Thursday, October 31, 2013

Amma - You said Stupid!

I love blaming the TV for poor language.
I love blaming external influences for my kids fighting and being rough. Just a few weeks back Isaac and Ziva were pushing each other playfully calling out 'Chota bheem'. We do not have cable in our house and they have not really had much time at other places to totally absorb the characteristics of this TV character (one I am not terribly fond of). I asked them where they got this game from and they mentioned a friend they played with. I reprimanded them and it took a few threats of spankings before they stopped playing it. I enjoyed laying the blame on some TV show that was played in someone else house.
I enjoyed blaming Suresh for screaming IDIOT in the car every time a bike or car cut him off on the road. I emotionally threatened him that the kids would pick up the word and start using it.

I enjoyed blaming everyone and everything else and living in my little bubble of holiness ... till Isaac burst my bubble!
I cannot remember where or how I had told him 'Stupid' was not a good word to say. But something about it registered in him. He doesn't register phonics or numbers I teach him... but this word stays in head!

It was Sunday morning. Sunday morning is always 'crazy' morning for me. Getting things ready to get going to church may seem simple ... but it was always chaos by 10 am (when its time to leave). 
It was close to this time when I handed over multivitamin in a small cup to Isaac and Ziva.  Usually they are very good at drinking it with no spill. But on this particular morning Ziva picked her cup and turned it upside down. Laughing while she did it.'
I yelled  ' You stupid ... stupid girl! Look what you did'
I was just glad she didn't have clothes on her.
Isaac: 'Amma you said 'Stupid'. You should not say stupid'


I stopped! I had no words.
Me: I am sorry Isaac. I did not mean to. Ziva I am so sorry.
A few minutes later Suresh walked down the stairs.
Isaac: Appa- Amma said 'Stupid'.


We think our kids are most influenced by their peers. But we always fail to see how much we can influence them. Its the small moments like the one I described above that can make and break my child's character. So all us parents out there .... think about what you are doing to set a good example, to be a good influence or build some character before you go about blaming the TV, friends and other external influences for your child's behaviour

 - Guilty mom!

A favorite quote that reminds me what a great influence we parents are on our kids

'When you teach her (your daughter), she learns more rapidly. When you guide her, she gains confidence. If you fully understand just how profoundly you can influence your daughter's life, you would be terrified, overwhelmed, or both. Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can't shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man'

From Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters - by Dr. Meg Meeker.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kiss Kiss -- the difference between boys and girls

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of
Before anyone things I am going to be writing about 'Kiss' and 'boys' and 'girls' my age ... well you are wrong ... lets rephrase that a little
Kiss Kiss --- The difference between sons and daughters.
Even though my Ziv-Ziv may seems like the most independent person ... strutting around not wanting to be carried for more than a seconds ... there is something about her that lets you know she is all girl and like all girls will make you sigh as you see her grow up.
Even though my Isaac seems like the most dependent person ... wanting to be clinging ... found mostly around my knees ... refusing to run off and play ... there is something that lets you know .. he is going to be all boy ... always hiding his feelings

Ziva has changed a lot in the most subtle ways becoming daddy's little girl. There was a time that I could just lay her on the floor and she would fall of to sleep. Very independent. And she still is ... but now there are lot of hugs and kisses and wrapping her arms around your neck so you cannot breathe!
Isaac was always all boy ... mamas boy ... he still refuses to sleep next to anyone but me. Occasionally watching Ziva nestle between me and Suresh ... he will ask or that position just to piss her off!

But the most prominent difference between these two as boy and girl --- I discovered yesterday.
We got this new book called Kiss Kiss. Its a story about a Hippo that forgets to kiss its mother before it goes off to play. The Hippo remembers after seeing other baby animals kiss their mother and returns to kiss its mothers.

I first read the book to Ziva yesterday morning. Everytime a baby animal kissed its mother ... I would lean toward her and kiss her twice - since the words in the book said ' Kiss Kiss'. She listened to the book intently and enjoyed the kisses. It was a very cute book!
An hour later, Isaac was awake and we were reading the book again. This time Isaac was sitting on one side of me and Ziva on  the other side. Every time there was a 'Kiss-Kiss' I would bend over to Ziva and kiss  her and then bend over the Isaac and kiss him. At the first animal, I saw Isaac wipe  of the kiss still engrossed in the book. At the second animal there was a protest  'Aaaaa!'
When I reached the third animal as I turned to kiss Isaac, I was shocked with a hard whack on my face. (I think he intended to push my face away ... but got the better of the movement).
In a state of shock I responded ... 'Isaac I love you that is why I am kissing you!'
Isaac: 'Read the book Amma!;

Kissing Isaac when we could ...

That's what little boys are made of!

