Halloween : keeping the horror away from kids.

There are so many events and invites popping up in the mailbox for the upcoming Halloween. More and more people are getting into celebrating Halloween. Restaurants are introducing special  cook up theme menus with wild drinks and gory decorations. Malls and shopping centers have a huge display of dress up costumes and scary looking things.

People in India have suddenly started celebrating Halloween. I just have a simple question to ask them. Living here in India, are we short of festivals, that we don’t get to celebrate? We almost have half a year to celebrate different festivals and holidays. Month of October was whole lot of celebration from Navratri through Dusshera, leading to Diwali in the next month.

There are so many other festivals celebrated all over the world, but we chose the one that needed people to wear fancy/scary costumes and paint their face. If we really want to adapt a festival, then why not go for Thanksgiving, that has ample amount of everything from food to family conversations and sibling fun-fights. Thanksgiving will be so good for our regular lives.

It’s as, we don’t have enough scary things happening in our real lives, that we want to bring in a holiday that celebrates horror. I am not against Halloween. I love pumpkins, candy, and dress up costumes, but I’m really not a big fan of Halloween. Well, let’s say I’m not a big fan of all that comes with Halloween. I would like to change a few things or say I would like it a lot more.

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It can be pretty scary for kids. I’d like to keep out the bloody, yucky and scary parts. Children are children. They don’t need to celebrate bloodstained gory cruelty. They don’t need to celebrate the day of dead in full swing. As a society, we are outraged and shocked by the acts of violence. So why is the need for children to roam around in fake dripping blood. Telling horror stories and watching scary movies leaves a long term impact on their minds causing reoccurring nightmares.

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“MARK WAZOWSKI” The Disney one eyed monster. We did this craft with kids out of polymer clay.

Instead of all these it’s important to tell kids the ancient stories about celebrating Halloween. Explaining them that Halloween is a time of carousal and superstition. Mounting the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death. It’s just a reminder about Daylight savings time. Reminder it’s that time again….set clocks one hour behind on November 1st. There are plenty of other fun activities to do with kids to enjoy the day. Carving designs and shapes in the pumpkins can be real fun. Going to trick-or-treat with friends in the neighborhood and passing out candy. Making different crafts like polymer clay dough craft, funny faced cookies. There could be a list of activities available to do with kids on Halloween. That’s about how I prefer celebrating Halloween and taking the scare out of my kids.

Cheers and a happy weekend with HALLOWEEN !!!

The GIRL who did not talk

There was this little girl who at six months gurgled and drooled and made lovely baby sounds. As the days went by and she turned one year old the babies next door, and her mother’s friends’  babies all started saying words : Mama, biscuit, doggie, bow-wow. But this little girl continued to chuckle and chuckle but not a word!

Mother and Father grew anxious. Took little baby to the pediatrician. The doctor checked her nose, her eyes, her ears, her mouth and exclaimed, “she is perfectly alright,she will talk.” Days grew into weeks, into months and the little baby was now a year and a half. Parents again went to see the doctor. The doctor again checked her nose, her eyes, her ears, her mouth and exclaimed, “Be patient, the baby is perfectly okay and she will talk.”

Baby was walking, making noises, making herself understood, but not talking. Now she was two years old and the parents were getting tense and worried. Baby used to visit the grocer with her mother and the grocer was a kind man who always gave her a banana. One fine morning as they drove by the grocer’s shop, suddenly baby sang out, “I love banana, I want banana.” Father was stunned, mother almost fainted with happiness. “She is talking! She is talking! “. And now we wish she would stop talking!

This little baby is my darling daughter. Now almost seven and half year old. A full-time story-teller, making her own description of new goings-on. She is a chatter-box and we just love her a lot.!!!!!!!!!!

This song actually shows how I experience to be her proud mom…… I love you. baby.

 “ALWAYS BE MY BABY ”  DAVID COOK

We were as one babe

For a moment in time

And it seemed everlasting

That you would always be mine

Now you want to be free

So I’m letting you fly

Cause I know in my heart babe

Our love will never die!

