Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Staying away from child -- Part 2. Sonny travelled without me

Sonny Boy did his first travel independent of mummy. Of course Daddy was with him.
It was almost like a challenge for Daddy Dearest -- he had to kind of prove that Sonny could survive without Mummy. That he could take care of him on his own. That his parents could handle him as well as mine!

And so they set out last Saturday morning, making the long journey to my in-laws' hometown partly by train and partly by road.
The day before he set out Sonny had the loosies! So I packed all his medicines (emergency and otherwise -- homeopathy mostly) and sent him off with a hug and prayer. The morning of the journey though, he protested going. It was pouring like crazy in Bangalore at 4.30 a.m. and my dad had to be brought into the scene to soothe him and accompany him to the railway station.

I felt like a helicopter mom as i made calls every 1.5 hours to hubby after they boarded the train, asking if Sonny was OK, if he had the loosies again, if he'd eaten, if he'd drunk milk, if he'd allowed the husband to go pee...

Apparently he was entertained enough by a fellow passenger "uncle" and some rhyme DVDs played on the husband's laptop. Hubby's entire khaandaan landed at the station where they got off to accompany little Sonny for the last leg of the journey by road -- bro-in-law drove them down home -- a good three hours again.

 Phew! The worst was over. I'd been having nightmares -- Sonny will scream and cry in the train, hubby wont be able to calm him, people around will suspect him of running away with a child, they will cluck-cluck in sympathy about the poor child forced to travel without a mother (yeah I'm filmi...I was raised on a diet of Hindi cinema), someone will pull chain/stop train and they will be forced to get down and catch a taxi back home from the nearest town...

And when i was relieved that this wouldn't happen, I calmed down. I also realised what a fool I've been to think I'm so indispensable in his life. No one ever is. It's something we fool ourselves with, building this notion of grandeur and importance about ourselves, for ourselves.

Next I decided I'll do things for myself. Another TOUGH thing. I realised my life is so centred around Sonny, I couldn't really "do" much except shopping, a date with my best friend from college days, took my mum out. Wanted a pedicure, but couldn't fit it into my busy schedule ;-) I slept. I read like crazy. I actually got to READ Sunday newspaper supplements in peace.

Sonny came back two days ago, after a three-day independent vacation, travelling with daddy, a return night journey by bus (WOW!!!) et all. And he's back to hugging me, crying like crazy, taking my trip etc. He came back pampered, a bit grown up, pretty spoilt, and with more loosies than i can handle!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finally some attempt at "gardening"

I've been very excited about balcony gardening  and trying to grow plants in the teeny-weenie utility balcony at the back of the house and the small porch in the front of our door where the shoe rack and newspapers are.

Started out with a tulsi (courtesy: mom-in-law) and the hardy money plant. Both are alive and kicking.
There's also calendula, balsam, ferns, and some crotons (I think...need to figure out). There's also a mini jade growing in water. Not too sure it's douing too well. Waitinga and watching that one.

I gave in to temptation and bought a small bougainvillea, yet to be shifted to a large pot but sitting at our home entrance now.

I've also tried growing one croton completely in just water,in a glass vase  what's called hydrophonic gardening. I just change the water once a week, top up if the levels fall, and wash the leaves gently with water once a week. It's been around over two months now -- I'm proud to report its got water roots! It's also sprouted a new baby branch -- a good sign which means this one is growing!

So that's the plant in the glass vase in the first picture, and below are the plant's roots. The tiny little branch in the centre is the newborn. Yipeeeeeee

That's a pot of ferns that a colleague's mom gifted. Again, the intense heat of the balcony burnt some of them. But, new ones are sprouting ever since I shifted it to the front porch, so there's hope...

Ok so i BOUGHT a bougainvillea. Not a done thing in must try and grow your own. But this one's a difficult guy to grow so I used the shortcut. Hope I don't kill it.

