Happy Valentine's Day!
February 14th is Valentine's Day - a day when we express our love to near and dear ones.
HOW DO I LOVE THEE?
STRETCHING OUT 12 TO SIBLINGS
Siblings are special. They share a unique bond. What should parents know and do to keep siblings connected forever?
How can you express this love to your child, without actually saying, "I love you"? In our cover feature, Parent Circle shows you several ways. Continuing this theme of love we explore topics like 'strengthening love in marriages' and 'encouraging sibling bonding.' Valentine's is a day of romance, which leads us to the question: How do we deal with teen crushes? Our section Teen Circle gives you an insight.
Let me count the ways
The love of a parent does not have boundaries. Parent Circle explores ways to express this limitless love.
Our Parent forum is your section, a section for you to express your views, stories and ideas. Check out this month's events calendar for activity ideas for the whole family.
Letters to the Editor
MINDSET Have you said ‘thank you’ today?
A few creative ways to get your children to read
My own memories of Valentine's Day take me back to the days when my children were young. They would bring home beautiful hand drawn cards with hearts decorated all around. Inside, were hand written notes that started out as toddler scribbles and soon graduated into self-composed poems, each saying, "I love you mom and dad". These hand scribbles and poems were expressions of what I call unconditional love, the love of children towards their parents. No matter who you are, or what you do, you, the parent, are the most important person in their little lives and the center of their world. You may rant, rave, shout in anger, but they still give you their hugs and kisses. Shouldn't we as parents also love them unconditionally?
ROMANCING THE 16 SPOUSE
Parents are increasingly realising the importance of setting aside ‘couple’ time in their busy schedules to keep the spark alive in their marriage.
I leave you to explore this issue with a quote from Zig Ziglar, a writer and motivational speaker,
"Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love."
Happy Valentine's Day!
Fun and fitness for the Family
TEEN CIRCLE TEEN CRUSHES: Play it down!
TECH TALK Social networking for you and your child
CIRCLE OF LIFE Waste + Worm = Ecofriendly manure
PARENT CHEF Veggie Pasta
2 Parent Circle / February 2011
CHENNAI THIS MONTH CHECK IT OUT HANDS ON
28 30 32
Nalina Ramalakshmi Editor-in-Chief
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Nalina Ramalakshmi Consulting Editor Nitya Varadarajan Associate Editor Gemmarie Venkataramani Feature Editor Kavitha Shanmugam Creative Head Rangashree Srinivas Creative Designer G Swarupa Graphic Designer M Ravisankar Design Consultants G Devraj Smudge Design Studio Published by Nalina Ramalakshmi Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. 8/14, First Cross Street, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020 Printed by R Dhayalan, Sun Graphics, 51, Gangai Amman Koil Street, Vadapalani, Chennai 600026 Parent Circle is published by Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. All editorial material including editorial comments, opinions and statement of facts appearing in this publication, represent the views of its respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the publishers. Information carried in Parent Circle is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed. The publication of any advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered.
DISCUSSION POINT PARENT EXPRESS Q&A LIGHTER VEIN
5 6 34 36 www.parentcircle.in 3
Letters to the Editor Dear Editor, Parent Circle gave me insights on issues that I am concerned with as a Chennai resident. The article on 'Glass Half Full' has helped me maintain a positive attitude despite my various problems. I have decided to follow the suggestions listed in this article. I am sure it will help me become a better person, wife and mother. I am also extremely grateful for the comprehensive list of events in Chennai published by your magazine. It is a good resource material to have while planning for family weekend outings. I am looking forward to the next issue of Parent Circle. Neetu Agarwal, Nungambakkam Dear Editor, I have just seen the January edition of Parent Circle and I find the articles diverse and interesting. I can completely relate to the article 'Mompetition' as I face this issue all the time. The tech talk section is particularly useful as we have to keep pace with our childrenâ€™s continuous demand for new technology. What is more, I am proud that this kind of a magazine, which is a useful resource material for parents, is being published in Chennai. Ramani Raman, Ashok Nagar Dear Editor, I am very happy to have got a copy of Parent Circle. Chennai lacks this kind of magazine. We need a good resource guide to help us cope with the challenges of raising our children. As a parent of teenagers, the article on 'Transformations' was helpful. It gave me a good insight on what to expect and when not to worry. I hope to read more articles on dealing with teenagers and how we can understand our childrenâ€™s attitudes better. May I suggest that you include a 'healthy' recipe section, in which you can feature nutritious recipes for children. I commend the publisher of Parent Circle for a wonderful magazine. Kritika Sundaram, Broadway Dear Editor, I wish to compliment you on this excellent magazine. I find the articles very useful and I enjoyed reading 'Mompetition'. You have highlighted a serious issue that we face as Chennai moms. I do wish every mom reads this and learns that this is an unhealthy practice only adding more stress lines on them. I am looking forward to reading many more articles that would help us parents enjoy our children more. Keep up the good work. Ramya Nair, Kotturpuram
Please send in your feedback about the magazine to email@example.com with the subject line 'Your Word', or send them to PARENT CIRCLE, 3rd Floor Shri Renga Vihar, 8/14 First Cross St, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India
4 Parent Circle / February 2011
A GOOD PLACE TO RAISE A
CHILD ? POLICE SPEAK Just as in any other city, Chennai also has some good and bad facets. I believe that there is more good than bad. People from different states flock to Chennai for several reasons. The opportunity to provide a good education for their children is one of them. This makes Chennai a far better place than other places in India. What we the police need is the cooperation of the people. The residents should take precautionary measures to ensure their own safety. The police may be around but we cannot focus our attention on every individual need. People should report troublesome incidents in their locality. Only then can we act and get rid of the bad elements in the city.
R RAJENDRAN (Senior Constable, Crime Branch, Chennai Police)
Chennai has a well-balanced mix of tradition and modernity. This is what I like most about living and raising our children in this city. My husband and I felt that in a fast-paced world dominated by technology and rapidly changing value systems, it is important to expose our children to the cultural and traditional side of India. Born and raised overseas, our children are not aware of Indian culture and heritage. We want them to respect the values that we Asians are known for. Chennai offers us a via media and provides us an opportunity to enjoy a modern lifestyle and at the same time be in touch with our culture and tradition.
CHITRA GOPALAN (mother of two teenagers) I do not want to bring up my child in any city other than Chennai. The city offers the opportunity to live a luxurious lifestyle in a secure environment. People are typically concerned about their safety in a city. Compared to other cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai, Chennai is relatively safe. We can walk around our colony or visit the beach late evenings without any anxiety. My child plays with the children in our neighbourhood inside a fenced park situated near our house. We do not have to fret about her being run over by cars and two-wheelers.
JAYA KRISHNAN (mother of a six-year-old) Chennai used to be an extremely good city to raise a child. But of late, a lot of unpleasant incidents occur on a daily basis. When I read the newspaper every morning, my anxiety level shoots up. I am concerned about my daughter in particular. Kidnappings and accidents add to the stress of raising my children in this city. If not for the good schools in Chennai, I would have moved back to Salem our native place, three years ago.
M BALAJI (father of a nine -year -old and a four-year-old) Our daughter and son-in-law work abroad and we are take care of our seven-year-old grandson. Chennai was the obvious answer when I retired and had to decide on a place to relocate and raise our grandchild. We love the fact that we can provide a good environment for our grandson and that he can study in a good school even as my husband and I enjoy the cultural treats of the city.
SUCHITRA MENON (grandmother of a seven-year-old)
MAKING CHILDREN DO HOUSEHOLD CHORES: Is it necessary for parents to instill this habit in children?
Please send in your response to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'Discussion Point', or send them to PARENT CIRCLE, 3rd Floor Shri Renga Vihar, 8/14 First Cross St, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India www.parentcircle.in 5
E C I TW
It is a roller coaster ride trying not to hurt the feel-
FRATERNAL TWINS ARE THE MOST COMMON OF ALL TWIN BABIES. Dara
They occur 75 per cent of the time. Unlike identical twins that are genetically similar, fraternal twins differ genetically from each other just like two siblings with the same biological parents.
ings of each twin.
SHERIEN KESHAV KUMAR narrates the highs and lows of bringing up fraternal twins. Anoushka and Dara are all of six years and a few months. Female, fraternal and precious. I am proud of both of them. They have not won prizes or been the first or best at anything, but I have eyes only for them. I enjoy their shrieks of joy, their wailing and pleading -- all dished out to me in varying proportions. The experience of bringing up twins is different at different stages. At birth, it was a challenge caring for their physical needs; changing diapers for one child and then doing the same for the other; feeding one after the other and sometimes, simultaneously. Not to forget the burping. Bathing was also another big event. I did have a helper, but I hardly found time for myself. I lost myself in these two tiny bodies and barely managed to say hello to my spouse. One day melted into the other and before you knew it, the little ones who were bound to the bed, started to crawl. Oh, in retrospect, how easy it was when they had stayed on that bed! Now, we had to go chasing after them and ensure that they stuck to their demarcated area – a clean carpet laid out for
6 Parent Circle / February 2011
I must say that the
experience of bringing up twins is
different at different stages.
