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Sep 1, 2008

Mr. Reader

Once I knew that rishu was good at spellings, there was a phonetic toy that was lying at home. I got Rishu hooked to that and the good thing about him is once he picks something of interest, he never leaves until he has mastered it :-)
So once he comes back from school, he would keep pressing and playing and mastered the phonetic sounds of all alphabets. And every night before he slept he would insist on me reading a book and he would then read again. It was sometimes painful as he would read slowly and mostly from memory and I would have to sit through.
Then I started making him point to the words and read and would make him read a sentence by himself with understanding knowledge of the letters and sounds. I used to do this on days when I had enough strength left at the end of the day. And I can only remember that. How or when he mastered the art of reading is always a mystery. Very soon we saw him reading anything and everything pretty well and his pronunciation was very close if not accurate. By that time he came to be known as a whiz kid, genius etc in school as they were astounded by his spelling and reading skills. In fact many parents when they came over to pick their kids would ask him for a spelling or two and he would read their badges etc or keep reading the corridor bulletin boards.
We are also very thrilled but just as he was extremely good at these , he was still a lot socially shy and unaware of what was expected of him, quite different and unique in his own way :-) Luckily he was promoted to the pre-K class and the teacher was an angel. She had a very special interest in him and though she was amazed by his intelligence in some aspects she was also concerned in areas that we were. She went an extra mile in creating specific activities tailored to him and focused on him being aware of things happening around him, listening to instructions etc. she also used to give me some tips to be followed at home. Whether it was that or the signs of growing he is a lot changed now and fits in easily in the daily routine socializing more than before. Thankfully Nish is a big time communicator and he showed signs of it from 18 months...So we knew it was only a matter of time by which rish would soon start yapping :-)
Also we packed up all the books and that made a big change in his communicating skill. Before we did that he would come back from school and keep reading even for 2-3 hours all his favorite books and all he did was just that..While I was still having a hard time depriving him of such a good habit, R promptly packed it all up and made it easier for all of us. We expected a big tantrum for him but he never asked even a single q !!! I wonder if he did not know what to ask ;-) But that was a very good beginning for him to explore the other areas.

Aug 2, 2008

Rishu amazes us by his spellings - May 2008

Like any other parent, I started my first step in my first born's learning
journey. He was 2.5 yrs old then. I wanted him to be able to recognize the uppercase English alphabets.
And like any other child, he wanted to be stubborn, got easily bored and I could
not just get beyond 2 letters.
Rishu was a child with great obsessions and I use that many times to make him
do what I want (yeah, manipulative, I know ;-)) So I decided to start off with favorite
stuff - belt and car. I would draw a car and spell it, draw a van and spell it
and then draw a belt and spell it. This was the routine for a week and that made him
familiar with 9 letters. And then I found that he was veru easily able to remember those spellings. And then spellings became our past-time. It was educative,
entertaining(I could easily make him finish his dinner by spelling some words),
relaxing for him.
Slowly I started teaching him homonyms with 3 and 4 letter words like cake, bake , rake etc and cat, mat , pat etc. He was very easy on pronouncing if I changed a letter and it was a pleasure to teach him. Otherwise with a 6 month old and the house chores and an ultra-busy hubby there was no way I could have spent more than the few minutes I had for him.
Once he mastered those homonym spellings, we wrote them and thus finished all the uppercase alphabets. And now I got bored of this same exercise and sought out for an easier way for the lowercase ones. Also he refused to allow me to write the spellings in lowercase.
And then my eyes fell on a book that my sister gave(which was just idling).
It was a book with dogs and numbers from 1 to 10. So each page would have pictures of dogs and the count and the number spellings in lowercase.
So I set out to teach him the spellings from one to ten. In no time, he learnt it.
And then I gave the book to him and he would just read initally based on the spellings. Very soon he was able to map the lowercase letters and my joy knew no bounds.
And once he could identify the uppercase and lowercase letters my next mission was to try to see if he could read easy words, thereby making him read independantly.
That way my lack of time or energy would not hamper his learning..
And that my friends is my next post ....

