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!

 

Raising a village.

I think I am finally ready to share the news here on the blog. waiting

I am expecting Baby no. 2 next month! I have been mostly tired and exhausted last few months and the excitement to meet the new little one is growing with each passing day.

As I punch the keys in, My mother is in the air on her way from India to Canada to help me in the initial phase post-delivery. I cannot express in words the kind of relief the possibility of her being around me has provided me.

I read an old proverb somewhere that says ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. I propose an addendum- It takes time and courage to raise  an involved village around the child. We recently  moved to this new city and have been slowly settling down. The social aspect of any move is the daunting one and we are still working on ours. The fact that I have been pregnant, a severe flu-season and the very cold winters that we have been having does not help our case one bit but we are trying. It is so hard to find deep and meaningful friendships as adults that I sometimes wish I had stayed in the place where I was born and raised . Then the community around me and my social circle would have probably included familiar faces that I  had known for all my life!

Thankfully, I have a very close-knit family on both sides and even when we are miles apart, we are connected by phone and video-chat. its not the real deal but it comes a close-second. The fact that my mum was able to come stay with me for some time which meant disrupting her life and being away from my dad for an extended period, speaks to fact that my family is as involved and interested in the well-being of my children as I am. I am filled with gratitude to have loving and giving parents and siblings. And this is what any parents wants in the village around the them and their children- People who are involved and interested, who are your well wishers and ones you can trust. Its not about throwing a bunch of people together and having a good time but having meaningful relationships that influence and shape the course of your life and bear positive fruit over time. I am seeing the beginning of a few of these in the church and my social circle but time will tell how things shape up.

As for the time being my focus is on the fact that grandma is coming!

grandma

Phir Milenge!!

An A-moo-zing birthday

One of the most exciting part of motherhood is celebrating milestones of the children’s lives. I am happy to introduce My friend Linda who threw an amoozing (yeah moo for the theme was cow) party to celebrate her son’s birthday last year. She has hosted and styled many beautiful parties for her family and friends and has agreed to share a little bit about her style and process with me today.  I think we don’t celebrate moms enough-  Linda is a woman of many talents. Born and raised in a beautiful Eastern European country, Latvia, She left home in 2001 and has been traveling ever since. She studied Art in latvia, majoring in oil painting, pencil sketching and collage. She is a certified Level 1 Tea-Sommelier and a certified  advance makeup artist. She has lived and worked in Switzerland, the USA, the UAE and the UK.  She immigrated to Canada in 2007, got married and now has a very precious baby boy. Last year she quit her job in the hospitality industry and started her own business to be able to spend more time with her family. She is a freelance professional make up artist specializing in bridal, special events, beauty and editorial make up – Visit her website here. Over to Linda now:

Lsahoo

Linda and her son Sandis

I have always loved planning different events for my family and styling them with different themes, whether it was a Christmas concert where my brother performed for the family or stage presentations in school, Baby showers or weddings. I also have a higher diploma in Event Planning and Management. My biggest event was of course planning my own wedding in Latvia with influences from Latvian culture and incorporating my husband’s Indian roots.It was an east-meets-west event which came together quite spectacularly- I wore a white dress with burgundy red shoes, adorned with Indian jewelery and the hair and makeup was inspired from the Bollywood movies from the 80s.

I am really interested in planning  and styling an event, from the theme to decor to the food and every other detail. When it came to my son’s first birthday I wanted to do something that was bright and vibrant and personal at the same time.

Lsahoo

The Sahoo family

I started planning my son’s birthday three months in advance. I knew I wanted to do something special and the idea I came up was to tie the whole party together around his favorite toy (a stuffed cow who wears a sea blue sweater). The main colors for the decor were black, white and Sea blue. I was disappointed to see all that was available in party stores were boring shades of browns greens and blues for boys whereas there were many brightly colored party themes available for girls so I had to customize the look I wanted for this party.