their use. Sometimes, while feeding Anoushka, the other would head off. My spouse quickly learned to put the way-
ward crawler back on the carpet by scooping her up with his feet. Soon they were one-year-something and swaying to stand upright. We survived several heart attacks and looked slightly older. It was still easier 'back then'. A few more months passed and the words started to emerge. They used to say 'broom broom' for a bike, 'pappy' for paper, 'water fountain' for a wash basin, and then mummy, ‘Anoushka is not wake-upping' or she is 'fall-downing' and 'who overed the sweeties?' (who finished the sweets?). We heard them all. I am not sure about other fraternal twins, but mine are different from one another. Anoushka is tall and lean. She is a teacher's dream as she absorbs lessons quickly. No, she is not the hugging type. While goodbyes are said with a small wave of the hand, Miss touch-me-not curls up at the touch of a hug. This behaviour is extended to us as well. Many times we enjoy holding her down and steal kisses even as she screams, making us want to do it again! She usually prefers an older child to a younger one and can be seen chatting
with them as an equal. Compared to her twin sister, Anoushka communicates clearly and is quite mature. When they were two years old, I had to choose to take one of them with me to Rome. I chose Anoushka. I felt that I was travelling with an adult. Dara is quite the opposite of her twin in looks and behaviour. She is a tad chubby with curly locks and very outgoing. A nonconformist, she has a mind of her own and will not listen to instructions. She is always smiling and easily puts a smile on others. She is talkative, full of life and friendly with people. Unlike her sister, she loves playing with younger children and is extremely gentle with them, talking to them sweetly, and so softly. Dara lagged a little behind her sister in some milestones. She walked and talked a few months later than her twin. In school, she is a little behind in writing and reading. We are fortunate that Anoushka helps her. Both vie for attention at the same time. If I place one on my lap, the other will quickly
7 Parent Circle / February 2011
climb on. In other situations, when they are presented with gifts, a differently wrapped or bigger gift for one twin will be viewed suspiciously. If Dara dislikes her gift, all hell will break loose. Anoushka often gives her gift away to keep peace. When normalcy is restored, we encourage both to share and exchange. I cannot say anything more or anything less to one or the other. I sound like a parrot as I keep repeating, ‘You are a good girl and You are also a good girl’. If I need to shop they are quite reconciled now to taking turns in accompanying me. I cannot take both to the shop. When they are stubborn and difficult, I use humour to diffuse the situation. If this fails, I warn them that I will stop speaking to them. Sometimes, just threatening with a wooden spatula works. If all else fails, and my patience is worn thin, I bring in the spouse. Normalcy is quickly restored when they hear his loud voice. It is a roller coaster ride trying not to hurt the feelings of each twin. I have to please both at the same time and keep everyone's emotional health positive, including mine. n
COVER STORY children some sweets for the upcoming festival. Her nagging arthritis would often force her to stop several times along the way. This did not lessen her determination to provide for her children. She always ensured that they did not miss out on the simple pleasures of life. The love of a parent knows no boundaries.
I LOVE THEE FREELY… I LOVE THEE PURELY… Under a pile of clothes in his cabinet, tenyear-old Akshay keeps a long list of what his mom owes him as 'salary' for favours done to her. The list includes various items like collecting the newspaper from the gate, buying bread from the nearby store, lending his pen to his younger brother and so on. Akshay has already planned his purchases with this money.
HOW DO I
The love of a parent does not have boundaries. It is limitless. Gemmarie Venkataramani explains the extent to which parents can go to make their children happy and content.
In a recent article on managing relationships, Anupam Kher, renowned film and theatre actor said: "When one is in love, one never counts the number of favours one has done for the other." Just as the parent never keeps track of the things he has done for the child.
I LOVE THEE WITH PASSION… I SHALL BUT LOVE THEE BETTER AFTER DEATH… "It is already in stage three", the doctor’s diagnosis on his cancer kept ringing in R Gopinath’s ear. He was only 58. Even
now, all that he could think of was that Gautam , his nine year old son would be playing cricket in half an hour. Unmindful of his nagging back pain, he drove as fast as he could. As usual, Gautam expected him to be there before the game started. The boy’s face always lit up in a smile when he saw his father proudly cheering him from the stands. This was the smile that Gopinath cherished. Gopinath could not make it to the final match some months later. He died just before the event. His wife Aruna noticed a tear fall as he breathed his last, which she felt was a tear of regret for failing to attend his son’s final game. "All he wanted to do was to spend the remaining days of his life, giving our son the experience of having a father", Aruna said.
Let me count the ways... True love is beyond measure. Even then, there is no stopping us from counting the ways in which we love a person. That is exactly how prominent Victorian era poet Elizabeth Barret Browning expressed her love for her husband, Robert Browning in a beautiful and still celebrated poem - "How do I love thee, let me count the ways…". It comes close to expressing what parents feel for their child right from the latter’s infancy. Take the case of G Shankar (45), an IT professional who landed a dream job in Toronto, Canada. The place was new and their infant Keshav completed the family loop of happiness. Unfortunately Keshav
8 Parent Circle / February 2011
If parents start listing down each chore they do for their children and get paid for it, they need not go to work. Their love is freely given, selfless and unconditional.
developed chronic lung infections and could not adapt to the cold. Medical interventions did not work. Despite the excitement of working in a new country and a probable career setback, the family returned to Chennai. It was the child’s wellbeing that mattered the most.
I LOVE THEE TO THE DEPTH AND BREADTH AND HEIGHT… A Lakshmi, a widow raising six children, could only afford to travel by bus. Each time, she would get off the bus two stops ahead of the one near her house. She would walk the remaining couple of kilometres to save a few rupees and buy her
Every day is a God-given opportunity to help someone have a better day and a better life. We benefit too. Gemmarie Venkataramani looks at one of the easiest and simplest way to do it
NOTHING COMPARES Moms and dads do not need to be another Shankar and Sujatha, Lakshmi or Gopinath to show their love for their offspring. Children appreciate even the little gestures of affection shown to them. Here are a few ideas:
FOR SMALL CHILDREN
1. Spend time with your child. Together, do something that your child likes doing. It could be putting a puzzle together, playing tag or simply walking on the beach.
1. Go on a date with your teen. Take your teen out for lunch or dinner. Make him choose the place and ensure that this an exclusive occasion for both of you. Put your phone on mute and focus on thoroughly enjoying his company.
2. Compliment your child. Openly voicing your compliments matter a lot to your child. Better yet, display his artwork or project in the house as part of your decoration. This will not only encourage your child, but will also give him a sense of accomplishment. 3. Send love notes. A note saying how much you love your little one will certainly excite him. Tuck them inside your child’s lunch bag. An encouraging note on your child's mirror or a postcard in the mailbox for an ice cream date with you would delight him. 4. Laugh with your child. Read the comic/fun page of the newspaper together and share a good laugh together. Tell some funny stories of yourself as a child. 5. Converse with your child. Instead of listening to the radio while driving or talking on the phone while walking, use the time to have a chat with your child. This is the best time to talk about school, friends and playmates and other things on his mind.
2. Compliment your teen’s choice. It could be in clothes, accessories, books, gadgets or anything that they fancy. This will show your respect for your child as an individual. He will feel more confident. 3. Allow junk food occasionally. Make one day a junk food day. Take your teen shopping and allow him to choose whatever he wants to eat. He will look forward to this day, appreciate your gesture and will not binge on junk food on other days. 4. Knock on your teen’s door. Privacy is important for teenagers. Be sure to knock on their doors and enter only when asked. Do not read their diaries, their mobile phone messages or deliberately listen to their phone conversations. 5. Talk, do not interrogate. Talk to your teen as you would talk to any of your friends. They are more likely to share their feelings with you when they feel comfortable, loved and understood.
Have you said
‘thank you’ today? The maid happily prepared your favourite breakfast of mini idly and tomato chutney. Did you catch a glimpse of her smile as she served you this morning? While leaving the house, did you notice how the watchman rushed to open the door for you? Before boarding the car, the driver methodically took your bags, set them on the seat and then opened the car door for you to get in. These acts would have bypassed your consciousness. God gives us 1440 minutes each day. It would not hurt if we make use of one to say thank you. In our busy schedules, we tend to take
people for granted. We assume from our hierarchical position that people are doing what they are doing because they are paid for it. Therefore thanking them is redundant. Sometimes when we do thank people, it is merely out of etiquette. If we constantly reflect that everybody is God’s child whatever be his situation in life, then the thanksgiving becomes genuine even in the smallest of services rendered to us. Saying thank you and meaning it could change a very bad day into a good one. While you are sharing a bit of your heart by expressing your gratitude to someone
Nature has designed parenting to be one of the best experiences in life. The greatest gift that you can give them would really be intangible – the value system that will become a part of their lives. Like a sponge, children tend to absorb parents' thoughts and viewpoints which will stay with them forever.
The ancient Greeks define Agape as unconditional love - the love that God has for all man. Parental love is the closest thing to the Agape love that man can achieve. Just as we consider ourselves in adulthood to be creations of God, children are creations of parents. Therefore, we give our children the same unconditional love that God gives us.
10 Parent Circle / February 2011
It would make him feel good about himself and about what he does.
Just like other parents, Jamuna and her husband make it a
are keen observers of their parent’s action and emulate them.
point to cultivate in their daughter, Samyuktha, the attitude of
Do not demand thanks. "I work my fingers to the bone
being grateful. They teach her to say thank you for the little
every day for you, and I never hear a word of thanks". Avoid de-
things she gets and to the people who help her in her eve-
manding thanks from your children or from anybody.
instill gratitude in their young ones.
AGAPE – UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
For instance, in most restaurants in the city, waiters and waitresses wear name tags. After satisfying yourself with a hearty meal, go up to the waiter, smile and say, “Thank you, Mohan, for the excellent service”. By using his name and recognising him as an individual, you have given him a sense of self-worth.
