Category: Learning

Matter of heart

Buzz came back from school with an envelope, 3 pages of instructions and talked about heart, jump, donation, puppies. With a lot of things on my mind and emotionally not open to taking in everything she was talking about, I told her we would talk about it in a few days. With a long face, she walked away.

A couple of days later she came back and talked again. The school was hosting an event to support American Heart Institute and the kids were all to jump rope based on the money they collected, to educate about the importance of exercising and keeping the heart healthy. Could I donate some money, so that she could participate? Also there were different stuffed toy puppies that the kids earned based on the amount of money they collected, and she really wanted a couple of those.

I sat her down and explained that the idea behind the money raising drive was not asking parents to give the money. It was about talking to people, raising awareness about heart health and asking them for donate for the cause. Hard hearted mom that I was, I could not make things easy for her and give her money just so that she could get some stuffed toys and participate in the jumping rope activity in school. If she really wanted to do it, she had to do it all. Go talk to people and ask for money. We would donate some as well, but only if she did some work first.

She sat on the idea for a couple of days. Asked questions on how she could raise money. The grocery store, knocking door to door, the mall – ideas we came up with.

We were heading to the grocery store yesterday and she carried her envelope. She said her ‘excuse mes’ as she walked up to someone. Explained what she was doing and asked her question. ‘Could you contribute may be $5?’ She thought it would be easy. With $100 her goal, she did her math and figured all she needed to do was ask 20 people and she would be done. The script of course did not work as planned. A handful of people gave her a dollar or two but mostly all she heard was ‘All the best, but sorry!” After about 30 or so tries, there were tears in her eyes, here voice heavy. I told her I was proud of her for putting herself out there and knew it was not easy to hear ‘no’, but collecting money was not easy either. I asked her to stop and we could try again later. Demoralized we came back home.

Back home as she counted her money, $11.50, D encouraged her and told her that we would match everything she collected. $23 already she finally laughed.

Today after school we went to the mall. ‘There are more people there’, she told me. As I sat with my book, she walked around and made her case. After yesterday’s experience she took nos with a lot more grace. She smiled and thanked people. She talked and made a better case. At one point she spend 10 or so minutes talking to a mom and returned with a huge smile and 65cents in her hand. She jumped with excitement with every amount that she raised. And then when she was tired, she came and said ‘Lets go home Mumma!’

Current count is $54.34. She has also made a deal with D to convert her $4.34 to $5. $55 and matched by us she comes to $110. She couldn’t be more excited. We couldn’t be more proud. She did it on her own. She learned and can say she raised the money. I learned as well and can say, always be kind to kids trying to do something like this, even when you say no for whatever your reasons might be. Kindness goes a long way and the kids remember those more that even the amount of money they get. Buzz definitely talked more about those people than anyone else.

As she takes the money in to school tomorrow, she has to deal with a new challenge. Jump rope 220 times. Wish her luck!

 

What the..

I have never been much of swearer (is that even a word?) In days of the past “ullo” and “gadha” were my go to words. “Sh*t” and “Holy crap” joined the list somewhere down the line.

With the kids around I started to be very very carefully on the words I used. Additions were made to swearing vocabulary.

“Oooooohhhhhh,” I would go and add “shoot!” to it.

“Holy moly chipotle!” came next.

The kids picked it up, of course!

One day Buzz was trying to read and she made it through a particularly difficult sentence (for her) and I exclaimed “Oh Boy!”. Buzz laughed very hard and that became our go to word from then on.

About a month back she came home very excited.

Mumma, pata hei Ms. A kya boli? Oh My Apply Pie!

Giggles followed and Bugz picked it up as well.

“Oh My Apple Pie!” is now randomly heard around our house. Always followed by laughs, always brings happiness, age no bar.

Happy, innocent times, I hold dear as I go about my day.

Gladulation

One Sunday morning in mid Jan, Buzz wore her ski boots, stumbled her way through putting them in her skis, tried going down a bunny slope, fell, complained, tried again, cribbed, repeat and repeat some more.

One Sunday morning at end of March, Buzz wore her ski boots, clicked them into her skis confidently, went on the quad chair lift, up the big cliff (the easy green lifts are for kids after all), came down a bumpy slope with ease.

The same Sunday morning, Bugz wore little ski boots, broke Maa’s back while trying to put on the littlest skis ever, a few simple instructions followed and she came down the bunny slope, with full confidence, right in to Maa’s waiting hands.

