How to raise a shy kid?

“Send him to my home and I will change him like my daughter”

“Your son is absolutely not you!!!!”

“Hey, if he continues to be this, he will get bullied”

“He is not brave enough to come up and talk”

And many more were the remarks that are registered in my mind about my son at many social gatherings.

All throughout my schooling, college I had never feared the stage nor the mike. It just came naturally to me and  I presumed that my son would invariably be like me.

But on the contrary, I have a shy son. As a toddler, he was paranoid of a group meeting, he exhibited extreme shyness in a group and was always unwilling to talk to strangers and the shyness grew along with his age. I, like any other parent,  compelled him to go public, talk loud, make more friends etc etc. Every time I tried enforcing my thoughts onto him, I found him cranky, upset and sluggish.

It  took some time for me to understand the dynamics of a shy kid.

Socially, we are conditioned to believe that loud and clear human beings are leaders. Our minds are in complete acceptance to the fact that extroverts are better performers and they enjoy social life while introverts are not aware of the same joy in life. Shy people are treated as less eligible beings in a group while extroverts enjoy the leader status.

As a mother of a shy kid, I am making my attempt to help him overcome this trait.

With this blog post, I am bringing up some of facts on how to raise a shy kid purely based out of my experiences as a mother:

  • It is okay to be shy: Firstly, you need to embrace the fact that it is okay if your kid is shy. Many a time, I face situations where family members, close friends remark about my son’s shy behavior and I learnt to give a deaf ear to the same. Not all kids can be the show stoppers at a birthday party, some find solace in playing with their own group of 2-3 close friends and as a parent you need to be okay with it.  Do not compel your kid to participate in the group he/she is not comfortable with. We need to be aware of the amount of anxiety the poor kids go through to make themselves comfortable in the group.
  • Shyness is biological: As I started reading more about the root causes of this behavior, I came across many facts which substantiated that shyness is biological. Yes, it is biological and that means it’s all about the brain and it’s wires. It’s an innate nature of your kid and you need to give it time and situations to overcome the same. I notice that the kids who are shy are generally great self critics and judge themselves before they express themselves in public. So, we need to give enough room for the kids to understand the fact that it is normal to express themselves in public and they need not be self critical about it.
  • Slow introduction: Whenever there was a social gathering, be it a birthday party with classmates or a family lunch with close relatives, my son took ample time to get adjusted to the environment and be himself. It is always a good thought to prep him/her  a day or two earlier and talk about the event. Initially, during his first to fifth year, my son immensely shied away from a group of people and panicked to be part of the group.  Though he wanted to be a part of the group, he restrained himself and preferred to be with mommy than in the group. But, slowly I notice that he is able to outgrow the behavior and trying to make himself comfortable in public. We need to make attempts to introduce new friends / new environments at a slow pace and do not rush them into anxious situations.
  • Help him get away with it: In most of my school meetings, I consistently had a conversation with his class teacher only about his social skills. Academically, I was happy with his performance but I was always despondent about his social behavior. I was curious to know if he answered in public, if he was able to talk in-front of a group. Steadily, I acknowledged the fact that for certain kids it is a slow progression to get away with shyness. I plan to get him enrolled in skills like  theater workshop, dance class, story telling to help him express himself without fear of judgement. We need to create environments that help them get away with shyness and slowly out grow it.
  • Stand up for themselves: There were many instances, when my son faced uncomfortable situations with his friends but he did not express himself. I assume it is due to fear of being confrontational . He feared to express his disagreement though the environment is not to his liking. I preach on a regular basis that he needs to stand up for himself, express his discomfort. This is a slow progression for shy kids as they tend to be fearing judgement. Give a good listening ear to your kids and insist the need of being assertive. It might take two to three situations for them to realize the need to express themselves. Do not involve and advocate for them, teach them to self express their needs.

Over the past few years, I could see a considerable change in the behavior of my son and expect him to outgrow his shyness in an year or two. For whatever reasons, being shy is an innate nature of the kid and either they will outgrow it or learn to live with it. Let’s give them a non-comparative, neutral, healthy environment to grow up and let’s raise responsible citizens.

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I am a selfish mom!!! Ooo yeah I am…..

I don’t help my son in

Washing his dirty shoes

Packing his school bags

Cleaning his plates and spoons

Arranging his Toys

I don’t mind being selfish!!! Yes, you read it right, I am a selfish mom and I don’t mind being one.

Quite often, I have seen many mommies who give up living for themselves after kids. They forgo their me time and their solo motto in life turns to be running errands for their family and losing themselves in the run.