CULTIVATE THE ATTITUDE
ryday life. They offer a few suggestions to parents on how to
THE BEST GIFT
who did a little something for you, you feel good. Similarly for the receiver, that special gift of thanks is worth more than any other material reward. The clouds have suddenly dispelled!
Try going without. From time to time, abstain from doing/ making/eating something you all love, as a family. Try unplug-
Make a list. At intervals, take time as a family to make a
ging the television for a day. Switch off mobile phones on Sun-
list of the things you are grateful for. Children would normally
days. Steer clear of sweets for a week. Walk to the vegetable shop
list their favourite toy or food. That is fine. These are the little
instead of taking the car. A little sacrifice
things that mean a great deal to them. Subtly mention how they can also include being grateful for the family they have and the lifestyle that they have been gifted with.
makes us miss the things we take for granted and be grateful for what we have. Thank God first. While praying, always
Set an example. Be sure to do it yourself. Say thank you to
remember to thank God first and foremost.
the taxi driver, the shop keeper, the cleaner or to other mem-
He is after all the reason why we have count-
bers of the family when they do something for you. Children
FEATURE each child that there is no one like him in the whole world. No one else has his thoughts and feelings, his way of doing things and you are lucky that he is born to you.
BE GUILT FREE
Stretching out to Siblings Siblings are special. They share a unique bond. Parent Circle provides a checklist and pointers for parents to strengthen the sibling bond -- what they should know and do to keep siblings connected forever.
and board games with your brother as a child? The precious bedtime secrets and comraderie cannot be forgotten. Not to forget the petty squabbles over minor matters. The shared memories of siblings last a lifetime.
AVOID COMPARISON The cardinal rule is never to compare one child with another. Siblings should always find themselves on the same side. One child is bound to feel isolated and jealous if we praise the other constantly. Never say, “Look at your older brother, he is so neat and tidy. Why can’t you be like him?” or “Why can’t you study as
cant role in creating strong sibling bonds; in fact the onus lies on them. Kavitha Shanmugam interviews Parimal Pandit a counsellor, and provides a few guidelines to parents on helping siblings bond.
12 Parent Circle / February 2011
Parents play more than a signifi-
hard as your sister?’’
Parents are not infallible. It is possible that parents instinctively like one child more than the other. A mother may like her son more because he resembles her. This may happen at an unconscious level. Once these thoughts surface, just be aware of them; don’t feed them further with other emotions like guilt. "Once we are conscious of our feelings we might stop playing favourites”, points out Parimal Pandit. Sometimes, parents might be more loving towards one child because he suffers from a learning disability. However, the parents have to make sure that they are not focussing on one at the cost of the other. The book, Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, is a heart-rending story of a nineyear-old rebelling against the importance her parents give her ‘sick’ sibling.
INDIVIDUAL TIME It is important as parents, to give individual time for each child. This is different from family time. Siblings feel reassured
DEVDUTT PATTANAIK A Q Indian mythology expert and author
IS SIBLING LOVE CELEBRATED IN THE EPICS? Sibling love per se is not celebrated in the epics. What is celebrated is dharma, which can manifest in sibling love. Dharma is love not determined by fear or power, but by genuine affection. Most brothers in mythology, and even Ram and Laxman are half-brothers. Draupadi and Krishna shared a friendship our modern minds cannot understand and we define it as sibling love.
DOES MYTHOLOGY TEACH US THE NUANCES OF SIBLING BONDING? Mythology must not be seen as prescriptive. Rather it is reflective. Do we want a brother like Kumbhakarna who will support us in adharma or a brother like Vibhishana who will oppose us in the hope that we discover dharma? Do we want a brother like Ravana who will kidnap other men’s wives in vengeance when his sister is insulted?
when each one spends exclusive time with the parents. They will not vie with one another for parent attention.
dicial and not emotional when this happens.
Spend time with each child even if it is just for ten minutes a day. You could take them for a walk, read stories, shop, play board games. It gives your child a chance to feel loved. When they are thus attended, they are less likely to be hostile towards their siblings.
Help children remove the guilt feelings associated with sibling rivalry. Help them find positive ways to express their feelings and work out their differences.
SIBLING RIVALRY Sibling rivalry will exist. Children react emotionally, but parents have to be ju-
Try statements such as, “I know you get frustrated that I am with your brother more in the morning. But your brother needs more help getting dressed than you do. You are just as important to me as he or she is”.
EACH CHILD IS DIFFERENT Be aware that each child is different. Each child has his own personality. Each has to be loved singularly for his own unique self. Siblings do not want to hear parents say that they are all loved equally. Assure
Siblings are forever. Parents should emphasise how siblings can be a source of great strength in later life. Let the older sibling take care of the younger one by helping with a school project. Liberally appreciate the action. Listen to each sibling's grievances in turns, understand the problem completely before addressing the same. Encourage random acts of kindness among them. For example, one could make the other’s bed in the morning. Create opportunities for siblings to connect. Get them involved in cooking, doing household chores and bonding during dinner.
Teenager Bhavna Sundar describes the volatile relationship she shares with her 13-year-old younger brother “The earliest memory I have of my brother Sidhu is when he was born. I remember being apprehensive. I do not know if I was scared of the little baby or of the hospital. I must have been four at that time. We spent a lot of time together playing video games when we were younger. We were very close. Now, we spend less time with each other. We seem to be going through a phase where we do not want the other one to know that we care for each other. However, a recent incident revealed our innate love. During our school play practice, the choreographer hit Sidhu with a metal stick on his knuckles. He started to cry and I happened to be there. I was livid. I still do not know what came over me, I screamed and shouted at the choreographer. The choreographer was asked to leave after the director heard the ruckus I made. When Sidhu and I fight, our parents advise us on the value of being siblings. My mother talks to me about the close bond she shares with her own sister. She points out how nice it is for her to have someone to confide in. Sometime in the future, I know that Sidhu and I will grow closer and confide in each other. For now, it is fun and cool to fight and pull each other’s legs.”
More ideas to encourage reading
For the Love of Reading Rashrei Vyas Some children are bookworms to the hilt. Others need to be coaxed to enter the wonderful and imaginative world of books. One way to get your children to read is by reading yourself. Children are great imitators and they will easily slip into the reading habit as they watch their parents. Some children need to be gently led into the world of reading. Here, Parent Circle suggests a few creative ways to get your children to read.
This is a simple group activity which can be done with children in your apartment complex, or with a familiar group of school kids. Choose a book which has distinctive characters and lends itself to role play. Book Choices: Roald Dahl’s Matilda,
Pippi Longstocking’s adventure books, Ruskin Bond’s Mr Olivier’s series. Let each child assume a role of her choice. During the role play, children should read their portions aloud with emotion. Guide them when necessary. Enacting the characters in the book as a group will make reading a fun affair. As the Reading Theatre sessions become popular, ask the children to take turns to bring their favourite books to share and read together.
Take your child and his friends to book
14 Parent Circle / February 2011
readings for children in the city. Many book-centric activities take place in Chennai on a regular basis. There are book fairs, storytelling sessions and interactions with authors of children’s books. Do not fret if they seem disinterested at first. In time, they will pick up an affinity for books.
Start a Book Hospital Get your child to adopt a book from the neighbourhood library, which is in a torn condition and encourage them to nurse the book back to health. Let them design a new book cover with a drawing and write a short description of the story at the back of the book. You can also get them to interview a few students and teachers who have read the book and their responses can be compiled as comments to attract new readers.
Book Art Ideas
Get together with your child to : Create bookmarks centred on the theme of the book he or she is reading. Create colourful posters to display your child’s favourite booklist. Plan a comic book project with your child. Pick up a book that your child enjoyed reading and help her illustrate in a sequence her favourite portion from the book. Create a puppet show from the story of her favourite book. First, draw the characters from the book and cut them out. These cutouts are then glued or stapled to a stick and the puppet characters are complete.The children can stage a puppet show with a voice over.
Set aside a special corner in the house to place the books you are reading together with your child. You can even decorate the space together. Make it a habit to read to your young child every night at bedtime. Encourage older children to read for at least 15 minutes before going to bed. Get the child’s role model/mentor/godparent to gift her a book you would like her to read. Talk about the title of the book your child is about to read. Ask your child what she thinks it might mean or what the book might be about. Discuss the author of the book. Have you heard of this author or read other works by her? Let the child check out other titles by this author and see which ones sound interesting to him. After you finish the book, ask your child to suggest different endings to the book. If your child can write, ask him to write down alternative ways the book might have ended. Discuss the characters in the book. Do their names reveal anything about their personality and inner motivation? Ask the child why he thinks the author chose that particular name. Have him think of other names he might give that character.
Identify your child’s learning style Each child has his own way of learning. As a parent, it is important to recognise your child’s learning style. This will make it easier for the child to tackle his studies and for a parent to guide him. The different styles are outlined below with pointers to tackle them. Visual Learners These learners visualise their subject material by thinking in pictures. They learn best from maps, charts, diagrams, board and memory games and picture books. As you read aloud from their books, give them colour pencils so that they can draw while listening. Auditory/Language learners These learners learn best as they listen to others. Auditory learners enjoy listening to the voice, tone and pitch and thus learn best from reading the text aloud. They can use a tape recorder to record their school work.
Remember that children can use a mixture of learning styles or be dominant in one.
