Saturday, May 26, 2012

Culture Gap or What?!


We’ve all faced the ubiquitous Generation Gap. We took pleasure in throwing the phrase around whenever our thoughts didn’t concur with that of our parent’s or that of the conservative elders.

Now, with most of our generation, dislocated from our roots, settled in foreign lands…comes another universal gap, the Culture Gap.

We don’t even need to be dealing with people outside our homes, with your neighbors or people at the store. Everyday dealings with our own enough to remind us that we in the midst of an enraging Culture Gap. The effects of which will only get exponential with your kid’s age.

I thought I had done enough to reduce this gap by embracing the different foods, music, and even tried to accept another foreign language.

Last night, Richa didn’t want to sleep. She was murmuring something to herself and I heard her exclaim.. “Yeah! Now I know why!”

She turned to me and said…

“Mama..60+16 is 12!”

I tried to remind her when 2 numbers are joined, the answer is always greater than both the numbers.

She said..”But Mama, 6+6 is 12”

I lost the funda she tried to explain to me .. Blame it on Generation Gap, in another words..decline of the grey cells.

Trying to save face, I told her..

“Its too late, Richa. You need to sleep”.

But, she said she wanted to learn why she is wrong.

For that, first off.. I would need to get into the concept of “Carrying Over” .. Remember what I mean?!

Well, we in India did our addition this way , right?! We carried over the ten’s digit, the extra digit, we had called it,  to the next number (I’m sure u know what that is!)  We’d written it over the number like the trade mark thingy.

Here, they add numbers using something called “Addition with Re-grouping”. (I’m sure they must have changed to this back home too!)

Getting to this concept of Addition with or without re-grouping, seemed unattainable to this teacher, in the next few minutes.

So, I drove her towards counting by tens..only we did this by real addition. I mean, we wrote them down as addition problems.

She had gotten a paper to do that on…As she struggled to write on the flimsy paper..she looked for a book to keep under that..

“You need a fix that paper on a would be easier to write”, I said.

“Pad!  What is that?”

“You know .. the ones that PNK have..Its red, orange and green. It has a clip where you can fix your paper tightly”, I said

“I don’t know what that is”, Richa replied.

“Come on! Lets’ go and find it”, I said.

As we entered her Didi’s room, Richa said.

“They must’ve lost it Mama! They loose all their stuff!”

“Really?!  Here, Look! I found one”, I said.

Showing her the PAD, I told her how she could fix her paper under the clip…to be held sturdy.

She took it from my hand and replied,

“Right! This is a Clipboard!”

“Right!”, I remembered, “That’s a clipboard!”

Why then did the word “Pad” come to mind that we’d called it as kids. Everybody around had referred to it as Pad, Examination Pad.

I may or may not be teaching her more about addition without regrouping and/or addition with regrouping, but, I’ve got a lot of learning to do .. to fit in to her culture. Her culture of calling things by their right names.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Clicking away

Have you sat beside your child when she was busy .. engaged in what ever she/he was doing..oblivious that you are watching her every expression and movement.

I find myself doing that so much that the kids aren’t even aware that I’m watching them..I mean its so natural to them that they don’t even notice that I’m clicking away at them while they are busy in their own agenda.

I don’t know if that’s good or bad..but, when I’m with my camera around them…(maybe without the camera too!!) I’m as good as a moving furniture. They just ignore me .. giving me all the freedom to catch some very candid shots.

These clicks were from one such afternoon. Richa had her “tiny” tv, set to play her favorite DVD and she was engrossed in that. She had brought a bottle of cream and had rubbed some cream on herself and was tossing around as she watched her favorite show.

There were a range of expressions that I captured as she watched her portable DVD player. Sometimes she looked so serious..sometimes smiling at the TV screen and sometimes doing some kind of acrobats as she watched on.

All these clicks make for a good compilation.


I created this photo template in Photoshop and put the images in it.  Maybe you can take up this project today for yourself. Many friends had written to me asking what is the recipe for taking good pictures. My answer is “Practice”. And what better subject than your own kids, your family members, or your pet…

If you want to know how to make this template…let me know, and I can post a tutorial on this.  You will need Photoshop for this, though.

Happy Clicking!

For those of you wondering why this mom isn’t posting a lot now-a-days…

Please hop over to my business/fan page on facebook and click “like” if you like what you see there.

