Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Apla Apla!n

TV's very first phrase 'apla apla' (on my own).
While I m helping her get her clothes on, she d shoo me off taking charge of her clothes with her fav phrase 'apla apla' and try to do it on her own. It's the same with putting on shoes or hat, applying cream to her face, even folding her blanket.
'ok' I say and let her give it a try. Then I pretend to do something else and thru the corner of my eyes enjoy watching my lil one trying desperately strive to achieve her independence. Only to realize later that she still needs my help in something at some stage. She s no too happy nor encouraged at that, nor am I. But I know she ll get there very soon, but before the she gets a taste of fruits of effort and toil, she ll have to bear with some simple failures and not give up. Hope she continues 'apla apla' trying, with patience and perseverance. And hopefully I can lead by example, with patience and perseverance - refraining myself from rushing to help every time I see her struggle or fail.

Review - Show for tots - Into the deep deep forest!

Simplicity and music works!

Professional theatre, the best known here! Real musicians (or magicians) creating magic with their musical pandora's box. Simple set. Simpler costumes. Energetic performers. And a super enthu crowd of 2-4-year-olds. Mesmerising!

The story (based on original folktale from Indonesia and Malaysia) is about adventures of a tiny mousedeer who outwits a strong tiger by his tricks. So there are 3 performers - a mousedeer, a tiger and a bunny doubling as a narrator.

Pre-show, the lighting and sounds created an credible forest atmosphere. The performers moved through the audience with stick puppets - bee, butterfly and dragonfly, allowing the young enthu audience to touch and feel. Thus stimulating senses! (What was missing was scents and taste)

First 5 minutes, the lights, sounds and the people created various versions of day and night in the forest - (Innovative) setting the stage. Then with a few song and dance introduce the forest sights and sounds, before the real story unveils. Amazing use of light and sounds. The rhyme
'Can you growl like a bear? chatter like a chimp, croak like a frog, click like cricket, chirp like a bird, roar like a tiger' with the musicians playing sounds from the various instruments was a marvel! Great forest experience. Authentic theatre experience for the little ones.

Can't say TV enjoyed it visibly. But 'I've got an idea!' and her talking about the sounds with instruments seem to have left an impression on her. It definitely did so on me.

Shrom Shootball to Foftball

It's funny how your tongue trains to maneuver words. Observing TV's language (or pronunciation, to be specific) development over the past few months has been interesting and enlightening.

The usual first words - mama, dada, baba started coming out a little before her first birthday. She has been saying aai (mom, in my language) since she was 4 months. She'd often say 'aai ghe' or just 'aai' in her fourth/fifth month. But I don't dare to publicise that for the fear of being scoffed at.

Many new words started flying soon after - bag, bat, bird, ball. Some often shortened - bo (for ajoba /grandpa). I wonder why the words starting with 'b' are popular (or are they easy) amongst the tots.

TV herself became 'T' first, then 'Tish' and now she is 'Tisha'

Then as her vocab built up further and she became adventurous, she tried repeating many words often pronouncing differently. Like saying 't' instead on 'k' - 'tata for kaka' 'tawl for crawl'. Then there have been others like 'yon' for 'one', 'yatch' for 'watch', 'yall' for 'wall'. The most memorable (also that lasted long enough) has been pronouncing 'sh' for 'ph' or 'f'.

'My shone'
'stamp your sheet':)
'yon, two, thee, shor, shy..'
'livt' (lift)
'gooshy' (that's goofy)

This possibly lasted a month. Then she could pronounce 'f' when it was in the end of the word or when I made her pronounce it stand alone as 'fa'. So gooshy became goofy (good for him). But her phone was still shone and foot ball was shoot ball.

It's only last week (about a 3 week further), that she can manage to pronounce f, regardless of it's position in the word.

But now she's saying 'foft' for 'soft'. Now is that her way to practice saying f or is she confused with s and f in the same word or is she just kidding? Well I shall figure that out soon. But for now, her rapidly building vocab and such 'goosh ups' in pronouncing are posing a big challenge for us to understand her words in her long sentences.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good Manners, not so good result!

Today after the Boom Bah show, the performers gave an opportunity to the audience to touch and feel their props. The cat took out his little violin and invited the little ones to try it.

We were seated a little farther from the cat. A boy, who was sitting closer to him got up to play the little violin and the cat obliged. TV, my alert little one, got up and asked if she could go. I nodded. She walked a long way and stood for her turn as another girl was already waiting.

Meanwhile kids from all over poured on and ran towards the cat and his violin. Some big, some agressive, some cranky, some accompanied by their parents surrounded the cat, making way, as I watched from a distance.

