Introducing…Life is Science

When my 3-year old wants to be entertained, her go to “game” is a story involving her and all of her favourite and made up characters. For instance, Ullu Aunty (Aunt of the Owl in Winnie the Pooh) doesn’t like brushing her teeth, clipping her nails… general hygiene. As a result, the dentist warns her about tooth decay and at one point even has her tooth pulled out. Long nails once scratched Winnie the Pooh and “stuff and fluff” came out of his seams. Now, even though she doesn’t like it, she cuts her nails to protect her friends from getting hurt. M goes on adventures with Dora and Boots and for them to cross Grumpy Old Troll Bridge, they rely on M to solve the riddle. Usually, a simple spelling or addition. When crossing the bridge is at stake, the answers come tumbling out of M. Out of a Dora story context, any number plus any other is usually six, with a grin. A kitten grows up to become a C-P-T or some such. When the stakes are raised, read – to cross the bridge – the answers magically transform into what are generally accepted as correct.

Her new obsession is writing (or drawing as she calls it) and her words usually look like ECG traces. Speaking of traces, she can trace letters but cannot copy them too well. I asked friends in India to send me syllabi of their children’s age 3-4 class, to figure out what I can teach her. Unfortunately, she looks to be more interested in learning biology and physics than what sounds more appropriate for her age. So, I decided, so be it. I want her to enjoy the process of learning new things. When she becomes interested in learning to write, not just writing itself, she’ll get there. For now, I am going to do simple experiments with her, for her to observe phenomena around her. Not that she knows the word phenomena. I am not that much of a geek. But she does know that the circulatory system involves the heart and that the dag-dag of the heart can be felt at the carotid artery. There’s some tickling fun built into finding her pulse :-).

This is the Mother Ship Geek Scientist. These are our adventures.

ABC Monster

Several months ago, I found stickers of the English alphabet in Dollarama. I bought a pack and my friend B and I pasted them on the living room wall, arranged based on how the song sounds.

 

A      C
    B      D

 

and so on… (the look was B’s idea; she’s my creative advisor).

 

Just to entertain my little M, I would point the letters out and sing the song to her. Before the big 1 arrived, she knew where “ABCD” was. She would even say it sometimes, with not too much clarity. Now that we’re back after months of travel, she somehow seemed to remember that that stuff on the wall is a song. Perhaps because she continued thinking that any writing on the wall is “ABC…”. She was never informed otherwise.

 

Now, she demands, “ABC”, about 3-4 times a day, if not more. It is not enough if I sing the song. I have to go to the wall and point each letter out while singing it. Did I mention that she pulled out C as soon as I stuck it, and it never managed to stay on for too long? Well, yesterday, she also removed XYZ.

 

So now, the song goes like this (note that this is the Indian version of the song).

 

A B (where’s) C D E F G
H I J K LMNOP; LMNOPQ RST
U V W (where’re) X Y Z
(Where’re) X Y Z?
Sugar on your bread
If you don’t like it, better go to bed.
Next day morning, come to me,
I shall teach you ABC.

 

With much gesturing and drama. Thus, is born the ABC monster.

Spirituality in Motherhood

Recently, I read an article on my friend’s blog (you know who you are, and if I get permission from you, I’ll link back to your post). The author’s daughter is a mighty independent 2 year old who wants to wear her shoes by her”self”. If it goes onto the wrong foot after 10 minutes of hard work, so be it. Off comes the shoe at the mother’s word, and onto the correct foot.

 

I first wondered why my friend, let’s call her big M not to confuse her with my little M, didn’t tell her daughter S that the shoe was going onto the wrong foot from the get go. Why wait 10 minutes for it? I quickly lay those thoughts aside to run behind my own toddler. She takes 2 steps and sits back down carefully. What’s with that?

 

This morning, I was giving my daughter a bath, a time we enjoy immensely, our own special mother-daughter time. Now, she stands or sits when I ask her to (not consistently, I might add). I was reminded of another mother watching her child grow independent.

 

After handing my little M off to R to dress her up, my thoughts turned to the abstract. The mother shouldn’t give answers before they’re asked for. Especially if the consequences aren’t dangerous. If little S had asked her mother which foot the shoe was supposed to go onto, Big M would have gently guided her to it. Perhaps not given her the answer right away but shown her how the shape of the shoe reveals the foot it belongs to. My daughter wouldn’t even know the difference at her age, if I tried to explain about correct shoe, wrong foot. A preschooler would probably learn the lesson better if allowed to walk around for a bit with shoes on wrong.