Tactile Learners Being highly tactile, these learners learn best through moving, doing things and touching. They communicate best through gestures. A good way to teach them is through hands-on activities and experiments. Allow such children to rock, swing legs or play with pencils even as they study. They cannot sit still for long. Logical and Analyticallearners These children enjoy puzzles and like to know how things work. They try to understand things by using patterns and by constantly asking questions. Mental math problems, strategy and computer games are easy for them. The best way to teach them is through science experiments, using computer learning tools and word puzzles. When reading fiction, discuss the story in relation to real life situations and people.
Romancing SPOUSE THE
Parents are increasingly realising the importance of setting aside 'couple' time in their busy schedules to keep the spark alive in their marriage, says Kavitha Shanmugam
It is not just teenagers who date. Homemaker Preeti Thomas, a hands-on mother of three boys and her busy real estate entrepreneur husband often go on dates together. Married for twenty years, Preeti often reschedules gym workouts and Thomas his meetings, to grab a quick coffee together, to go for a walk on the beach or to catch the morning show at the local cinema. “This is our time together, when we escape our roles as parents, as a boss or daughter or son and see the world as a couple,” says Preeti. Both are extremely conscious about bonding with one another, despite pressing work. Says Preeti, “If we do not communicate with each other now, we are bound to end up as strangers at 50. The best part of our lives will be over. We won’t have good memories to share.”
16 Parent Circle / February 2011
Devina with her family A 37-year-old entrepreneur Devina Hemdev, married for 12 years and a mother of two, ensures she gets ‘bonding time’ with her husband despite their heavy work schedules. “We go on holidays and out to dinners regularly just to nurture our couple equation. We do whatever it takes to stay on track,” she says. Staying constantly connected with the spouse is very important according to her, as people change with age.
Couples are slowly waking up to the fact today that their own relationships have to be nurtured as much as caring for their children. Saras Bhaskar, counselling psychologist and coach says that ninety per cent of the couples she counsels put children ahead of their marriage. Husbands get caught up in their careers, providing material comforts for the family. Wives meanwhile assume the role of homemakers and mothers to the exclusion of everything else. They end up living under the same roof as strangers. Couples lack clarity about balancing their roles. It is necessary for a husband to focus on his career. But, he has equal responsibility to play out his roles as a husband and a father. The same goes for his spouse. “It does take great courage to put marriage on an equal footing with children,” Saras admits. Once the children are born
couples do not want to behave like newlyweds nor feel the necessity to be romantic. “Do we always have to conclude that time for each other means romance?” she asks. Time for each other could mean anything from sharing activities, exchanging viewpoints about a movie, book or events. Developing an interest in a partner’s passion adds meaning to the relationship. “Romance follows naturally when you have this stable and consistent interpersonal relationship,” she says. In this scenario, sex too plays a big role in keeping the marriage alive. According to psychiatrist Dr Hema Tharoor, intimacy and sex should not end once the children are born. “If your spouse is not interested in you then it might be good to introspect if lack of sex is causing the emotional distance. The need and frequency for physical intimacy may vary over the years, but
WHEN YOU MARRY IT IS FOREVER! Married for 21 years, N Mohanakrishnan and homemaker Radha, who are in their late forties, remain inseparable. There are usually a thousand reasons for couples to drift, but in their case, there is only one to stay together - love. "You don’t need to recharge or renew marital love. When you marry, it is forever," says Mohanakrishnan. He is the last person to crack silly wife jokes in office. “ My best friends are my wife and children,’’ he says. Radha and Mohanakrishnan His secure and happy marriage did not happen overnight, he admits. It was a bond nurtured with time. Initially, both made compromises. His wife had to adjust to living in a joint family. “I admired her for the respect she gave my family. I felt bound to behave in a similar manner,” he says.
Values are equally important. When Mohanakrishnan learnt that Radha had brought home his sick grandmother and nursed her, he was proud of her. Radha has her own reasons to bond with her husband. Small acts of kindness reflect his concern for her. For instance, his encouragement in her pursuit of higher education pleased her. Both give each other space to follow their individual passions. He is a movie buff and she a Carnatic music rasika. This loving bond between the parents has rubbed off on their children. They are also extremely friendly and well-adjusted. “My sons love the atmosphere at home and invite their friends over. They introduce us with pride,” says Mohanakrishnan. The circle is complete with this happy family. www.parentcircle.in 17
POINTERS TO KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE Commitment, communication and respect Do not take your spouse for granted Take short vacations together Express or display your affection and regard Make the effort to have a cordial relationship with the spouse’s family Do not magnify small faults Accept the person as he/she is Provide space for each other to grow
it should not be ignored," she says. Commitment and communication are important factors which keep the marital spark alive. "If these two elements are in place, the next step is to spend time together," says Preeti. Rashmee Ram, homemaker and mother of two, does not consciously work at her six-year-old marriage. She religiously follows one routine, though. However late her husband comes back from work, she makes it a point to wait and have dinner with him. "Our conversations together at night reassure me that he is still a part of my life. We have no time for romantic frills such as candle-light dinners or cosy music sessions," she adds. Other acts help. When Rashmee cared for her mother-in-law suffering from cancer, she grew several notches in her husband’s love. "Where there is understanding, external triggers are not needed to keep love alive," she says.
At the end of the day, marriage is always "work in progress", says Dr Hema. Couples have to realise that they need to work hard to find ways to keep the love meters ticking and reach a stage of total harmony.
Rashmee with her family
‘NURTURE MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN AT THE SAME TIME’ The children of emotionally bonded parents are usually happy and well-adjusted. The post-children era for parents will be smooth if they have nurtured their couple relationship. Good parenting is not about putting our children or our marriage first. It is about nurturing both daily. Our children will grow up and leave before you know it. What will they leave behind: an empty nest or a couple of lovebirds? The choice is yours.
18 Parent Circle / February 2011
FITNESS FUN FOR THE LITTLE ONES! Children find fun in almost every activity they do. Engaging them in a play-way method of exercising is a great way to promote their physical and psychological development. It also promotes good interactions between parents and children.
Ball Toss/Catch – promotes hand-eye coordination and strengthening of arm and leg muscles Jump Rope – improves balance, agility and overall cardiovascular fitness Running/Tag – a high-intensity cardio workout that provides numerous health benefits, both physical and psychological Hopscotch – gets the heart pumping at a faster rate and increases the me-
Kick Ball – promotes alertness, team work and sportsmanship Dancing – promotes flexibility, strength and endurance Biking – promotes good, safe cardio workout Swimming - can improve posture and develop a strong lean physique
TIP TOP TIPS FOR YOU AND YOUR TEENS!
Fun and fitness for the Family
Teenagers prefer doing things on their own or with their friends, rather than with their families. With proper motivation, a little coaxing and by keeping their interests in mind, they will be the first to put on their athletic shoes and head out. Giving them information on how many calories are burned while doing these activities may help entice your teens to try them out with you.
Obesity and obesity – related diseases are increasingly becoming a cause for concern not just in adults but also among school-going children. The ready availability of fast foods for a fast paced, sedentary lifestyle is contributing to this. Even doctors, before prescribing their pills are advocating balanced foods and exercise. Food habits are getting easier to change but consistent physical work-outs are finding lesser takers. The Indian social psyche wants like-minded company for this activity. Why not then, a family work-out? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when
20 Parent Circle / February 2011
starting this. Make, not find, time. Housework will never end and the TV will not run out of shows. Office work has to be sensibly planned. We can always cut those times we spend doing things by ourselves in exchange for a 45-60 minute workout with the family. We will soon realise that we are not missing much. In fact, we gain more in terms of improving our interpersonal relationship with other members of the family. Fun for everyone. Choose exercises that the entire family can do. Each week, a
member of the family can design the family workout that you will all do together. Families with younger children should incorporate less vigorous but fun routines. It does not have to be boring and dull. Think fun - scenic bike rides, walks in botanical parks, a family dance to the latest Bollywood music or a frisbee toss in the beach. Creating a fun and exciting family exercise routine will make your family look forward to it every time. Do not overdo. Take it slow and easy. Experts say it takes about 21 days to create a new habit. If your family does not
Swimming – 360
seem enthused about your new routine, do not push it. Allow some time for each member to adjust. Take water breaks in between and encourage small chats and jokes. This will lighten up the routine and make it more enjoyable.
Working out as a family promotes bonding
***data shows calorie burned per hour Source: FitnessMotivator.com
More than getting your heart pumping and calories burning, sharing physical activities with your family is a great way to build family bonds. When parents play hide n’ seek, go biking, toss a Frisbee or dance with the child, beautiful memories are created in the minds of the young ones. These are the memories that everyone will treasure forever and will enjoy recollecting twenty years later.
A mother deals with her teen’s crush in a cautious manner When her 16-year-old daughter confided in her about her crush, Vidya’s first thought was: "I am glad she had the confidence to tell me about it. It was heart-warming to know she believed that I would react judiciously." Vidya did get upset despite being mentally prepared. She knew that her daughter was facing the pressure of being called a 'geek' or 'nerd', since all her friends had boyfriends. But Vidya decided not to reveal her anger. "I realised that if I show my anger she might not confide in me any more. She is always angry with my husband and refuses to talk to him because he is strict with her on this issue," she says. Vidya did lay down some rules, however. The boy had to come home to meet them and her daughter could not go out with him on her own.
Play it down! Teen crushes form a part of growing up. Arundhati Swamy advises parents to stand by their children when this happens and offer reassurance instead of flying off the handle.
Arundhati Swamy holds a Masters degree in Social Work with specialisation in Family and Child Welfare from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is currently a Counsellor for a number of leading schools in the city.
