Champion of 100 ways to ask the question ‘why?’

Last week,  A.Cooper  spoke to a small group of young mothers at our church and in her list of things that moms do was the phrase, ” Champion of 100 ways to answer the question ‘why?’.” I so wish I was that but I have a champion of the other kind in our house – the one who asks the question why.

From a routine good morning to trip to the aquarium can be turned into a series of questions. Here is a sample:

good morning!

-why the morning is good?

because you are with me and I am happy!

-why am I with you?

because you were born to me

-why was I born ?

Now that’s an existential question too hard to answer!

Look a shark ! swimming there.

why the shark is swimming?

because the sharks need to move in the water.

Why? they can’t sit still? their momma will not tell them to sit down?

Of course she is referring to me telling her to stop running around and sit still.

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Before I became a Mom, I thought I would honestly and truthfully answer the questions my pre-schooler posed to me. That I would never give them silly answers or fabricate excuses to avoid their questions. I had had some degree of success with my little nephews and nieces but there were other things at play. I now suspect they quit asking questions out of sheer boredom of my tedious answers or that they got distracted into other games and not because of my answering prowess. I was naive then. Apart from distraction, there is nothing that would satiate the curiosity of a little adult. Every bit of a simplified response can lead to five more questions and kids can be tireless.

I have a love-hate relationship with my daughter’s questions. I love that her mind is curious and she looks to me for answers but sometimes, my answers have to act like conversation-enders which are clues for the kid to stop asking. Here are my top five question-killers and attention deflectors:

5.  I have to find the answer in a book- I use this  when the question is related to any image I can find in a book however remotely related. I have an illustrated dictionary which I often pick up with the thought of finding an illustration about something related to the question. May be the size of the book and the small print will dissuade her from asking more questions. Answer to ‘Why do birds fly?’ can be found in the dictionary or in a story which had one bird illustration. I cross my fingers and hope there would something in there which would capture her imagination and hopefully won’t have questions about. Though I must admit here that I have had lot of fun actually searching for answers with her. looking for best illustrations and explaining them to her.

4. I’ll tell you later- This only works when I am in the middle of some task like cleaning or cooking, not when I am doing other tasks like folding the laundry or doing dishes. My daughter has randomly decided  that some tasks are more important than others. It is a short term fix though because often my daughter remembers her question when I am done with the task at hand.

3. that’s the way things are- this reply works best when questions relate to the natural world or how things were made and I can elude to a factory, a designer and even God for how things came about and function. This has given me some good opportunity to talk about faith, design and intentionality.

2. I don’t know-  This is often coupled with ” you can ask dad when he comes home”. I think this is a last resort of sorts but this has the biggest risk of backfiring. If repeated often the kids would no longer come to you with their questions. I can already imagine my daughter turning this on me in her teenage years. ” you don’t know anything mom!”

1.You’ll understand when you grow bigger.- This was my mother’s go to for difficult questions. She would usually say that even if she answered my question , I would not be able to understand it because it was too big for my brain. She would later also tell me some of the other things I would be able to do when i am bigger like lifting up a bucketful of water or finish a big mango all by myself. This is the best attention deflector for me where I can ask her to tell me what she wants to do when she grows bigger.

There some other responses that I have tried as well. Honest to goodness answers work the best and seeing those tiny lightbulbs going on in our child’s understudying is a feeling unparalleled.

Phir MIlenge!!

 

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ROFL. Literally.

Rolling On the Floor laughing. Really. That’s what we did for almost an hour yesterday.

Not rolling on the floor because we were laughing rather laughing because we were rolling on the floor.

My daughter and I .

And the laughter just flowed.

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I don’t remember the last time I rolled on the floor. May be it was some two decades ago.

It just so happened that my 12 weeks old r dozed off in the evening and I had both the opportunity and the energy to play with R. We rolled on the floor together , tried (and failed) to do cart wheels and tried (and failed) to stand on our heads. Amidst the laughter she insisted, ” Mama! Do it again! Do it again !!”

Honestly if you had asked me a year ago, I would have told you that I would never pass up a chance to play with my daughter, that I loved to read/paint/walk/talk with her and that I almost never rushed her. I could not imagine how things will change in a year.

In my instinctive desire to protect the new born and in the midst of the busyness of caring for her, I have been telling R that I could not play with her right now, that she had to wait, that we will do it later and even when we do start something together, we would be interrupted by the cries of a newborn seeking attention/feed/diaper-change. I have been expecting R to understand that suddenly she was a big girl. The truth really is that she is still a little girl- A little girl who has been excited about the arrival of her little sister, who is willing to participate in caring for her and who has a lot of love that she wants to shower on r but does not how.

On the other hand, while I had all the time in the world with the first one, the attention is divided for the little one too. I don’t get enough opportunities to snuggle and stare at this little wonder long enough. There always some chore waiting to be done.

When I sit with r I think of R and vice-versa….. the disposition of the heart is such as to never be completely satisfied. It may read as unfair but it isn’t.I am one of those moms who can take a happy moment and turn it into a guilt trip. Motherhood is hard anyways and honestly no one needs the added burden of guilt with it.

