February 26, 2016

Dealing with a sick child - All you need is love

Last couple of weeks were quite challenging, or rather, very challenging. A had been sick simultaneously twice for week long each with week's gap between the two. Yes, yes, yes, immunity is building, physical organs are developing, mental resistance is not yet at reach and obviously cannot self-soothe at this age. Well, it's been quite difficult more so, when we also needed to go out of town for 2 days with the sick child.

Handling a sick child is no less than the world's greatest challenge that requires both mental and physical balance.

A has got too much phlegm down her throat, that doesn't come out nor does it go down easily, A doesn't know the way to get it out. All that she knows is, there is some obstruction in her throat and she just cannot take in any food/milk down her throat. That's all, she says no to everything hence causing weakness due to improper diet, and, not to forget mood swings too.

What do I do?

I keep requesting, requesting and requesting for milk/food until I am tired. I question her what she wants to eat, when she wants to have it, I realise I am tired yet, continue to request, but upon observing her and the way she coughs that gets the phlegm until the start point of her throat and how she gulps it back, I do realise that it is not me who is having a tough time, but it is she who is really having a tough time. When we are sick, we at least know what went wrong and how to get out of it. What about young children? They don't know why there is water running out of their nose continuously, why they need to cough, why it pains while coughing, why they do not want to eat anything, why they are physically not very active as their usual normal days, why they do not feel hungry and many more of which we know but they don't.

It is not about feeding alone. Every minute she wanted to be carried (all through our out of town trip) and to also account, the number of times she pulled my hair while hugging me tightly? All she wanted was comfort. The child has immense trust in the parent (mother/father) as a comfort-provider. They want to be carried because they want to hug you. Getting down to child's level and giving a hug really soothes them to a great extent. Sometimes, it took a little more than one complete hour to get her to sleep with the level of discomfort she has. There were many instances where I felt like giving up and start yelling to get my tiredness out. Also, there were few when I quickly thought of how A would react if she was yelled at or spanked for not behaving or eating well or for that matter for pulling my hair so badly that my head started aching!

Many questions quickly ran in my mind. What does she want? What does she expect of me? How long can I hold her? Does yelling at her serve the purpose? Yes, she is tired, needs comfort. How should I react to her when I am tired myself? How should I be behaving with her when I start to lose all my energy and feeling like giving up?

Whatever the state of mother be, child has been developing a sense of trust in the mother, the kind of trust that she can never develop on any other being in her entire life time for that matter. That relation is what we as parents are responsible for. We are responsible for the child's trust. We are responsible for soothing the child. We are responsible for this parent-child relation that plays a vital role in future years to come.

To add to all this, as I always say, when you look at the beautiful soul residing within your child and you do not attribute any of her physically irritable behaviour to the divine soul, you realise that all the physical pain is only temporary and all that matters is having inner peace and immense patience when dealing with kids. When the inherent love is realised, there is no time to feel the physical pain caused by tired body.

When your eyes look at the child's physical being, you smile when the child smiles at you, you are happy when the child's happy and you may feel like giving up when handling tantrum or a sick child.

Whatever be the situation, look at the person as a whole, not merely a physical being reacting to the environment. When a child is crying, what do you see? Do you see up to the extent of her physical body with watery eyes, screechy voice, adamant body moves? Or, do you look beyond it like her mental state, what is in her mind, what does she want, what does she expect of you, what should you be doing? Well, this post is slightly moving its pivot from handling a sick child to handling tantrums which I would be writing about in another post in a while.

For now, this post it to cheer up all the mothers and fathers who are battling with sick children. You are definitely doing a good job. And, continue to have that patience to soothe your child until she develops the ability of being on her own.

P.S. A is still not very well with phlegm within, I would be thankful to anyone who could suggest remedy to get that phlegm out ASAP. I am only waiting to see a relieved A.

P.P.S This period has been challenging, more so, when the mother also has developed a sore throat/cough while already handling a sick child. (Yes, with deep pain in throat and heavy head, I am still calm, telling the same bedtime story 10 times in a row, huff :-) )

P.P.P.S Just to mention, this post is not to talk about either me or A, but, to reinforce the fact that we should always look at the child with love whatever be the situation. Yelling may be easy and give quick results but whatever the child experiences, there are neurons that are quickly making new connections and storing all the environmental responses in the child's little brain. :-)

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February 20, 2016

Depicting rhymes and stories on paper

Drawing is an art that improves creativity, helps engage time wisely. Try to draw out stories,rhymes while explaining them to your toddler. Your toddler will surely gain interest and try to draw a BIG lion herself too!!

