The Lost Little Boy

The parents were frantically searching for their little boy as he was missing.  They had by chance gone to pick him from his tuition class where he his heart stopped for a minute when the teacher said that he hadn’t come to the class that day.  It was raining and hence he went to pick him up.  They would keep his cycle on the backseat.  He had waved them goodbye and left for the tuition class on his cycle.  Where could he be?  He was only 9 years old.  He didn’t have a mobile.  The father cursed himself that he didn’t know the names or whereabouts of his friends.  He couldn’t go back home empty handed.  His wife was already in a state of despair.  The mother went back home and started searching in the neighborhood.

What might have happened to him?  Did he meet with an accident?  But in that small patch from their home to the class there was no evidence of any fresh accident.  In a small town like theirs people could easily tell about any such incident.  Did he get kidnapped?  He couldn’t remember of any enemies that he had other than the occasional tiff with the contractors with whom he worked.  But they wouldn’t stoop so low.  Where, where was his little boy?

Drenched in the rain with the rain washing away his tears the little boy sat all alone crying bitterly.  He was lonely, frightened.  He had decided that he would go back home once the rain had stopped and the tuition time was over.  His parents wouldn’t know that he was not in the class.  He didn’t want them to know that he had skipped the classes few times before too.  He didn’t have the guts to tell them why?  He was shivering, felt hungry, yet he felt better sitting in that rain where no one could watch his tears.

The father was literally in tears when he couldn’t find his son anywhere.  It was getting dark and the rain was unstoppable.  He had decided that he would search in the area they lived in for one last time and then go to the police for help.  While searching the whole area and nearby places suddenly his father had a gut feeling to search the local school nearby which would be closed now.  Though he was sure that it was not the best of the places to search still he decided to take a chance.

As soon as he opened the old creaky gate he could see a small boy sitting on the stairs.  He was crying, frightened, shivering; he was his little boy.  The father ran towards his son, embraced him hard, and burst into tears.  Those were the tears of respite, relief, fear, happiness..

When they entered the home, the mother literally crushed her son in her arms and cried bitterly.  She said, “Do you know what we have been through? Why did you do this?”  She bathed him, changed him into fresh clothes, fed him, and when he was in a better shape, the parents again asked him, “Why did you do so?”  He kept quiet, his eyes brimming with tears.  The parents didn’t want to force him.  So, they let him sleep.  They kissed him good night once they felt he had slept.

The boy simply pretended to sleep.  How could he tell his parents that his tuition teacher, a young man in his 20s, asked him to take off his trousers and…..

 

Enjoy..its pregnancy not a disease!

Becoming a mother is one of the most joyous and memorable event in any woman’s life.  The would-be-mom goes through mixed emotions of happiness, excitement, fear, anxiousness, etc., especially when she is expecting her first child.

Unless there are any medical conditions associated with pregnancy or before pregnancy or the doctor has advised bed-rest and other precautions, pregnancy needs to be enjoyed, taken normally and not treated as any disease.  I remember during both my pregnancies I was working till the last day, doing all the household chores, and enjoyed my pregnancies thoroughly.

Few tips for a smooth pregnancy and taking this phase as normally as one can:

