Saturday, March 31, 2012

LEARNING DISABILITY– The Silent Tormentor - Part -1

 My son Rayyan has started blogging recently. He wanted to write about his animation course and his experience of learning there. Somehow he decided to write how he finally got to choose the profession he always loved, by going through the struggles in his school and college. Though I was a caring and loving Mom, I am getting a closer glimpse to what he has been through by reading it in his own words. 

So I am dedicating this present post to introduce the readers to Learning Disabilities which may help them to stop another child from being tormented like Rayyan  was. I did my best to be there and support him all through his struggles but it has been very tough for him. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Its Your Life

My child, of my life you are a part
But it is always wise to listen to your heart
For in life, in Kayaks we travel
Left to drift on mysteries to unravel
Parents can guide you
On the path they think is true
Eventually it is your life
You deal with its strife
You can't get into my life
Nor can I get into your life
No matter how much we want to
This is impossible to do
Aim with high precision
And make your decision
Listen for good advice
But make your own choice
For everyone can drift away
But you are to stay
Stuck with the choices you make
With your goal at stake

Monday, March 12, 2012

Improve Your Parenting Skills -- Part 2

Click here to read Improve Your Parenting Skills - Part 1 

Have respect for your Mom and Dad because you get only one each of them in your whole life time... no matter who you are you cannot have two of them :) – Farida

That was my facebook and twitter message a few days ago. It came to my mind all of sudden one morning, that I can have brothers, sisters, friends, children, husbands or anyone in plurals but not mother and father.  We have never heard anyone saying my mothers and my fathers. As I sat down pondering over it, I realized how important it is for us to function as a parent. Our children can never have a replacement for us, ever! Even Uncle Sam cannot create another set of parents for children. If they have good ones, they are lucky, if they don’t, God Save Them! 

My parents loved and were kind towards me and my siblings. They tried very hard to do things the right way. They failed many a times because, they were ignorant and had no access to information like parents have today.

I remember certain things from my own childhood which made a lot of difference to my life. After growing up and becoming a responsible person; I now really feel sorry for those people who were target of my child hood tantrums. But I also realize what caused them, and so I have become adept at preventing tantrums and drama shows from the side of the children. It is very rare that I cannot handle a child smartly without great fuss.

I was a very naughty child. Time and again my grandmother and mother would warn me that, “God is going punish you if you don’t behave”. At times, I would get scared of a big God hitting me from no-where and would behave... but most of the times I thought it was a lie and did what I wanted. If they would have given me some real reasonable answer, or a reason not to be naughty it would have worked better. Stories of demons carrying away naughty children, wild animals attacking them were not working with me. But when I think back on their efforts in trying to instill fear in me, I think it was not right because with normal child (NO, I wasn’t normal in any way) it would create unnecessary fear of things that do not exist.
One fine day God really did hit me personally for being naughty.  Don’t call me a liar and stop reading .. you have to read till the end.
This is how it happened. My sister always preferred to have the table fan running on high speed, because she always felt hot, on the contrary, I felt very cold most of the time. We fought every night before one of us would give in and fall asleep. One day when no one was around I decided to cut the wire of the table fan so that she could not run it that night. I took a blade and started cutting the wire, but in a second someone hit me very hard on my head and I fell hard on the wall. I was alone and there was no one around. I was terrified and scared. I had to believe that my elders were right and at times God does intervene with us. So I was a golden child for 2 years, until we had lesson about electricity. It suddenly flashed in my mind that on that particular day I had received an electric shock when the insulation was cut through and the metal blade had touched the wire. All of sudden everybody who had said ‘God will punish you’ looked very stupid. All of a sudden God was the creation of ignorant people in my life; I became an atheist, and remained so for many years. Finally while studying science again I decided there is a super being to have everything so perfectly balanced. Life has changed and I am destined to believe in God, but I am not pious or religious anymore. I do feel that if I had not been told lot of lies in my childhood, I would not have ended up like what I am now. Not that I would be any better but I am sure I would be different. After the discovery of the truth, the golden child who was afraid of God had suddenly felt smarter and superior to those who believed in lies. My mom who was glad that finally God had answered her prayers was perplexed. You can imagine the plight of family when I had gone through the phase of being the intelligent child finding out the elders were uneducated stupid people.