This is the kind of hedge plant that seems to be grown everywhere..specially parks. So you know where I snipped this one from...;-) Trying to see if it'll settle down and "grow" in the stone vase

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why do we parents worry so much about our children's education?

I'm stumped with Sonny Boy. Today was his first day at "summer camp". His playhome is having about two hours of it spread over 15 days, so I said why not? It's his familiar environment, his friends will be around, plus some new kids...he'll get to do something in a group and will be IN THE COMPANY OF KIDS
But he went today kicking and screaming!!!

Last night, while I was trying to get him excited/accepting of summer camp, he clearly told me he does not want to go to this school again! He said he doesn't want the same teachers and the same school. He wants "hosa" (new) school. Then added he wants to go to a "big children's school". Jeeez...just when I had resolved that he'll continue in this playhome. I've been trying to ask him what he doesn't like about the place, why he won't go....I've done this before but with no great results. But his NO last night was vociferous.

So I'm in a dilemma again. Must I listen to him? Does it mean anything? Or is it just a general refusal to go to school leaving behind parents/grandparents?If I change playschool now, will he be happy? If I give in now and change school, will he ask for a change if he takes a dislike to that new place? aaargh it's frustrating.

How many of us really go through so much thinking about which school to put our kids in. I was chatting with my dad and figured when I needed to be put in school as a kid, they were clear of two things -- it had to be a girls' school and a convent at that, because, well, a "convent education" was good! It had to be nearby and affordable. So they put me in the neighbourhood convent where my older cousin sis went! That's it. It was as simple as that! My dad laughs and says they never enquired whether it was ICSE/SSLC. "I had no clue about all that" dad said. Even now, as we discuss Sonny Boy's education, my dad has simply decided he'll go to the nearest/most affordable school. That's it.

And here I am letting my brain explode worrying:
2. Does the school only stress on academics or co-curricular activities also of importance to them?
3 All boy's/co-ed?
4. criteria: nearby/good school (even if it's far off?)
5. mainstream/alternate?
6. normal-old-time-conventional/hep-with-it-modern-day
7. I worry sick if the school has a playground -- most don't!

I worry about sending him to "big" schools where kids of rich parents come, but where the "exposure" and "opportunities" are better. We're by no means affluent, and am scared if kid demands the privileges his peers have. I know that's not the point of school. But these are things that come along with school, and boy! Have i heard some horror stories. Will alternate schooling give him a privileged edge, a chip on the shoulder....what? what?

But then, am I curbing his aspirations by putting him in a school where these things don't matter much. What if he turns back at me when he grows up and asks why didn't you put me in school A/school B. Or worse still what if he asks him why I didn't give him a "better" education/opportunity?

I was chatting with my aunt's friend (a teacher for over 20 years), and asked her if her kids ever came back and asked her why she sent them to the neighbourhood school. She said yes. Her son did feel disappointed that he didn't have the confidence, neither the English-speaking skills that his friends from other "big schools" had when he went to college... he was disappointed but she pointed out that he was doing as well as the "other" kids and that he had moved ahead based on his own talent.

I'm just saying the decision making for us as parents has gotten so much more harder -- with more choice.
Like all things that leave us confused with choice, so does our children's education.

 And then again, me and Hubby wonder -- what's the purpose of all this education?  In the race of life, it's to get the marks to get into college. Then "job". Really...but the human interactions, the people around at this time of life, the sense of achievement/learning leave such a crucial impact on their life, it's hard not to worry.

Then there's the pressure not to put pressure on the child! it's that. No I'm joking. But I really don't want him to bury his face in books, doing homework and "mugging" texts all the while.

What do I want from his schooling? That's a question I'm still unable to answer for myself. I mean, if i could, then I would know for sure where I want to enroll him. Even my own expectations of the education system is complex i guess, but what it has to offer is equally complex...