22 Parent Circle / February 2011
Dreamy, glazed looks, lost in thought, butterflies in the stomach…..whoa, the 'crush' bug has struck…and how. Goodbye kiddo, hello life! Yes, your little one is growing up, whether you like it or not. Welcome to the world of teens. The process of self-discovery has begun and there is no stopping it. It has to run its natural course and play a part in the drama of life. The crush bug is relentless in its pursuit, stalking the unexpected, aiming its cupid bow at the most unsuspecting victim, sometimes subtle and sometimes dramatic, unnerving but ever so exciting. So what exactly is a 'CRUSH'? The onset of puberty is the precursor to a series of biopsycho-social-intellectual changes. A crush or infatuation is that first flush of a strange new feeling, undefined and inexplicable. It is nature's way of telling us that all is well with the natural processes of growing up. The new uncertain feelings are an important milestone of puberty, bringing in their
TIPS TO PARENTS ON HOW TO HANDLE TEENAGE CRUSHES Encourage teens to understand the changes. Help them develop a healthy attitude towards themselves and their peers. Nurture their self-worth. Their physical, mental, emotional and emerging sexual energies must be channelised into productive channels of healthy and creative activities. Teach them the value and security of moving in mixed groups, rather than isolating themselves with one particular boy or girl. Allow them to spend this phase of their life getting to know as many boys and girls. Let them learn what their own levels of comfort are with different types of people. Prepare them for their world. Stand back and give them all the support they need. Keep it light, do not overreact and get melodramatic.
Though Vidya was not impressed with her daughter's choice, she accepted it. Her daughter did break the rule a couple of times about meeting her 'crush' alone. "One cannot lock up one's daughter. Instead, I just explained to her that she was not experienced enough to know what was good or bad for her. Going out alone with him was just not acceptable," she says. Luckily for Vidya, her daughter slowly outgrew her crush. "She realised that he was lying to her and stopped seeing him. I believe a crush is an emotion that comes with age. You have to deal with your teens in a cautious manner. They will always find a way out," she says. "It is all about negotiating", she continues. "You have to convince them that you have taken two steps forward to meet them and you expect them to step back a bit," she advises. wake a series of emotional changes. Primary among them is the gradual awareness of an interest in the opposite sex, and that cannot be a bad thing, since we want our children to enter into long lasting relationships as adults in the future. A crush is typically a one-way feeling. The other person is mostly unaware that someone is attracted to him. It can be entertained and enjoyed in the privacy of the mind. What makes the feeling difficult is the add-on guilt accompanying it. Established norms of social behaviour do not favour 'crushes'. The safe thing about a crush is that it is usually short-lived, and this is precisely why we need not worry about it. Till the next one occurs! However, things can get complicated and confusing when teens realise that they can be attracted to different people at the same time! Now we are talking about multiple crushes!!
Is it time to hit the panic button? Not at all, because they are simply starting to understand and acknowledge different attributes and characteristics that interest them. Usually the attraction for each person is for a different reason. They are testing their masculine and feminine social roles. They will define themselves and their world through their social roles. The crucial journey of discovery, of the self and of the others, has just begun. Some teens tend to discuss their crush freely among peers, and this leads to teasing and pairing up of individuals. They may begin to believe that they are 'in love', when they are actually experiencing a harmless crush. Then, expectations get nurtured beyond bounds resulting in disappointment. The cautious parent switches to an advisory mode, offering all kinds of messages such as - "This is not the age for all this", "concentrate on your studies", "and do
not waste time on unwanted things". "But, I cannot help feeling this way," is what the child thinks. Yes, because these changes are being determined by their natural hormonal cycle, over which they have no control. The parent in denial says, "Such things don’t happen in our family", leaving the child more confused. The liberal parent says, "Wow, can I meet him/her?". The over-enthusiastic parent gets excited and discusses this with friends and family or teases the child, often causing embarrassment and resentment in the child. The child feels that people are trespassing into his private space. The understanding parent supports the child through this dilemma, seizes the opportunity to explain the changes as a normal phenomenon of growing up and offers reassurance. Remember the time when you had your first crush! Inputs from Kavitha Shanmugam
FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILD Gemmarie Venkataramani Gone are the days when the postman is the most awaited person at home. Sending a message to a friend no longer requires pen and paper. From email to text messaging, Internet calls and conferencing, video link-up and blogging, technology has taken over communication in a big way. During the 1980s and in the better part of 1990s, reaching out to someone used to take days, if not weeks. Now with technology, it is a matter of minutes, sometimes, seconds. Messages can be sent across in a flash, anybody can see their relatives, friends or colleagues, from any part of the world, in a flicker. With social networking, a message can be sent out into the world with a click of a mouse.
24 Parent Circle / February 2011
In existence since 1994, social networking sites have been connecting people from different parts of the globe. Ten years later, its popularity swelled and people from all walks of life started using these sites extensively. With features likes instant messaging, photo/video sharing, locating friends, playing games, creating a network within a network, these sites have become the place to be for the young and old alike. Be it Friendster, MySpace, Tweeter or Facebook, everyone has to have an account. For more than a year now, Madhura Naidu, twelve years old and in the seventh standard, keeps pestering her mother to allow her set-up a social networking account. Time and again, arguments as to why she cannot do it fly around the house. Her constant whine includes how almost all of her classmates own one, which allows them to chat online and share information that she has no access to. She complains that she is left out of conversations at school. Hoping that it would help her line of reasoning, she even argues that that the brightest girl in class has her own account. Her mother remains unmoved. Social networking is off limits to children under 13. Thousands of pre-teens may have set up accounts and are regularly logging on to social networking sites but the fact remains that it is against the rules. For these children to sign up, they have to lie about their age, which is bad in itself. Social networking sites are designed for teenagers and adults. These sites share opinions, pictures and video clips. These in turn could lead to bullying, harassment, spreading of rumours and give strangers an easy access to the account holder’s private information and whereabouts without the latter knowing it. There are ways and means to protect one’s privacy while using the site but it is a daunting task, even for adults, to go through all these. Children like to be in touch with their friends by chatting and playing with them even from their respective homes. This is when they find networking sites useful.
FUN AND SAFE ONLINE NEIGHBOURHOOD FOR CHILDREN A father of three, Mandeep Singh Dillon, seeing the need for a safe place online for younger children to learn and play, created Togetherville - a social online community for children under the age of 13. Here, children can connect with friends and relatives pre-approved by the parent, who has an over-all control on the child’s activities within the account. In Togetherville, children learn much more than computer skills. They can be creative, express themselves and learn in a fun and interactive way. The site mimics adult social networks in a child-appropriate way. Games, videos and other materials posted are screened by a panel of parenting experts. There is a 'chat' function but neither children nor adults can type in text. To send a message, the child has to select a prescreened 'quip' approved by the Togetherville panel. This feature reduces the chance of cyberbullying abuse and eliminates the chance of throwing open personal information in the World Wide Web. Branded as 'Facebook for children’, Kidswirl is another site in which your child can create his/her own network of friends, classmates and relatives. Toby Clark, father of two and creator of Kidswirl says that the site was born out of a desire to create a 100 percent safe networking site for children. Kidswirl blocks bad language and automatically censors any inappropriate phrases, images and videos. The site’s goal is to keep children safe and parents comfortable, while offering an ultra-creative platform in which children can interact with each other and with their parents. Apart from entertainment, both sites provide access to the best information available on the web without exposing them to its dangerous side. These sites allow parents to have unparalleled control over their child’s account. Weekly update on activities in the child’s account is provided to the parents. Social networking generally aims at building relationships with others. We still need to be cautious with the individuals that we or our children associate with. Be guarded about what you post on the Internet, or else, social networking can turn into a nervewracking experience.
CIRCLE OF LIFE
Waste + Worm = ECOFRIENDLY MANURE
Vermicomposting can be FUN Involving children in creating and maintaining your vermicompost pit can be a fun experience. 1. Take them to workshops/seminars on vermicomposting. Encourage them to ask questions. Dr Sultan Ismail conducts workshops through the Science City, check their website for schedules (www.sciencecitychennai.com) 2. Make a list of all that is needed to create a vermicompost pit. Go shopping together to buy the items.
Vermicomposting may seem like a small effort in the larger issue of environmental conservation. But this small effort, if made in every home, can make a big difference.
Pots can be bought from terracotta shops, or any plant nursery in the city. Gravel and sand can be bought (by the kilo) from any hardware store. Earthworms can be sourced in large quantities from K Indra Kumar at Pammal (9941007057), or from Exnora vermi-composting members for smaller numbers (T-Nagar office: 044-28153376, Arumbakkam office: 044-24757070, E-mail: email@example.com) 3. Take them to parks to collect twigs and dried leaves (permission from the park authorities may be required).
Sultan Ahmed Ismail
4. Involve them in planning when and how to make the vermicompost pit, and where to keep it.
writes on this ecological way for families to deal with waste generated at home.
5. Together, plan a schedule (putting in organic matters, placing the earthworms, watering, periodical checking) worms and give them cattle dung pats for
Composting One day, while helping a student decide on a research project, I stumbled upon earthworms in our laboratory. We maintained a culture, observed their behaviour and got hooked on to vermicomposting. The idea became a rage when the details were published in a national newspaper in 1992.
An eco-friendly way to handle 80 percent of organic waste (fruits and vegetable peels and other kitchen residues) generated in homes, is to compost it. What is compost? It is nothing but a mixture of decayed plants and other organic waste added to the soil to help plants grow bigger and healthier. The process of converting organic waste into manure is called composting. This manure is a healthier, natural, chemical free option unlike commercially available fertilisers.