I feel it is absolutely okay for a mom to go out on a lunch date with her friends over the weekend or to spend an extra hour at the gym or get relaxed with a pedicure at the parlor.

The world is not going to end if you finish the last few pages of the book you have been reading for a while, if you take long showers you are longing for, if you want to make the most awaited phone call to your BFF, while your kid gloriously surpass his father  sitting in the couch and come bang on your face to open the snacks box for him.

Yes, the world is not going to end!!!!

As mothers we are born compassionate, naturally caring, genetically multi tasking. But, as time passes, we moms tend to forget that we were once chirpy young girls aspiring high, socializing and living our dreams. We tend to forget ourselves and run the rat race of DO-EVERYTHING-ASK-NOTHING mode.

I strongly advocate the thought that Mommies need to live for themselves. We need to escape the insanity of the daily lives and define our dreams, make our hobbies and place ourselves ahead of others.

At my home, I ensure my son

Grates the cheese for the omelettes

Arranges his books after being back from school

Cleans the place if it is messed up

Helps in laundry

And couple of more duties.

Yes, I do this purposefully. I don’t want my son to be deprived of being a capable man. I want to enable him to be a good cook, good home maker and a good human being. Many of our Indian men are not enabled to run the errands at home, to help their wives in kitchen or to buy good groceries, ours being no exception. So, I fancy my son to be a man who is able to handle both his professional and person life perfectly.

Further more, I also do not mind if my MIL controls my son’s screen time, if my MIL serves him lunches and dinners, my husband helps him to get ready to school, my husband attends the school meetings, owns paying bills, as that leaves a little room for me to be myself and I find it utterly perfect to use this time to concentrate better on my work  or finish a blog post I have been writing for long or go out to shop the outfit I have been eyeing for long or just take the lazy afternoon sleep.

So,next time you need to cut down your shower time because your toddler is waiting at the door, the next time you want to give up your favorite movie to watch an animation movie, next time you want to give up your pedicure time for a park visit of your kid, think again. It is absolutely normal to place yourself ahead of your kids and have your own me time and the world is not going to end only because of this act of yours.

After all, at the end of the day, a happy mom is a happy family and I am sure a good spa would definitely make you happy. Go get done one now!!

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My Kindergartener son

Your little toes, your chubby cheeks, your tummy kicks,trust me, I am fond of these as ever and pretty sure I would not get enough of the memories.

As I fondly reminisce the baby you were once, today I am proud to be the mommy of a grownup Kindergartener.

Time just flies by and I can’t agree more. This year had been brilliant for us. The first day of your school is still a wink away for me, your excitement for new shoes, your like for the new snacks box, how could I forget it?

Though we started on a giddy feeling of reading difficulties, we coped it up well as time progressed.

By the time, you finished your kindergarten:

  • You empathize with mommy the way I would expect you to be.
  • You have gratitude for little things.
  • You are a disciplined student.
  • You are responsible in finishing your assignments on time.
  • You appreciate mommy’s efforts for your tasty lunch box.
  • You respect the time fixed for cartoons and video games.

In terms of academics too, this year had been incredible.

  • You learnt to say one to hundred without a number skipped and you realize there are numbers beyond hundred too.
  • You now know to add and subtract single digit numbers.
  • You write your name far better than what you were doing it last year and I don’t have to look for the letters forming your name all over the page now.
  • You can write small sentences with proper grammar.
  • You enjoy writing small picture comprehension passages all by yourself.
  • You are good in skip counts, though you sometimes challenge that skip count after 15 is 25.
  • You know vowels and their usage.

I must take this moment to profusely thank your Class teacher Mrs.Divyatha for having been one-of-her own kind. She was the one who inculcated the thoughts that values are much more important than grades in the class. She had been an awesome teacher I must say!!

So, as we progress to the next class ( Grade 1), you now know more than I do about how to book a train ticket through reservation form, what a ticket conductor does in a train, the precautions we need to take when there is a fire or what  is a good touch and a bad touch and I am certainly proud of it my little boy.

I love the way you exhibit empathy and compassion at every possible juncture and I am happy your school has inculcated many life lessons to follow. Overall, kindergarten has made you a more resilient, empathetic, competitive personality.

As you sleep and dip into your dreams, this mommy sits beside you savouring your tummy kicks, your first steps, your innocent words, your intelligent explanations. Very soon, you will be grown into a handsome young boy aspiring bigger, chasing your dreams. Here is wishing you a great life ahead filled with compassion, love, empathy all around you!!! Being an empathetic, socially responsible human being is equally important as being educated and well-earned.

God bless you with a life of your choice.

