Letter to Medha

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Medha,

The more I try to understand you, the more I realize, you are not just a little girl, my offshoot or my mirror image without independent thoughts or feelings. You are a tiny person with a unique identity; You know what you want and will go to any length to get it; You know you are pretty and you are pretty sure what you’d like to become when you grow up- a princess! I still don’t know what I’d like to become, even though I’m all grown up! Your confidence, the determination in your eyes, the attention you pay towards life’s details confounds me.

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You love carrying tiny things around in your pocket or a small bag. The things you carry range from a lip balm to empty shells of snails you collect at the park. And you’re so possessive about each one of them. You never let your brother touch them nor do you let go of them even when you need to use the restroom. I totally get your attachment to favorite possessions. I’m attached to mine. I never leave the house without my Samsung tablet or the book I’m reading, even if I don’t get to use them (like at functions). I carry them around like lifelines!

Your teachers complain to me that you’re too slow, still pondering over numbers 5 or 6 when the rest of the class has completed 50. They act as if and make me feel like IT IS the end of the world when you don’t get any of the letters right in your English test. When I push you to work harder, to be better at counting, you push back saying, “Numbers is so tough, no?”. I’m taken aback, but I agree. It is hard. Counting is hard. Remembering 26 Lowercase letters is hard. Life is hard. But I believe a bit of practice, daily, will make it easier. See, I love to write, but I’m not good at it yet. So, I practice writing a bit each day, which is helping me write better. I’ve mentioned this to you before, but I repeat -With a bit of practice and a lot of patience (No scribbling all over the book out of frustration when something goes wrong, please!) you too will get better at letters and numbers.

For now, since you are not even 5, all I’m concerned is that you get enough play-time. I want you to spend as much time outdoors as possible; I want you to get dirty; I want to watch you squeal with delight over the mud-pies and leafy dishes you prepare for me. So I take you to the park every single day unlike many moms I know. When you don’t do well in your class tests,  the other moms ask me to put in a bit more effort into teaching you, as if I don’t already. That hurts. Then I panic and try to be forceful with you. I mean, if the other kids can, why not you? I wonder. That just makes you more stubborn and prone to mistakes. I have to remind myself that every child is different; Spanking and threatening doesn’t make you work harder, a lot of praise for little achievements and a ton of alternate teaching methods does.

Also, my priority for you is different from the other moms’ are, for their children. That doesn’t mean your school-work isn’t a priority, it surely is, but not to the extent of forcing you to spend all your time preparing for tests. My priority is to keep your confidence, the determination in your eyes, your attention to life’s tiny details burning for years to come….

 

 

 

Letter to Medha

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Medha,

Your teacher tells me your writing has improved considerably. You’ve matured, she says, and I take that as a compliment. But have you grown enough, my little girl, to sing a poem of sixteen lines (in a group, of course) at the next special assembly? That is yet to be seen.

Clumps of hair lay around the house a couple of weeks ago. We guessed who the culprit was. Yes, it was You! To pass time, you had been cutting hair. But not yours, your baby brother’s! I’d have laughed at his uneven bangs in the front if the thought of you pricking his scalp or piercing an eye, unintentionally, hadn’t crept up on me! Now you’ve been warned never to try cutting hair, not even yours!

On a lighter note, I have turned you into one of the newest and biggest fans ever of the boy-band “One Direction” by playing their “Best Song ever” once. Now all you want to listen to are their songs.

We celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights last week. You looked forward to it for months. The day before, on Naraka Chaturdashi, as I applied oil to your body I began praying aloud to God to bless you with Knowledge, a kind heart, beauty…. You stopped me with “What about money, mama?”

“Money? What do you need that for?”

“To buy stuff!” Obviously!

I HAD to include that in my prayer.

You and I made a lantern to hang outside the house. I let you do most of the work: cutting, gluing, decorating, etc.

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You beamed with pride at the end product.

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But the firecrackers that were burnt as part of the festival just scared you and your brother. You both whimpered and cried every time there was a bang.

Celebrations involved buying and wearing new clothes, spending time with family, showing gratitude to God for the blessings and preparing and sharing sweets with friends and family. Something we ate did not go down well with us and we ended up with vomiting and diarrhea. You suffered the most, throwing up all night with only a few minutes of break between bouts of puking. But, you know what you blamed it on? My not reading a story to you the night before, because I was too tired to! You said I could stop the vomiting once and for all by just reading you a story. But then I was too exhausted marathon-cleaning your mess and without a wink of sleep to pay heed to your suggestion!

Still….

Love,

Mama.

 

Letter to Medha

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Medha,
You know a lot more people here than I do. You go along with your grandparents to every social event they get invited to. When I, occasionally, attend any, we are swarmed with people I have never seen before, who come to talk, not to me, but you. You break into a BIG smile that can totally melt any heart! You are even familiar with the doormen and waiters who work at some of the places you frequent. You are a socialite through and through.

When you aren’t at school or attending a party, you’re to be found at JustBooks. It’s a private library that has a good collection of readers and board books apart from the usual fiction and non-fiction for adults. JustBooks also provides us with a place to hang out on sunny afternoons or during the holidays, as there are no play areas or public libraries around for kids to spend time at, when it is too hot to play at the park.