Vermicomposting Sultan Ahmed Ismail, Ph.D., D.Sc., is presently the Director, Ecoscience Research Foundation; Head, Biotechnology, New College; and Research Director, Dr MGR Janaki College, Chennai. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 Parent Circle / February 2011
Earthworms feed on organic waste, consuming two to five times their body weight. They use a small amount of their intake for their growth and excrete the mucus coated undigested matter as vermicast. Vermicast is a rich source of macro and micronutri-
ents, vitamins, enzymes, antibiotics and growth hormones. The nutrients present in vermicasts are readily soluble in water and can be used to water the plants. Vermicasts along with other composted organic material is called vermicompost.
food. Worms like them and multiply fast. For the next 15 to 20 days, the unit should be kept moist. Children can be assigned to water the unit. The bed should neither be dry nor soggy. The unit may be covered with an old jute (gunny) bag, which the worms love as a protective covering.
From the 30th day, organic waste from the kitchen can be spread sporadically. This waste can be turned over or mixed periodically with a pick-axe or stick. Care should be taken not to disturb the worms. After a few days, worm castings appear. Vermicompost is ready once the castings are mixed with decomposed organic matter.
Daily Dump is a national group that advocates composting of domestic wastes. It provides support to those interested by way of seminars, workshops, demonstrations. For information, contact : Navneeth Raghavan at 9840082607 E-mail:navneethraghavan@gmail. com; Website: www.dailydump.org
Afraid of worms? Vermicompost is far superior to other types of compost. If handling worms is a problem, composting can still be done. Get seven flowerpots and label them, one for each day of the week. Daily kitchen waste should be dumped in the respective pots. Keep them moist. Pot sizes can be chosen depending on the average waste generated per day. The compost is ready when the material is moderately loose and crumbly, the colour is dark brown and the smell, earth-like. Now, plant the seeds of flowers or vegetables in the pot. The organic matter in compost plays a vital role in crop production. Add 8 to 10 kg of soil for every 100 grams of compost. Regular watering and mulching of the soil is important. Once the plant establishes itself, you are just a few weeks away from enjoying organically home grown vegetables. ď€ź
As easy as 1-2-3 Parents can take the help of their children to make a vermicompost unit in their backyard or apartment terrace. The procedure is simple and requires minimal maintenance. First, get an empty wooden crate of manageable size. Buckets or plastic/steel cans can also be used. Make a few holes at the base of the container to allow the water to drain. Add a thin layer of gravel and sand and top it with partially decomposed material from your garden (leaves and twigs). Into this mix, introduce about 25-50 earth-
CHENNAI THIS MONTH FEB
College of Engineering, Guindy Learning to build robots that walk, creating business plans that craft the success stories of the future, developing software applications, creating something out of junk and a talk by Infosys Chairman, Kris Gopalakrishnan are some of the events lined up at this techno management college fest. Held under the patronage of UNESCO, this yearly fun fest will also roll-out workshops, lectures, forums and other events for students to participate.
Campfire tales - Comedy show
saregaa season 3
Contact email@example.com to register and for more details.
Education UK Exhibition
SaReGaa Children’s Choir is a group of children training for choral music. Registrations open for season 3.
sional, you will benefit from face-to face information and specific seminars about undergraduate, post graduate and research courses. Entry is free.
Please pre-register at http:// in.edukexhibitions.org/visitor_reg.php
DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu, ECR
If you have a deep curiosity to discover more about these slithering reptiles this programme involves a demo of live snakes at 11 am and a visit to the snake enclosure at 11.20 am. Admission will be free and light refreshments will be served. Since the maximum number of participants is restricted to 40 and the applicants will be picked on a first-come-first served basis, hurry to enroll. Remember to bring an ID card for identification. Application with contact address can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or handed over to S Sivakumar, Environmental Education Officer, Chennai Snake Park, Raj Bhavan Post, Chennai 600 022.
NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE SACRED GROVES OF INDIA
11 C P Ramaswamy Aiyar Foundation, Eldams Road
'WOMEN 2011' ART EXHIBITION
10 Forum Art Gallery, 57, 5th Street Padmanabha Nagar, Adyar
Representing the female form in art is as old as the Ajanta murals. In “Woman 2011”, modern artistes give their interpretation of the female form. Curated by Shalini Biswajit, this exhibition which celebrates the female synergy, features the artwork of Biswajit Balasubranian, C Dakshinamoorthy, C Douglas, C.P.Krishnapriya, K. Muralidharan, M. Senathipathi and others. 10.30 am to 6.30 pm.
Hansel and Gretel 11, Jagadambal Street, Nungambakkam
THAPPATTAM AND OYILATTAM 11 WORKSHOP FEB
Dakshina Chitra, Muttukadu, ECR
Tuesdays & Thursdays
If you wish to learn the folk art forms of Tamil Nadu such as the Thappattam, a subtle dance form set to music and Oyilattam, a dance of grace from Madurai, head to this workshop. This one day lesson of these dance forms will cost Rs 400. Call 2747 2603/27472883 for details
YOUNG @ MATHS
Develop your child’s interest and confidence in mathematics using a variety of activities like worksheets, quizzes, puzzles and games. The topics will be on counting, sorting, ordering, sequencing, number names, basic addition and subtraction. This workshop is targeted at children between 4 and 7 years Two sessions: 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm 4.30 pm to 5.30 pm
Did You Know? Thappattam is played in special family functions such as childbirth, puberty, marriage and during the worship of community deities. FEB
A two day conference on the “Conservation of Sacred Groves” to protect the local biodiversity is being organised by the C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC). The conference will analyse the historical role played by the sacred groves in India and their role in the conservation of local biodiversity. Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge), will inaugurate the seminar at the Puthupet Sacred Grove on the East-Coast Road, 10 kms before Pondicherry. Did You Know? Sacred groves are mini-
biospheres with religious significance and excellent indicators of local biodiversity health, especially because local communities participate to protect them. Normally left undisturbed, they could be forest patches or fallow lands near villages, and host folk deities.
Robotic workshops for kids 3/7, II Main Road, Indra Nagar, Adyar Free personalised workshop for children above five years, to inculcate in them an interest in Robotic Engineering. Call 04432213000 to register.
An art class for children in the age group of 8 years-12 years on Fridays is also being held titled Sma rt @ Art. Learn about lines, shapes, forms, shadows and colour mixi ng using different media such as wate r colours, pencil shading, charcoal sketching and oil painting.
This workshop will take the children through the basic techniques of photography and provide them with an opportunity to be creative. The fee is Rs 500. Call 2747 2603/27472883 for more details.
If you are interested in acquainting children with sculpture, the city is hosting a sculpture camp as part of National Art Week. Check out the print making, painting and ceramics camps at Kalakshetra and Cholamandal.
DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu, ECR Third week of February
20 Lalit Kala Akademi, Greams Road
4.30 pm to 5.30 pm
The Bangalore-based Bornfree Art School will stage circus dramas in the city carrying the theme of choosing peace over war and to shun practices like child labour. This event will be held at DakshinaChitra with special shows for school children.
CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
20 DakshinaChitra, Muttukadu, ECR
Fridays Smart @ Art
2 to 7 pm
Pick up this traditional Japanese paper craft and learn to create a bunny rabbit or a butterfly, a rose or a lily from mere paper. In this origami workshop, children will specially focus on creating flowers, insects and water creatures. The fee to participate in this workshop is Rs 400. Call 27472603/ 27472883 to register or for more details.
Chennai Snake Park, Raj Bhavan Post
28 Parent Circle / February 2011
4 pm to 6pm
Taj Coromandel, Nungambakkam, 13/8, Sri Hari Flats, 1st Floor, Poes Road 1st 7-8 Chennai Street, Teynampet, Chennai 600018. Ph: Whether you are a student or a profes24343918, 9840132913
SNAKE AWARENESS PROGRAMME
11am to 1pm.
CHENNAI CHEMISTRY CONFERENCE The scientific spirit in Chennai is alive as the city plays host to a unique two-day conference. The conference will befocussing on the current trends in chemistry. The registration fee for undergraduate and masters students is Rs 500, for research students Rs 1000 and for faculty Rs 1500.
s If your child is curious about ches from n here is a chance to lear Grand Master and coach Arthie Ramaswamy. The age of the child should be between 4 years to 8
The Little Theatre, 39/46, Ram’s Square, Village Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai
PICK OF THE MONTH FEB
11 2011, IC & SR Auditorium, IIT, Adyar
6.30 pm to 8.30pm
No 7, Wallace Gardens, 3rd Street, Nungambakkam
10am to 6pm
Hansel and Gretel, 11 Jagadambal Street, T Nagar, Saturdays
Campfire Tales is a comedy show for kids aged between 5 and 15 years. The show, directed by Little Theatre is bound to bring out lots of smiles and giggles!
ART SHOW, APPARAO ART GALLERIES,
Stroll into this art gallery for a glimpse of the stunning works of masters such as Sakti Burman, Krishnamachari Bose and Jamini Roy. You do not have to be an art student to enjoy this exhibition which continues till February 26.
FRENCH ROCK-POP MUSIC CONCERT
26 AFM Auditorium, College Road, Nungambakkam
If you are in the mood for nouveau Parisian pop with a touch of classic rock, this concert at 7 pm is the one. The group that will play is Fortune, a French power pop group of four Synth pop-rock bangers.
Lalit Kala Akademi, 4, Greams Road Crafts Council of India is organising an exhibition of shadow puppets from Thailand, Indonesia and India.
Chaya Katha - Ramayana Shadow puppet show 6.30 pm.
