Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Special Mommy moments

I picked up a tag from Dottie's blog that's apparently going around the world, started by hbm. The goal is to write 5 things I love about being a mom and tag bloggers around the world for a virtual "around-the-world-travel"!

Here goes...

Growing up, I have always been commended for my patience and how I'd be a great mom and a nurse! I guess that was true until it happened to be 24/7, sometimes 38/12 when the days seemed long. I have come a long way in finding that nurturing self in me again. I'm not fully there yet and there are times when I'm totally zoned out.
But, I'm getting closer and I know it is going to involve a lot of hard work on my part!
So, how does this make me feel good?
Because my girls are helping me find my nurturing self again.
Maybe not nurse-good, but...

Definitely the hugs and kisses!!
Those hugs can make me forget any rotten day or foul mood.
I know they are going to get fewer and they are not gonna want me anywhere within a 10-ft radius pretty soon...(hoping not!!)

Every single milestone they've crossed has brought a smile - however early or late it may have happened! T1 and T2 make me proud EVERY SINGLE DAY! I know I may not acknowledge this everyday and that I'm their worst critic, but I'm also their BESTEST. From their very first grand entrance to their toothless grins to their first words to their first steps, and their indecipherable drawings (that they've made for me to display at work) to their master-pieces (ahem), to their lovely voices...
They've managed to enchant me with all of it and I know they can never cease to amaze me!
Of course, there's also the goof-ups...but I'm learning to be more positive about them ;-)

They have made my faith stronger than they can ever imagine! Through all the ups and downs, the health scares, they have helped me turn to THE powerful force many a time. And everytime I've done that, I've found myself having better clarity of thought.

Most importantly, being a mom has made me appreciate my own mom so much more than ever! I cannot even begin to reach up to her levels of sacrifice and endurance and love. Love you amma!!
And, love you dear T1 and T2.

Now for what I really love about being a mom -
1. having two live dolls to dress up everyday
2. getting to cut their hair
3. all the pizza we get to order now
4. driving myself crazy planning their birthdays and other "enriching" activities for them
5. absolutely the hugs and kisses! that part is a cant-do-without.

again, shhhhhh...

And, now I'd like to introduce and tag my friend, Meenakshi to take this up.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Diagnosis:LD - What's next?

Before reading further, please note that the information presented here is purely cursory based on some online research. It is not intended to replace professional advice or treatment! Thank you.

Kiran of karmickids has dedicated March to raise an awareness for Learning Disabilities (LD). Thanks to Kiran, Tharini and the other wonderful women for making me a part of this mission.

There are oh, so many variations of LD and warning signs that Tharini has carefully explained. Not to mention people who have non-verbal LD. Then there are those who can have LD And be Gifted at the same time - Gifted in one area, and have a disability in another...

Considering that there are so many variations of LD, and so many symptoms, a proper diagnosis is of utmost importance. Only a trained specialist can single out the kind of disability a child has.
To confirm that your child is not a late-bloomer and indeed has a disability, do consult a Developmental Pediatrician, a child psychologist, or a neuro-psychologist. Age and severity are very critical factors when treating LD.

If your parental instincts ring a warning bell, wait no further! Take action immediately!

Once you have a diagnosis, what's next? Is there a cure for LD? It depends on how we define "cure"! If a cure to you means ensuring a successful, independent life for your child, then ABSOLUTELY YES!! With proper help and guidance, your child can learn to adapt to living with LD and go on to accomplish their dreams. I prefer to use "Managing" rather than "Treating" LD.

Here are some options -
  1. Any site I checked emphasized on - "EARLY EARLY EARLY!" Early Intervention! Because otherwise, it can have a snowballing effect - if not intervened early on, the child can get frustrated at lagging behind, and that can lead to severe self-esteem problems, and it will take much longer to undo this damage!

  2. If your child is in elementary school, then Sign your child up for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is available in most schools in the U.S. Most schools even have free pre-school IEP programs for qualifying children, to give these kids a head-start.

  3. If your child is diagnosed with having ADHD in addition to LD, then medication can be prescribed to help control symptoms.