There are loads of pictures, of flora and people. Portrait shots and vacation shots. Event slideshows set to fun music.

Its spring time now and I’m going berserk clicking away at the flowers in my garden..Its Iris bloom time now..and they are in FULL bloom. My cover photo should tell the Iris story. Smile

Monday, May 14, 2012

I did it! I tied the knot..

No! I’m not referring to the wedding knot..  Way past that now, I am just referring to mommy stuff, here?! Indeed! I was referring to the loopty loop knot! Can you hear Richa running around screaming “I did it! I tied the knot!”

Remember the song..from Little Bill?!

"One little loop,
What do you do?
Wrap the lace around,
And pull it through.
Now you have a bow,
And you've tied your shoe!"

An exciting moment for a kid that I guess only they understand how much it is, they deserve the applause. Almost defining the big kid milestone in their lives. I’m a proud mommy of another child who has tied the knot!!  Hopefully, I’ll be saying the same again only after they’ve finished college and settled into maturity..I’m so glad, I have time for that.

Suddenly everything had fallen into place like the parts of a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle and she wondered, which piece was the one that evaded her, all this time.  All that going around and coming back up..left to right..making the loop and pulling, had felt unusually difficult.

Her hope that this time when she pulls the loops, that elusive knot is going to show up like magic, only to see the whole thing fall apart…She lets out this cry of exasperation..of desperation.

Its equally frustrating to the parent as it is to the kid, to watch their kid wrestle through this..desire, to be able to TIE A KNOT, isn’t it?!

I’ve seen four of my kids go through this struggle.  Richa has become the the last to join our home club, bestowed with people, skilled enough to be able to tie a knot!

Almost feels like, I want to scream “I did it!”.

As a mom, the learning moments had made me nervous. Deprived of patience... instead of helping Richa in her struggle..I had connived on how I could get her off this endeavor so I can save us both, some mental energy.

The first time that Richa realized the role of this skill in her life was when she saw her kindergartener friends doing it. It was almost a status symbol to them. Not knowing how to tie a knot, had put her at the lower level of the worthy friend pyramid. She came home with the determination that she would get it done with. That this is not going to mar her reputation among her friend circles.

She had asked me how to do that. As I explained to her the hows and the hows..I saw her cry out in the 10th time, the knot came untied.

She had made the loops and placed them one on other and looked for that hole where she’s supposed to pull a loop through..but, unable to find..She had followed my directions of pushing it through somewhere, someplace. does she move her fingers?!  She looks at if asking me..ever heard of an intriguing jigsaw puzzle that even needs motor skills?!

Fully aware of the outcome for that evening and save her from further disappointment ..I had told her in advance that it takes 21 days for a kid, to be able to tie a knot. That it would take 21 days for her fingers to grow longer to be able to do it, like her fingers would morph into long spindly things in 21 days like the caterpillar changes into a butterfly or the seed germinates into this long shoot.

Every preschooler and elementary scholar, I know, does a project on Metamorphosis and Germination. Coming to think of it..doesn’t this project also define “patience” to the child..At this point of the child’s life..their most important sentence of the day, everyday, is

“It takes for ever!”

“Richa! You can have it in the morning!”

“Morning is so far away!  It takes for ever!”

“Richa! Give me two minutes!”

“Mama..count 2 and move!”

I wasn’t able to deter her from her resolution, that evening. She knew she had the whole weekend to keep trying. Realizing what a pessimist her mom was..she eventually told me to go away, that she would give it a try herself. She promised me that she would stay calm.

Imagine the kid’s dilemma.  They seem to have the strings in the right place and as they let go of it to hold the loop ends, to make the final pull..everything falls out.  Just doesn’t make sense to them. Like some ghost around is playing some tricks to trouble them.

Richa has freed herself from this situation now..well! At least with regards to “Tying the Knot”.

Today, as I walk around my home, I see knots displayed proudly like some art decorating the spindles of the stairs or the chairs. And, it didn’t vex me .. that I’ve to clear them out. Coz, I’m one proud mama now.

She also insists on shoes with long laces to school. Gone are all those shoes with Velcro, even if they have blinking diamond crystals studded on to them. Those very shoes she had created a ruckus to own, are now obsolete. So 60’s..or 70’ 90’s!


Welcome! “I’m a big girl”  Here’s a video I had made of Richa when she lost her first tooth.