My attempt to capture the memories of your upper Kindergarten are here in this video.

 

 

Magical Story….

“Great stories happen to those who can tell them” – Ira Glass

And I believe in it. It is always an exhilarating experience to share stories, many known and some own with Dheer and his friends.

So, as I was shortlisted for the activity which involves story telling with  #ColgateMagicalStories Activity at BlogAdda, I was ecstatic. Colgate had been a trusted brand in my family since childhood. It was patronised by my grand mother and then my mother and now followed by me. And to be involved in an activity with such a brand was an experience in itself.

So, here it goes, our experience of Colgate magical stories activity:

As a part of the activity, I received a nice bright package with a  huge print of Colgate on it. With no clue of what this activity is going to be, we ( me and my son), were curious to explore. The package had 3 large tubes of Colgate paste. Each carton of the paste had enjoyable illustrations on their reverse sides.

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As we cut open all the cartons, there are some characters and interesting facts written about them.

Apparently, as we started our first job of cutting and pasting the characters, we spoke about space and satellites which made me realise that Dheer was apprised with some facts about the same. Some facts that he knew about space:

  • Space is very far from earth.
  • You go to space in rocket.
  • You cannot go to space in jeans, there is a special dress and helmet made for people who want to go to space. 
  • When you go to space, you do not have to go to school. 
  • Ananya, his friend also told him that in order to become an astronaut, he should learn how to operate a remote car so that it is easy for him to operate a space ship. 

After listening to the facts known to him, I tried explaining about gravitational force, for which he countered me with a question: “So, when you want me to read a book, I will not be sitting or playing around, I will be flying around. How will you get hold of me? “

I  replied, I will fly along with him and we can read a book flying around which sounded pretty exciting to him.

As we proceeded with the cut and paste activity, we prepared all the characters given. There were two astronauts, one alien, space ship, rover, couple of planets like Mars, Saturn, Juipter, sun and some additional characters.

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Dheer’s version of the story:

There are two astronauts Dheer and Tworoos. ( This name is inspired from Mickey Mouse O..tworooos!!!) . 

They take the rocket and go to the space. In the space, they find that the sun is troubling all the planets with his brightness. 

One day when Dheer and Tworoos were playing in the space 😮 , they find an alien. They realise that Aliens are dangerous. 

Dheer and Tworoos wear the helmets, go to the sun and request him to threaten the alien with his brightness. Sun accepts their request and goes near the alien. 

The alien runs away due to the sun’s brightness. Now, the Sun realises that he has been troubling all the planets and wants to change himself. 

He goes to Dheer and  borrows his helmet and wears it so that his brightness does not trouble other planets.

Tworoos and Dheer give their helmets to sun and come back to earth. After coming back to earth, they go to their school next day. 

As the sun’s brightness is reduced, it becomes night on earth and that’s how nights started on earth. ( I am sure he adopted this concept from various other stories we read as how leopards got their dots or how crow became dark or soo…). 

And finally he finishes his story saying every one is happy in the space!!! 

After few minutes, he realized that he did not tell me the moral of the story and says

Moral of the story is ” Do not go near bright objects. If you go, you will have to give your helmet to them 😮 “

I am now confused if helmet was the hero of the story or the astronauts :p , but regardless of all these, his extempore was beyond my expectation and it made me realize if given an opportunity, kids can go to a great extent imagining.

Well, we had a great time assembling the characters, building the story and also have stocked up Colgate toothpaste for next few months 🙂

P.S: “I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

3. Out-V-Go: Vandalur Zoo

I have been yearning to continue the Out-V-Go series that I started a while ago.Though I visited a couple of story telling sessions, magic shows, circus could not blog about them. Anyways, leaving behind the passing clouds, I am here with a new post about ” Vandalur Zoo”.

Zoo website: Vandalur Zoo

Address:

ARIGNAR ANNA ZOOLOGICAL PARK
Vandalur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu – 600048
Ph.Off.044-22751089, Fax.044-22750741

How to reach?

Vandalur is very well-connected with trains and buses from most parts of the city. The closest railway station and bus stop are named after the Zoo.

Timings to visit: 9:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M

Working days: All days except Tuesday

Parking : Ample car parking is available. If the parking near the zoo is occupied, there is a new parking lot just closer by.