In our little unit of family we are doing life together. We give some and we get some. We are getting older together. R is learning to grow & be a big sister, my husband and I are learning to be parents of two and the little one is learning something new each day. We are learnign to love each other anew. Love is not divided but it is multiplying each day.

Till the time r is old enough to sit with us or participate, R and I will have to steal moments like this and make them our own.

And when we do that I will bring to mind this day of rolling on the floor…laughing…guilt free!

Phir Milenge!

 

Welcome 2014!

The New year is not a threshold to separate past from the present from where all things past cease to exist, it is just another milestone in the journey of our lives.

I treat it as another chunk of time to measure our performance in. At the end of the year I received a report from wordpress telling me how my blog did in the past year- number of visitors, top 5 posts etc.  All news channels and media comes up with their top ten or best-of-last-year list. Each year end I am amused at the revelry around this turn of event. I am not a party person but I am not totally untouched by the enthusiasm. Those who go all out celebrating tell me its a new year…. every thing is new. Well , not everything , but yes the resolve and the hope to do better in the coming year is renewed. It is as if by acknowledging the change in the number of the year , we are forced to take stock of what we have been through.

Even that doesnot make the new year unique. We have other opportunities during the year to take stock our performance for the year gone by, birthdays and anniversaries for example are annual reminders, Students get a report card at the end of an academic year, businesses and individual file for taxes- all these require us to lok back and take record of what has gone by.

That said the new year is unique in is its scale…..its the whole collective experience of ushering in a new year that appeals to me. It is an event that has transcended global boundaries and become an international phenomenon. In India, we have the saka calendar, and Tamil calendar and there are festivities associated with their new year events, as are the festivities centered around the Chinese new year too but the gregorian new year celebrations are on of a different magnitude than  them all. madhubani new year So wherever you are today, whether you went out to celebrate or stayed at home,  I wish you a happy new year ahead!

“…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal…”-Phil. 3:13-14.

Phir Milenge!

’twas the weekend before christmas

The weekend before Christmas the greater Toronto Area got a dose of severe winter weather. It created a lot of havoc – downed power lines, power outages and delayed flights etc.  The city crews were working round the clock to restore power to as many as soon as possible but it still seemed like a lot of people would be spending christmas by the candle light.

You can imagine, with outdoor temperatures well below the freezing point, a house without heat and power can soon turn cold. without electricity not only are you in the dark,  you loose heat, hot water and can’t even cook  (many household still use electric stoves-ovens). additionally lots of businesses lost power too and were not functional. the roads were slick and those were not the best driving conditions.  As for us, our apartment building lost power and we stayed indoors for two days but the third day we decided to move to a hotel, so that we could be warm and take a shower.

Thank fully the power was restored on the third day and we were able to come home on Christmas day. It was a Christmas day miracle for us.

1489613_254956704661457_2111417355_o’twas night before christmas, huddled on a hotel bed
the little family struggled, to be warm and to be fed
three days ago to the city, icy storms had come- a- visiting
the roads were slick, the trees were down and power went-a-missing,

but the little family wasn’t alone, there were others all round
no heat no power no place to go,  the problems did abound.
there was kindness of strangers, love and charity to be seen
People lending helping hands and serving, willing, able and keen

Christ had come to the manger, christmas to the room in a hotel
when troubles comes little things matter, we all know too well
Faith and family , love and hope can keep your spirits high
Lord’s gracious hands can lead you through when troubles are nigh

Plans may not always turn out as hoped and even fall apart
the silver lining to it is hope and God who never departs
 the hours of darkness, truth is the shining light
A merry christmas to you all and to all a goodnight!

Even as I type this, there are still some families in the dark and the city crews are working on clean up and power restoration. The hope is that it will all be sorted out by the weekend.

Phir milenge!

The language without words

This morning , I chanced upon this cheerful sight. This gentleman, whom I saw in the bus,  was happily reading the notes of music from the sheets and enjoying the music in his head. While it is so common to see many youngsters shaking their heads to music it was the rarity of this event that drew my attention. I asked him for his permission to click his picture and sat down to talk to him till the time my journey in the bus lasted.

reading musical notes 2

music notes

He was happy to let me take pictures and mentioned that he was a pianist and his group would be performing the coming weekend in the community center. He said reading music was akin to reading a book , where the visualization happens in the mind and even though there is no sound to accompany the notes, he could visualize the music in his head like pictures. I am almost tone-deaf so I can only imagine what beautiful experience it might be to see music take shape in front of your eyes.

He was happy with his music, and perhaps amused at my curiosity. His was a sort of happiness that rubs off you. Did you notice the name on the cover of his music sheets? – Voice Dance! It paints a picture doesn’t it ?

reading musical notes

Meanwhile in my garden, these bleeding hearts bloomed. Spring is in full force in our part of the world – So many flowers blooming and so many baby- birds chirping all around.

Lamprocapnos spectabilis a.k.a Bleeding hearts

Lamprocapnos spectabilis a.k.a Bleeding hearts

I am soaking in the sights, smells and sounds of spring.

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Notes of music

colors of spring

All things that make your heart sing.

What is your heart singing these days?

Phir milenge!!