Is this really my time for a BREAK ???

Ahhah… !!!  Now this is some observation, each one of us (mommies) must have done at some point of time while your kid/kids are around.

You keep yelling for their attention and there will be no response, try to intervene again and they ignore you. They are in fact so busy in their favorite cartoons or playing among themselves that you are hardly noticeable. So you think it’s your time and acting a bit mean you predict to enjoy.

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And then there are evidential episodes which each one of you can relate, here are mine :

#1 I make a phone call: 😀 Just after exchanging warm HELLOS, there are howling sounds in the background, and I wonder whose kids… your or mine???? ….of course mine…!! Just after greetings are my goodbyes…. call you later…. and end of call. That is the only time when they are the most hungry kids in the world or sibling rivalries take place.

#2 Plan a nap or lie on the couch: :p If I can plan something then why can’t they, especially the younger one, don’t underestimate the power of a kid, the younger the sharper and clever they are. Either there will be some suspicious blackout silence which will of course push you out of the bed/couch to look around or if there is nothing of that sort, then its definitely POTTY time and of course, not your nap time.

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#3 Time for me to use the Bathroom: If I really get that ME time, this would be a luxury life I might be living. The 2 year old chasing me till the bathroom. Not to wonder, sometimes I am not concentrating on what I am there for, but continuously talking from inside and pacifying the impish little villain.

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#4 Open a chocolate bar: 🙂 I have a sweet tooth, but do you think I get the chance to eat that bar of chocolate??? They will just pounce on me, sometimes there is a fight for equal distribution of pieces, so I am the one hardly getting just one or may be none, and mostly there is this crying and nagging session so that sacrificing-motherly-love pours out.

#5 the tea/coffee session: I just take a sip of my coffee, then there is time for diaper change, while doing that it reminds me there is something on the stove, while in the kitchen I see the empty water bottles to be refilled, and then I referee and send the kids for time out, just then the elder one tells me that she cannot time out she needs to potty….  ehhh  !!! And my coffee is waiting for another sip…..

Cheers to Motherhood !!!!!!

p.s. friends and family or the friends of friends and whoever reading this, who can relate to and others who are yet to reach there….  just enjoy, like share and comment….. thanks !!

10 Ways to Enjoy A book or Two

“ The more you read, the more things you will know,

the more you learn, the more places you’ll go ”.

-Dr.Seuss

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Reading may be hard for some people but it can be developed into a habit. It is never too late to start reading and widen your daily horizons. Every parent should inculcate the habit of reading in their kids. Whatever age a child is, he/she can start with books at a very early age. Studies say a kid can start observing books at 6 months and also listen to stories. Remember that good book makes good read. Books are one’s real friend, they help you to cultivate a feeling of satisfaction. If reading is not you have done till now, it is never late to start. Reading can be developed into a habit easily.

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  1. Anything that you would like to read can be a starting. You can begin with a newspaper, magazine or a story book. To start developing interest in reading you can take up a comic book or short stories. Reading can be anything and everything. Sit with your children and read.
  2. 15 minutes a day. Yes, just 10-15 minutes a day and its enough for the beginners. Make a point to read at a particular time of the day, like, in the afternoon or after a nap, before sleeping or time that suits you. Stick to that routine of reading at your chosen time. That will also give you some family time when reading with kids.
  3. You can carry a book always with you, so if there is a waiting time, or a queue, or in a bus, anywhere you can just open the book and indulge in your world.
  4. Join a library. This will help you find more books and understand the type of books you may be interested in reading. Joining a library will also make new friends with the same interest and people you can discuss about reading.
  5. Try to read carefully each word and understand what you are reading. Always make sure to mark or underline difficult words while reading with kids and look for their meanings later. Consult a dictionary, you can also make kids learn two new words a week.
  6. Make a list of books you read and to be read.
  7. Make your reading time pleasurable. Do not read for the heck of it or under pressure of reading. It is not a compulsion but a choice.
  8. Gradually increase your reading time from 15 minutes to half an hour or one hour. Find more time and different things to read. Keep books handy and easily available like near your bedside or in the drawing room. So you can grab a book whenever you wish to read.
  9. Last but most important, reading will help you to broaden your worldview, make you aware of different authors, will enhance your knowledge and make you smarter. Always be positive before reading and tell yourself  “ I am going to enjoy this”.
  10. Children copy their parents much faster than anyone else. Give them the pleasure of reading.