I looked around on Etsy and found Colleen of ASweetCelebration who agreed to making the birthday banner  and turned my vision into reality. She made the banner and the  12 months banner both in similar color palettes.

 cow theme birthday banner 12 month banner

My mom had flown in from Europe for her grandson’s first birthday and was a great help in putting the rest of the decor together. I found very pretty material in ocean blue with kind of golden pattern on it for the table at the local sewing store on sale but unfortunately it was not long enough, so I had to borrow black table skirt for the table from the Banff Centre where my husband works. It took a while to decide what to do as a backdrop for the table, and I decided to make 6 garlands 6ft in length, with craft-paper circles of various sizes in blue, light blue and black which we stitched through with the thread. On the window itself we placed yellow plastic table cloth cut into rectangular shape, and then hanged a custom frame, which we painted in coordinating color together with Letter “S”. That created a focal point.

desert table

Dessert Table

We had Indian fusion buffet, and sweet table was color coordinated. We had lollipops, which looked like sugar sticks in blue, yellow and white, as well as candy in similar hues. My mother and I made the cupcakes from scratch and created the cow figurines from marshmallow and gum paste…we were basing it on a drawing and some knowledge of cake decorating. The cake pops were dark chocolate brownie in flavor, and we just added some food coloring to white melted chocolate to get that exact color. Again all made at home using Wilton supplies.

lolipop cake cupcake

The cake was cream cherry cake custom made for us was initially a bit of a disappointment as it was plain white cake with green/blue spots- nothing like I had envisioned. Early in the morning I had to salvage it to make it look more like I initially intended, and added some black patches, gumpaste flowers and one of the cows we made for the cupcakes.So in the end, it looked pretty decent.

cow theme cake

Picture frame with Sandis’ picture we painted ourselves to achieve the exact color.
table setting Sandis wore bow tie outfit through the day, and later on I changed him into cow tea shirt and pants, purchased for the occasion. As a guest favor, we used kid umbrellas which where cow themed too.

cow  themed umbrellas birthday boy Sandis

At the end of the day I was very satisfied with the outcome.

One last question, How has your experience been of living in so many different places around the globe?

I’ve lived in Latvia, Switzerland, France, USA, UAE, UK and Canada. I have extensively traveled through Europe as well in my teenage years both with family and as part of volleyball team…and I also have been to Russia. For me it’s boring to live in one place for a long time…I love to experience new environments, cultures, values…it changes your perspective on things and values in life, you learn something new. Sometimes, you have to be brave enough to take a leap into unknown, especially when you leave the first time all by yourself to live/work in totally unknown country without a single friend or family member there by your side but it has always been very rewarding, and I guess made me a “richer”, more broad minded person. I have always thought that In the end, if I don’t like it, I can always go back to my home, Latvia, to where I am from..to my safe haven…life is too short and there is so much to experience out in this world!
For the time being our home is Canada…but it can change any time really 🙂

Thanks Linda, for taking the time to talk to us. I can’t wait to see her ideas for event styling this year!

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Phir Milenge!!

Wott-ee-dhaat?

“Wott-ee-dhaat?” is my daughter’s speak for ‘ what is that?’. In my attempt to teach her about things around her, I started asking her this question every time we saw something on the street, zoo or shop things she had seen in a book or on tv and now she asks this question ALL THE TIME!. Before you say anything let me clarify I allow her 1/2 hour of television after lunch and 1/2 hour after dinner. Now-a-days my daughter says many things in her toddler language which I hope to document some day! My friend Divs did a great job of recording her daughter’s first phrases in her scrapbook. (This is a gentle nudge for you Divs to get back onto blogging!!)

I have said it time and again, I have learnt so many new things ever since I got pregnant with my daughter. She continues to amaze me with her sense of wonder, innocence and curiosity. She sees something and is amazed by it over and over again. Sometimes I wish I could do the same. It would be so easy to be happy then. Some of the things that we often take for granted would become adorable once more. If only we can remind ourselves again what it was that captured our heart in the first place.

One area where this principle can be applied is spiritual disciplines and this is what I am striving to do this year. I remember as a little tween girl when I read the Book of John and the Psalms, I was captivated by the beautiful imagery the words created. At that time I did not fully understand the meaning but the words were music to my ears. As 2012 came to an end , I was once again reminded of the reasons why I my head and heart was drawn to Christ. I am feeling drawn to explore The Word a bit more and recapture the sense of wonder I once had. Kudos to those of you who have a regular scripture reading routine. it’s not easy but it has to be done. It’s much like cooking isn’t it ? You have to do it because your body needs it whether you like it or not but there at least you have an option of going out and eat what someone else cooks. The spiritual nourishment that the scriptures provide has to be consumed on our own – there are NO shortcuts. I am hoping that in my bible reading this year I would be able to ask God, “Wott-ee-dhaat?” again and once again He will let His truth shine !

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

John 8:32

Phir Milenge!