The Story of Power Telling

storytelling

I just reversed the title a bit, similar to ‘The common of a Power man’ in the recent blockbuster ‘Chennai Express’. The title is ‘The Power of Story Telling’. I would like to tell this though an example.

My darling daughter Saanvi who turned 3 couple of months back is averse to bathing, but likes to sit in her bath tub, terming it as “Swimming”. So, when I call her to bathe, she will respond on a pre-condition that she will enter the bathroom only for swimming and not for bathing. I’ve tried many different ways, and finally settled to tell her a particularly fictitious horror story about bathing, which ticked big time with her. The story goes like this –

Once upon a time, there was a king. He didn’t like bathing but only wanted to swim everyday. So, day on day dirt accumulated on him and a black patch formed all over his body. Soon, ants, mosquitoes and all dirty insects started crawling on him. He smelled foul and no one played with him. He wasn’t even allowed into the playground. So, he ordered his soldiers and asked them to bathe him. So, 10 soldiers each took one soap each and started bathing one part of the body each. It took them one year to clean off the dirt and the king became white and fresh again! So, everyone played with him and since then he took bath everyday!! He used to ask his mom to bathe him first thing in the morning.

I made quite a few funny sounds, during the time soldiers bathed the king. She was hooked on. She immediately asked me – “Mom, will I get a black patch too?”. That’s it – my story is a success. I finished her bath in 5 minutes and got her out of the bathroom.

Tell a story. Persuade people – tell them why they need to do a particular thing.  It works – from toddlers to older people. The story needs to scare people a bit, soothe them and offer a solution – all at once while striking an emotional chord with them. Are you ready to sell things by weaving them into a beautiful story? For me, the journey has begun and I am sure to tell lot  more stories to Saanvi to get things done my way 🙂

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Saanvi Chronicles: One Month Experiment & Results

At home, we often call my daughter “Don Saanvi” after the telugu movie “Don Seenu”, for the very reason that she gets things done her way by the umpteen number of techniques she has on us.

Saanvi

 

Since last one year, I had the opportunity to work from home, and boy – it was the toughest year of my job so far. I still managed to do it, as my work was fairly independent and could get done at nights or early mornings when every one in the house was asleep. When you go to work, you hardly take care of them in their most energetic times / most frustrating times of the day. Now that, I had access to the wide range of emotions – laughter, play, crankiness on my plate, I learnt how to handle them along the way. However, my family had minor complaint on me, that I could learn to be a bit more patient with her, although I was doing okay.

Firstly, I vehemently disagreed. Then, as with other things – I kept it on back burner of my mind and started observing myself in all the interactions. Although I could roughly understand what they meant – I still had all my excuses to behave that way. Finally, I decided to take 1 month Challenge and record the results and learnings.

Duration: August 14th to Sept 13th 2013

Challenge:  Not even once, I will lose patience with Saanvi. Will never discuss about her, ANYTHING with ANYONE.

Result: SUCCESS!!

Experience handling the Challenge:

Being the person who loves Challenges in every aspect of life, I attuned myself to this fairly easily. Rule is a rule, and never meant to be broken. So, from August 14th, I made up my mind to do whatever it takes not to break the rule. Being a fussy eater, she tested my patience to extreme levels. Now that I did not have the option of losing my temper, I had to find innovative ways of getting her on track. And that is where my learnings begun.  I had awesome days with her, where things worked like a Charm, and terrible days where nothing was good enough to console her.

Self Introspection is tough to do. Discovering your own weaknesses in that process and acknowledging them only makes us more human, and progressive in nature.  Here are my key learnings from the 1 month experiment:

a) TUNE into your KID’s Emotional Radio.  Get to know every single one of their feelings, and when they react – you should know why they react. As this skill gets mastered, a lot of things happen intuitively. If you know she’s hungry rather than she is cranky – you’d feed her rather than try to discipline. That makes hell lot of difference to the entire scene.

b)  NEVER talk about THEM anywhere – in front of them, behind and in your mind. Once a thing gets repeatedly SAID to KIDS, it becomes their life rule. Example, we say that the kid is naughty and no one can never control them. If that is said to them in their vicinity every single day, that sets the expectations that they should be behaving so. By totally avoiding talking about them, the situations don’t dictate what kind of person they should be growing up to.