  1.  First and foremost, pregnancy should not be taken as an illness.  Yes, the woman’s body goes through a lot of physical and hormonal changes but unless there are severe medical conditions where the gynecologist advises total bed-rest, take certain precautions and medicines, pregnancy should be taken normally.
  2. Some women have severe nausea and vomiting during the first trimester,  hyperemesis gravidarum.  She should consult the doctor and follow him/her.
  3. During pregnancy, the expecting mother should diligently follow the gynecologist.  There is no harm in following advice from the elderly or experienced mothers but only the doctor is the best person to understand about her condition.
  4. Eat nutritious food which includes all food groups but do not eat excessively.  Some people suggest that a mother should eat for two people, but the fact is whatever healthy diet the mother takes for herself is sufficient for the baby.  Also during this phase the mother shouldn’t diet or bar any food group like fats.  Like all other nutrients, fats are also required for the development of the baby.
  5. As per the doctor’s advise, folic acid and calcium should be taken regularly.  Never stop any supplement on your own.  Also in certain conditions like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia doctor’s prescribe few medicines which should be continued.  They won’t harm the baby.
  6. Continue working in the office, in the house as before.  Just take care not to haste too much, not to bend as the tummy grows bigger.  Take rest in between.  Seek the help and support of colleagues, family and friends whenever required.  This is the best time to get pampered by everyone.
  7. Go for the scans and Doppler as and when indicated by the doctor.  This monitors the baby’s growth and development.
  8. Indulge in prenatal yoga, walk and light exercise after the gynecologist gives a go-ahead.  This helps the would-be-mom to keep fit and energetic.
  9. Never ignore the slightest of discomfort.  It might simply be gas or heartburn or later false alarms yet visit the doctor immediately if the mom feels any issue.
  10. Often women worry about the mode of delivery; whether it would be normal or cesarean.  I always say that one cannot predict anything till the last date.  Of course, every mom would want a normal delivery but when it comes to certain emergent conditions its best to get a C-section done.  After all, nothing is more important than the mother and baby’s life.  I myself had both my kids via C-section and I am perfectly fine and so are my kids who are grown up now!

Pregnancy is a phase that needs to be enjoyed and cherished.  Feel the kicks, hear the heartbeats via Doppler, see the little one moving in the scan..

Happy motherhood!

Take care this season..

Kids falling ill is the one of the biggest concerns for any mother.  This happens more with kids till the age of 5 and with season changes.  Cold and cough and fever not just makes the kid irritable, it also diminishes his appetite.  Mothers are at wits end managing the kids and are also worried about their immunity and overall health.

Sharing a few tips to take care of the little ones and build their immunity.  Of course, in some health conditions doctors are the best people to advice.   Also, these worked for my children; each mother knows the best for her child and so its totally each parent’s discretion.

  •  Don’t make the baby wear a lot of layers.  Don’t make him wear a woolen cap, mittens, socks, etc. all the time if the temperature is normal and not too cold.  You will see kids often sweating or getting irritated when made to wear to many layers.
  • Let the child crawl, walk, run, fall and grow up.  No, I am not heartless!  This helps in building up the kids’ immunity a lot.  The more the kid is in a natural environment the better his immunity will be.  So, every time he crawls or walks and falls don’t go and pick him up.  Of course, the floors need to be kept clean and free of germs and sharp objects.
  • Once the child starts having solids, introduce all the food groups at the earliest.  Give the child pulses, cereals, fruits, vegetables, chicken, paneer, etc. first in a mashed form and later as is.  I started giving my children everything we had, albeit not spicy, since the time they were 7-8 months old.  Giving salt and sugar is totally up to the parents.  This way the kids get all the nutrients, are eating all food groups, and become non-fussy eaters.
  • Never start giving medicines without the doctor’s advice.  Only a medicine for fever like Calpol can be given, that too age-specific dosage and not multiple times.  Not all fevers or cold and cough warrant antibiotics.  So, never introduce any antibiotic or other medicine without the doctor’s advice.  Not all conditions are the same.
  • Don’t panic if the child isn’t eating after recovering from fever or cold and cough.  Don’t try to force feed him.  Even as adults we lose appetite after an illness.  Similarly, the kids also lose appetite which eventually comes back once the child recuperates.  Forcing the child will result in vomiting and abhorrence towards food.
  • Immunity of a child develops in the first 5 years, so don’t worry if he is falling ill once a month or once in 2 months.  Of course, if the child is suffering from asthma or other issues the scenario is different.  Trying out home remedies, Ayurvedic or homeopathic treatment is totally each parents’ choice but for infants home remedies should be avoided as they are too young to be put at any risk.
  • Never stop the course of any medicine in between.  Often mothers stop the medicines once they feel the child is better but that should never be done.  The course of any treatment should always be completed.  This is for the child’s well being.
  • Don’t restrict the child from playing in the mud, getting wet in the rain, playing rough for the fear of falling and hurting.  All these make the child strong.  This is my personal experience.  Don’t worry about getting tanned or the elbows and knees getting dark!  This is applicable for both boys and girls.

The more we mollycoddle the children the lesser the strong they will be.  Let them grow naturally and normally.  Remember our own childhood?