Ziva got 'Kiss-kiss' for the remaining animals and did not mind a bit of the extra-love!

Little girls and their giggles

That's what little girls are made of!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sipping hot cocoa with a friend

I always dreamed about being my child's best friend. This was before I had kids. I promised myself I would be understanding and logical and a fun mom! But that was before all the yelling and screaming and tantrums. That was before I realized that kids are completely illogical.

But things are changing. I had a friend in the US who told me ... "the first two years are very hard and then it becomes really easy"
She was encouraging me as I was wallowing in my own pity about how close my kids were in age to each other. The first two years have come and gone and it seems like she knew what she was talking about. There is still yelling and screaming and things that never make sense ... but there are these moments that make you feel like things will become easy!

Ziva is still at the age where sentences don't always make sense and communication is more about yes's and no's

But my four year old Isaac ... well he seems like a big boy now. With a sense of humor and memories and thoughts that do not necessarily know the time of events .... but clearly remember events!

I have often heard him talking to himself. In vague interrupted sentences he recollects conversations, promises and vague happenings.
It was one such afternoon that he asked for 'once more' that made me realized that inspite of my yelling and screaming ... there were moments he enjoyed with me too.

It was one afternoon that I woke Isaac up a little earlier than Ziva and we sat down to read a few stories. I am not sure which story it was ... or how the talk about hot chocolate came. But I asked him 'Isaac you want some hot chocolate.
He nodded a yes and looked a little excited.
We made the milk hot ... put in the drinking cocoa ... and to give things an added interest I pulled out a piece of Dairy milk from the refrigerateur and asked him to drop it into the milk.

He looked surprised but followed instructions as he watched me drop my piece into the milk and stir it.
We took our hot chocolate out to the steps and watched the school kids return home. He watched me stir my chocolate ... and sip and he imitated me.

A few days later ... another early wake up with Isaac and even before he was fully awake he requested
'Can I have hot chocolate and put chocolate in it?'

I nodded ... pleased with myself. Happy that I had started a new tradition ... just mom and son (and when Ziva stops needing afternoon naps she can join us too.)
Sipping cocoa on the steps .. two friends ... watching the afternoon slip into evening ....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Memory Verses: 'Out of the mouth of babes I have ordained praise!'

The church we attended in the US .... the one that helped me make my final commitment with my saviour was big on memory verses. I still remember the very first Sunday I sat watching children between the age of 3 and 15 years stand in a line in front of the church and recite various verses. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front o a crowd of about 60 people and recite verses from the bible. This bunch was a mixture of kids who loved saying their verses, those who were terrified and those who were plain reluctant and went up there because of a cold stare from their parents. It was also nice to see the audience support each child with a clap or a loud 'Amen'. And just in case someone forgot a line of two ... there were plenty of folks with bibles open ...  encouraging them with a few words to help them complete what they had started.

I was amazed by these kids and their ability to recite verses. I had tried memorizing verses inspired by these kids  ... but as you grow in age .. your ability to retain long sentences to memory becomes hard.
I remember a brother encouraging everyone to learn verses by quoting the famous King David who wrote many of the Psalms  saying 'I have hidden your word in my heart  that I might not sin against you.'

When Isaac was born I promised myself I would teach him as many memory verses as I could and by age of 18 months, he was completing memory verses ... 
ME: The lord is my
Isaac: Shepard
Me: I shall not
Issac: want

Since we left the US, and wonderful ICF, I have not found a church that so actively promotes hiding Gods word in the heart. I have not found a church that encourages kids to be part of the service by sharing their meditation and learning and readings during the week with the congregation.

When I once asked why not ... I got the response of how children just purely memorize without understanding the lines. Quite true ... but here is another side to this story revealed to me  by my two year old daughter.

Ziva has phenomenal memorization skills. She listens to a song or a nursery rhyme maybe once or twice and can repeat most of it back to you. I guess she compensates for refusing to read her alphabets.
Its amazing how she bursts into 'Row row .. row your boat' or 'Peter and James and John on the sail boat'. Even though she still has a lisp and clarity in words is an ongoing battle for her , we can see that she is listening and attempting to repeat.

It was two mornings ago as I was making breakfast for Suresh and the kids that I heard the sweet voice of my child say 'Bless the lord oh my soul ...and all that is within me ...bless his holy name' 

I was shocked. I had never really taught her that verse. Suresh's family has the habit of saying this verse at the end of every prayer. 
'Bless the lord oh my Soul and all that is withing me bless his holy name, Bless the lord oh my soul and forget not all his benefits'
We too say this whenever we finish family prayer. 

I picked her up in my arms and asked her to repeat and she repeated with a big grin on her face realizing that I was mighty pleased with her. 