As I noticed my little (really little) one wondering what she should do amidst others rushing and pushing to touch the violin, I stepped up to hold her hand. I had to say nothing, do nothing. TV just walked back, making her way out of the crowd.

I took her to the Chicken with an accordion, and with just a couple of kids around it.

I wonder how a parent could encourage her child to safegaurd her interest first, while being well mannered and courteous.

Review - Show for tots - Boom Bah!

We are just back after watching this show for the very young (age 1 to 3 years) by an Australian theatre group. Boom Bah! A very catchy title. Ask all the young fellas. My little one loved saying the phrase everytime she came across the picture of the show promo - on posters, flyers, ads and then when we went in for the show LIVE too. Not just her, many little ones were happy to identify and say - Boom Bah!

Beautiful set - a small octagonal wooden 'magic' cupboard, with windows and doors that opened on each side. From the outside, it was simple. In the inside, which we later came to know, the small cupboard had a treasure trove of all things possible - puppets and trumpets, jars and guitar, tins and violin, and of course the show's performers - a cat, a dog, a goat and a chicken.

Along the green pathway that extended from this cupboard, at one end, to the other end of the hall sat the little kids (on so cute), with a few adults. I really loved the seating plan, because alongwith the performers, I could easily also look at the other kids sitting across the 'road' (great entertainment). A couple of kids (3 year olds) who sat right across, thoroughly enjoyed the show. They were into it from the word go - spotting and saying everything that opened up - cat, milk, jar, bell, biscuit, cup, bowl.....and also guiding the performers on the way - 'it's there', 'no no that side.'

My little one, and others her age made the quieter lot amongst the audience. But I'd believe they too enjoyed the show.

It was nonsense (literally) and that seems to have worked well with the kids. The comical performers in funny costumes, their wild antics, the bubbles, bedsheet, musical instruments, chicken feathers and even eggs all popping out of the 'magic' cupboard without any logic/reason.
Another thing that worked in favor of the show was the performers' continuous interaction with the young audience. They seemed to be practically talking to, playing with and entertaining individual kid, maitaining their distance (considering their audience's age and whims) - that was very intelligent.

I loved the 'Shh listen, what's the sound' rhyme that must be the theme rhyme of the show. (Umpteen opportunities to use in our everyday with TV).

What I'd have loved though, is an underlying theme and all the nonsense around that theme. It seemed like the show started with a theme - making music with everyday items in a setting of 4 farm animals playing together. But then came the real musical instruments, eggs from the chicken and chickens from the eggs, bedsheets and suds and some uncalled for antics by the animals - abrupt and at times just filling in, without any significance. Even the most enthu kids seemed lost at times due to this.

Having been to 3 shows for the very young in last 6 months, I truly feel a theatre experience is anyways enriching and exciting for the very young. Hats off and a big thank you to the performers and producers of shows for the very young. Every show, despite its shortcomings, has something for the little ones to take back from. Like the rhyme from Boom Bah.

There are so few theatre shows for the lil ones, would not like to miss any opportunity to see TV and the other lil ones soaking themselves in the theatrical atmosphere. We are heading for another one tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Developing Language

For some reason I d left it blank when I wrote the title. I m sure I d have had some overwhelming thoughts about TV s language acquisitions, but almost a year and a half later, when I'm at editing some of my earlier drafts, I m completely blacked out in my mind at the topic. May be I should follow this up with TV's language skills iand development in current context with a fresh new post

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Watching TV (television)

Have been following new and views about toddlers watching Televesion. Very often the parents are pretty much in favor of their tots (age upto 3years)watching TV. Researchers say, although there's no harm in TV viewing by tots for a short span, there's no significant gain. Some researchers also state that exposing kids to TV animation, violence (even the tom and jerry types) and video games, has a negative impact on kids' attention span and emotional quotient.

So, in a nuclear family, with limited domestic support, husband in a demanding career and as the only caretaker/entertainer during the day, for me to show (TV) or not to show is the question.

TV has been a good tot (especially after her first birthday), in that she can keep herself occupied for a good span (upto 30 min). We do a lot of things indoors - paint, read, puppet play, play, water play, bubbles, cook, play house, push cart, run, talk et al. She herself does a lot of things on her own - watch me, inspect things, spot things in newspapers, books, talk. With some music in the background and two enthu ladies (TV and I) our house is quite vibrant during the day, even with just the 2 of us.

Yet, there are times, while cooking or attending an important phone call, writing or just when wanting some time off, I feel like resorting to this 'new age baby sitter' called TV that is just a button away.