 

Likewise, I continued thinking, the Cosmos doesn’t give us all of the answers. We have to ask. And even then, It only reveals Itself to the seeker, piece by tiny piece. And then, only offers guidance towards the answer. So, what is the purpose of existence? The answers will come only to those who truly seek the answer, look for it high and low, far and wide. When asked in the right way. At the right stage of spiritual development. In the right frame of mind. And if the Truth were revealed to the average person this instant, he/she won’t recognize it anyway.

Parenting Revelations 101

The classic game – Mommy will tickle baby’s nose… baby’s cheek… I always thought it was, well, strange. I just realized something today, while kissing away M’s weeping episodes – “what an excellent way to teach the names of parts of the body to a baby!!!” While also tickling the baby. And generally spending time with a baby.

 

Results:

 

Fun for mother CHECK
Giggles from baby CHECK
Baby learns
Baby tries to protect named feature
WIN-WIN!!!

Diaper free baby

Efforts begin today. Wish us luck. Oh Providence, give me the will power to do loads of laundry. The observation skills to “catch”, and the patience to clean up “accidents”. In time, we hope to not need to use one unless we’re going out. Not diapering M while out and about, when she’ll be in the carrier, on me, will take a huge leap of faith in M and me.

To faith! To courage! To loads of laundry now, leading to decreasing diaper laundry in the future. Much as cloth is better for the environment, no diaper laundry is even better!

Infant Diaries – It probably isn’t that bad

I was in the kitchen just now, doing dishes. They were all done, and I looked around for more. I noticed the pressure cooker sitting on the counter, and I dumped the water out of it, completely forgetting about something inside it. It fell into the sink with a loud clang. Now, my infant, going on toddler, was playing behind me, and she’s been trying to stand up, holding on to anything vertical.

 

All of a sudden, I hear loud and I’m-in-pain crying. There was blood on her lips, running out from an unknown source within. Images of a tongue split in half flashed through my mind, and who can blame me! Around the same age, my mother tells me, I fell onto my behind with a thump in an attempt to stand up, and cut my tongue under my new teeth, clean in half, halfway into my mouth. The tip of my tongue still shows a gap. My mother was worried that I wouldn’t be able to talk. She needn’t have, as all of you who know me know (no, there is no need to emphatically comment about this statement, you know whom I am talking to), but the fear remains.

 

She wouldn’t let me touch her mouth, and a panicked phone call to R later, in which he told me to first mop her up and see what’s going on, I calmed down.

 

After cleaning her up and much investigation later, I caught a glimpse of the tip of the underside of her tongue. It was red.

 

Tricks used to get her to open her mouth – Starting an imitating game, then sticking my tongue out at her, and shrieking with my mouth wide open.

 

Morals of the story –
Sudden loud noises are to be avoided.
Don’t panic.
Clean the blood first.
It probably isn’t that scary.

Rule of Thirds

In mothering, as in photography, the rule of thirds applies. Let me explain what it is in photography, before I launch into my own version of the rule. When a snapshot is divided into a 3 by 3 grid, the person/object of interest should be either at a grid point or along a grid line, depending on the shape.

 

I find it difficult to follow it, however, because all of that unused space gets to me.

 

The mothering rule of thirds walked into my head this afternoon, all formulated. At lunch time. We’ve graduated to biting into a banana like we’ve seen mom do. Bolstered by this (perhaps evanescent) success, I quite naively let M continue squishing food that she snatched out of her spoon. Right after I had been teaching her to raise her hands above her head on request. She has been clapping on request lately. So, I thought the time was ripe to explore what else can be done by clapping hands. Big mistake, combining it with lunch time. She unflinchingly proceeded to grab more food and smear it, where else, on her hair. The harder I tried to wipe it off with a wet washcloth before it congealed, the more food got into her hair, as she was trying to knock my intruding hands off her precious hair that she was valiantly trying to feed. End result, a third of the food got into her. A third got onto her and/or dropped to the floor. A third remained in the bowl because I gave it up as a lost cause.

 

Rule: As the quest for independence continues, getting a third of the food on offer into her is all I can aspire for. For now, for today, for lunch, the rule applies in its current form. As time goes on, I may have to settle with an increasing denominator. I am just going to have to make my peace with that. And have extra wet washcloths ready.

 

PS: Did I say that all of that unused space gets to me and that is why I cannot follow the rule of thirds in photography? I am no expert at either mothering or photography, but I get the feeling that one will help with the other.