Saturday, October 10, 2020

Put Yourself First, You Matter

 



                                                 Picture credit- Toa Heftiba, Unsplash


"In any case, I can’t have it all, I don’t want it all, and I can’t do it all either"


A close friend told me this recently when we were discussing work, home, kids and ourselves! 


When I told her that it is a strong statement and was there anything that triggered it, she said, nothing really. She is just fed up of reading the narrative- "you can have it all!"


The first thing that came to me was that this is such a misnomer. 


With the world and its pace, its uncertainties and its ambiguities, we women need to really define the 'all'. Define it for ourselves and customise it to our situations. 


We need to constantly remind ourselves that no two women are same, no two families are same and no two people's desires, dreams and expectations are same. 


So, how do we redefine that narrative. I can think of one simple thing. We all know it but we need to tell this to ourselves constantly- "Put Yourself First".


Put Yourself First

You Matter

Before your partner

Before your child

Before your family

And

Before the greater world


Put Yourself First

You Matter

Your health and your strength

Your space and your resilience

Your breakdowns and your stumbles

Your smiles and your tears


Put Yourself First

You Matter

Your coffee and your cake

Your sleep and your walk

Your Netflix and your book

Your chocolates and your ice-cream 



Put Yourself First

You Matter

Your aspirations and your ruminations

Your lists and your plans

Your choices and your songs

Your me-time and your nothingness


Put Yourself First

You matter

Own your can't s, your don't s, your won't s

Own your wants, your haves, your needs

Own your silence, your voice, your sanity


Put Yourself First

You Matter

Pick your 'all'

Put Yourself First

You Matter



#PutYourselfFirst #YouMatter #HappyWorldMentalHealthDay #MentalHealthConversations #Empathy #Self 


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

 


I will not be chained
I will not be broken
I will not be throttled
I will not be silenced
I will not be burnt
I will not be a spectacle

I don't want to be your fearless daughter
I don't want to be the victim
I don't want to be the fighter
I don't want to be the brave-survivor
I don't want to be the cover story
I don't want to be the nightmare

I am not an object to be devalued
I am not a subject to be delineated
I am not that analysis you tweak to your glory
I am not that yarn you shred with your story
I am not that struggle you undermine with your history
I am not that 'human' you dehumanise

The No you need to hear
The No you need to understand
The No you need to accept


#ExistentialThoughts #Poetry 



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Paint your own picture, the Ira way

 



The Pramadh household saw Elona Holmes for the family movie night this week. Confession: All three of us are movie buffs. And yes, we have all kinds of such things and days. More about that in another post! 

Ira and Mamma love all the random commemorative days in the year. This day and that day. We also do random things on chocolate day and coffee day and book reading day :) Papa while may have different thoughts, indulges our whims and fancies! 

Today, like you may know is Daughter's Day. While I called my parents and reminded them and had a long chat about how these days are commercial and yet a sweet thing to do. Of course, Ma and Baba wished me and Joy enquired when is Son's Day. For the uninitiated, it is celebrated either on 28th September or 4th March. Thank me later. 

Ira was excited and wanted to know if she is getting a card or we are doing something. She was busy doing her business but was constantly on the lookout, literally. 

I had  a small portion of a sticker sheet and so decided to draw and write one of our favorite quotes from Elona Holmes. We coloured it together later and she stuck it on a door. Do not remember the last time when we bought  a card. We have always made them and with homeschooling and all the exploration we do, we have found more innovative ways to share sweet messages. It was also a day when some of her favorite food was made and we also got her a kit kat fudge ice cream jar and her happiness knew no bounds. Ice cream is literally like  a treat for her :) 

Like I always say, our little human beings need little things to be happy. So, from one daughter to another, "Paint your own picture!"  

And yeah, Happy Daughter's Day! 