  4. Because each child is unique, what works for one may not work for another. Figure out your child's special talent or interest and focus on those, because doing that can help tremendously. You can use them to your advantage and tailor your teaching techniques to keep your child's attention longer.

  5. You should also determine your child's learning style - whether it is VISUAL, AUDITORY, or using KINESTHETICS.
    Based on this use appropriate tools and activities to help them learn.
    Visual learners process everything as images or pictures. They can draw or write well. Use Picture books or Videos to teach.
    Auditory learners process information when they listen to something (they are good listeners). They enjoy being read to, and like interaction.
    Talk to them, discuss issues, and have debates to stimulate them.
    Kinesthetic learners process information through touch. They typically do well in sports or drama. They may have difficulty sitting still, so keep them active and in motion if possible.

  6. Communicate often with your child's teacher not only to benchmark progress, but also to know what's being done in the classroom. You can follow the same methods at home and keep the consistency for your child.

  7. Make a Homework routine and stick to it as much as you can. A set routine helps children in focusing better and also teaches them to be better organized when they grow up.

  8. You may also try breathing or focusing exercises.
    They nourish the body with hundreds of times more Oxygen than with regular, shallow breathing. It may be difficult at first, so start with 1 deep breath and slowly build it to 15 minutes a day or more.

  9. Genuinely appreciate every little success your child has, and every milestone your child crosses!

  10. Show your child that nobody's perfect, including you. Seeing that you are not perfect gives them better confidence. It also helps them know that you can learn from mistakes.

  11. If your child is older - in Middle School Or even High School, you still have various options to control LD. Most of this requires planning and organizing - well ahead of time.

  12. If older children are able to identify their interests and pursue an appropriate field, they will be more successful.

  13. Science has made great advances in the research and treatment options for LD.
    Dr. Norman Doidge suggests that software like "Fast ForWord" help stimulate the auditory cortex neurons and help children with auditory processing problems.
    His book titled, The Brain that Changes Itself, talks about how the brain can be stimulated under the right conditions. Dr. Doidge also recommends the programs in The Arrowsmith School for their approach toward LD and other similar conditions.

  14. Natural Therapy is also suggested as a treatment option, with virtually no side effects. You need to find a good Natural Practitioner who understands your needs well and can help appropriately. Some well-known herbal remedies are recommended for increased concentration, brain functioning, and memory. Other homeopathic ingredients including a variety of biochemic tissue salts are also prescribed.

For Parents: If you are unable to cope, know that you are not alone. Find a support group to get ideas, share comfort, or simply talk.

Here are some useful links I used in summing up options for children with LD...If I've missed any, that's not intentional :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The disclosure

So, here's what happened after the casual chat that I overheard...

Almost a whole year passed us by, when one day my sisters (H and U) approached me. I distinctly remember those "few" minutes. I was watching TV. The looks on their face had a blend of excitement, a look of "should we or shdn't we tell", "what will she reply!", mostly excitement.
I could tell something was up. I was first worried that I was in trouble for something...That's what these confrontations usually meant :P
They did not shilly-shally. They couldn't wait to tell me and find out what I had to say. The words came right out!

"So, What do you think of Pup?" They asked.

If I were clueless, I'd have asked "Why??"

I was not clueless, but I was unsuspecting too. I wonder now what would have happened if I told them the truth about me checking him out for a whole year! Oh, that would have been fun! But that's not what happened. At that point in time, I really looked** up to them. I wouldn't dare to talk to them disrespectfully! Forget dissing them off, I had only "just" started sharing "PG 13 jokes" with sis-U.

So them asking me about Pup with such a direct question totally threw me off!
But I was cautious. Smart.
I said, "Oh! He's o...k...!" That came off in a VERY uninterested tone. They had no idea what happened in my mind during that seemingly long second!

"You know what?"...And they told me about the match-making scheme.

These are the "few" minutes I remember. For the life of me, I cannot remember what happened next! Part of the reason I don't remember is because an Illayaraja Hit Number from Varusham Padinaaru was playing in my mind - only, Karthik and Khushboo were swapped with Pup and me.
OK, exaggeration... But I really cannot remember what happened next! Can't think of a better explanation :)

In fact, like announcing life-changing events on National Television, I'm going to ask my darling sisters for the first time, finally(!) after all these years - their recollection of the incident.

