Saturday, 21 May 2011

Mysteries resolved

It has always been a pleasure for me to get into a conversation with my girls on any given day. The thrill in me multiplies in abundance if they shower me with questions. The 'why's' of yester years were the outcome of their ignorance and the 'why's' of today are the sheer outcome of inquisitiveness. I can classify the difference between the two kinds of whys very vividly of late.

There is a concept called 'bench marks' at school where the teacher supplies a sheet of paper that contains the essentials of all the topics covered in a particular lesson. That sheet is distributed to all children once a lesson has been taught. The duty of the children is to paste the sheet in their notebook and begin colouring each topic in different colours based on their understanding ( red- totally unclear; yellow - somewhat clear; green - very clear). The girls usually enjoy this session mainly because it relates to colouring and secondly, they feel happy because they have understood all that has been taught. But last night, as I was going through Shruthi's science note, I realized that she had left few topics uncoloured. Out of curiosity, I asked her, "Shruthi, why have you left some topics uncoloured?"

"Because I have not understood them", said Shruthi.

I then asked her, "Why don't you use the respective colours based on your understanding?"

Shruthi: I don't want to.

Me: Why?

Shruthi: You just explain these concepts and I shall colour them green later.

(My Mind: She feels that it at all she colours, it has to be green.

Probably she is not comfortable in letting the teacher know that she hasn't understood it well)

Me: But why don't you let your teacher know what you have not understood? That will help her explain it to you again.

Shruthi: The problem is not with the teacher. I have not understood. Just clarify some topics and I will be done.

Me: Ok. Just let me know what the topic is all about.

Shruthi: Oviparous and Viviparous.

Me: What is the complication with that? It is simple. Oviparous refers to beings that lay eggs which then thurn to a young one and Viviparous refers to those beings that give birth directly. All birds fall under the category of oviparous and all animals and human beings belong to the category of viviparous.

Shruthi: Oh yeah, I know all these. What I do not know is how can one give birth directly? In oviparous, it is said that birds lay eggs. How does that process takes place? In viviparous, it is said that the young ones are developed within the mother's body and stays there until full development and then comes out. How can an animal carry another animal within it? How will it carry? How long can it carry? Will it not feel heavy? And how can it come out?

At that moment, I really wondered at my child's innocent question. Should I still call it innocent? Most people will call this ignorance because they are no longer a small kid. They would soon be turning nine. It is a misfortune that they have not seen any pregnant women in their life so far, leave alone pregnant animals. So they have the least clue regarding the mystery of birth. I thought it the right time to explain some concepts to them to clarify their doubt. As I began thinking, Swathi too joined the conversation. Maybe she too had the same doubt buried in her. I began, "Birds will be urged to throw down an egg through an opening in its body. They release it out. They know for a fact that their baby will come out of it in some time. God had given them such power to know things without being taught. The Mother incubates it by sitting on the egg."

Shruthi: Will not the egg break if the Mother sits over it?

Me: No. The Mother would not stand or jump over it. She just mildly sits over it to give the egg the warmth it needs and also protects the eggs from being eaten away by snakes and other creatures hungry for her egg. After some days, the young ones would hatch out. This is how the young ones are born.

Something struck Shruthi's mind that she was prompted to ask a question to me. She asked, "So all young ones are formed from an egg?"

Me: Yes

Shruthi: Does that include me?

Me: Yes

Shruthi: Oh yuck!

Me: What is so yucky about it, Shruthi?

Shruthi: And did you sit over me?

I just laughed heavily. Shruthi naturally felt insulted. So I understood the seriousness of her innocence - rather ignorance and told her, "I am not oviparous. I am viviparous. I do not lay eggs, Shruthi."

Shruthi: But you confirmed that all beings come from an egg. So how do you justify that?

Me: In case of viviparous, the eggs are formed within the female's body and that becomes a young one in course of time.

Shruthi: So! You ate an egg!

(We being vegetarians, the fact that I ate an egg is supposed to shock Shruthi)

Me (controlling all my laughter) : No. I did not eat any egg. It was just formed within me.

Swathi: And?

Me: From the egg, you were formed and after development, you were born.

Shruthi: How? Was I inside your body?

Me: Yes, for some time.

Shruthi: How long? Didn't you feel heavy? Could you moved around with me within you?

Me: The development is so gradual that we don't feel heavy.

Shruthi: How did I come out?

Me: Doctors will help us with that.

After a pause

Shruthi: So only females have eggs?

Me: Yes

Swathi: Oh come on Ma! You must be kidding. I am a female and I do not have any egg.

I was simply confused as to how to explain it to them. I just thought of providing them some more convincing replies and close the topic soon. I said, "Eggs are of use only when it is time to have a baby, say, after marriage.

Swathi: Why only after marriage? Why can't we have babies now?

Shruthi: I know why.

For a moment I wondered how she would be able to answer this question. But she innocently said, "Because a child needs both Mother and Father."

I laughed within but the reply was so convincing to Swathi. But when I left their room, I saw the girls colouring the sheet green.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A Night with Shruthi

It has been quite a while since I updated my blog. It is not because I am not coming across anything interesting from my girls. It is either out of sheer laziness or the lack of appropriate time to pen it down. But the incident that happened last night cannot go without being mentioned.