Cheers!!!

Spreading LOVE

Yesterday was a big day for me and kids. Not because its some special day but because we visited an orphanage, which actually brought  a gush of emotions and compelled us to think and view a different side of life. We (TEAM HAPPY FEET) can happily say that this outing proved to be a milestone to us and kids as a tool for learning and fomenting thought development. Not only that, we are also certain that we will be learning a lot from them as well, including experiences about life such as being grateful and being genuinely happy with what we have.

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Before we even got to meet the kids, we were offered a tour around the property. Walking around, it was a pleasant surprise to see how my expectations of a dusty and sad place were replaced by the reality of a heartwarming, and welcoming environment and the children smiled with sparkling and curious eyes as we walked by them. We were pleasantly surprised to encounter such happy and lively kids who we could get along with easily. And we were even more surprised to see how they warmed up to us.

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Once we finished our tour around the property, we gathered the kids for some interactive session with them to help us get to know them and encourage their trust. We got to know a lot about them: their favorite colors, what they like to do, what is their favorite sport and also their favorite subjects. It was good to know that all the kids were attending school.

sindutai - CopyThe experience was, without shadow of a doubt, one of the most rewarding and fulfilling we have had. It was an afternoon spent with fun and getting to know the children a little better. By the end of the visit, we had learned most of their names and they had learned ours. It is an understatement to say time passed quickly, when we realized we had to go, it was well after the time we had intended to leave.

Now, for my reflection of the experience I had, it’s very heart-warming. Looking at the happiness and potential of those kids, I asked myself, isn’t it unfair for them to be here? But there’s a reason for everything. The lives of these children can mean a lot of success stories. They can change the world if they would want to, and their lives can be an example to the fatherless, for those who have fathers and mothers, for those who grew up in their families. This visit brought the raw emotions ring loud and clear. It’s so hard to come to grips with the realities of the world.

I was almost numb when the kids gave us two special numbers. They sang to us their two prayers. One which they recite before meals and the other is the evening prayer. The lines that struck me were the words that go something like this:

We were unfortunate–barefooted, no shelter, no life. But God sent you here to let us know that we are loved, nurtured, and… Thank You, God for we are precious in Your eyes, a precious heritage, Your child!” ( it was in Marathi ). I couldn’t remember the exact words.The other one was “tumhi ho mata pita tumhi ho…..” ( in Hindi ).

This experience gave me deeper love and understanding for the children, particularly those who are abandoned, neglected, and orphaned. And I hope, through sharing this experience, you would also love them too. It has made me realize how fortunate I am to be living where we can easily take things for granted. We complain about the smallest things and crib about useless stuff and yet seeing the children from the orphanage made me realize that they live a very simple life and yet they are very happy.

This visit was actually a part of project given by the school. After the visit the kids realized how important it is to have parents, what all they provide them without even thinking twice. The girls accompanied us were all class five students of St.Mary’s School, Pune. While coming back from there,on the way, we had a deep discussion about the kids and their daily routine. Throughout the discussion I realized that the girls have been really moved by their gesture, though the kids there were orphans.

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Through this visit our kids learned the little things in life can also make you happy and content. The unprivileged lot were without accusation, criticism and grievance. Our kids were educated about humanity and mankind. Also the parents of the girls, who visited the orphanage with me observed changes in their behavior. They were more thankful and respected the parents.