The same Sunday, around 4:00 P.M., Buzz came down the slope making a big snake along with her class and all the other classes taking lessons. Parent cheered, bells rang, claps and shouts, cameras flashed, pride so high on those slopes that you could almost see it.

10 weeks went by before we realized. The progress Buzz made was beyond words. The joy Bugz showed worth 100. D can’t stop gushing over his little ones’ and planning endless trips to the mountains, of course. As for me, I started my journey one Sunday morning in mid Jan with one kid on the bunny slope and ended it one Sunday morning at end of March with the other kid on the same bunny slope.

We all gladulated as a family, don’t you think, even when only one of us got a certificate to prove it.

Little Hills

Dear Buzz,

In order for you to be happy, you need everyone to be happy with you. And that means your parents, your family, your teachers, your friends, people you met for the first time. Truly everyone! There is also the fact that you are good at a lot of things. You pick up things taught at school without a lot of struggle, you love arts and craft and have the patience to finish coloring a picture perfectly, you are coordinated and dance well, you have a good balance which helps you in sports. These two things combined means that it gets very difficult for you when you don’t do well at anything. Your first instinct is to avoid doing it, pretending that it does not interest you. Then the struggle starts to try and try a little more. As a grown up (and a biased mom), I still things you pick things, you thinks are difficult, easily. A few tries and it is not a challenge anymore.

Beginning of this school year, learning to read was your biggest struggle. You knew you letters, you knew the sound they made. But seeing it all together and you decided it was too hard. It has been slow work, trying to sound every letter and fit it all together, but you my smart one, memorize words you get stuck on and remember them so that you don’t have to sound them out. In a way that is how we are all read, our brain processes most written text that way, which makes your way a great way to go, but your Maa still makes you sound every word and makes you work through it. Super mean of her, I know, but you are doing great, even when you think you are not. I look at the progress you have made in the few short months and am amazed at how far you have come.

You love to learn. You wanted to learn how to read and write Hindi, so I taught you how to write your name. For about a month, you wrote it everywhere you possibly could. When your school offered Hindi class in their after school program, I asked you if you wanted to go? You were so excited to start that it was difficult to make you wait the week before class started. Every week you would come home talking about something you had learned. There was the k, kh, g and your funny pronunciation of them, there was Ravan and Diwali stories, there was practicing writing the letters. And you had fun doing it all. We worked together on ghoda and not goda, jhoola and not joola but as we laughed, you learned.

When you were a year and a half we had gone to a beach. You were so excited to see the water that you ran towards it. A big wave came charging and I picked you up in the nick of time, but it scared you off. Big pools of water were not for you. It took slow build up of confidence to get you inside a swimming pool but once you got over your fear, you were amazing. Now I see you mastering the backstroke, working hard on free style and just this weekend they progressed you to breast stroke. The smile on your face and you talked all about how you moved your legs was a sight to behold.

Having heard and watched videos of your Paa skiing and snowboarding, you could not wait to learn either. But having skis on is a totally different experience and the cold and snow does not help either. Once you got used to that, they started teaching you how to stop on a small small (almost un-noticeable) slope. The first time around, you were scared. I stood below, with a promise that I would not let you fall. You smiled and came down full speed, not even trying to stop. A couple of trips down the slope and you realized, you would stop without any effort on your part as you came to the flat section. No matter how many times your instructed asked you to break, you would not. You looked at me and said, ‘I like going fast, why should I break?’. I explained that only when you learned to stop will your instructors take you up on the chair lift. Indeed they did that to a few kids in your class, while you got left behind. Not happy with that, you practiced you stops, relentlessly.

This weekend, your ski class was off. The plan was for your Paa to see if you were ready for the chair lift and if so take you up one and come down an actual long slope. A couple of reasons and we decided that I would carry my ski along and not him. The two of us did three runs on bunny slopes and we thought you were ready. With a little bit of trepidation (OK a lot more than little), I took you up the slope on the chair lift. You laughed as we sat on the chair, hanging high over the ground, looking down at people. The getting off the lift used to be the scariest part for me, while I was learning how to ski, but you were a pro at it, in your first time. I told you, ‘skis straight, stand up and I will push you a little.’ You did it exactly as instructed, not even a wobble and you were off, skiing out. I went in front, you followed. Not only breaking when your speed became too much but also turning as I did. Any expectations I had, before we started the run, you blew beyond recognition. As we came down to stand in line again to get on the chair lift, you asked me, ‘can you tell Papa, I did well? I feel down twice, but that is OK right Mumma?’. I hugged you tights, ‘of course it is more than ok!’ 3 more runs, only one more fall, while Paa and Bugz, standing in the middle of the run, watching and you were ready to move on to the next challenge.