Both Shruthi and Swathi are in the habit of sleeping in their bunk bed every night. It so happened one night, when there were guests at home, I opted to sleep with the girls in their room. Swathi who was sleeping down, shared her bed with me and I slept there comfortably. The next morning Shruthi demanded that I sleep with her too. I promised to sleep with her the following night.

So last night, I slept with Shruthi. Whenever she lies next to me, she gets prompted to ask many questions. She would like to know how a clock ticks, the properties of a magnet, how God could maintain the accounts of many, if monster exists, whether she will be married to a Prince, if I will assist her with her children and many such things. Last night, she again opened up the topic of what she wants to become when she grows up. Usually, I ask her what her plans are every now and then but this time, it was she who opened this topic.

She asked, “Amma, do I have to go to a college to study, if I decide to become a mehendi designer?”

Me: Yes. (I was almost asleep)

Shruthi: But I am not quite sure if I want to study that in a college. I already know how to apply mehendi on hands. Why waste time?
(She does apply mehendi on her own hands with the help of her own creativity)

Me: That’s right. Do something else

Shruthi: I had short listed many professions but now I am negating them one by one. I wanted to be a mehendi designer. Now I do not want to become one. I do not want to be a teacher. I do not want to become a doctor either. It is difficult. Astronaut is the most difficult profession because you have to study here on earth also and then after studies you have to do further study and research in the space.

Me: (For a moment I wondered how come she got an idea of an astronaut’s job) – There is nothing that is easy. Struggles are inevitable in whatever profession you may choose. Your passion towards it makes it easy for you. That’s how everything works.

Shruthi: But some are really easy, Amma. So I do not want to take it up. For example – your profession – Lawyer. It is so easy. So I do not want to take it up. I want to take something that is challenging.

Me: (I almost lost my sleep and became fresh enough to counter what she just said. I thought I had struggled enough to become a lawyer) How come you are aware of a lawyer’s profession? Do you know that there are lots to study in law?

Shruthi: But still it is very easy, Amma.

Me: How do you say that?

Shruthi: What is the main job of a lawyer? It is to settle disputes between people. I can do that easily. I will bring both the parties together and make them say “sorry” to each other and ask them to give shake hands and hug each other. That is so simple. Take the case of a doctor. Is it not difficult? He has to find the right vein and give the right injections. Do you get me, Amma?

For a moment, I did not know whether I should laugh or make her understand. I opted to laugh aloud. She was quite confused on seeing my reaction. She explained all that she had understood quite seriously and the laugh from my end was annoying her. I could make it out. She asked me the reason why I was laughing aloud but I was in no mood to spoil her innocent understanding about each profession. The rest of the night was spent in deep sleep with my innocent little girl.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Are you a Mommy Blogger?

I've been a member of Indus Ladies for some time now but have not been participating actively in it. My interests mainly pertained in gaining ideas through the various discussion forums. Very recently, I came to know of their initiative (in lieu of the forthcoming Mother's Day celebration) in compiling all the bloggers who either have been blogging about their Mothers or about their children, as a Mother. Readers, who are interested in this idea, please do visit this link and participate

Thursday, 7 January 2010

What to believe?

With almost nothing at all to do this vacation in India, my girls resorted to entertain themselves by watching TV. Back in Abu Dhabi TV is taboo for them though they are allowed some prescribed hours during weekend to sit in front of it. I just left them loose this vacation to free myself away from them for a while.

My girls really enjoyed their time in front of the TV. They loved to munch some goodies too as they sat to watch cartoons. (It is needless to mention how they are pampered with eatables by their grandparents and relatives. The relatives believe that it is mandatory to expose us to their rich and grand culinary skills). I also noticed that they loved most of the advertisements that were screened. Their curiosity increases on watching the advertisements. They watch them without blinking their eyes.

Shruthi came to me and told, “I am confused”
Me: Why?
Shruthi: The advertisements are confusing me
Me: Why should they confuse you?
Shruthi: The advertisement for Dove shampoo is good and equally convincing is the advertisement for Sunsilk too. I liked ‘Head & Shoulders’ advertisement too. But all these are confusing me. How will I ever know who is telling the truth? Whom should I believe?
Me (Surprised within on the nature of her confusion): I am there for you. I will give you the right product
Shruthi: How will you decide?
Me: I will test them before giving it to you.

She then smiled at me and went away convinced.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Who is Greedy?

Almost every night, I read out some moral stories to my girls. Whether they follow it or not, I want to read out some morals to them and also how can they implement that moral in their practical life. Very recently, we covered the topic called ‘greed’. They were so excited about that particular topic mainly because they read the meaning of that word in their classroom. Immediately my girls said in chorus, “Ma! I know the meaning of greed. It is ‘excessive desire’.”

I appreciated them. I then quoted examples of greed. I told them that buying more and more toys when we already have lots is also an example of greed. When I read that story out, they also understood that one has to learn to be happy with what they have instead of brooding over things that they do not have.