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #LittleHumanBeings #Parenting #DaughtersDay #Happiness #Gratitude #HomeschoolingParents #Homeschooling 



Saturday, September 5, 2020

Being Teachers, the Pramadh way


                                                     "Look Papa, the Frog is telling a story!"


This year has been about many firsts. A year where plans have had to change and evolve. A year where we have been humbled by the uncertainties, by the moments of not knowing and not having answers really. 


A few months back, I had blogged about Ira starting her Early Elementary Montessori. Few weeks into it, we felt that online it was quite hard to implement learning in a Montessori manner. After  a lot of deliberation, speaking to her school principal and many educators, we decided to take  her off school this year and teach her at home. So, technically, we have begun homeschooling her. Using the word homeschooling for the lack of a better word. When Ira was about a year old, Prashant and I did think about homeschooling her. But as time went by, we decided to enrol her into a Montessori. The last few years we have seen her grow, learn and express herself very strongly. We have to thank Ms. B and Ms. A, her Montessori teachers who have been amazing. 


So, we made the transition in the 3rd week of July. We had  a talk with her to make her understand what this would entail and what it means for her. She said ok. She is 50% fine and 50% not sure. We decided to take that leap of faith. 


6 weeks of homeschooling, there is a lot that we have learnt. While the journey has just begun, sharing our learnings here. 


1. Research, Learn, Teach- As parents, we have to do a lot of research and continuously learn ourselves. This is the most time consuming component. Prashant and I have been reading up, making notes and planning every step of it. I attended a 5 day course on understanding Homeschooling by someone who has been a homeschooler and runs an alternate school. I would definitely recommend the course. It helped me bring together many a psychological components and see how that can impact learning. 


2. Unlearning and Relearning- We have to understand that homeschooling is not just about teaching at home and using worksheets and videos. Each of us can choose the curriculum that we shall follow, we can then work to customise it to suit the needs of our child. We are following the basic NCERT curriculum for Class 1 to understand what she has to learn conceptually and then planning the learning thematically. The books are only a reference point for us. It is essential to understand the child's developmental stage, how they learn and also how we teach and how can we optimise our collective intelligences. 


3. Keeping the experience Child-led and Organic- It is very easy for us to make this experience about us. The fact that we have an agenda that the child has to complete and learn certain components this year and we have  a list to complete. A constant reminder to self that the activities we plan have to be child-led and organic in nature. Am a person who makes lists constantly and likes to tick them off. While for months, we have been doing a lot of activities with her, right now, we teach a few things everyday based on a particular theme and let the rest of the day unfold organically. Somedays, Ira spends a lot of time colouring or doing her imaginative play. We also let her have a choice with regard to the order of the activities. Somedays, be prepared for a flat NO and it is important to accept that. 


4. Understand how you teach and how the child learns- some children learn better through visual mediums and some through experiences. Some are nature child and some learn better when the process is algorithmic. Understand how your child learns. Ira loves nature and experiences. So, we try and incorporate that into the learning. One particular week when we were working on the theme, Road Safety, we also happened to plan a long drive and discuss components of road safety. Also, some of us teach well through anecdotes and for some of us as parents, we may prefer reading, writing and learning. Figure out the styles that match and teach the child and make it a multi-dimensional experience. 


5. Homeschooling is a Collaborative Effort- In nuclear families, it is important that both the partners are on board with the process. The little human being also has to understand how we are doing it and we need to discuss and plan the activities with them. They feel the ownership and you will see how they effortlessly take to this. At our home, Prashant and I share the subjects and the way we teach her. While am a more read, write and learn person, he seamlessly intertwines a discussion and a video component.  


6. This becomes or is a way of life- sometimes, we may plan the activities, but it is important to be in the moment and savor the experiences that happen. For eg., we can plan to do some cooking related activities as a life skill. Or there could be  a time when the family cooks a meal together and it becomes a trigger for discussion on types of food habits, importance of the ingredients etc. Ira has a knack for cooking and made prawn curry in coconut milk with her Papa one day. The entire experience evolved to talking about food habits, seafood masala and how coconut milk is made. A rock art activity where she is drawing insects can lead to a discussion about insects and their features. The journey is continuous, every moment. 