Also, words are so powerful that the more attribution is given to a particular feeling, it becomes more stronger in your own mind. I had few occasions in the duration of challenge, where I felt like giving up, but I just didn’t verbalize and kept going on with other stuff.  Learn to ignore the trivial stuff.

c) RESPECT the FEEDBACK you get from your family.  They were partly true – there were situations where I could have been more patient, but I was tired, or had something stressful going on with me at that point of time. So,I too was right. But, as they say – It’s all about priorities. So, I learnt to get my priorities right.

Lot of other little learnings along the way. But, I can confidently say that this one month of challenge has helped me find the little tweaks that need to be done in an engine, to ensure a smooth and long, successful motherhood journey.

If you repeatedly get feedback about your kids, or have some for yourself – why not take a month challenge and see if could change your perspective on some things?

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Saanvi Chronicles: Her first appreciation & Criticism

Oh well, you get the look. Image

Only since the past 2 days, I begun to understand how kids grow up fast, in a blink of eye.  Saanvi gave me shockers day after day, and prompted me to write this article, to save it for my pleasant memories later on…

Situation:  Night, around 10 PM

Conversation:

Saanvi : Mama, I need boost now.

Me: Saanvi, shall I get you a lemonade instead? You like it, right? ( I have my practical reasons to avoid Boost at that time)

Saanvi: Yay, Lemonade is my favorite. I’ll help you make it.

So, we go to the kitchen and she helps me out with squeezing the lemon, adding sugar and mixing – more or less preparing it herself. After I taste it and adjust it to her tastebuds, she sips a bit, gives me THAT look and starts off

Saanvi: Mama, this lemonade is very sour. You did not manage to make it well – the sugar is less and the lemonade is not mixed well. Ok, remember from next time – add proper quantities of everything and mix well. And also, these lemon strands – I don’t want them. If they go in my stomach, will I not get a stomach ache? I don’t want to drink this anymore..

Me: ??!!!!!

I am quite used to Saanvi’s verbose reactions on things, and her not touching food and giving me feedback that she doesn’t like it. But, not with descriptions of the ingredients and telling me on what happens if she eats that food. God save me I thought, drank the lemonade myself and put her to bed.

Situation: Evening, around 5 PM

Conversation:

Me: Saanvi, would you like to drink Tomato Soup?

Saanvi : Yey yeh tomato soup, i like it! Can you quickly make it for me?

Off I go, and use the readymade tomato soup powder and get her soup ready in 10 minutes. She insists that she fed the soup herself and i go away from there. So, I sit in another room, reading some depressing news in the newspaper.

Saanvi, suddenly after some time: Mama, you made the soup really well. You added the proper salt, sugar , water and mixed it very well. I liked it and will drink it completely!

Me: So, did you like the soup?

Saanvi: Yes, and remember how you made it this time. I want the same soup everytime.

She didn’t manage to finish her bowl, but half of it really fast.

We laughed out loud, when saanvi was explaining on why the soup was good. Later , when I come to think of it – kids really turn out the way the family operates.  There is no other way. 🙂 Our family has a unique way of dissecting every food item that gets on the table, and how each spice is less / more or just right. We also talk about whether the recipe should be preserved, and a particular dish should be made exactly the way it is done now.  Kids have god blessed observation skills. So, although I was very surprised at first, a realization dawned on me slowly :  As Parents, the home is your biggest theater and you are the actors on the stage for the rest of your life. A small, tiny creature will be your audience, who will be an actor just like you, once she grows up. It is our responsibility to act well, so that tomorrow we don’t curse her on how she is doing.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Happy Birthday Saanvi!