I realized I had been slacking on teaching Ziva memory verses with the excuse that she did not understand it. Yet I had no problem her memorizing all the nursery rhymes in the world without an ounce on what it meant to
'Twinkle' or what is a 'Diamond'. And in doing that I had not helped her hide Gods word in her heart!

Psalm 119 : 9-16
 9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
12 Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
13 With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
14 I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
15 I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
16 I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The boy who never danced!

"Dance Isaac dance ... move your hands up this way .. cross your legs  one in front of the other ..."
And the only thing Isaac did was stand twiddling his fingers in one corner staring at her (Deepa) and the rest of the kids in class. It was then that I realized that I never really danced with him.

This was May 2013 .... the first day of summer camp! The picture below is taken about midway through camp with an over-enthusiatic Isaac!

When I spoke with Artsy Craftsy proprieter before Summer camp began she mentioned  'We will have Art and Craft , Story telling, outdoor games and Dance'
Me: ' What kind of dance ?'
Kanchan: ' Bollywood style'
Me : 'AAAAAA!'
Kanchan: ' Dance is by Kreative Steps and Deepa is really good!'
I was skeptical ... but I was desperate for some interaction for Isaac and Suresh encouraged me to go ahead! I do not regret a single 10 Km drive to Brigade Metropolis!

I did not believe in her. But today I owe Deepa an apology. After two camps with Kreative steps and Artsy Craftsy  (Now called Creative Adda). I am thinking ... I want to go learn a few moves. And its all thanks to Deepa Gandhi dance teacher and proprietor for Kreative steps.
Listening to the song that Isaac was dancing to .. Suresh says 'How does she find these songs ... they are so cute'. While I think its cute kids dancing to lungi dance ... Deepa has these 'finds' of super cute kids songs!
Tiger boo and  Hunny bunny hold special places in our hearts and wont get out of our heads!

Suresh and I love dancing... You do not have to tell us more than once and we are on the dance floor enjoying ourselves. But I realize somewhere between Grad school and a job and the stress of not having a child ... we forgot the joy of dancing! Dancing does bring in a lot of joy.
Once we had our little boy and then little girl ... we were too busy dancing to their tunes. We forgot to dance! We had lots of actions songs and rhymes ... but no dance!

I realized how much my children had missed dancing when I saw Isaac very reluctant to go dance along with the other kids. I do not think he was shy or had an inhibition standing there... he just was not used to dancing.
I flipped out and throughout the Summer Camp, Suresh and I kept doing steps of Tiger boo! that Deepa was teaching them. Deepa unfortunately had to leave midway through camp and Kanchan winged the rest of the dance class (very well!)

Between May and October ... everytime Suresh and I danced ... Isaac threw a tantrum. Ziva joined along just for the fun of it. I started patiently waiting for Creative Adda's Dussera camp. I knew Kreative Steps would be teaching with some new and cool moves.

One or two days into class I asked Deepa ' Deepa Aunty is Isaac dancing !'
Deepa: 'Of course! Isaac show mama your steps!'

He did not! But he did tell me the song he was dancing to and we looked it up on you tube and enjoyed it together.

One day after camp as I was picking up Isaac. .. he was being a little slow .. humming something and then I hear ' hunny bunny!'
That was his song from Camp. I was so excited to just hear him!

Then the best day came. Finale for the Creative Adda Dussera camp. I wondered as Kanchan messaged me saying there was going to be a stage and the kids were going to perform etc. Would Isaac Stand in front of an audience and do his steps!

What a moment of pride to see my boy standing there doing his steps ... not looking at me or Suresh ... just enjoying the dance and performing in front of a total bunch of strangers!

He was the boy who never danced .... till he enjoyed dancing! Thanks Kreative Steps .... and thank you so much Artsy Craftsy ... and looking forward to Creative Adda's next camp ... Can't wait!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

When opportunity knocks!

I may be wrong but I think there is a point where every mother goes through an identity crisis.

For me it happens more when I get asked the question 'Do  you work?'
The crazy woman in me wants to scream my lungs out saying ... do you see these kids running around me ... they are my full time employers.
The other day I had a form to fill and in it the question was 'Profession'. I stopped ... I was tempted to write homemaker ...

But that is no longer true. I will always be a homemaker as would any mom/wife/ woman at any age ... that is our innate 'Profession'.

I looked up at Suresh 'What should I write for Profession?'
I knew the answer to all the other questions. Name .... Age ... Sex ... Address ...

Yet this one I was not sure.

Suresh: 'Medical Physicst! No just Physicist!'
How did he have the confidence I did not. I realized that no matter how many years I stayed away from my 'Education!' It would always somewhere  ...somehow catch up with me.

                                                                                      My office then (2007)

When we returned to India I lazed around for a bit. I enjoyed my blogging... Telling my mommy stories ... Sharing my saga! Then I wanted a little pocket money. So I started writing for other folks. Initially it was mommy writings ... then just general writings.

