enough to carry it for her. Luckily she dozed off in the car and I managed to sneak it away. I wonder what it must have been like to hand over a shoe box with a 1 rupee coin in it! Well, part of parenting I guess! I did share it with my friend later and had a good laugh as she said, ‘Oh, that would have been my most memorable wedding gift’ 🙂

5 is the BIGGEST number

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I remember the day I learnt the number 100 – I thought that was the biggest number ever and just trying to visualise 100 would make me dizzy. I doubted if there were 100 stars in the sky and tried counting and ofcourse, always got lost and mixed up but always liked to believe that 100 was bigger than the number of stars in the sky. And when the teacher told me there were more than 100 stars I was a trifle disappointed to place my ‘100’ beneath something else.

With pattu, it is ‘5’ now. She can count till 20, but for some reason only she can fathom, 5 is the biggest number. How many chocolates does she want? 5. How many toys does she want? 5. How many magic beans did Jack have? 5. and so it goes. And whenever she says ‘5’ her eyes would open wide, her 5 fingers would be stretched wide and her tone will assume the manner of, ‘Oh I can’t believe that you can actually buy me so many chocolates’. And when I ask her if she doesn’t want 10, she promptly replies with a big NO – she wants ‘5’!

Too Much Ado!

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Even today Pattu’s food is an event! We take extra effort to make what she likes, the way she likes it and create an environment and mood in preparation for this event. Not to mention all the song and dance and entertainment through the event. And after all this, there’s no guarantee that she’ll eat. There has to be a plan B too. I find this quite draining – I feel exhausted after this. There’s quite a bit of family energy at stake here. Sometime I wonder if I am being too fussy a mother. I don’t remember my mom fussing too much over our food and my MIL also tells me that she hardly fussed over the food part. Apparently, after 2yrs of age, the children would sit alongside the adults and the same food would be served to them as well. They would mess a bit and eat a bit, but no one made special efforts to feed them and they didn’t worry too much about the kids going hungry either. Moreover, there were other kids in the house, cousins visited more often and younger kids learnt and followed the older kids. And today the Montessori and the Reggio Emelia systems are playing the same things back to us.

Sometimes I worry too much if she misses a glass of milk or goes without having curd, juice, etc. I feel she has lost out on her daily dose of nutrition. Maybe I should just let go and take it a bit easy and things would just fall in place. Well, maybe.

Stereotypes

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‘Girls play with dolls and boys play with cars’. Pattu tossed this stereotype out of the window the day she was given dolls to play with. She clearly prefers the acrobatics to the dolls. She can’t sit in one place for long and has bruised knees and elbows all the time. Loves to kick, turn furniture upside down, climb up gates and anything else taht can be climbed, jump across sofas, from tables… Even during pretend play, she becomes Popeye and Krishna and Bheem more often. I once overheard a tired patti’s voice on the phone, ‘she’s hardly like a girl child… so difficult to manage! I didn’t have such a tough time even with my grandson!’. I’ve come across quite a few mothers who have similar stories to share.

So, is it time for the stereotypes to go?

‘Pretty Pink’

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I hate Pink except on Pattu’s cheeks and when used along with Floyd. Its not really the colour, but the imagery around it, the associations with it. ‘Pretty, delicate, mild, girly, sugary…’ and over time it has become, ‘shallow, weak, silly, cloying…’. And it is this association with girls/ women that I resent. So, even before I had Pattu, I decided that I won’t buy pink even if I had a girl baby. However, almost everyone brought her ‘pink’ presents and ‘pink’ dominated her world. I had no control. I wondered why no one ever experimented, why people felt compelled to abide by some unwritten rule, why no one thought, ‘oh, most people would buy pink so let me buy another colour’…just why?

Well, I think I kind of found the answer when I went shopping to pick up something for my cousin’s kid – the girl baby section was full of pink stuff! And when I rummaged to find something in blue, the shop assistant rushed to me and said, ‘Madam, you said girl, but you’ve taken blue’ so as to suggest, ‘you haven’t read the rulebook’. I thanked him (with mock politeness) and said that this baby has a mind of her own and prefers blue! I paid and walked away much to his disappointment.

Wonder if boys are bombarded with blues as much as girls are with pink!

Cindrella – The 2 year old’s Version

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After all the crow and fox stories, I embarked on Fairy tales for our bedtime routine. Cindrella was my first pick. I started, but when I came to the ‘Ball’ and ‘Prince Charming’ she lost me completely. So I had to reinvent and this is my version for Pattu:

Once upon atime there was a little girl called Cindrella. Cindrella was a good girl. She had step sisters who were bad girls and did not share their toys with Cindrella. Sometimes they even beat her and pushed her down and Cindrella cried.

One day, the step sisters dressed in pretty frocks, matching bangles, matching shoes and pretty hairband and were getting ready to go to the park. Cindrella also wanted pretty clothes like that. She wanted to go to the park too. She wanted to play on the swing, the slide, the merry-go-round and see-saw. She went up to them and said, ‘Please, can I also go to the park with you?’. But the step sisters wouldn’t take her. They said, ‘Cindrella, go away, we won’t take you to the park’. She felt sad and she cried. And who appeared before Cindrella just then…….????? – Pregnant pause, building surprise-

‘Fairy Godmother!’. She has a magic wand in her hand. She looked at Cindrella and said, ‘Cindrella, my child, why are you crying? What do you want?’. Cindrella looked up and saw fairy Godmother and she was so happy. She ran up to Fairy Godmother and said, ‘Fairy Godmother! I’m so happy to see you. I want to go to the park wearing pretty clothes and matching shoes’. To this, the Fairy Godmother said, ‘Ok Cindrella, I’ll give you everything, but on one condition: You should be a good girl and come back home before 6 PM..ok?’ And Cindrella promised to do so.

Fairy Godmother asked Cindrella to bring a pumpkin and waved her magic wand over it saying ‘Abracadabra’ and it turned into a carriage. She asked for 4 mice and waved her magic wand over it saying ‘Abracadabra’ and it turned into the 4 wheels of the carriage…and then came horses and Cindrella’s new look and she went riding to the park.

When Cindrella reached the park, all her friends came running to see her and said, ‘Hey Cindrella, come play with us’. Cindrella played with her friends happily. As she was playing she suddenly realised that it was getting dark, so it must be 6 o clock. She remembered her promise to Fairy Godmother. She quickly ran from the park to get back home on time and in the process left one of her shoes behind. Luckily, Keshav, Cindrella’s friend found the shoe but he didn’t know whose shoe it was. So he went house to house checking with all his friends (we do a complete round of our colony friends here). And at last Keshav comes to Adya’s house and asks, ‘Adya is this your shoe’ and Adya says, ‘no Keshav, this is not my shoe, but I know it is Cindrella’s shoe’. So, both Adya and Keshav go to Cindrella’s house and return the shoe to her and they remain friends ever after.

It could well be a scene out of Cindrella’s childhood and the same incident happened in a different context when she was a teenager. So, pattu will hear the teenage version (the original versio ie.,) of the story when she is ready for it.