Image

This is one of my favorite photos – Saanvi with her father.  Saanvi celebrates her 3rd birthday today. I wish she gets the strength and wisdom to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

We have a small gathering to celebrate this occasion in the evening. Tom & Jerry Cake, along with red-pink-white theme balloon decoration are geting ready.  All the materialistic things are taken care of – there is one thing I’d like to mention this special day.

As a parent, the best gift you can give to your kids is your undivided attention. When your kid comes and speaks, or tries to get your attention – savor that moment, drop everything else and listen to them.  Those will be the moments that will help build the bond. An equally important gift would be to talk to them when they are in a mood to listen. Tell them things you expect them to do or behave in a certain way. Build that bond, so that they know that parents will tell them things that will be of good to them. When kids become teenagers, this will be the biggest savior for parents.

Here’s wishing my sweetie pie Saanvi all the happiness in her life. As I always say to my family, I wish she turns out like her Dad – I’d be the happiest Mom in the world!!

Have a good day and keep rocking!

Saanvi Chronicles : chinna pani

Parenting is fun and kids are the best mind readers in the world. The moment you think you know it all – they just make sure you are so wrong. And when you throw up your hands and admit that you are the worst parent in the world – they give you a virtual trophy of the best mom and prove you wrong again!

With saanvi sick again since the last week, she has been making sure I use up all my day’s energy by 11am in the morning. I have been alternating through this phase of I can’t – I can phase since few weeks and it’s time to recollect some gems my daughter had thrown at me .

1. Ye nanna laddoo kavala konukkundamu : If you guys remember that AD of Cadbury shots, one day we told her what the lead character says. Since then, it’s her favorite. We take her out just to buy one for her. It is extremely pleasing to note that, she asks every single one in the family if they want the thing she’s getting.

2. Amma, chinna pani chesi pettu : what this means is – mom, help me out with this little thing. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes when I first heard this. While I use this to distract her from tantrums, I was surprised to see her so effectively using back at me.

I keep getting lot of bouncers day in and day out. One more :

Saanvi friends tho saanvi matladali, Amma friends tho amma matladali.

3. Naaniya : This is Saanvi’s nickname for her dad. One day, she got up and started calling him Naaniya. Now, if she wants her father’s attention – she just keep roaming around him saying the word again and again.

4. Manam ippudu emi aadukundamu : when we feed saanvi, we made her play a lot. So, now when she knows we are going to feed her. She herself comes up with the ultimate question of – what game am I getting to play now? More often than not, I found that feeding becomes easy once we have settled to a game of get choice.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

If my daughter would write a book..?

I like reading books. Ever since my daughter is born(3 years ago), my bulk of waking hours are spent dealing with her one way or the other. While trying to convince her to do something, I always give her logical reasons. And she has the best answer in the world to everything I speak : NO.

In a particularly happy mood, I had the weird thought that if saanvi would write a book, what would it be? Here is the TOC as per my wild imagination :

Title: How to get what you want, all the time

Table of Contents :

1. Know what you want. Tips to help you find out your needs, desires and character

As a kid, I find it really strange that she has opinions at this age and enforces them so brutally on us. So, I would expect her to think that everyone knows what they want.

Her tip would be to listen very very keenly to every single sentence uttered at home, irrespective of they are talking to you or not. If the topic is about you, just pick up your needs and character from there.

2. Proven tactics to get what you want.

There are many number of ways to get what you want. One is by being a good girl. Other is by being stubborn. The best part is, find out which person is most likely in a mood to do what you want, and simply go and show childish charms. Your work will be done.

3. How to survive without eating anything

Saanvi has a Ph.D in this topic. Reply with NO for any question related to food. Next, demand the family to feed you no matter what. Tell them you’d like to play while eating. And once they fall into your trap, just play play and play. Once they are frustrated of feeding you, they will give up and go away.

4. How to bring anyone in home to a good mood

If someone is really angry with you, for whatever reason – go crawling towards them and give them a bear hug and a big kiss. You bet they’d kiss you back.

If you find someone sad, go and ask them why they are sad. Get them to play your favorite games. See how happy they become.