I have learned a lesson there. Let us never scare our children or try to control them with imaginary things. They will think we are fools when they find out the truth about it. Let us be reasonable in what we say to the children. Trust me, it works. Also parents have to agree to the fact that children today are the experts on fashions, music, TV, and movies. At least most of them are. We usually find mothers asking even a tiny tot, about sending a sms message, or inserting a DVD in player. Kids are fast nowadays. Let us appreciate their knowledge and intelligence and talk to them sensibly. Keep the communication going on so that we can eradicate something called generation gap.  Learn from them so that you can build up their confidence. My son taught me to work with paint and photoshop to create my own images for blog. Ask them what music groups are popular and what their songs are about. Often, with changing times the tastes of music, movies, and games will be different. When I first heard my son listening to Chester Bennington screaming his lungs out, I was horrified as to what kind of kid I had begotten. But I kept my promise of being fair and allowing him to live his life. The controlling parent in me said it could harm him, his ear drums would be damaged, he could get into depression because hard rock can cause it and also it may lead to heart problems. I shut that parent up and talked to Rayyan, as to what made him think those songs were good. He is a smart child who will not rebel or defend his likes, but, calmly explain the positive points of his likes. He made me hear one of the songs and told me to listen to it carefully without being prejudiced, and also to try to understand the lyrics. Initially I did it only to give him a chance of being right in his choice of music, but honestly I loved the song ‘Numb’ so much that I have become a fan of Chester Bennington and LP now.
Parents should not make an issue with what their children have to like. Give them their choice. You have to interfere for sure when you think the situation is going to harm the child in anyway.  We need to keep our children safe at any cost. 
We have to work towards becoming better parents because we are not replaceable. Even if the child gets adopted or is put under someone’s care, I feel that a child can relate to only one person as a mother and father for whole life; the two people the child will look up to for becoming a better person. Let us not let our children down. 
Girl and doll - Click image to download.
A poster I made for a Workshop on Parenting Skills

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Are You Being Watched?

I never feel that somebody's watching me .. but Someone Does!
Remember the movie “Enemy of the state”? It left a bad taste in my mouth, where a person may not know he/she is being watched, but their every activity is noted and recorded. 
Never imagined this would happen to me. Me and my assumptions, Sigh!
I am being watched by not high technology military surveillance, NO. I am not that important; neither in positive or negative way. It is my daughter, my own child, who watches me, listens to me and brings up the topic when I least want to hear about it.
I may hear a woman shouting at the kid and say, “How can a mom shout at her kid like that as though she is not her own?” in a kind of disgusting mumbling to myself way and forget all about it; until, my daughter does something to prick my anger. Even before I can get two words out of my mouth, she asks me whether she is my own kid or not, because I have already said moms do not shout at their own kids. Her language is not clear like the sentence I have written there, child is a poo in her language and the sentence comes in short, due to missing tough words. It gives the whole drama a touch of innocence and I have to let her go, what else could I do? I have dug my own pit hole to fall into.
There have been various such pits I have dug and fallen into so often.  Though with special needs, Farheena is a smart girl and knows which situation can be taken advantage of. She has the elephantine memory to recall events which had happened years ago. She remembers what I had to tell about a certain situation, what promises I have made, etc  in an unlimited data storage space, which has fast access whenever she needs it.  whew!
She demands equal time of uninterrupted talk time from me, as much as I talk to Rayyan over the phone without being interruptedon the phone. “You cannot treat me different just because I am with you” is her point of argument.  
Recently she had a haircut because her aunt (my sister) said so. I know she loves long hair, I too love her hair. It was not cut very short but the style in the front looked horrible. I am not even going to post pictures of it until it grows a bit more. I couldn't stop grumbling at her for having her hair cut to please her aunt, any way I was grumpy with my surgery which made it easy being grumpy Mom. Finally after a while, she said it is enough, I don't want to hear about my hair. If you loved your kid she would look cute to you in any hair style. That shut me up. :(
 Blue smiley - Click image to download.