Parking charges: Rs.20/- for cars, Rs.10/- for bikes

Type of tickets / Charges:

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Let me explain:

a) Ticket – Entry ticket is considered as a full day pass. In case you wish to take a break in between, you are welcome to do that with a re-entry to the zoo at  any point of time during the day.

b) Zoo round vehicle – Depending on the number of members, there are two types of vehicles to ferry us around. Members upto 6 to 8 are accommodated in the battery cars and any team with more than 6 are allotted the TATA Ace.

c) Lion / Deer safari – In a properly shielded bus for about 30 minutes.

d) Camera charges – Cameras in the mobiles are also chargeable. ( Invariably, that means mobile phones are charged, wonder who carries phones without cameras these days??)

e) Cycle Fees-
 
Refundable amount per cycle – Rs.200
Deluxe – Rs.25
Adult bicycle – Rs.15
Child bicycle – Rs.12
Pram – Rs.15
Best time to visit the  Vandalur zoo: November to February ( Only because the weather is pleasant and so you can spend good time inside the zoo)
Our experience:
It was a pleasant Saturday morning and  it was the perfect day to plan our outing the zoo.

We live about 25 kms away from the zoo. We started at around 10:00 A.M from our home and reached by 11:30 A.M with a pit-stop for breakfast.  Apparently, the zoo is crowded in the weekends and this weekend was no different. After parking our car, we stood in a queue for about 10 minutes to purchase the tickets ( Entry, camera, vehicle, safari ) and moved ahead. Card payment is not accepted, please carry cash for the same.

At the entrance, bags are checked. Plastic bags, snacks, food items are not allowed inside the zoo. As we pass through the entrance, there is a beautiful waterfall that welcomes us.

There are direction boards, maps all around to guide us. Once we pass through the entrance, depending on how we want to go around the zoo ( Walk/ battery car / cycles), there are clear direction boards. We opted for the battery car and moved in that direction.

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Since, we opted for battery car, we moved ahead to the car queue. Before the battery car, we decided to take the Lion and Deer Safari so that we can preserve the energy to see the rest of the zoo. We managed to grab a comfortable window seat in the Safari bus, which might be about 20-seater and proceeded. All the Lions were lousily sleeping, it might be a very habitual thing for them every day that the buses come with group of people to see them. There were about 6 lions properly caged.

From there, the same vehicle proceeded to Deer safari. There were quite a good number of reindeers and spotted deers which were enjoying their lunch at the time we visited them. It took about 30 minutes for both the safaris. Once we were back from the safari, we had to wait for about 5-10 minutes for our the battery car.

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This vehicle ferries us around the zoo in an hour by pit-stopping at almost each animal. Since the weather was pleasant, we enjoyed the ride and saw all the animals in close proximity. I need to mention our driver, Senthil was very courteous and detailed us about each of them.

We saw monkeys, chimpanzee, birds, panthers, cheetah, tigers, snakes, giraffe, zebra, elephant ( the list I remember). Overall, it was a nice experience to spend a quality day.

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Points to note:

  1. Cards are not accepted. Please carry enough cash.
  2. Outside food is not allowed. So, I recommend you have a good breakfast and proceed to the zoo. Inside the  Zoo, there is Hotel Tamilnadu located near the entrance, where there are options for lunch though the standards do not seem great.
  3. There is Hotel Sangeetha in close proximity to the zoo (outside zoo).
  4. All the tickets (safari, battery car, camera) need to be purchased only at the entrance. I have seen many people ignorant of this information and walking back to the entrance after waiting for the safari.
  5. There are refreshments points inside the zoo with options of milk, coffee, tea etc.
  6. Things to carry: Sun glasses, water bottles.
  7. Foot wear: Wear comfortable footwear as you might have to walk long distances.
  8. We preferred the battery car as we were skeptical about our kid getting cranky after long walks inside the zoo.
  9. If you are going as a group, it might be good to opt for bicycles or walk to have the maximum fun.
  10. Try visiting the zoo in the cooler seasons to avoid the harsh sun.
  11. One tip to save time: The zoo officials allot a number on first come first serve basis for the battery car. So, it would be a good option to get yourselves a number allotted and proceed for the Safari. By the time the Safari is finished, you might be at the right time for your battery car.
  12. Carry enough water.
  13. Please do not litter. Currently, the zoo is maintained litter free and looks very tidy.
  14. Do not tease the animals.
  15. If you are visiting in summer, do make sure you see the elephant bath time, which is around 3:00 P.M to 4:00 P.M regularly.

Vandalur Zoo is one of the best places to visit if you have kids, if you are an animal lover, if you would like to explore your photography skills or if you would just like to chill on a regular day. Hope this post helps you to plan your trip.

Please check my posts about other Out-V-Go series here

A refuge here…

So, neither was I born nor raised in this city Chennai, but have been living here for past 8 years, adapted to it and adopted by it now.