CHECK IT OUT
AGES 4-8 YEARS
GOOD READS for all ages AGES 2-4 YEARS
THE MUSICAL DONKEY
Retold by NIVEDITHA SUBRAMANI AM Pictures by Namrata Rai Tulika Publishers This bilingual story, a part of Tulika’s Panchatantra series, is retold with a fresh perspective and unexpected twis ts, with folk-style illustrations. A happy donkey sings through the night in the cucu mber field disturbing the cucumbers. How do the cucumbers deal with the situa tion? DID YOU KNOW? The Panchata ntra
fables compiled in the third century BC influenced fairy tales around the world like Grimms Fairy Tales, Aesop‘s Fables and The Thousand and One Nights.
30 Parent Circle / February 2011
OF THEE I SING, A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTERS BARACK OBAMA Random House This illustrated book by Barack Obama, President, United States of America, celebrates a country `with every kind of people’. Obama introduces famous personalities and the contributions they have made in the form of letters to his daughters. Sample this: He poses a question, "Have I told you that you are creative?" and then proceeds to talk about the American artist Georgia O'Keeffe, who "helped us see big beauty in what is small." Personalities briefly profiled here include George Washington, Jackie Robinson and Helen Keller, singer Billie Holiday and native American hero, Sitting Bull. Backed by illustrator Loren Long’s sensational artwork, this book can be a useful resource for parents. DID YOU KNOW? This book for children is addressed to President Obama’s daughters but dedicated to his wife, Michelle for her "fierce love and daily good sense", as a mother.
NAMITA GOKHALE Illustrated by Suddhasattwa Basu Puffin Publishers life InThis respected author brings to rming dia’s rich literary treasure with disa timeease and simplicity. She retells the in situless tale of mortals and immortals deand y glor it, dece ery, ations of brav . style y orar emp cont spair in a clear and the why s ishe tabl Namita Gokhale rees Mahabharata is timeless.
Classic reads for teenagers THE BOOK THIEF I AM THE MESSENGER Markus Zusak
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Harper Lee
THE GREAT GATSBY F. Scott Fitzgerald
FAHRENHEIT 451 Ray Bradbury
FOR PARENTS! G ABCs OF PARENTIN GAURI DANGE use Jaico Publishing Ho
e eractions, there ar For parent child int s ee gr de d an lomas no textbooks, no dip ily fam a by Written - only experience. o a writer and an als is o counsellor wh on ovides key insights editor, this book pr ics. a wide range of top
AGES 10-12 YEARS
THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE UGLY TRUTH JEFF KINNEY Amulet Books "The Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series is extremely popular among preteens. Centred on the personal diaries of an American middle school student Greg Heffley, this book with comic illustrations is imaginative and hilarious. In The Ugly Truth, Greg contends with the pressures of teenage parties, increased responsibilities and the awkward changes of getting older. Join Greg on his journey of self-discovery. DID YOU KNOW? Jeff Kinney is an online game developer and designer, and is a number one New York Times bestselling author. In 2009, Kinney was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
PRADA AND PREJUDICE MANDY HUBBARD Penguin Young Readers Peer pressure forces Callie, a clumsy geek girl, to go on a school field trip to England. On the trip, she sets herself a goal - to be counted as one of Trisha Marks’ group of snobbish fashion icons. She thinks that being seen in a brand new pair of Prada pumps will land her a slot in the elusive group. She wears them, but slips and hurts her head. When she wakes up, it’s the year 1815. She meets kind-hearted Emily and her cousin, Alex, the Duke of Harksburry. Here, she embarks on another mission - to help Emily come out of an engagement. Exciting adventures follow her every move. An amazing realisation wakes up Callie in the end. A good read for children in their preteens.
A AGES 13-15 YE ICS
UP FILES OF M FROM THE MIXED LER EI BASIL E FRANKW E L Konigsburg
away from brother Jamie run Claudia and her opolitan living at the Metr home and end up grand eir th The story tells of Museum of Art. tected de un how they survive adventure, and r a whole week. inside the Met fo nity to learn take the opportu In the Met, they the newget captivated by new things and just be ay m ble angel that est exhibit, a mar 1968 A . re elangelo sculptu a genuine Mich wine im l-t book, this is an al Newbery Medal ns. ner for young tee
ANIMAL FARM George Orwell
of the best quite simply one Animal Farm is . It is a l books of Orwell rfu we po t os m d an system of of the Communist scathing criticism punches. no . The story pulls the former USSR with talkckdrop of a farm Orwell uses the ba rship and condemn dictato ing animals to carries is message this book communism. The when Orwell today, as it was just as powerful ntury ago. wrote it half a ce
Ingredients 1 cup onions, chopped 1 cup ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup carrot, grated
Heavy Cardboard of size 15x9
1 cup yellow pumpkin, grated
1 cup thinly sliced yellow and red bell pepper
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 litre orange juice
1/2 tsp chilli powder
Scissors/blade cutter Clear Plastic sheet and white chart paper Photograph/picture of 6"x4" size
Fold the cardboard in half along the longer side. On one half, measure a margin of 2" on all sides. Mark the 5.5" and 3.5" rectangular shape at the centre.
Using a blade cutter/scissors cut the rectangular shape at the centre to reveal an opening for the photo.
2 tbsp butter 1/4 tsp salt Black pepper (to taste) 1 cup tomato paste catsup 1 kg uncooked spaghetti 1 cup cheddar cheese grated 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp oregano (optional)
In a large saucepan, sauté garlic and onions in butter till golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook well. Add pumpkin then carrot and the bell peppers. Add orange juice, allow it to boil. Add tomato sauce catsup.
Spread glue on the frame. Stick the caps in a colourful way.
Add glitter powder to fill empty spaces on the frame.
Season it with salt, chilli powder, oregano, chilli flakes and pepper.
Set it to dry.
Cover and cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender.
In the meantime,
Cook spaghetti in unsalted water according to package directions. Spoon sauce over drained hot spaghetti.
Layer the serving dish with half of the grated cheese, then pour the spaghetti mix. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top.
Cut a 7x5 inches rectangular plastic sheet to serve as protection for the photo and stick it to the back of the frame.
Cut a 8x6 inches rectangular white chart paper and stick the picture in the centre.
Attach the chart paper to the back of the frame with the photo facing the plastic sheet.
YOU HAVE A LOVELY PICTURE FRAME TO DISPLAY YOUR PHOTOS! * Instead of bottle caps, items like chocolate wrappers, shells, used gift wrappers can be used to decorate your photo frame.
32 Parent Circle / February 2011
Bake it for 20 minutes at 220° C.
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce, optional 2 red apples, diced 1 tbsp lemon juice ¼ cup grapes, halved ½ cup walnuts, chopped ½ cup plain yogurt, optional
If using lettuce, shred and place it in a bowl. Keep it aside. Dice apples. Pour lemon juice over apples so that they do not turn brown. Add grapes and walnuts to apples. Add yoghurt and mix. stir together. Serve as it is or mixed with lettuce.
ART MUSIC/DANCE Kalakshetra Foundation is issuing admissions forms for the diploma courses in Bharatanatyam, arts and Carnatic music. The course will commence from June. Forms can be collected from 10.30 a.m to 4.30 a.m. till May 31. The minimum qualification to enroll for the diploma courses is plus two. They also provide short term courses and part-time classes for school students. For info call 2452 1169 or www.kalakshetra.in.
Should I allow my ten-year-old daughter to go for sleepovers? I have many relatives in Chennai and my daughter Kripa has several cousins of her own age. One of her cousins is also her best friend. They have been sleeping in each other's homes since they were little. Now, my daughter is 14 and goes for sleepovers to her other friends' homes now and then. I allow her to sleep in their homes only if I know the parents well. I have this intuitive feeling about family dynamics and I do not encourage her to sleep over in a friend's home if I am not comfortable with the family. I believe that 10 years is too young for a sleepover unless you have known the family for long. If your teen is emotionally balanced, I believe it is fine to have sleepovers, but make sure you know the family well. - Jayshree Venkatesan, doctor I do not think 10 years is the right age to allow a child to go for sleepovers. She may be scared in a strange house and might be uncomfortable. She might have to go, if her friends force her. But, if her parents are comfortable with the family she is spending the night with, I think it is safe to send her for sleepovers. - Kripa Nanda, 14 years
I wish to give my 14-year-old daughter a mobile phone so that I can keep in touch with her. But she insists that I buy her the latest model which is expensive. Should I give in to her demand? I understand your need to give your teenager a mobile phone. It will help you to keep in touch with her and ensure she remains safe. But is it necessary to give her an expensive phone at this stage? I feel that you should not hand out expensive gifts to your children. They will learn to appreciate their belongings only if they have earned it the hard way. Or else, it is likely that her expensive mobile might be 'lost' in a few months. - Radha Muni, homemaker I feel that it is unnecessary to give expensive phones to children. Often, children use such phones to show off to their friends. Children should work hard to get expensive gifts. Maybe they should have done well at school or done something exceptional. Having said this, I must admit that I have been pestering my parents to buy me a PSP. - Siddharth Thomas, 13 years
34 Parent Circle / February 2011
Hamsadhwani Music School reopens after summer vacation. New admissions are in progress for vocal, veena, violin, flute, keyboard, mrudangam and Bharathanatyam. Venue: 54, 3rd Main Road, Kasturba Nagar, Adyar for Bharatanatyam classes in Indira Nagar (near Youth Hostel), contact 2448 8719.