I know I'm rambling and just going directionless...but then that's the point of my blog, right? What my head is crammed with i put down here because I can't drive everyone crazy with my anxieties

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Admission admission: I didn't do it!!!

So I'm in an ugly situation. Had a fight with the husband today -- over Sonny Boy's "school admission".
Ok, so he's 2.8. He's going to playschool.

While I largely want him to be in an informal playschool set up a while longer, everyone around me is freaking me out about "putting him into school" and with that dreaded word "admission". My dad went with a  vengeance to a nearby school today (because neither hubby nor I were showing any interest) and of course, admission is frozen for 2011 nursery already! I mean, surprise surprise! And he gave me the meanest looks ever and told me in not so few words that I wasn't cariong enough for Sonny's education.

I really don't want him to go to school. I protest. But it seems the world is differently wired. I'm "already late" and don't stand a chance in the flood of education. If I don't put him in nursery, nobody's going to give him admission in first standard?!! There are "feeder schools" and my Sonny's isn't one of them. Sonny's playschool isn't even the competitive sort....which is why I think I put him there in thge first place. God! I'm going around in circles again...

Ok my research has been abysmal. I havent given it enough time and seriousness.

I have also posted all this on Parentree (a more sober un-cribbing version) because parents there seem to know everything/keep track and are always helpful and forthcoming with advise. I hope to post any replies here too, so that it's of help to any other parent who's in a similar situation (not that any other parent can be as muddled as I am now).

I'm feeling guilty. My Sonny's lost a year? Does that mean anything at this age? Am I taking all this too casually? Or is my brain addled with ignorance and nothingness?

After all no one's going to come drop off a seat at my doorstep...hahahah it's way far off the mark. I'll probably go about begging, trying to use "influence", ugh , and doing what not....FOR ADMISSION!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Does a second child make your first one happier?

It's crazy that I'm even thinking about it. And those who know me and how I protest a second child will sadistically say "Aaah see, we knew you would come around to this..."

My point is, does having a second child benefit the older one, and, eventually the second child too? I'm beginning to think my little fella is lonely. When I say benefit, I mean from the company.

Two things happened yesterday. It was Ugadi, we were all at home. Suddenly Sonny said "Where's my tamma paapa (younger brother/baby)?" He has a doll that he calls that -- TP -- I'll call him. But he doesn't play with that doll all the time. He just lies around the house randomly mostly. But suddenly Sonny's love for TP overflows. Yesterday he held him and brought him on teh bike to my parents' place. There he put him on his lap and put him to bed. On teh bike, he held his hand on his head saying "Otherwise the sun will hit him hard on the head!"!!!! I was a Melting Mommy.

I asked him "So do you really want a TP (younger brother)? A real one? Not this doll..." And he promptly said "No, I want this doll TP ONLY." I was in splits.

Later in the evening I took him to my best friend's place. She too has an only child -- a daughter -- and after their usual measuring up of each other, trying to snatch toys from each other routine, they were both jumping around in the apartment courtyard so happily together.

I was honestly happy to see him play WITH SOMEONE HIS OWN AGE.
It's such a frustrating life. I can't take him to playgroup because I'm hardly ever home. My parents refuse to; they prefer the arrangement of a nanny/maid to that of day care/play group.
I've only seen Sonny play with older folk.
I'm feeling guilty that I'm killing his childhood by dumping him with adults all day long.

There are some older kids in our apartment but he's barely there. And there are no kids around where my folks stay -- which is where he is most of the time.

At the cost of sounding stupid and crazy i feel like having a second child so that my first has company!! But it doesn't sound right at all. That messes up my mind further.

Sonny's going through a phase where he's being so difficult and stubborn and cranky and headstrong. And like in India everyone says to anyone who's a bit "off the track" in adult years -- "shaadi kara do, sab theek ho jaayega", now everyone says to me "have another baby, he'll become ok". I'm actually giving it some thought now. Should I, would I, could I? Do I really want to? Ufffffffff