Preparing for school

One of the most important milestones in a child’s life is the beginning of school life.  A child who has been with the parents since birth, protected, guarded is to be prepared to get exposed to a different life altogether.  A life which has teachers, friends, and a lot of other new stuff.

I see many new moms getting nervous about how their kids will adjust or whether they are taking the right decision by sending the child to a school early and so on.  Whether to send the child to a playgroup is totally a parent’s choice but at any stage of school life certain things need to be kept in mind.

Sharing a few pointers from my own experience of sending my two children to school at various stages.

  1. Playgroup.  This is the beginning of a setup where the child is on his own without the parents for 2-3 hours.  A lot of times there is a discussion whether the child who is so young needs to be sent to a playgroup or not.  I would simply say a playgroup is only for 2-3 hours where the children interact with their little peers, play, learn a little, and have lots of fun.
  2. Setting a routine.  When the kids are babies sometimes there is no routine.  They stay awake till late and wake up late.  But once the parents decide to enroll the kid in the school they should start following a routine for the child few months in advance so that the child can cope up well later.
  3. Sleep time.  A toddler needs 10-12 hours of sleep for rest and better growth.  Ensure that the child sleeps on time in the night so that he can wake up fresh in the morning.  Often moms complain that the child is cranky in the morning.  This is because his sleep is not insufficient.
  4. Meals.  One of the biggest struggle of parenting for many moms is food!  Mothers are worried about the quantity of food, the nutrients, and the time taken by the child to finish the meals.  Always ensure that the child has breakfast before going to school.  My children have this habit of having breakfast right from the time they were in playgroup.  Wake up the child a little earlier so that you don’t have to rush the child to eat or may be send the child empty stomach.  A good breakfast is essential for the kids to stay fresh, active and healthy.
  5. Try to select a school which is closer home or either parent’s workplace when the child is younger.  Either parent could reach quickly in case of any emergency.
  6. Talk to the child daily in a casual way to know how his day was, whether he has some issues.
  7. If there are any issues, approach the teacher in a polite manner.  Don’t accuse or argue unreasonably.  After all, the teacher is handling many more children.
  8. Don’t be overprotective.  In the school, kids learn to share, have tiffs, cry, laugh; its all a part of growing up and learning.

School life is a new phase of every parent’s and kid’s life.  With all its ups and downs, its one of the most memorable phase of the children’s life..

Slow down son..

Sometimes I feel like cuddling my son in my arms and telling him just relax my boy! Wish I could turn back time and make you a toddler again where we would go to the park together, read stories together, fool around together. I would watch cartoons with you while we had lunch, I would take you to the karate class in the evening. Every evening you would go down to play with your friends sharp at 7.
 
Now those friends are grown up, some like you in 10th, some in 11th and 12th. Those bunch of boys fighting and laughing every evening have vanished, now they are seen in tuition classes or worrying about their future. Now I see you my boy working hard throughout the day and sleeping the minute your head hits the pillow.
 
Sometimes I feel like telling you bunk the class today and take rest. But you yourself won’t do that. Wish I could make you the cute, chubby 2-year-old again who didn’t have to slog and worry about the future. I know its inevitable and as a parent I wish the best for your future but looking at you working hard relentlessly without a break makes me think why did you grow up so fast?

How much is too much?

How much is too much? Where to draw the line? How to read a child’s mind? Where to stop oneself as a parent?

A family fully shattered, a teenage boy’s innocence and total life lost. A boy who doesn’t have any remorse on murdering his mother. Its spine chilling, its heartless and there’s something more to it. Its a crime yes but aren’t the parents somewhere a little responsible too? Declaring ones son a “complete failure” in front of the whole world is complete no-no. What kind of psychological effect can have it on a child who is being constantly reminded that he is useless? A father evading the home simply because the mother is nagging and not connecting with the child enough is being negligent. Not every child cries or sulks, there are kids of such kind who can take extreme measures like Siddhant who tried to commit suicide twice and now killed his own mother.

As the mother of a teenager, I can see the changes in a teen. A well-behaved, calm teen also has outbursts, rebelliousness. Its very difficult to read the child’s mind always but constant communication, not nagging or belittling, does help to an extent.