That’s it for now guys. She would be turning 3 soon and is one of the most mischevious kids I have encountered. Apple of our eye and sunshine of our life – life with saanvi is very rewarding.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Saanvi Chronicles : First headbath without a tear

headbath for kids
Happy head bath.
Source: pinterest

How I wish my kid’s bathtime was so pleasant! Don’t get me wrong. Saanvi really likes water. To the extent that she insisted of going to the swimming pool every single day while we were in Sydney. And boy, she learnt to float using the inflated support type (not sure what the swimming name is). But, she hated the feeling of water flowing all through her body, right from her top. And to top that, she gave me a really hard time to wipe her head, which caused her to be cold patient very very frequently. Although she has really nice and soft hair, these things made me cut her hair already 3 times now. Whenever I cut her hair, I would sigh deeply inside and say to myself on when she will grow up to maintain her hair.

Well, the time has come – today! With kids, everyday is a surprise. Whatever they eat today will be detested tomorrow. And whatever they feared today, tomorrow it will be part of their routine effortlessly.  But, as a parent – it is our responsibility to make the transition effortlessly as possible.

Here is the sequence of events from “crying to the roof top” to “sitting happily through head bath” for Saanvi:

1. She doesn’t like head bath. I cannot get her to the bathroom to do head bath. There are a couple of instances where we did not bathe her for 2 days, because SHE JUST DOESN’T WANT TO COME IN.

2. A norm was that, she would keep crying all the while during headbath and I would go on with whatever i was doing. I tried to soothe her by telling all kinds of rhymes and stories, but if i remember correctly, she would cry even loudly when I started talking.

3. Saanvi loves me doing things. Usually, I try not to let her watch me bathing. But, whenever she gets to catch me doing headbath – that’s the perfect time to let her “copy” me. I would tell her that mummy doesnt cry because it doesn’t hurt when you pour water from your head to your toe. Even if water trickles down, it is okay.

4. Slowly, I started noticing her pattern with other things and applied the same here. Usually, she hates surprises and is good if informed on what is happening with her. One day, I told her that she is gonna have her head washed now.  She cried lesser than earlier times, which was a good sign for me.

5. Next step was to appreciate what she did. I told every single one in the family that Saanvi cries very less because she is told in advance. And she is a very good girl. I could see her beaming with pride.

6. Today, the D-day. When I told her she would be bathing her head, to my surprise – she closed her eyes, sat still and told me : “SAANVI WOULDN’T CRY BECAUSE MUMMY TOLD ME BEFOREHAND!!”. It was my turn to get shocked now. Pleasant ofcourse!! 🙂 The entire saga finished so effortlessly.

Today is one of the first for Saanvi. Over time, I have come to realize that I need to shut up to let me & everyone else know how Saanvi is progressing through her toddler phases.

I hope these tips help atleast one mom who is plucking her hair in frustration regarding this issue.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

Saanvi Chronicles : Of Not Eating food and other things

I’m at home with my daughter since last August.  Working from home. Saanvi has enriched my life in ways more than one in the last 10 months. I pampered her more than required, I shouted on her and I cried. There have been awesome things too. I got to spend time with her more than i could ask for. Anyday once she grows up, I would have lot of stories to tell her about her childhood. Meanwhile, my daughter’s busy giving me lessons on parenting.

Fondly, I always call her my personal PTP : Patience Training Programme.  Here is the series of events that happened since Last 20 Days:

Day 20 : Saanvi was sneezing non stop. I did nothing.

Day 19: Saanvi still sneezing. I gave her Allegra 5 ml. Stopped her school on that day. She played her usual self, no complaints.

Day 18: Saanvi has stopped sneezing. I did not give her any medication. She still skipped her school.

Day 17: All medication stopped completely, I sent her to school normally.

Day 14 : Her Father came from Gurgaon. All excited, she took her food normally for the next 2 days.

Day 11:  Saanvi’s food intake has stopped completely. We both are worried, along with the entire family.

Day 10:  Saanvi goes to the Doctor. After examination, he puts her on cough syrup for a week as she has flum and cold syrup for a week. And on Iron tonic for 3 months, as she looks very anemic. I feel so ashamed of my parenting : After staying at home for 10 months, now she is in a position to take iron tablets.