Your little hills, you concur with so much ease. Your highs so much bigger because of your little age. Our pride ever growing with each step of yours. My dearest one, my wish for you stays with you, through the hills and valleys. Stay healthy, stay happy, stay you.

Oh and as you grow up and laugh at my skiing skills, remember I was the first one to teach you how to come down a hill!

Loads of love,
-Maa

 

Family dynamics

When I grow up who will be my family?

she asked. Even though I understood the question, not sure how to answer it, I asked her what she meant.

When I grow up who will my Mumma? Who will be my Papa?
We will, Mumma and Papa will always be your Mumma and Papa.

Back and forth a few times and she dropped the topic.

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When I grow up I will stay in that house.

she said, pointing to the house across the street from us.

Why that house?
Because it has a yard in it.
Where will I stay?
In this house with Papa.

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When I am very very very old, how will I have a family.

Sigh! I get your questions sweetheart, I really do. I just don’t know how to explain the making of a new family to you. The fact that you see yourself as a child in your future and are looking for a Mom and a Dad makes it even more complicated to explain.

Parenting truly teaches one the art of creative thinking and makes one the master of diverting topics. Whatay fun!

All the world’s a stage

Act 1:

Buzz and I were having a conversation as we waited at the airport to board our flight here. An old Indian lady commented on how well Buzz spoke Hindi. Buzz has to chime in of course,

I know English, Hindi, Spanish and Chinese.

‘Chinese?’, we both exclaimed at the same time.

Buzz went on to say a couple of words in Chinese to prove her language powers.

She has a few kids who speak the language in her class and has picked up a handful of words from them.

Act 2:

We were at Delhi airport waiting for our flight out. There was an Air India plane standing at the terminal we had to board our flight from. When boarding started Buzz wanted to board as well but we told her we were flying another airline and we had to wait for the Air India airplane to fly off and ours to come before we could board.

Why are we not flying Air India, Mumma?
It does not go to the city where we have to go?
The pilot does not know the way to our city?
No, only our pilot knows how to get to our city.
Which city can this pilot fly to?
London (it was a flight to London)

Act 3:

Buzz’s class got introduced to the concept of Maps. They looked at the world map and the country map. Their homework for the month was to mark on a map all the places they had visited and may want to visit. I printed a world map and a country map, sat Buzz down and we marked the placed Buzz had visited, starting from the latest thinking it would be easier for her to remember. We were half way done when Buzz was done. With so many other interesting things that go on in her life, sitting still for homework was a bit much. Any future attempts for moving forward with the homework were rejected for the rest of the week so that is how the homework was submitted.

One evening a week or so after the homework was submitted, during pickup from school, Buzz was mad at me. I asked her what was wrong.

We had to mark places we want to visit on the map too. I did not mark those.

Aah! so she had presented her homework in front of the class and was mad.

Which place did you want to visit?
China and London.

Act 4:

Which airline goes to China, Mumma?
err..Air China maybe (praying there is an air carrier by that name)
Which one goes to London?
I don’t know.
Air India, Mumma, Air India!
Oh yeah, from India Air India goes to London.
When can we go to London, Mumma?
I don’t know, during our vacation?
You always say that! You never take me to China and London!

Closing Monolog:

London and China you will be the end of me. Need to find ways to get to you two sooner than later. Or pray real hard that she gets over her visit places phase.

On this world’s stage we travel on!

Hat..bat..rat

Buzz learned about rhyming words a couple of months back and finding rhyming words for everything is her latest game. Most of the time it is about substituting the starting letter randomly to see if it forms a word.

If asked what rhymes with say ‘Book’, her first instinct is to say ‘Shook’.

*digression* Proud mother moment that she has taken the Hindi lesson so well. Kaam – Waam, Roti – Shoti, Book – Shook *end digression*

Sometimes what she comes up with is indeed a word and sometimes it is not. If it is not a word, I tell her it is not and she goes on to think of another word.

Yesterday as we were at the same game she came up with

Duck

Thought and thought and said it rhymes with

*uck

Not hearing any response from me, she looked at me and asked

Yeah word hai kya Mumma? (Is it a word Mumma?)

I try and not lie to the kids no matter how difficult the issue is but saying yes meant answering the next question

What does it mean Mumma?

I quickly changed the topic. Things kids can come up with are beyond anything a grown adult mind can comprehend. Apparently rhyming words are also not landmine free!!!