Its so unfortunate that a son murders his mother and is remorseless. Parents are at wits end too what to do..do discipline or not to discipline; to be concerned about the child’s future and ask him/her to be serious or simply let the child fail?

What is to be done??

Spoil the son, raise a savage!

A newly-wedded woman in Mumbai gets beheaded and her body scattered all over, just 5 days after her marriage as her “husband” couldn’t refuse to marry her and was unhappy and so this brutality. In Rohtak, a girl refuses to marry and the jilted lover rapes and kills her in the worst possible manner, mutilating her body, disfiguring her face and doing other unmentionable and unimaginable atrocities. Wow..a girl you like or don’t like meets the same fate, the same brutality!

Here I am trying to make my daughter strong to fight the world and imparting my son to respect women. But I am forgetting that not everyone is raising their sons like that! The “son” is a demi-god and can never hear “NO”! He is always allowed to be aggressive, allowed to hit others, allowed to treat women as inferiors. These “revered” boys turn out to be “savages” in the guise of humans.

Stop asking the daughters to be subservient and raise the boys simply as humans. No discipline from home and no punishment from law is going to churn out more savages like these..

Kids-the best teachers

We give birth to our children and are their first teachers.  Right from teaching how to latch to every big and small thing about life we impart knowledge to them, teach them.

But there are a lot of things that our kids teach us too!  Few things which we have forgotten as we have grown older and lost our innocence in the grind of life, things that we have unlearned thanks to the lessons that life has taught us.

Here are ten things that my kids have taught me and I truly wish I can imbibe and implement them:

1.  Love unconditionally.  Have you ever seen kids “not loving” their parents simply because something didn’t go down well with them or was not up to their expectations.  They might be angry for some time but never start hating you or despising you.  No matter what they always love their parents without any conditions attached.  Wish we could retain this value even as adults!

2.  Forget and forgive.  There have been days when I have been extremely angry and annoyed with my kids, have yelled at them, said them things that I shouldn’t have.  All moms have such days!  But that same child will come and hug you when you are crying because you yelled at them.  They will give you a kiss, wipe your tears, and hug you.  They don’t even remember that you had scolded them so bad.  Can adults do that this easily?

3.  Hold no grudges.  Again, its the same as forgive and forget policy.  Kids don’t hold grudges like the adults do.  They are innocent creatures who have a pure heart.  This purity starts vanishing as we start getting older.

4.  Question freely.  How many times has it happened that your kid has come up to and asked a question and totally stumped you?  They question the parents when least expected or a question that might throw the parents off-guard.  Their curious minds want to know answers and they come to the parents and ask them freely without thinking twice.  Somewhere this curiosity and free questioning is curbed by the parents where the parents tell the kids “not to ask certain questions or that they are asking embarrassing questions”!  As we grow up, we stop questioning like the kids do.

5.  Fall, laugh, and get going.  Kids fall so many times while playing, running around, fooling around.  They fall, might cry for some time, but again gather themselves and get going again!  They don’t keep on brooding about why they fell, where they hurt, or keep blaming anyone for their fall.  This is a thing that adults need to re-learn from their children.

6.  Dream without thinking about power, position, or money.  All kids at one point in their life want to become sweeper, engine driver, maid, cobbler, and such.  But once they grow up the same kids would never wish to be the same.  Why?  Simply because younger kids dream of doing something without giving any importance to power, position, money, or social status.  How innocent and pure..right?

7.   Be carefree and uninhibited.  Kids laugh, cry, fight, play without any inhibitions.  They don’t bother or worry about “log kya kahenge”?  Rings a bell?

8.  Make and accept friends without any bias.  Every child loves and accepts their friends without bothering about his religion, caste, food choices, and looks.  I have seen my son who is a hardcore non-vegetarian sharing a table with his Jain friend while eating or respecting if the Jain friend feels uncomfortable sharing the table.  No questions asked, no being judgmental.  A first ranker will be friend with a academically weak student.  Wish the world was like these kids, then we would have had no hatred anywhere.

9.  Trust everyone easily.  The kids are innocent and hence trust everyone easily.  But the adults are the ones who are responsible for making the children not trust people.  What do we teach kids; don’t accept food from anyone, don’t talk to any stranger and such.  But such is the world that we cannot trust our kids with anyone.