Should children be given a structured activity to do during summer holidays? I do not want my child to have any structured activity during the summer holidays. She has been through enough of well-planned, organised schedules at school. I want her to relax mentally and do the things that she could not do during the ten months of school. She can sleep late or decide to spend time with friends, relax and watch television or just play. There should be no schedule to follow, no homework to do and no exam to prepare for. I do not want her to tax her mind. The two months of summer holidays is for her to be herself. - Lakshmi Venugopal, working mother Students like me long for summer because this is the time that I can get up late or sleep late, doing whatever I choose to do. I do not want to go for any classes during the summer because I can work on my other interests like painting and playing the guitar. If there is something interesting I wish to participate in, I tell my mom and dad. - Lavanya 12 years Do you have a question to ask of other parents? Write to us and get answers from other parents and their children. Email email@example.com with the subject line 'Q & A' or write to Parent Circle, 3rd Floor, Shri Renga Vihar, 8/14, First Cross St, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India.
Graduate of Kalakshetra is conducting classical vocal & Bharatanatyam and home tuitions. Has excellent exposure with 10 years of teaching skills. Phone 9444299258, 9840494507. Guruji T.V.G.’s Vidyaa Peetam reopens 6th June. Vocal, mrudangam, dance, violin, tabla, flute classes in individual and groups. Home tuitions arranged. Contact 24466678, 98414455203. Home Tuition No.1 keyboard, guitar, western, Carnatic, drums, Carnatic – vocal. Monthly eight classes, payment `4000, 22 years music teaching experience. Isaikalaimani Jagadeswaram presents Vairam Cini Orchestra. Each programme `16000. All functions 9884549425.
Maths and English, spoken English, Tamil for adults, house wives by experienced teachers. Small group, individual attention. M.S John M.A.M.Ed., 97908 69935. If you are interested in giving home tuition for Science, and Chemistry with good result. IX, X, XII. Please call 42115709 Physics,Chemistry,Biology, 10th, 11th, 12th standard. Contact Suresh 97901 05692. Required for private coaching of undergraduate student of Madras University in Operations Research, only qualified teaching professionals. Phone: 9884911572, 9003165076. Wanted Female home tuition teacher to teach eight-years- old girl for III class CBSE syllabus including II language Hindi at Adyar. 9840342416, 9994386144. Maths tuitions undertaken by a post-graduate female teacher of 20 years experience for classes XI-XII, CBSE only. After June 2nd, call 24917608.
SPORTS Indira Nagar Sports Club will conduct summer coaching in shuttle and cricket from Jan 15May 30 at 8th Cross Street, Indira Nagar. Contact Y Deenu for shuttle on 97910 99256 and Louis Mariano for cricket on 98410 97597.
Chennai Table Tennis Foundation will hold table tennis camp from April 28 to May 30 at Transformers Club (near Kottivakkam) Morning from 7 am to 8.30 a.m and evening 4.15 to 5.45 p.m Contact 2446 0262, 94440 60262.
One-To-One tuitions. Tamil/ Hindi/Maths/Biology/ Accounts. `200 per hour . Achiever, 38, Besant Avenue, Near Adyar Post Office Contact: 98410 13527.
Mahogany Football Academy’s summer camp for age group 5 to 18 years in April and May at St.Louis, Adyar. Contact Arindam Biswas at 98844 80480.
Engineering, Medicine, IIT JEE, AIEEE, AIIMS, AIPMT, SAT, CPT, GRE, GMAT, CAT, TANCET, “ Entrance Coaching” . Achiever: 38, Besant Avenue near Adyar Post Office. 98410 13527. Adyar.
Visvas, ECR is conducting summer swimming camp for adults and children from 5.30 am to 10.30 am and 4 pm to 8.30 pm at Kottivakkam. Call 2448 5444, 98402 12411.
Shashikant School of Photography will conduct a photography workshop for children. The two day workshop will be held from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm. Log onto www. shashikant.com for more details.
YOGA Patanjali Yoga Foundation will conduct a short term course for children and adults. The first camp is from April 19 to 30 and the second camp from May 2 to 14 between 4 and 6 p.m. At 2/20, 2nd Canal Cross
Road, Gandhi Nagar. Call 98412 62874.
EDUCATIONAL Footsteps Play School offers spoken English course for adults and children in ‘Learning For Fun’ series.It focuses on pronunciation, phonetics, vocabulary, grammar, personality development and handwriting exercises for children. Foot Steps Play School is at 41, Jaganathan Street, Lakshmana Nagar, Kottivakkam. Call 24511314, 98400 24887. ‘Peek-a-boo’ is a new preschool in Venkataratnam Nagar, Adyar. Admission is open for toddlers in the age group 1 to ½ to 2 years, preschoolers (2 to 3 years), junior kids( 3 to 4 years) and big kids (4years and above). It also offers childcare and after school activities. The school is at 63, Venkatraman nagar, Adyar. Call 43504363. KSJP Infotech Resources offers training in Java, J2EE with Oracle, PLSQL, ASP.NET/C, SQL Server, Spring, Hibernate, PHP Java Script, Flex, and MySQL. There are separate courses for beginners, intermediate and advanced level students. It also offers flexible weekend and evening programmes. Also offers guidance for college projects. The centre is CCTV monitored. It is at 107, Dhanalakshmi Avenue, Kasturba Nagar. Ph: 42116447, 24455117.
Tamil Nadu Science and Technology centre will conduct science camp from Jan 10- Feb 12 between 10.00 am to 4.30 p.m. This is open to students of classes 7, 8 and 9. The camp will focus on science experiments, activities and lectures on physics, chemistry, math, biology, environmental education, yoga, psychology and sky watch. Contact 24410025, 94444 73988.
WORKSHOP Jumbo Kids Creative Club will conduct camp on art and craft, painting, storytelling and games from Jan 26 to Feb 26 between 9.30 am to 12.30 p.m at 1st Main Road, Gandhi Nagar.
AIMS, a leading coaching centre for exams like IIT-JEE and AIEEE is now at Adyar. Coaching is given for XI & XII standard students, from both CBSE and State Board Streams. (AIMS also offer foundation courses for students of class VI to X) . The classes are conducted only on weekends. A fresh batch commences in the first week of January. AIMS Education, 25, 29th Cross Street, Indira Nagar. Ph: 96001 06941 Bright Kids Learning Centre will conduct camp on arts and crafts, cookery, development of language, outdoor games enriched with field trips and video sessions for children of 3 to 12 years at G-1, Jasmine, 15/17, Anna Avenue, Bhaktavatsalam Nagar. Phone 24423859, 93814 14284. Dakshin Chitra will hold a workshop on ‘ Rajasthan miniature painting’ on January 16, 17 and 18th frm 10.a.m to 5.30 pm . The workshop will be conducted by Madan Lal from Udaipur, Rajasthan. The fee is Rs.1500 inclusive of materials, refreshment and transportation. For registration contact Madras Craft Foundation, G-3, Madhuram flats, 6, Urur Alcott Road, Besant Nagar. Ph: 98414 25149 98414 23149.
This is the conversation I had with my nephew Nithin in Bangalore: Me: Which teacher do you like the most? Nithin: The English teacher. Me: Why? Nithin: She takes a lot of leave. Most of her classes are free periods.
A man observed a woman in the grocery store with a three-year-old girl in her basket. As they passed the cookie section, the child asked for cookies and her mother said "no". The little girl immediately began to whine, and the mother said quietly, "Now Tara, we just have half of the aisles left to go through; don't be upset. It won't be long". He passed the mother again in
Arun Pandian, Nungambakkam
I was babysitting my four-year-old niece Kavya and five-year-old nephew Ananth, when Kavya ran into the kitchen crying. In between sobs, she said that Ananth had hurt her feelings. Ananth came around the corner and on hearing this, he stated adamantly, “I did not! I never touched her feelings!” Prasanna Vidya, KK Nagar
We were playing 'I spy something with my little eye' while having dinner. When my six-year-old daughter’s turn came, she asked us to guess something with the letter F. The three of us, including my wife and son, scanned the entire room and mentioned visible articles in the room such as fork, frame and flowerpot. All of us were wrong. Finally, we gave up and asked her for the answer. 'Family,' she replied. Viren Dayal, Alathur
36 Parent Circle / February 2011
My husband and I had told the kids to start saving their money. That evening, I heard groans coming from my seven-year-old daughter’s bedroom. Opening the door, I saw my eight-year-old son pulling on a string attached to one of Jasmine's teeth - the one that was slightly loose but was not quite ready to come out. I asked what they were doing. "Jason is helping me pull my tooth," Jasmine said, "and we are going to share the money the Tooth Fairy brings me." Kymberly Meikle
Send your anecdotes, fun stories and jokes about your everyday experience as a parent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'LIGHTER VEIN' or send them to PARENT CIRCLE, 3rd Floor Shri Renga Vihar, 8/14 First Cross St, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India
the candy aisle. Of course, the little girl began to shout for candy. When she was told she could not have any, she began to cry. The mother said, "There, there, Tara, do not cry. Only two more aisles to go, and then we will be checking out". The man again happened to be behind the pair at the checkout, where the little girl immediately began to clamour for gum. She burst into a terrible tantrum upon discovering that there would be no gum purchased today. The mother patiently said, "Tara, we will be through this checkout stand in five minutes, and then you can go home and have a nice nap." The man followed them out to the parking lot and stopped the woman to compliment her. "I could not help noticing how patient you were with little Tara..." The mother broke in, "My little girl's name is Trina... I am Tara." Tarun Shivashankar, Thiruvanmiyur