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Lion and the Mouse

Monkey and Crocodile

Ding dong bell, pussy's in the well

Jingle bells, Jingle bells

These are only a few, likewise, there are many other rhymes and songs that could be shown to the child while drawing. This really interests them, as they look at what you will be drawing curiously.

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February 19, 2016

Making funny faces

Look into your child's eyes for a moment and burst out laughing.

Make funny faces.

Try to look for your child by tilting your head in various angles.

Hide your face for a while and look at your child with a quick move.

Your toddler is also sure to imitate all that you are doing in order to make you laugh. 

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February 16, 2016

Roll the die and clap

This activity is based on counting. More importantly, it enhances the ability to stop counting after reaching a targeted number.

Materials needed: die

Ask the child to:

  • Roll the die 
  • Count the number(n) of dots on the top side of it
  • Clap n number of times

What the child learns to do:
  • Know what a die is
  • Know that there are six sides 
  • Six sides with different number of dots on each of them
  • Rolling the die
  • Counting the dots
  • Counting one after another, do not count repeatedly
  • Count as she claps
  • Stop when she reaches the desired number, n (decision making)
All this may sound simple to us, but, for 2 yr olds, this is an achievement. Keep encouraging as they are doing it. Usually, once toddlers learn counting, they count the same object repeatedly which will gradually fade away.  Playing such activities will build their confidence in counting and decision making. 

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February 06, 2016

Follow your child's lead

The other day, I decided I will only follow my child in our evening walk and listen to what she has to say. I didn't hinder in either her imagination or her path. My only focus was her, her learning, her keenness when observing nature while walking. All I did was only to ask questions that kept the little one thinking for a while before coming up with a genius answer.

We started off our walk in the pathway, me following her lead.

She stopped by the grass, I asked her which colour the grass is in, asked her to walk over it, jump on it, see if she can find any butterflies, asked her which colour some other items that were lying around were in.

Next, she stopped by the huge hose that is used for watering. Told her its the same hose that itsy-bitsy spider was trying to climb in, then she sang the rhyme and I explained to her how the spider fell down through the hose and could climb up once the water dried up due to sun. There were two hoses of different colours that she noticed and mentioned to me the same.

Next, she stopped by the turn, just slowed down her walk observing the ground and took to her speed again.

Next, she stopped by the teddy-bear shaped trash can, and turned around as she sang the song 'teddy bear teddy bear turn around', spoke to the teddy for a while, asked me to see how it was standing there.

Next, she spotted the sky, the birds flying high and exclaimed to me. I asked her which colour the sky is in, spoke about clouds, rain and rainbow.

After some distance, she stopped by the inverter set up, asked me what it was and listened to me keenly as I explained to her.

Next, she stopped by the fire extinguisher hose and asked me what it was, as usual, she listened to what I had to say.

After yet another few steps, she stopped by the transformer, again waiting for me to explain about it.

Walked further down while talking about a couple of other things that generally happen around us, all of which I may not be able to pen down in this post.

Then, she spotted the moon, and exclaimed at me 'moon!'. She also spotted her shadow in the moon light and played around for a while.

And, my feeling? It was amazing! Just listen to what your child has to say, what she has to show you, look at her reactions, become a child when with your child and you are sure to enjoy her feelings. Do not be in a rush asking your child to walk fast, this way, that way. Take some time out. Have a relaxed mind, focus on your child and you are sure to win her little heart for lifetime!

(Point to note: the child is sure to pick dirt from ground, try to go where she is not supposed to go(say, some construction site), or whatever that you do not approve of her. Do not panic. Explain what it is and why it is not supposed to be done the way she thinks. This post could help - teaching vs controlling)

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Children and mess - Is it really a mess?

Does your child mess around? Let him, he is learning something.
Is your child making noise? Let her, she is learning what sound is and the ways to make sound.
Is your child playing with something familiar in an unusual way? Let him, he is discovering new ways of playing.

Children who do not follow what parents ask them to do are usually shunned away, not heard of and asked to do what is said. Parents having an open mind and trying to encourage children to constantly keep trying something new out of the old stuff lying around the house becomes crucial in creative play. Mess is something that is guaranteed to happen and let it happen. Just have the patience to clean it up and the courage to guide your little child's experiment in a positive direction.