Day 9: We started Iron syrup.

Day 8 : I started Cough syrup, gave her once out of 3 times recommended.

Day 7 – Yesterday :No Cough Syrup.  iron tonic administered with syringe for the last 3 days.

Day 4 – Day 1 : Total food stopped. Her entire food comprised of 1 glass milk, 4-5 spoons of rice. And water. No  motion passed. I tried all possible ways and her standard answer is : “saanvi does not want any food. ” I even let her starve and she did not come back for food, making me even more guilty.

Today morning : I heard her coughing and felt the flum again. I was an idiot to think the flum will disappear on its own. Administered the cough syrup and all the flum was out as vomiting.  No School today. As compensation to the scoldings she had for the past few days, going to toys shop now. Ofcourse, did not tell her this reason.

Whoever reads this, will declare that i am either the most irresponsible mother on earth, or i am just born with a mission of not following doctor’s advise. Even I thought so for a good hour today. What made me to not give her cough medicine after instruction from doctor?

1. The gut feeling that it will disappear on its own, since there are no physical symptoms.

2.  Laziness

3.  Saanvi resisting any kind of medicine, making this task an unpleasant one for me to do.

All the above are true. However, I learnt few valuable lessons today :

1. No matter Saanvi looks cured the moment we come back from hospital, it’s mandatory to give her all the instructed doses until the course is complete.

2. My Laziness has to be with matters related to me, not Saanvi.

Of all the things, I’m proud of one thing I did : I finally realized that it’s not Saanvi’s fault. Although she’s tall for her age and has elder’s behavior patterns, she cannot play so many tantrums to be hungry for 3 days straight. Having this empathy with her made me realize all my other mistakes. I’m glad I did.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

How to get your kid to drink all the medicines ?

What’s bad? Your kid getting sick.

What’s worse? Administering the medicine 3 times a day for a period of time without fail.

Why am I writing about this now? My daughter has been advised to be on iron tonic for 3 months to cover her anemia. The first 2 times, she fancied drinking from the cup that comes with the tonic bottle. After her fancy subsidised, she banned the medicine. I used this trick invented by my lovely husband Vinod last year.

Here’s what you do:

1.Buy a syringe. Take the needle out.

2. One of your family members to hold the baby firmly. ( Mine was 2 years 10 months as of doing this with her.)

3. Fill the syringe with the medicine.

4. Open her mouth and administer such a small dose that she cannot spit even if she want to.

5. Keep doing step 4 until the medicine is complete.

6. Praise the kid for taking the medicine.

Bingo! and You are done.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

How to instantly stop your toddler from crying?

SAM_3542Today, an interesting thing happened. I must share with you all. After my daughter Saanvi has officially got the status of a toddler, her screams have gotten louder and louder. Usually ,my techniques involve distracting her. They work best during daytime because the whole word is wide awake and you have lot of things to distract her with. What about bed times? After having a particularly eventful and playful day, my daughter just bought my iPhone with her on the bed and started watching videos in dark room. I was very very worried that her beautiful eyes will get spoiled because of the dark room and bright light from the iphone. Considering the situation, age and the time of the day – I did not find reasoning a very good option. I once told her why watching iphone at that time is not good for her and immediately snatched the phone off her hands. Everyone with kids can imagine what might have happened – she cried at the top of her voice, with no tears in her eyes yet. I had a bright bulb in my mind – I slept beside her and started rubbing my ear. I told her it hurt me a lot. She started becoming curious and asked me what happened. I told her something hurt me while coming back, and i have to rub for some time to settle it down. After I engaged her with my fake ear pain for 2 minutes or so, she started to smile and help me come out of my pain. I was relieved and so was she. Finally, saanvi went off to sleep quite peacefully.

Lesson learnt: Any time of the day, do what is good for your kid. Find a way to manage their tantrum afterward. Never give in to their demands when you fully know that it is bad for them. Be creative and find ways to distract them.

Have a good day and keep rocking!!