The next day itself my girls were brooding over something that we did not get them and immediately I reminded her of the moral of the story that we read the previous night and told her, “this is called greed”. She understood and apologized up front. I was glad about the impact of the morals that I read out every day.

On the other hand, I have often noticed that every time I have a voice chat with my parents, my girls will come running to me with their complaints and problems not allowing me to talk with them at peace. I do not know why they demand my immediate attention every time I am on phone or when I am having a voice chat. It so happened today when I was having a voice chat with my parents, my girls interfered with all the problems they have with each other. Most of my time was spent in settling their disputes.

After completing the chat with my parents, I went to them. For some time, I sat next to them. They did not even bother to notice me. They were on their own drawing and writing something. I wondered why they do not have any allegations against each other when I am fully available. I have told them several times not to disturb me when I am on phone or chat but still they do. I felt it the right time to put an end to it and told them, “Girls! I really want to talk something to you both.”

Shruthi and Swathi: What’s that?
Me: Why is it that you always come to me with your problems when I am chatting?
Shruthi: Sorry Mommy. But Swathi is always irritating me.
Swathi was silent.
Me: Swathi, why do you choose a particular time to irritate her? Why don’t you irritate her now in my presence?
Swathi was still silent.
Me: Did you know that I was talking to my parents?
Both: Yes
Me: Look! You both have your parents with you all the time and you can talk with us whenever you want. But see, my parents are not with me.

The two behaved as though they understood what I was talking about. I thought I will gain their sympathy. But something different happened.

Swathi broke her silence. She said, “This is called greed.”

For a moment I sat puzzled. She continued, “You were reading out moral stories to us and teaching us how to be happy with what we have and now you are brooding over something that you don’t have.”

I burst into a heavy laughter. I also admired her innocence. On the other hand, I should also observe that my girls have the knack of blaming others even if they are wrong. :-)

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Comparison

It’s almost winter here and time for the skin to ask for more moisture. So I apply extra coat of Vaseline for my kids to retain some moisture in their body. My girls asked several questions on this as to why do our skin get dry during this period and why moisture is needed and the like. With my limited knowledge, I tried to tell them all that I knew.

Some days back, my girls came back home carrying a bird’s feather in their hand. They loved the very feel of its feathers.

One fine day, Swathi asked me, “How come a bird’s feather is soft in all seasons?”
Me: By nature it is soft
Swathi: Even without applying Vaseline, their skin remains soft, is it not? How is that possible?

For a moment I wondered what kinds of questions my kids have in their mind. What makes them compare their body with that of a bird? Do they feel that all God’s creations are similar? I then answered her, “it is because they cannot apply any moisturizer during any season that God has made their skin so soft during all seasons.”

She seemed to be convinced with the answer that I gave and I breathed a sigh of relief. But she did not stop there. She asked me, “Aren’t feathers a part of a bird’s body?”
Me: Undoubtedly
Swathi: Then how can it continue to fly after dropping this feather down? Does any of my body part fall down as I walk?

I was wondering why she is comparing again and again, but I found it my duty to find this answer out for her and came to know about molting. For Mothers who encounter such a question from their kid or for others who would like to know more about why a bird sheds a feather down, here is the answer that I collected from the internet.

Bird feathers do wear out. Once or twice a year, birds shed their old feathers and grow new ones. This process is called molting. Most birds molt in late summer or fall, after they have raised their young and before they migrate to their winter home.

As new feathers grow, they push out old ones. Most birds molt one feather from each wing at a time so they can keep their balance in the air. Many ducks and geese molt all flight feathers at once, so they can't fly for several weeks and must avoid predators by swimming away or hiding on islands. Most birds take weeks to grow a completely new coat of feathers.

Doubting God's Bountiful Resources

In order to inculcate some fear while doing something wrong, I just warned my kids that God is watching each one of us and has a record of what we all are doing. Immediately Swathi asked me with great wonderment, “All of us?”
Me: Yes
Shruthi: This world is too big and there are lots of people living. How can God watch each one of us?
Me: Didn’t you learn in Moral Science that He is all powerful, omnipresent and the like?
Shruthi: Yes
Me: So He is capable of watching each one of us
Swathi: Including you?
Me: Yes, including me

This moment I noticed some sense of relief in them. They probably got some assurance that they are not alone. To make it more understandable I tried explaining the same with illustrations that seem convenient for them. So I spoke, “God is having a chart for each one of us where He grades all our activities. If He notices you doing something good, He will stick a golden or a silver star on the ‘Good deeds’ column. If you do something bad, like not sharing things with each other or telling lies, then He will mark a big black dot on the ‘Bad deeds’ column. He will review it then and there to decide what you deserve. So we have to be careful with every step that we take since we are always being watched.”

Swathi (still not convinced that God could watch everybody): Will God watch adults also for sure?
Me: Yes, I said that He watches each one of us
Shruthi (from her part): Even strangers on the road?
Me: Yes. Nobody is excluded. ALL are being watched.

Finally, the biggest doubt emerged from Swathi’s mind. She asked me, “Does God have enough chart paper to record everybody’s good and bad deeds?”