Girls, care to indulge your lil sis?

To be continued...

**I still look up to my three sisters, BUT I'm more open with them now, count on them terribly, I yell at them often, argue and fight and the whole shebang.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let ME show you impatience!

I had to get a quick lunch today. There was a lot of work to do, and I had to leave early to stand-in as a coach for an after-school activity at T1's school. So, no time to waste.
I ordered a take-out, and drove to pick it up.
I saw a fender bender on the way, on the opposite side. That stretch of road has no shoulder-lanes. I thought to myself that this looked like a fresh one, and I better take another route on my way back!

And did I do that? Of course not! By the time I got the fragrant Veggie Kurma from this decent desi place, and started driving back, I had completely forgotten all about the fender bender! And what should have taken 2-3 minutes, took me a good 15 minutes to get back!

What's this post leading to now? I got stuck in the mess! There was no way out! I was trapped! But that's not all!

Impatient idiots started driving on a Right-Turn-Only lane and tried to merge back into the through traffic to get ahead by...4 cars!!

I absolutely detest it when people do that! Are the rest of us morons trying to obey the rules? Does having a fancy car buy you exceptions to rules? I thought they're supposed to be more like Pup taking extra extra extra extra special care...

Anyways, these cars were not even making a good headway! I can at least "try" to understand when the traffic is miles long, on a hot day, and if you're AC is not working. Enough about me...
But trying to get ahead of 4 CARS?? What's wrong with these people!!??

Oh, but today the joke was on them! (Insert Newmann of Seinfeld's sadistic laughter)...

There was this Corolla that tried the same gimmick after seeing a BMW exit and merge back. The BMW got away. But the poor Corolla was trying to merge back when this huge 18-Wheeler got behind him. The truck was all ready to take the Exit to the Highway and was annoyed at this Corolla's cheap trick.

He honked and honked again. The Corolla tried to move a little closer to the left. He was beginning to get scared...
To the Corolla's horror, the 18 Wheeler kept moving forward. Move where? There was no room. No shoulder remember!
I could clearly see the Corolla's blatant fear just by the way he tried to desperately inch his way away...
Oh, what sadistic pleasure! It was blissful! Taught the moron a great lesson!
And the truck, ever so gracefully, steered his way to the Exit in the space that was about half a lane.
These 18-wheelers can come out of the narrowest of alleys without a scratch. This was no big deal! He knew that! The Corolla SO did not!

It was ABSOLUTELY worth getting stuck in traffic today!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History is made...

Congratulations, Mr.President!

History is made...and it caused a whopping $150 million dent!

Agree that most of these expenses came from donations and Not from the tax-payers' pockets.
Agree that Bush spent about the same (he raised about $42 million but the total expenses were about the same).
Agree that Obama probably needs a lot more security than his predecessors, if for no other reason, only to handle the 2 million audience.
Agree that this is one of the most historic events in my lifetime.

But none of that simply justifies the spending in this economy! Isn't he supposed to be just like the rest of us? So why did he approve of this spending when I and every other citizen in the U.S. is thinking twice before making even a simple indulgence?

Obama did cut some corners with the celebrations, but wish it had been more...

My respect for him and more importantly trust in him would have grown exponentially if he had cut down more than he did and kept it simple enough. That in my opinion would have made this an even more Historic and Memorable Event!

I am hoping that this spending becomes negligible when the Economy gets a boost and makes my vote worth it.

Nevertheless, Congratulations, Mr.President!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Mitu, mishy-mish, babloo turns 7...

Have you heard the Little Johnny joke
Little J: "Daddy, can you tell me what's sex?"
Dad thinks, he's gotta explain this someday, so now's a good time as any, even though Johnny may be a bit too young...
So he goes and explains all about the birds and the bees.
Little Johnny: 'But dad, how am I going to write all of that on this Application Form?"