7. Embrace the Challenges- There are challenges, this requires  a lot of effort. There are times when it is exhausting, and you will wonder what's happening, you may wonder why did you even embark on this. Between the days when your little one seems to be completely onboard, there are times when she may not what to do anything that you want her to do, respect that choice. Have a conversation, try and plan one day at a time for her. Also, there is too much information available. To just sift through that, decide what you want to pick and make a part of your learning and teaching journey is work. Don't get on the bandwagon of wanting to buy materials and kits, and online tutorials. You have chosen this journey, define it your way. 


                                                                "Learning through doing."


For now, the Pramadhs are enjoying this. 2 weeks into it, one day Ira told me that am acting like  a Principle with my list of activities. That honest feedback was a revelation. What worked for me doesn't for her. Our strengths must not become their limitations.Then, I also changed how we go about it. I still have my lists for my reference but we give her the choice of what would she like to do that day. We are learning along the way and it is a revelation. Keeping an open mind to the endless possibilities makes this journey fascinating. 


Are we finding this experience life changing? Definitely.

Will we continue this next year? We don't know. 

For now, it is one day, one week, one month and sometimes one theme at a time. 

For now, what matters is Ira tells her friends that she is being homeschooled, her Papa and Mamma are her teachers and she has a choice in her activities. This morning, she also wished us, "Happy Teacher's Day"! 

So, Happy Teacher's Day from the Pramadhs to all teachers out there❤


                                                        "Happy Teacher's day Mamma and Papa!"

#Ira #Iraims #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #Happiness #Gratitude #HomeSchooling #Learning #Evolving #Parenting  #LoveTeaching #homeschooling #homeschoolingmoms #homeschoolingrocks #homeschoolinggirls #homeschoolinglife #homeschoolingdads #homeschoolingparents #homeschoolingadventures #LittleHumanBeing #BeingParents #BeingTeachers





 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Happy Birthday India, the Ira way




Every year Independence Day celebrations happen at school, and Ira usually wears the white kurta and some bangles. There is also some craft work on the theme of India's independence day. 


This year, we are home and we decided to celebrate India's birthday the way Ira relates to birthdays. We ordered a banana walnut cake from a homebaker (Check Sharu's cakes and bakes on FB), with the HB cake topper et al. 


It has been a while since Prashant is teaching Ira about India, the states and their capitals. They have also begun reading about the Constitution from one of our favorite children's books.


So, today, we cut the cake, had Ira's favorite lights gifted by a dear friend for Company and we all sang for India and then Ira sang again <3


Happy Independence Day! To peace, harmony, acceptance and diversity!


Happy Birthday to you India, Happy Birthday to you. 



#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #LittleHumanBeings #IndependenceDay #HappyBirthday #India #Gratitude #Happiness #StoriesAtSix

Monday, August 3, 2020

A little thread, innumerable memories



A little thread that has innumerable memories woven. The only festival(s) thats am  sentimental about is Rakshabandhan and BhaiPhota. Both commemorating sibling relationship. While traditionally, it has a connotation of the brother protecting the sister, been long since we moved past that narrative.

For me, it is a special day to celebrate the special bond. Love to buy rakhis, order them in advance, plan some gifts and pamper the sibling.

This year, life taught us that we must live in hope, be grateful for what we have. First time that I haven't seen Joy on this special day. Ever since Rony moved to Bangalore, it has always been the two of them.

I did manage to pick up some simple Rakhis this year. And planned to send across some food, along with the Rakhi. Thankful for the drop services like Dunzo and Swiggy Genie. What would we do if not for these privileges.

So, while I sat thinking of them and looking at some earlier photos, they diligently wore the Rakhi, took pics and sent me.