Yesterday, I was talking to my sister in law about the fall my very loving nephew Shuraim had. He was playing out late and she was very upset with him. She was waiting with a stick in her hand, and it was then that he walked in bleeding profusely from a fall. So off she had to rush to the doctor with him. I told her it was Gods way of reminding us that kids are precious and we should not hurt them. It is your own idea of punishing the child which may have led to this..  that wasn’t serious. We were pulling each other’s leg over this for some time. My daughter was busy on facebook, whew! After two hours she comes up with an idea, that if she does something wrong, I should only think of punishing her and not actually punish her. If God feels she is wrong, than he will punish her and if nothing happens like she doesn't has a fall or something, than it is my mistake and she should be forgiven. "When did I say that?" I asked perplexed.   "You said that to aunt just a while ago on phone". I am very sure that I did not say thatit wasn't me. But she is standing firm on that argument. That was confusing and I don’t know yet what I have got myself into in a way of chiding my sister in law in a funny way. Patience is what I need now to see the outcome of what I have said..  Why do I forget I am being watched? at wits' end
2_lovers.gif - (9K)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Used to Paint..

I shared a picture of me working on a painting on my blog. Many asked me what I was painting and I just found the paintings that I was working on back then... Amazing. 4 of them. That was a surprise 

Happy Smilies

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Journey From Lego to Let's Go....

Burning in sun, soaking in rain
and taking long walks.
Unprotected natural life

It was protected indoor life of Lego,
art, and TV
From Lego


                                    Lets Go
It was a happy occasion for my family, and the celebrations did not seem to end when Rayyan came as baby  into our babyless life of eighteen long years. He was the precious, fragile and loved child, who everyone wanted to protect from the harsh world. Thinking back I realize now that everybody went overboard with his care other than me. Two aunts, uncle, grandma and grandpa were a big army for a mom to fight with, so I gave up and did as they wished most of the time. He was never left alone or unattended even for a short time. The fuss they made over him was nauseating but the love my family had for him looked so nice and beautiful.
He grew up being much protected, without much exposure to outdoor games, independence and outings. His world consisted of going out with one of my family members, playing games with Lego toys, watching cartoons or drawing. He was very much interested in cycling but was not allowed to go far all alone. He had to go circles around our home when someone kept an eye on him from terrace.
I believe in keeping children close to nature and giving them independence. I was very unhappy with what was happening with Rayyan, but it was tough to argue with my family. All I could do was take him for long walks in the evenings or occasionally in the morning. Even when Farheena was born 4 years later, I did not stop the walks. We would put her in a stroller and take her along with us. 
At the age of 11, Rayyan was still treated like a baby and not allowed any independence. But as for life, it underwent lots of changes, with business loss, loss of my sister, misunderstanding in family, issues regarding moral upbringing of Rayyan and many more negative happenings taking place. I stood at cross roads then; I could either live with my family or shift for independent living in Byndoor. I could not manage to live independently in Bangalore for financial reason; in addition I would again be monitored by my family on the upbringing of my children. As I saw Rayyan watching his 3rd cartoon in succession, I decided it was time I took the reins in my hand. I knew it was going to be a big heart break for everyone, but then sometimes life takes control of us for good. So, with a heavy heart, I decided to shift to Byndoor from Bangalore. Before leaving Bangalore, I assured Rayyan and Farheena that, if anything went wrong or they could not adjust to the life in Byndoor, then I will bring them back the day they ask me to.
First day in school, Rayyan came back home and could not stop talking about how active and strong the kids in his school were. Without much physical activities, he looked so small compared to his classmates. I explained to Rayyan that these children have grown up in natures lap. Their town was surrounded by water and trees. Belonging to their roots, they are much healthier than the city children. Also the food they eat was fresh and natural.
I never thought of buying a TV in my new setting. I knew we would miss it for a few days but soon would get adjusted to the life without TV. I got computer for my children (and off course me) instead. This has been the wisest decision I have made so far in my life.
In the new setup it was life full of outdoor activities, fun and adventure for my children. The Someshwara Beach which is just 3 kms from my home, become a weekly picnic spot for a gang of children I had collected to have fun. Farheena and Rayyan looked forward to the beach visits every Friday.
As moms did not do shopping and dads were working in gulf, children in Byndoor were smart shoppers. Rayyan slowly befriended some of them and started shopping for me. I nearly had panic attacks when he visited the weekly market for buying vegetables. He could come back with a live fish, chicks or kitten to keep as a pet.
One day Rayyan decided he would start running in the morning. He found his sports shoes, got his tracksuit ready and had the alarm set for 6 a.m. He was up before 6 and was ready to go when I was opening my eyes. “Bye Maa, see in one hour”, he said and rushed out in all enthusiasm. 2 minutes later I heard dogs barking, a child shrieking and 3 minutes later Rayyan came back running all muddy. I was cruel Mom who burst out laughing before checking whether he was all right. Sorry! The dogs who were not used to people running in the morning had assumed he was a thief and attacked him. When he tried to turn back he had a fall and then he had rushed back as soon as possible. Thank God the dogs did not reach him.