That joke was the first thing that came to my mind after this incident -

We were all going on a drive, the girls playing and talking, which faded away in my chat with Pup when T1 showed her middle finger and asked me what it was...! Pup and I looked like we'd seen a ghost! We did NOT expect a question like that THIS early! Fortunately , I did not get into too much detail unlike the dad in the joke...
I said, "That's your middle finger..." and before I could ask why,
she acknowledged..."Oh, yeah..." and continued singing, "Where is Middle Finger, where is Middle Finger?..."

There was another time when she confessed to me that she used the "F" word...! Whaaat the f...?? She went on to say, "Amma, sorry I said it's not Fair"...

This little girl of mine always cracks us up with such punch-lines. Ever since she could start talking...

Here's another recent one -
T1: "Amma, you look like a teenager!"
Mommy does a triple somersault (in her mind, that is).
T1 Continues: "Ya, with the backpack on, you look just like a teenager!"

But right now, she desperately wants to "make up" jokes...Bless her heart, but she's terrible at it.

For example, she asks me, "Why is his name Sponge Bob Square Pants"?
Answer: "He's a square, he wears pants, his real name is Bob and he's a Sponge."
Dude, that is NOT a joke...

And she loves knock-knock jokes. She tries to come up with really, um...lame ones (as a mom it's really difficult to use "lame" for something that my daughter does). Sorry, but how do you let your darling daughter know that she should not try these things...? I even bought her a knock-knock joke book... She won't give up! She keeps trying. I keep telling her that she's naturally funny, and she doesn't have to make up jokes...
Let's hope she gets better at it someday!!

We recently took a trip down memory lane to look for photos to complete a "Timeline" project for her school. Such nostalgic memories...

Despite all those sleepless nights she gave us, her infantile eczema, the food allergies, her back-to-back-to-back ear infections and all other health issues she has had, T1 has been an amazing trooper and an even more amazing kid!

With her hormones that are going to kick in sooner or later (later, I hope), I do not know how her personality will change, but I am proud to say now that she is ONE amazing kid! It might sound cheesy to hear this from a parent, but it's true!
She's silly, she's funny, she's dramatic, she's SO mature, she's hard-working, she's silly and loves anything/anyone that's silly.

I can safely say that she's one heck of a kid all but 5% of the time - the only time that she devotes to being a typical 7 year old kid (even a 2 year old sometimes)...

All her teachers over the last three years have commented on her profound leadership qualities. She gets direct training everyday from being a big sis! She's taken this "big-sis" thing to a whole new level.
She loves to take care of her little sis. She reads to T2, she pets her, helps her with her MathWizard worksheets.
She even helps her brush her teeth on an occasional Sunday morning when mommy wants to sleep an extra 5 minutes...

The other day, Pup and her were picking up T2 from the daycare. She apparently asked T2's teacher if T2 ate well that day, what was it she ate, did she take too long, etc...

As a parent, I sometimes cringe when she dives in to teach other kids - whatever it is - drawing, singing, writing, counseling too sometimes - it comes across a bit ... well... "cringy"...
I hope we are on the right track in cultivating her leadership qualities and making sure she doesn't come across as obnoxious!

What else do we know about her?

She loves music. She loves to practice too...Both Carnatic vocal and Keyboard...
Except that I can't help her much in this dept...My cousin-B from whom she learns music aptly joked saying, "Unga rendu paerukkum paada varaathathukku sethu vechu iva paadara" - She has made up for the fact that neither of you can sing (me and Pup)

She does get shy and moody every now and then when people ask her to sing, but for the most part she is ready to go into an infinite loop of songs. These days, T2 joins in too, so they can do a non-stop kutcheri, so beware before you ask her to sing :)

She *loves* to draw, color, paint...She can spend days together doing just that. She has done some nice stuff in her recent Art lessons - using strokes, shading, measuring, estimating size, etc...Most of what they do is copying the teacher's original art work, and in the process they learn to estimate proportions, they learn different shading patterns, etc...

Here's one that she drew of herself - copied from the work of a professional caricaturist. This has truly been one of my "Proud Mommy" moments!!

She's growing up so fast! It's amazing! It sucks! We've even started embarrassing her now with our baby talk and silly songs!

My mitu (as I love to call her) mishy-mish, babloo is another year (and two months) older...