20140918_154122Many of us have already visited the place and tried our best to help them through donations which are used for their education and well being.They do not accept outside food except biscuits and other packet snacks. Anyone who would like to visit the place, below are the contact details.

After visiting the place, I, Myself have decided to visit the ashram once a year, and to keep myself reminded about the date, I chose the day of the death anniversary of my husband. Each one of us should try and do something to help the needy. There are various such organizations which are helping the poor, needy and the orphans. Try and locate one in your community.

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Life can be unfair at times but trust like this, people like Sindhutai Sapkal known by all as “MAI” makes me believe in goodness of life. Last but not least, we would like to give a special thanks to Mrs.Madhvi for allowing us to visit Sanmati Bal Niketan at Manjari,Pune and for guiding us the entire way. Also thanks to the staff of that wonderful place, for motivating us to interact with the children.

for contacting them here is the link http://sindhutai.apneareamein.com/

CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!!!

originally written for mycity4kids.com

She flies like a bird…… gliding!!!

Zip… Zaaap.. Zooooom…!!!! And here goes my little bundle, my sweetheart !!

With a dream in her heart and the passion in her eyes, she flies like a bird, with her skates on, aiming to touch the sky and fly beyond.

It all started at a tender age of 3, when she saw her cousin skating in his society. All she wanted to do was, wear his skating shoes, although they were at least 2 sizes bigger. We tried to convince her but in vain. She started up with some tantrums and we had to give her the skating shoes. The smile was priceless when she tried to move with them. Fell several times, got up, started again, fell down and the same was repeated, until she banged the front door and got a bruise. As we were sure to receive a shrieking and wailing episode, we were stunned to know, that the girl didn’t cry instead got up and started back. That was just the beginning for her, and we thought it will be over after this.

Again, after few days we went shopping and she saw the skates on display, seeing her so keen on wearing them my husband decided to buy them for her. Fortunately, we have skating coach coming to our society building and I started her coaching. In no time, almost less than a month, she was able to glide so well. Being in the category of Early Starters she picked up quite appropriately and smoothly.

It developed into a fabulous hobby for her, we could sense the intensity and efforts she was putting in to learn. Her coach guided us well and started sending her in competitions after 4 years. Her perseverance and dedication showed results. To our surprise she stood first in age group category. And then there was no looking back. She is 7 yrs and still skating, now with the professional skates. I feel so proud to see her, every time she flaunts with her skates, but she deserves to do that.

For anything that a child is putting his/her cent percent, it is necessary for the parents to give in their best input, coaching or equipment required. A child can show very early traits, which need to be noticed and appreciated by the parents to bring the talent out and help in reaching new heights. We are happy that we were able to find an early starter in our daughter.

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For her, skating is intrinsically satisfying, she is naturally inclined to the movements that she experiences while skating. It has provided her self confidence and also helped her develop physical and mental success. She has a burning fire for skating. At this early age not only she is living skating but breathing it. She is very keen on learning different heights, technical movements and speed.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to make every experience into fun and valuable for the child. A child needs to have positively boosting experiences that delineate them how they can solve problems, attain goals, and have control over the direction their life will take. Phenomenally, the concepts that are learned while achieving a skill are just as important as the skill itself. A young person who experiences the success of attaining set goals, has developed a strong sense of confidence and self-esteem, can also relate and interact positively with others, is undoubtedly going to approach future challenges and obstacles in life with increased chances for success. When exploited properly the act of skating can literally be the channel to enhance adaptations to almost any challenge or experience she may confront in life.

I do not expect her to become an Olympian or a national player, I just want her to live her dream. I want her to remain fit and build self-esteem. She is growing fast, and changing everyday. Her dreams and her goals may also change. Her interests and her participation in activities and sports are ought to change. But I only know this, that I need to be supportive while she strives to find her niche in life.

#EarlyStarters #Aviva #contest #article

originally written for mycity4kids.com