Mar 3, 2008

The India trip with a new born and a toddler

It was the first time I was travelling without R. We had always been happy travelers till then. It was a taken that he would handle all stuff since he had more experience than me when we started off and also he is a very careful and methodical guy. That was the first time I was travelling with children and also parents who were new to this kind of traveling.
I was very happy to visit home and my main worry leaving him behind was that I had to handle so much.(Yeah Yeah, I am mean ;-)) ) It was very tiring and long journey but my little darlings were very well behaved in the longest leg of our journey. I had particularly chosen Emirates as it the JFK-Dubai leg covered most of the journey and and also co-incided with their sleep times. Nish was a very troublesome baby until then and I was very apprehensive about his sleep patterns and feeding nightmares but thankfully it was tolerable while we were flying.
As soon as we boarded the DFW-JFK part, Nish had messed up his diaper and clothes and I had to change. wash/dispose his clothes all in the crampy bathroom !
And once we reached JFK we took our sweet time to feed the kids, and go to our gate. The walk to the specific gate was harder than the journey itself. Finally when we checked in at the counter we were told that we would not get the bassinets as they were all taken. Since I was warned of this, I ensured I got in early but still that did not help..I was too tired to even shout at them but I gave them my piece of mind.
All along I was irritated and snappy and who else than one's parents will take in all the non-sense and still understand and justify and reason out the cause.
I was tired of being alert of the nappy changes for both, feeding times for the baby, whether we tagged all the baggages along, the way to reach the gate etc etc.
Finally when we were about to enter our plane, we were told our hand-luggage was too big and I had to re-org the stuff into small different bags provided by Emirates and remember which bag had the spare clothes, diapers, sippy cups etc.
But once the plane started, it got easier. Rish and my dad were seated a lot behind us so that he will not bother me and the baby. It was a blessing that dad
could handle/ entertain him. In a few hours, all of us dozed off and Nish was amazingly well-behaved and slept off that the mothers of other crying babies were throwing helpless glances at our direction :-)) and he earned the bassinet of the other crying baby !
I was recharged with 5-6 hours of sleep though grudgingly thought of the husband traveling happily all alone, with much lesser cares and happily watching movies. And how it would never happen to me for a long long time. But I guess I would not enjoy it too as much so I stopped the comparison there. And the kids woke up only when we were closer to Dubai. Dubai was so different and small and compact as opposed to the airports here. We wandered around a bit and changed and fed the kids and just had enough time to board our flight to chennai. It was a short flight but both kids were wide awake. Thankfully before they started troubling us we landed and were ready to be received by my FIL. We had hot shower and food awaiting for us. It was funny to see Rishu's reaction to the road and traffic. I too felt a sense of "coming home". These days it happens both ways for me ;-)
My MIL was only too glad to have Rish. The fact that I had a new born meant that I was with nish, she was his care-taker. And she took great happiness and pride in that. In showing off his skills, or taking him around he was pampered. And I was too with good food during the stay. After a week I was ready to go home.
It is a different feeling being home. Just the familiar atmosphere makes you relax. I had enrolled Rishu in a local play school. It was a good change for him and for us. It was a small, clean house and I guess that was what I needed. A clean place and a bunch of neat kids so that he would not fall sick and of course walking distance from my house. I stayed home for nearly 2 months but still never took him on a train or auto or to the beach as nish was only a few months old. Lot of pending wishes to be accomplished in the next visit.
When I used to walk Rish to school, I used to meet many of my old neighbors who knew me from when I was his age. It is a totally different feeling when you meet such people. It is almost like you become a kid again. I even managed a trip to Saravana Bhavan with my parents ! Despite the distance, and nish being a small baby, and my aged granny at home we managed.
Once Ravi came, the time just flew so fast. Mostly with the wedding and his bangalore trips. and by that time I was content with my stay and was happy to come back to my other home :-)