Well, starting from the beginning, we hardly turned the TV on, until our lil TV was 1 year old - even us, the parents hardly watched any TV. (and we didnt miss much)

I distinctly remember that I first showed 'Mickey Mouse Clubhouse' to TV in her November, when she was close to 1. She loved it. Till that time, she would have possibly noticed this black window/painting/glass/mirror/frame on the wall. As, when it worked the first time, she was baffled, mesmerised and completely awed at what she was seeing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Recipe - Spinach and Cheese wraps

TV loves this one and I think it would make a perfect lunch box menu (although lunch boxes for school is sometime away)

Note: This recipe requires some planning and specific ingredients hence not recommended when you are in a hurry.

For wraps
Dough of Whole wheat flour (with water and some veg oil)

For filling
onion (chopped)
garlic (grated)
spinach (blanched and cut)
cottage cheese (cut into very small cubes)
cumin powder

1. In a saucepan, heat a tsp of oil and fry garlic and onion until golden.
2. Add spinach and cheese, stir and add salt and a pinch of cumin powder
3. cover and cook for a while (about 5 min) string ocassionally.

4. Roll the dough into small circles
5. cook them on both sides on a hot plate or flat pan

6. butter one side of the wrap
7. on the other side place the filling and roll

Tip: a. small wraps make small rolls - just right for small hands.
b. trimming the wrap a bit once rolled, holds together the entire roll

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Head on the pillow

These days (or should I say nights) TV is on a mission - to get her head on her pillow. She loves to do everything we do - only chotta. So when we retire to our bed (and pillows) at night, TV tries to do just that - sleep with her head on her chotta pillow.

It's been almost a week since she is trying really hard to get her head on the pillow.

Just that she first sits on the pillow and then tries to get her head there too. This little one is surely still far away from judging distances and understanding difference between the positions of her body parts when sitting and sleeping/lying down.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Then, what do we do at home?

Yesterday when we were at the Drama Academy (yes, these days we are into drama, I shall write about it soon), a mom asked me a good question; 'Then, what do you do at home?'

It so happened that while into an activity, she asked TV to 'imagine' something, 'like Barney says.'

TV, otherwise responsive, just stared blankly at her.

'Don't you watch Barney?' the mom asked
'No,' I answered, 'not yet.'

'Barney ride!' I heard TV mumble. Apparently, she loves to ride a barney car when we are at the mall. And that's her only interaction with the popular cartoon character, at least so far.

'So what are her favorite cartoons,' the mom quizzed me. 'Does she like Dora?'
'Well,' I managed to say. 'She just watches Mickey Mouse once in a while and sometimes a Hi-5.'
'once in a while?' the lady seemed curious.
'umm may be twice a week,' I replied, 'or even lesser sometimes.'

It seemed, from her wide open eyes and mouth (though not wide open), that the lady was in a shock. This was not new to me though. I have shocked a couple of moms earlier on the same response.

The first time I saw this reaction, I was shocked too ... I mean, did I say something wrong? something outrageous? But then, I soon discovered that Barney and Dora are the most popular characters amongst the babies and just-in-tots. So whoever watched TV (television) watched these. And watching TV was the most followed ritual in a baby's or tot's day - as much as a meal - more so because in many cases, having meals and watching TV always happened together.

Anyway, so the lady further asked me, 'so is she always out of the house?'
'Sorry?' I could'nt really understand what she meant.
'Do you always bring her out?'
'No, only mornings and evenings,' I paused and then quickly added (now knowing her interest in specifics), 'about 3-4 hours a day. Rest of the time we are at home.'
'so you have a large family?' the lady again.

In my memory, I've only been quizzed like this for my interviews.
'No just us - the 3 of us - TV, my husband and I. And its just TV and I during the day, when my husband is off to work.'

'Then, what does she do at home?' came the real big question.

For a moment I was in a haze. Really, what does she do at home?

Just then another activity began in the class and we got busy in there. But the question echoed in my mind. And I decided to answer it to myself. Following is my observation of TV's schedule.

7 to 7:30 am - wakes up
then until 9 am - the morning rituals. She's a part of our morning activities like;
breakfast - we try to have the breakfast together,
newspaper browsing - she flips through the papers, watches photographs tries to copy the expressions if it's an amusing one or spots and tells what she knows like 'monkey' 'car' 'blue' and these days looks for the alphabet 'O' - chotta o, big O
dad's getting ready to office - she actually helps him - passing his wallet, shirt to him as he gets ready. Then follows him till the lobby and gets back in after an elaborate bye bye.