And then opportunity knocked ... reminding me what I had spent 5 years slogging over to get the three alphabets behind my name (Ph.D.) and then another two years as a slave to get the certification of D.A.B.R .... very very sought after four initials ... at least in my field of work.

Yes after a two year break in not using my education 'PhD in Medical Physics'  ... and D.A.B.R .....I am back once again ... looking at my physics books and probably built up with the most sadistic part of any profession. Quiz writing.

Every time  Suresh saw me working on strange topics of blogging or content writing he would say ...
'Don't forget you are a medical physicist'. Several times he reminded me that if I went out and worked I would probably make as much if not more money than him ... a perk of being clinically trained. But I am still having separation anxiety. I asked him to find me a job I could do from home. Be careful what you ask for. He did not find me the job ... it just fell on my lap. And its awesome!

Dont get me wrong I enjoy being with the kids and teaching them and reading to them etc. .. but once in a while I did wish I was reading more than Little Red Riding hood (For the 50th time) and singing 5 little ducks (for the 600th time).
Suresh kept saying: Keep in touch with your field ... maintain your certification ... read your scientific papers.

Its hard to do all that without incentive.
And incentive came.

I now spend about 3-4 hrs a day being Editor of a website, going through Medical physics quiz questions making sure they are appropriate and am well on my way to writing original quiz questions and all for the pay of a Medical Physicist. I work for an old colleague ... and so flexibility is a piece of cake!

 My office now

My work now :)

A friend of mine had recently put up this post on facebook.
"If opportunity does NOT knock build a door."
I built my door and left it open .. opportunity came walking in and sat on my lap.

But there is still this fear. How long will this job last? Should I tell people about it? I have been very secretive about my job (that I have one) and more importantly when I get asked if I work I promptly reply 'NO!'. Though I think the No comes more of confusion of being a working/ homeschooling mom of two rather than denial or fear.

But I realize .. what the heck this is like any other job I could have. In a few months to a years time this website may become self sufficient and may not need me to be editor. At that time I will build another door and leave it open.

Till then I will be Rohini George ... Ph.D.,  D.A.B.R, ... Editor for

And when someone asks me what I do or whether I work I will be saying by education I am a Medical Physicist using my knowledge but by choice I work with my family  ;) ... and then I will direct them to this blog :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

What happened to those lazy mornings? Where did they go?

There used to be a time when a long weekend meant something … a holiday in the middle of the week was something we looked forward to!

It was a Friday. It was a holiday. A holiday means nothing to me anymore except that Suresh stays at home with us. This exception is a big deal. Having Suresh at home is a blessing. He watches the kids, plays with them and shares the disciplining responsibility so I am not screaming my lungs out continuously.
But there used to be a time when we could be spontaneous. We could wake up late and then eat brunch and then go for a drive to some mountains and then go hiking...
But not anymore.... For one thing – we cannot wake up late. If our biological alarm clock does not set off, then the physical one sleeping right next to us … will promptly pick up her leg and whack it on our stomach! (Giving the instinct to pee --- and we are up!)
I have heard parents say that they just sleep in … and their kids will sleep in with them too …. I really am jealous of parents whose kids let them sleep in! For us the story so far … first it was Isaac who would wake up at 6 am and open our eyelids … just to make sure we knew he was awake. Now he does sleep a little later … 7 am … But Ziva is promptly up and rolling over us as early as 6:30 am. More importantly she is too hungry to stay in bed. She needs her milk which means one of us has to drag ourselves out of bed and go get the bottle ready! Which means there is no more staying in bed late … just one happy... over-excited … hyper energized … toddler!

Spontaneity is a word I have given up from my dictionary. I can no longer be spontaneous (I was not very good at it previously --- I like to plan). But now with diapers and meal and nap times … The planning is even more intensive.
We cannot do brunch … well maybe Suresh and I can do brunch … but we still need to prepare three square meals … interspersed with snacks... and so we need to plan. So between 8 am and 9 am two mouths need to be fed. And than again at 12 pm and then a snack …. and then dinner must be on the table at 7 pm. No more sleeping in late... No long naps after those late brunches … No more long unplanned drives

The months of September and October bring about a large number of the Indian festival and thus many days when Suresh is at home. Its not like the old days and I do miss those days.... But just as I am thinking how good it would be to get these little munchkins grown up and out of the house … I see a few empty nests where kids have gone of to college giving parents their life back … I shudder. The thought of my physical alarm clock not smiling into my face at 6:30 am … is  nothing short of a nightmare.
So while I would like to sleep in once in a while … I think for now I will enjoy the early mornings and deal with not knowing which day of the week it is!
Cheers to being a parent!