Bhai has every Rakhi that I have given him in a special box. Yes, we are sentimental that way <3 nbsp="" p="">
So, Happy Rakshabandhan. As we celebrate the special bonds today, let us also celebrate being empathetic, kind and grateful.



Sunday, August 2, 2020

Smile in a mask



This is a FB post. Posting here for posterity. Almost 2 months since Ira and I ventured out of home. How we miss going out!


Ventured out for a short while today after weeks. All of us wearing the very comfortable cloth masks from Indian Yards. While Prashant and am wearing the ones with the cord, Ira is wearing the one with elastic, specifically designed for children. They have the elastic version for adults too. Thank you Sunita Suhas for ensuring that so many of us are able to embrace safety and do so in style; and for constantly innovating with the masks. Love the colours and the comfort <3 br=""> Ira said it has been so long since we three ventured out and that it calls for a selfie moment! And mind you, we all are smiling, because it is important to feel grateful for these moments.
 #ClothMasks #StaySafe #WearMasks #Gratitude #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix

Monday, July 6, 2020

Little Promises and a Happy Day



There are a lot of things that our little human beings take seriously, but you know what tops the list. Little promises that we make. So, here is a tale about the pic taken today.

Our little girl
Imagines mehandi swirls
In myriad forms
Star, Love, Butterfly and Heart storms

A busy Monday morning
For Mamma here,
Juggling calls and
Documents to steer.

A little request
From our Precious.
"Do Mehandi Mamma"
All smiles and charm.

10 mins to lunch
Mamma all set
Mehandi images to rescue
Customised to little desires

Little promises have been kept
The chuckles ring a happy tone
Mamma gets a hug and kiss
"Happy Day", Says our little Miss.

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #Happiness #Gratitude #LoveMehandi #Parenting #LittlePromises #LittleHumanBeings #Poetry 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

"Let it go, let it go", the Pramadh way



                           "What I will be..."

Ira loves to sing loudly and the line, "Let it go, let it go" is one of her favorite songs from the movie, Frozen.

We are in a space and time now when we need to take this a bit more seriously. We need to do this for our sanity, for our mental health and our well-being.

We are one of those parents who made activity charts and unstructured timetables to take the lockdown headon. Yes, we were trying our best, ensured we were well equipped. We were enthusiastically looking forward to the few weeks ahead, not too worried that school closed early or the lockdown happened.

The reason could be that both of us always have activities planned for the summer. While Ira goes to summer camp every year, we also try and do a lot of things together. A short vacation, visiting friends and family, play dates, lot of parks and some movies etc. We also do games and crafts at home.

This year however the summer vacation merged into the academic year and the school has started online classes for her. So, now it is also about  managing those sessions, her karate online classes, her weekly activities sent by school and our work schedules.

The pandemic has affected both our work and added more chaos to it. What we are trying to do is to plan the week ahead, keeping in mind for adhoc situations, control what we can and figure out new ways to do some things. One of us always sits with Ira for her school sessions and we share the weekly activities between us. Ira is just 6 and needs guidance with the activities. Honestly, it is also fun, like the time we did the insect drawing and Mamma also drew them to show her;  and learnt about benefits of drinking water and Papa explained to her with lots of examples. For Papa and me, it is like going back to school.

But despite all the planning, there are days when our little one wants to do no activities, do her own thing and just be. Like I have said before, the children deserve a pat on their back for being the most resilient in this pandemic. Not being able to go outdoors is a big let down. And they are coping.

One of those days when I told her, "Ira, write what you want today!" She picked her little book of stories and songs (yes, she has one specifically for that) and wrote what she will be when she grows up.

So, Ira wants to be an artist, a singer and a fashion designer. She spent the day talking about this and sang, danced and drew all day.

Looking at her dreams on that little book made us realise that life, which otherwise is transient is about these moments. Moments when your little one says, "When I grow up, I will be...."