Enjoying the monsoons
Rayyans Activities in Byndoor

Enjoying natural rivers and streams

Exploring wild paths
So the idea was running was given up but Rayyan had found new freedom and the morning weather was inviting him to play in its lap. He found a solution and started cycling around with his friend who sold milk in the neighborhood.  He would start early in the morning and come back before 7 a.m. My mom would have had a heart attack if she knew her precious grandson was roaming about on the roads of Byndoor so early in morning, but it was good for Rayyan.

He started getting stronger and healthier with each passing day.
Slowly he made friends with kids who could join him on long hikes on the nearby mountains.
Initially the kids were scared and lazy, but as the number of kids increased, not many could resist the fun and adventure. They were not afraid to explore unknown places, mountains or deserted place anymore.

He also started having fun in a small pool nearby to our home, which has been a source swimming lessons to the kids of this neighborhood from time unknown. My dad had learned swimming there too. He started loving his time in water so much that he was nicknamed water snake.
Rayyan's friends under my bed..
Another hobby was raising chicken though not for sale or food but as friends. He did not even call them pets LOL.
It has been the same with Farheena. Generally she is very healthy child who doesn’t go through regular colds, fevers or other such illness. Even if she has a small bout of it, she overcomes it without much medication like Rayyan.
The Someshwara Beach had become a part of our life and it will always remain so, no matter where we go. The children who gave us company and shared the wonderful time have grown up and gone their own way, including Rayyan who is doing his animation in Bangalore. All of them often recall the happy times they have spent on the beach.  The pictures should tell you in a better way all about the fun we had on the beach.

I was in a dilemma when Rayyan would go around cycling in unknown places all alone. Not many had his stamina and enthusiasm for long rides. Hence, at times he decided to go few places all alone. I was afraid of his safety but had no heart to deprive him of what he loved the most. 
Soaked and dirty after
a game of football
Rayyan planning his activities
for holiday
So from the lap of Lego and TV Rayyan flew freely in the lap of nature around our village. It was no more Maa lets play lego but Maa lets go. Soaking himself in the rain, playing badminton, kicking the football, skateboarding, rollerblading, swimming and cycling gave Rayyan the immunity so strong, that he hasn’t needed a doctor for years now; other than for two cuts which required stitches and his myopia.  It is really hard to believe that he is the same child who used to be sick for at least 110 days a year. Who would believe that a child who fell sick even with utter care taken by his grandparents, who had his nappies and all clothes ironed to kill germs, gave him only bottled water, cooked his food keeping hygiene in mind and taking every known and unknown precautions to keep him healthy, would achieve that naturally in the lap of nature.

Tarzan or what? Rayyan had great fascination for trees like the monkeys... Climbing and sitting on trees was one of his favorite pastimes.

This is my own Kissanpur story written for the Get Real contest on Indiblogger... a 100% real authentic and natural experiences of upbringing a child in the lap of nature. 

I hope Rayyan will post more pictures about his adventures and life on his newly created blog 
The Animator


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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