One example is, A was playing with some seeds and there came a moment when she lined up the seeds on her leg, and shook her leg. She noticed the seeds falling down and repeated the same for quite a few times. What she did may be funny, not of a great value to parents and could be said  'That is not the way to play, it is all nonsense'. I looked at her for a while, spoke to her about what she was trying to do. Firstly, she lined all the seeds up, on her thigh, by shaking she is noticing that the seeds fall down. I told her how all of those happen by examples of hitting one seed to the other and showing her how the second one moved when I only hit the first seed. (Like the carrom game) I also showed her the carrom game, lined up couple of carrom coins and hit the first one with striker, showed her how the entire line of coins move and shatter with just one strike. And she was surprised by how it happens. Children are constantly learning something. Try to aid in their learning by understanding what's going on in their mind, rather than just yelling at their acts.

Another day, A was dropping a glass repeatedly to hear it hit the ground, roll over and see it coming to a halt in a while. I let her do, also observing what she is trying to learn out of it. Then helped her by explaining so, yes, any object that you leave at a height is bound to fall down, and that which falls down makes sound, moves to some extent and stops. I told her what moving and stop meant with the help of some objects. I even showed her how objects fall to ground by holding some soft ones to shoulder's height and letting them free. I told her it is gravity that pulls everything to the ground. She may not understand the scientific terms, but, she is sure to learn that there is some theory behind every behaviour. She did the feat of dropping a glass couple of times, noticed all points that I told her in the glass' behaviour and left it there. That's it. She is done. She found some ability to do a specific thing. I told her what is happening and why it was happening, she heard me keenly, noticed the same in whatever happened and left it. There was no need to yell at the child to stop throwing that glass, there was no need to hit her for making noise, there was no need to get an ache in my head thinking of my child's behaviour. Everything is normal. Every act is a learning experience for children.

By letting children play freely by themselves, you are bound to end up cleaning some mess around them. Do not only look at what you call it a mess. Behind the mess, there was a genius brain trying to figure out which colour to pick first in the paints, which crayon to hold to colour the ball, observing how each crayon is giving some colour, observing how to fit in blocks to build a tower, picking which colour block she is supposed to use to build tower, fitting the nuts into their bolts and all that they are continuously learning which even an adult brain cannot understand.

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February 05, 2016

What are the stars doing?

Me: Look up there, you can see so many stars tiny in size and shining!
A: Ah! Stars, amma , stars!
Me: Can you count how many stars are out there?
A: Trying to count those that fall in her sight
Me: There are many stars
A: Yes, there are many stars
Me: What are the stars doing there?
A: They are doing 'twinkle twinkle'
Me: 'Twinkle twinkle'?
A: They are doing 'twinkle twinkle'
and she sings the twinkle twinkle rhyme for me

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Conversations and Memories

We could have various conversations with our little ones ranging from water that drips from tap to water that flows down from clouds, from the tiny stars peeping from the sky to the giant star we call as sun, from the itsy-bitsy spider that climbed up the hose to the hose that is used for gardening, from the grass that we can roll over up on while play to the trees that give us all the good things in life and many more.

Also, the same conversation can be had at various ages of the little one to learn how kids' brain develops, how kids' comprehend our question differently at various phases, how kids develop the art of answering creatively as they grow.

Here, I will be listing the tiny conversations that I have with my little one, which in turn enhance my learning about her.

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February 02, 2016

Sound Shakers

I usually fill a box with some seeds or crayons or coins or whatever I find right there and ask A to shake it to hear what the sound is like on shaking. She loves this.

Then she deliberately makes sounds with various combinations of things available around. Like, steel box, plastic box, steel spoon in a plastic bowl etc.

Oh, not to be missed, I also give her any available cans from the kitchen, filled with spices, dal, powder etc. She would get busy observing so many sounds. 

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February 01, 2016

Stick them all

This activity requires some coloured paper(cut into pieces), white paper and glue.

You can be more creative by drawing out a shape on the white paper and asking your child to stick the coloured paper inside the shape or you could also cut various interesting shapes from coloured paper and make her stick on the plain paper.

I was a little simple this time, asked my child to just keep sticking the colour paper pieces on plain white paper. And she soon got engaged for some good amount of time.

As I observed the way she was going about it it, I could see her trying to hold the glue stick with her right hand and colour paper in her left for some attempts and then swapped her hands to hold the glue stick with her left hand for next few attempts. This is a key take away, just give them the material, show them what could be done and then leave them for free play. This encourages them to think further, see beyond what we have just shown them, they will come up with something on their own to amaze us. For all this, you need to get down to the child's level of understanding, give them some raw material, let them mess around, have patience as they tend to fail while trying to do something on their own, encourage them to think more, do more and cheer them while also guiding them.

Holding glue stick in her right hand:

Holding glue stick in her left hand:

The end result:

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