10.  Be happy in any situation.  This is a big learning from the kids.  They are happy in any situation.  They seldom compare their life to others like the grown-ups too.  We are unhappy even if we have many things in life as we start comparing our life to others.

Lets learn few things from our kids again and try to be happy and content!

Mom!Take me to the parlor!

Natasha, all of 7 years, got an invitation for a friend’s birthday party.  The birthday party had the theme of a princess.  Natasha wanted to look her best and wanted others to envy her.  She came back home from her school and straight went to her mother’s room.  “Mom, I want to go shopping today and tomorrow I want to go to the parlor to get my makeup and hair done according as per the theme.  I want all the girls to be jealous of me.  I want to look my best.  I want to be the most popular girl in my class and school.”

Her mother smiled very proudly and took her shopping.  The dress, shoes, and matching accessories were meant only for one day.  Next day, mom and daughter went to an upmarket salon where Natasha decided that she will get her hair done as per the theme with some highlights, manicure, pedicure, chocolate facial for the “glow”, nail art, and finally the makeup.

When she was done finally, she blew a kiss to herself and her mother was beaming with pride.  She entered the birthday party adjusting her off-shoulder gown and strutting in her 4-inch high heels.  All the other girls looked at her in awe.  That’s exactly what Natasha wanted, the look of appreciation, awe and jealousy in each girl’s eyes.  She said to herself, “No one can stop you from becoming the most beautiful, stylish and popular girl in the school.”

Sounds filmy..isn’t it?  But sadly it is not.  Children as young as 6-7 are “groomed” by their parents.  Just came across a write-up in a popular publication where parents said that “looking good” would make their children confident and popular among peers.

Call me old-fashioned but is that what makes a child popular and confident?  What about the values of sportsman spirit, sharing, helping, being happy and confident in your own skin, not judging anyone on the basis of their caste, looks, complexion, gender, etc.??  Kids as such get bullied in the school.  A plump kid getting teased daily, a dark girl being discriminated, a child from humble background being looked down upon, and many such examples of bullying and discrimination start from the school itself.

Why does an 8-year-old need chocolate facial for relaxation?  Its an age where playing with friends, getting dirty in sand and mud, chatting with friends brings relaxation.  Every stage has its own charm.  Childhood means innocence.  The entire adult life is left to do all the other things.

Times are changing, kids are exposed to a lot of things now.  But as parents we have the responsibility to make them understand what’s right and what’s wrong.  They are kids and would demand everything that they see.  Its we who can tell them about the pros and cons of things that they wish for or see.

Giving emphasis on looks right from a very tender age has adverse effects on the children.  Once in a while pampering is fine but making it a daily ritual is not!  No, I am not being judgmental, I am forced to think as we are raising the next generation!

Think about it!

Innocence lost..

Me and my siblings started our schooling in a small one-room school with an awesome couple, Koshy sir and madam, running the school. Those days the concept of playgroup wasn’t there but the couple did exactly what playschools do today, may be more. It was a modest room with only one blackboard and few benches. Sometimes we used to sit on the floor. Koshy sir and madam were an affable couple who would make us laugh, play as well as teach a few things in a very funny, enjoyable manner. They would themselves become children with Koshy sir rolling on the floor, making faces while we kids in our modest clothes, steel boxes (no fancy bags) and a plastic bottle would relish. Sir and madam would handle bawling kids alone without the help of any ayah or helper. They would clean the kids up when they soiled. Our parents would leave us with them knowing very well that the teachers would take good care of us. All this in a very small fees.

When I hear of reputed schools now sexually exploiting, harassing toddlers who know nothing, I really miss Koshy sir. Despite paying hefty fees, agreeing to every whim and fancy of these schools, the schools cannot provide love and security to these small kids who might even remain scarred for life.

Its been more than 3 decades, still I remember Koshy sir with so much fondness. What will the toddlers of these reputed schools remember when they grow up?

What that one-room modest school provided to us was a lot more than what the kids don’t get despite their parents paying hefty sums..

#keepthechildrensafe #scaredofkidsbeingscarred