Sometimes, we need days like this. Little reminders for us to let go,  let the schedules be
and not stress about things we cannot control.

So, hold hands,make faces,do that dance and sing, "Let it go, let it go"!

.                                 Pics taken during her lockdown birthday, last month. 

#Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #Parenting #Happiness #Gratitude #LittleHumanBeings #LetGo #Learnings 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day Baba and Ira Ke Papa


The world celebrates Father's Day today. A moment for us to get together for lunch, click some pics for posterity and be grateful for this time together.

Today, I shall let the pics do the talking.

1. Ira made a card for Papa and gave it to him in the morning. Wished him every few minutes. Her current fascination is also to write the age of the person who is getting the card.



2. Mamma and Ira made a welcome board for the Father's Day party. Dadu, Dida and Joy were coming. We were all set.


3. The best cook in the world, as Ira proclaims made lunch today. Chicken biryani and Chicken fry on the menu.


4. We made sure we got this pic with Dadu and Dida. See this to learn the varying degrees of smiles :)


5. Bhai is the less expressive one amongst us and needs to be coaxed for a pic. Guess the gene runs in the Das men. So, for me this is a very precious pic.

6. My pillar of strength. My Baba.


7. 2 Dads. 2 Daughters. (Stealing this caption from HIM). The world needs more Dads like these two <3 nbsp="" p="">


8. Mango Icecream from Amul makes this a happy happy day for our little girl, who loves parties, making cards, random days and icecream.



#HappyFathersDay #Baba #IraKePapa #Ira #Iraisms #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #Happiness #Gratitude


Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Happy Jar, the Ira way



When Ira turned 6 a few weeks back, we began a small activity with her. We made "Ira's Happy Jar". While during the lockdown, we often spoke to Ira about being grateful for what we have and being happy about the way we are at home doing things together, a conversation with a dear friend gave us the nudge to do this activity.

Ira loves anything that involves scissors, paper,  and a lot of mess & newness! We told her that this is not a one time activity with Mamma or Papa but something that she has to consistently try and do over the next one year.

And then began the task of getting the Happy Jar in place.

Ingredients (We urge you to use what is available at home):
1.An enthusiastic 6 year old (the easiest component in the activity)
2. A mason jar or any glass jar (we used something that we had at home)
3. A ribbon or a string (we used a string from a woolen cap that was gifted to Ira when she was a baby)
4. Colour sheets (Mamma had some colour sheets with her)
5. Envelope to keep the chits (the envelope was courtesy Kalpan Dida)
6. Pen (Used pen as the writing in pencil may get smudged)

We told her that she has to end of a day think of one thing that made her happy that day and write about it. Ideally, an experience. There may be days when she doesn't want to write anything and that is also fine.

Goal: Read all these chits on her 7th Birthday. ( Mamma is already thinking that if she sustains this for the year, to make it an annual activity!)

While we began this thinking that end of the year, she will realise all the fun and happy things she has done, we also realise this is like a journal jar, a memory bank of experiences, a Pandora's box for the little mind.

For now, she has been writing the chits. A few days, there are 2 things on the chit. They range from eating a lollypop, playing scrabble, meeting friends, doing a craft, watching a movie with Mamma Papa, attending her Montessori online discussion. The simplicity of the 'happy moment' and the sense of accomplishment is what makes it endearing.

We realise we will need a much bigger jar for the year if she continues to write the chits almost everyday (I need to figure out where to get a large jar). For now, she looks at it daily, writes her precious chit, drops it into the jar and mixes the chits.

#Ira #Iraisms #Happiness #Gratitude #TheHappyJar #Parenting #Activity #IraAtSix #StoriesAtSix #LittleHumanBeing #ConversationsWithIra

Put Yourself First, You Matter

                                                   Picture credit- Toa Heftiba, Unsplash "In any case, I can’t have it all, I don’t wan...