9 to 10 is generally our getting ready time, when I also do some of my lunch cooking.

10 is generally the time when we go out, if we go out that is. I take her with me for my badminton once a week. Then we go to drama class once a week. Then sometimes it's shopping or to a park, or swimming and playing in our condo. Weekends is when we generally go to people's places or have them over or go on picincs or siteseeing or events.

When we don't go out in the mornings, I like to cook an elaborate meal, with music in the background. TV gets involved - passing the peppers or using her toy kitchen or simply moving to the music, getting me to join the dance ocassionally.

12 noon is our lunch time (minus Television) and that's an elaborate one. We talk during lunch, about food, what we are eating, the colors on our plate. We sing some rhymes. At times, when I see TV finding it difficult to sit at one place and have her food, then I get her involved with a story. But as a rule, she would get up from her seat only when she's done. When she gets up in between, I assume she's done.

Then while I am doing the dishes or cleaning up, TV is either with her chotta broom or exploring the cabinets or busy with her toys or board books or simply talking or singing. She can now actually entertain herself for at least 40-50 minutes at a stretch (good for me).

By the time we are done, it's 2 pm. That's when we retire to our bedroom - for a nap. Now this is the process (putting her to sleep) that get's the best of me - creativity, patience and perseverance. (Nap she must, else she starts getting tired by 5). Or sometimes it's my reward time, when I get to nap while TV is busy with her antics (generally, reading books aloud or singing - in half gibberish). But what she really finds engaging is sorting her clothes, or trying to fold a kerchief - I leave a couple of her clothes and a napkin/ kerchief on the bed. After the 'going to nap' process, TV actually falls asleep sometime between 3 to 3:30 and after a quick nap, is up before 5.

Evenings on weekdays is generally papa-TV time when they either go out or we go out or they just play together at home. Then we have some evening rituals (which we try to follow regularly) like saying prayers (TV can now say 'shubham karotu' herself) dining together, reading books or telling stories before going to bed (which is generally between 10 to 10:30 for TV - much earlier for dad)

Well, that's what we generally do at home. Of course then there's always some music running in the background and at times TV and I dancing to the music, or humming some rhymes or making some ourselves, doing household chores - in a fun way, meeting friends, playdates, just going for strolls, watching the gardener or cleaners at work, or just watching birds, ants, snail, squirrels, butterflies in the garden.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pretty pretty girl!

We were at a dinner last Saturday, with of course TV in tow. She was wearing a red polka dot skirt and a really elegant white (lace) blouse (thanks to her dear aunts). Oh these kids clothes - they are so pretty. And our dear daughter looked really cute in the whole ensemble - with her white Pediped shoes.

A lady at the dinner, commented on TV's 'pretty' shoes, while I was talking with another lady sitting beside me. By the time I could complete the dialogue we'd just started, TV was carrying on her own conversation. And the conversation went like so;

'You have a pretty pair of shoes, little girl.'
'Skirt?' TV, pausing for a response.
Possibly the lady did'nt know what the little girl was hinting at.
So my little girl, without much ado, guided her. 'Skirt, pretty?'
'Oh yeh, what a pretty skirt too.'
'...and a pretty blouse.'
'Oh, sorry! I did'nt notice the little pretty button on your blouse.'
'Aai?' (mom - that's me)

That's where I intervened, rescuing the poor rich lady from calling me pretty (even if for the sake of the little girl).

We laughed the situation out but I hope this isn't the sign of times to come and the kind of social talks my little girl would get into!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Review - Book

From Head to Toe
by Eric Carle

We've been getting Eric Carle books for TV for a long time now, starting with of course his classic - The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

But 'From Head to Toe' has proved to be the most engaging, entertaining and inspiring book for TV by Eric Carle. The pictures are bright and beautiful, a typical Carle. The rhythm and repetition is great and effective, again as always. But what's special about this book it's 'play with me' format.

I am a ---- and I do -----. Can you do it? I can do it!

Different animals doing different actions - from head to toe. Like a penguin turning head, a monkey swinging arms, a crocodile wriggling hips, elephant stomping his foot. And the repeated use of the Can you do it? question by these animals actually got TV to respond in a 'Yes, I can do it!' like the kids in the book and actually DO it.

The book is like a game that the seasoned picture book artiste-author plays with kids!

Besides the engaging format of a game, what TV also enjoys and mimics is the different expressions on the kids faces. As a mother what I also liked was a subtle introduction to different animals and what their peculiar traits are.

RAW rating - *****