The initial days, when I did not know the language, when no one speaks Hindi were tough, but, now I am proud to gloriously admit that I can read basic Tamil, speak fluent Tamil. Well, this blog post is neither about how I learnt Tamil nor I am writing a series of learn Tamil in 30 days.

During this course of my courtship with the city , quite often incidents happened which were very funny and left the people around me in huge bursts of laughter. Sharing few:

Incident 1 – At my office:

Call from front office which is in 2nd floor: “Madam, ungala paaka Senthil vandaru” ( Madam, Senthil came to see you)

Me sitting in 1st floor: ” Ok, avare erandhu varatame” ( Here I was supposed to use Erangi varatame, which means, let him walk to first floor, instead I used erandhu varatame, which means, let him die and come)

#%$@!~$%%^&&@@@ – Front office surprised, people around me in huge laughs

Incident 2 – From phone service centre ( when I gave my phone for a service):

Custom service executive: “Madam, unga passport number venum to check your phone” ( Trust me he sounded passport, he actually needed password number of the phone)

Me: “My passport number???”

He: “Yes, Madam”

Me:  Quickly fetch the passport number, still puzzled why he is asking for passport number and call him.

Me: ABCDE12334

He: “Madam, your phone’s passport number” ( U guys have to trust me again, he still sounded passport in place of password)

Me: “What do you need? And why do you need my passport number?”

He: “I need the phone’s passport number!!” (3rd time, I still did not get a hold about this)

He: “It is a 4 digit number to unlock your phone”

Me surprised, shocked and finally feel adopted by the city Chennai

This place Chennai is difficult to fall in love but when you fall, you don’t fall, but raise in love with the city. 

Some traits which surprise me that define Chennai:

  • Having a minimum of 25gms of vibudhi on face is mandatory before stepping out of the house.
  • Stopping by every pillayar kovil in each street, remove your slippers right on the road, and start praying.
  • Wear 2-3 garlands of flowers and ensure that the office floor stinks with heavy fragrance of malligapoo.
  • The best dish in a wedding lunch is the rasam and everything else is okay!!
  • Rahu kalam is the first thing kept in mind even to go out for mundane things like shopping groceries.

But, I also love:

  • The beautifully adorned rangolis as early as 5:00 A.M
  • The multi talented people of Chennai
  • The respect given for various forms of art
  • The city culture, still preserved carefully
  • The British constructions flaunting their beauty

and many more !!

 

A Fairy land

Far away in my wishful thinking, a fairy land exists where

He works, she works too

He mops, she sweeps

He cooks, she packs

He does the dishes, she dries the clothes

He respects her, she loves him

He spends, she saves

He shouts, she calms

She is upset, he quirks

And the unbelievable equation goes on….

Why do you think I said a fairy land?? The human mind is very sporadic. It behaves at the drop of a hat for us to realize our mistakes only later. What a pity?

I am big-time self help book reader and I love collecting quotes, pointers which are very close to our everyday life and experiences. Some of the important pointers to myself are:

  • Be happy you are alive
  • Yesterday is over. Don’t whine about it
  • Happiness is within you. Think aloud, say “I am happy”
  • You are your best friend
  • Eat good, keep fit
  • Count your blessings
  • Keep your expectations low, that makes it easier to handle tough situations
  • When upset, take a break. Look through the window and you will find the nature answering you
  • You live a better life than many others who are deprived of basic necessities.
  • Keep yourself engaged in any activity that gives you serenity

Good to follow? What say?

I am participating in Blogging challenge hosted by Blog-A-rhythm. Today is Day 6.

Today’s prompt: Wishful thinking

 

 

Why did I grow?

Me:  “Son!! There is a good book and bad book!! When you do good deeds, God gives you a good point and vice-versa”

One evening, as he tries to finish his dinner, Dheer says “Mom!! I am feeling sleepy, I don’t want to eat any more.”

Me: “Dheer!! You know what happens, God is going to give a bad point if you waste food. Think about it”

Dheer: “But Mom, God is the one who is making me sleepy, how can he give bad point at the same time? “

Innocence?? or Intelligence ?? Either-ways, mommy is happy listening to Dheer.

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I am participating in BarAthon. Today is Day 5

Today’s prompt: Tiny Shoes

Caught Red-handed

They planned it tonight,

Reached home much earlier than regular,

Ensuring no one noticed, he switched off the lights…

He came closer and admired her beauty

He wanted to grab her right immediately

When mommy opened the door and caught him red-handed

Stealing her chocolate!!!

I am participating in Barathon Challenge. Today is Day 4

Today’s prompt: Caught red-handed

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