You sit at the kids’ table flipping through books or assembling pieces of puzzle. I let you choose a book for yourself and another for your brother. You always go for Barbie books or books about princesses, and listen attentively through about 50 pages of text and illustrations as I read to you. That never fails to amaze me. Your monkey brain can’t concentrate on school stuff for more than 5 minutes!

Still, you are much better at letters and numbers than you were at the beginning of school year. And you show interest in learning them, which is way more important to me than what you’re learning. After the Dasara holidays you were thrilled to be back at school and when I asked why you were so keen, you said you like going to school “because I get knowledge there”!

Love,

Mama.

Letter to Madhav

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Madhav,

When you’re bored or I need to get things done, I offer you a bag of Medha’s accessories or colored markers. Either of them can keep you busy for a long time. You try her bracelets on and examine the colorful clips and hairbands from up close, when she’s at school.(you dare not touch them when she’s around!). You separate the tops from the markers and line them up in various formations.

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These pawns are a favorite too. You made a “cake” and sang “Happy Birthday” in your own language!

Plates and pots and spoons are enough for you to play for hours as I cook. Fancy toys are a waste. They lay in heaps around the house, untouched, making it look like a war-torn area. They poke the feet that treads on them without caution. Ouch!

To get you walking (you are 16 months old now!), papa bought a walker. which you loved in the beginning. Not that you ever used it to walk; you sat examining the tiny toys on it, until you got too tired of sitting in one place. Then you cried to be taken out. And now it sits in a corner along with the scooter your grandparents sent all the way from Dubai.

Somehow you’re learning how to walk. Instinct, I suppose, or are we pushing you to try harder? Holding an older hand, you’re taking baby steps. In a month or so, you’ll walk on your own, I’m sure. It’ll be a thrill to watch you take those first steps, unsupported.

Walk or no, you love love wearing shoes. You wear them all the time. After we lost your first pair, you kept pointing at your feet as if demanding me to put shoes on them. At the park you kept complaining, pointing at your bare feet, to anybody who cared to listen and sympathize. I just HAD to buy you a new pair. And now you’re the happiest!

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Next to papa’s, for perspective.

Love,

Mama.

 

Letter to Medha

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Medha,

We went to the Doctor’s yesterday to have your ear checked, because you complained of a pain in your right ear. Before the doctor checked and diagnosed it as a symptom of Cold and not an Ear Infection as I’d feared, the nurse checked your height and weight. I was pleased to note that you weighed 18.9 kg, a tad higher than the upper limit (18.1 kg) of the normal weight range of a girl your age in India. Even your height measured at the maximum limit of the range. You were always under-weight in the US. Grandparents’ pampering and playing at school are doing you good, I suppose.

Assessments are coming up in September and a whole list of syllabus to be taught to prepare you for them has been sent out. That list makes me nervous! So much to practice and so little time left (a little over 15 days)! I need to draw a plan. Instead of tackling the whole thing in the nth minute, I want to spend time breaking the lessons down, so you learn a bit each day. But how? And when? It’s hard enough, getting you to finish your homework! When will we find time to revise the lessons?

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By the way, you had an awesome time with aunt Shruthi and baby-sister Shristi. Not a single day went by without us heading out to shop or to dine. You missed them for days after they left for the US. When she was here, you were so protective of baby Shristi from your brother, Madhav’s attacks. He was too jealous of her and snatched stuff from her and pulled her hair or whacked her left and right! But you cuddled and kissed her all the time. You even shared your favorite possessions with her, that you hardly ever allow Madhav to touch.

I think and hope Shristi will be much more than just a cousin. I think and hope she will be your best friend and a confidante (like MY sister is in MY life).

Medha and Shristi, sisters sharing gossip about their naughty bro!
Medha and Shristi, sisters sharing gossip about their naughty bro!

Love,

Mama.

Letter to Madhav

This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.

Dear Madhav,

You turned 15 a few days ago, 15 months that is. At 15, you are tall and somewhat bony; You possess beaver-like sharp teeth that you sink into my skin when I’m not paying attention to you; You also possess long, wavy hair and a big, naughty smile. You don’t walk yet, but crawl like a pro. You can crawl real fast, sideways and even in reverse gear. Crawling comes easy to you, so you don’t put the effort needed to walk.

But hey, you did take a few steps sometime back. Your dad and aunt Shruthi said so. I was cooking then, so I missed it. But I believe them. You’re a bit on the slower side (You even came out about 10 days later than the due date, kicking and screaming. If you had your own way, you’d’ve chosen to come later than that, the doctor said!). Pretty soon, you will be walking and exploring and getting into trouble I’m sure. I truly don’t mind your being slow.

You’re so competitive, beating your 8 month old cousin in crawling races, demanding to be changed when I change Medha’s clothes and pointing at your forehead when I apply a bindi on her face. You fight a lot with your sis and don’t let her finish her homework; You snatch her stuff and make a ‘run’ for it. You’ve ‘Mischief’ written all over your face!

But when sis is fast asleep, you hold her tight and smother her with kisses. Of course, if she doesn’t wake up you whack her forehead until she does!

This Rakshabandhan I helped sis tie a Rakhi to your wrist in the hope that no matter what, you will be there for her, always.

It will be interesting to watch the brother-sister dynamics evolve as you both grow together.

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Will you protect me bro?
Oh ok... First let me get this thing off me!
Oh ok… First let me get this thing off me!

Love,

Mama.