Trust Him to Teach

Who would have ever thought making a 4 yr old sit for 15 mins at one place to write her homework would be one ginormous task? At least I didn’t!

The whole concept of home work was alien to KT until she joined LKG. The very first day of school, her teacher, Ms. S, sent home three notebooks – for English, Tamil and Numbers respectively, to practice hand writing.

I got the pencil, eraser and notebooks ready. Gave her a pep talk on how important it is to do the home work, how it will not only make her teacher happy, but how much fun it is to learn to write! She seemingly paid good attention and appeared eager to start the home work. All she had to do was write one page of one English alphabet, one Tamil alphabet and one number! How easy that must have been!

It wasn’t =(

She took the pencil and just when I thought she was about to write, she started off with what happened at school that day. It went on for 5 mins. I listened. She then wrote one alphabet once. Before she could finish it, she heard our house gate screech and quickly escaped from my presence long before I could even realize to welcome my brother who got back from college. After 10 mins of narrating to him all that she had previously narrated to me, I dragged her back to the bench after much persuasion.  Although my mercury slowly began to raise, I was fully under control!

Almost an hour went by, all she had written was one alphabet five times. Her distractions and playfulness soon transformed me from a mom into a hysteric monster👿! I lost my calm. I lost my peace. I started yelling at the top of my voice (trust me, you wouldn’t want to see that avatar of me!) and the poor kid freaked out 😨!

(Now please don’t give me that stare😠! I endure sleepless nights! The demands of a newborn are not too easy to meet. Krissy constantly needs my attention. And its only during those couple of hours she naps, I can concentrate on KT! I hope you understand! Exposure to a sleep deprived/hungry woman can be dangerous!)

The next few days, just the mention of ‘home work’ scared the wits out of KT!

I was completely broken down by this episode – first for yelling at my girl and the bad example I set and secondly at the daunting task of teaching her! Just at that moment of despair, I heard a voice! That still small soothing voice! It whispered,

“All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.” Isaiah 54:13 NIV

I have read this verse a numerous times, heard sermons on it and thought it meant my kids will grow up learning about God and as a result they will enjoy peace. But only this time when I paid a much closer attention, I discovered something astounding!

My kids are going to be taught ‘BY’ the Lord!

Really?

Seriously?

How amazing is that?

The Creator of the universe teaching my child the secrets of science! The One who calls the very stars by name unravelling the mysteries of physics! The only Person who could convert water into age old wine explain chemistry! Those very hands that multiplied five loaves and two fishes to thousands teach math! And those very fingers that wrote the DNA of my being teaching my girls to write!

“This is three much!” You may exclaim!

Is it possible? How?

Yes, it is! Through me! Through you!

God loves our children so dearly. He longs for their company not just when they whisper their cute little prayers. He desires to be involved in every aspect of their lives – be it their health, hobbies, education, etc. He is ever so eager to teach them, guide them and see them scale great heights in life much much more than we do! Children are a gift from Him after all (Psalm 127:3 NLT)!

Sadly, many of us restrict God only to the spiritual aspect of life and oh yes, for protecting our  kids in our absence and blessing them with good health. We hold the reins of everything else and try to get things done with our own strength and wee bit of wisdom. The result – freaked out, stressed out kids!

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we allow God to work through us. All of ours is replaced with all of His – His love, His joy, His wisdom, His strength, His knowledge and His understanding. The result – His peace!

It is God’s peace that will enable our children to enjoy and grasp what they learn. They will not only learn their academic lessons, but also life’s invaluable lessons that no school, but only God can teach!

6tag_310714-175530KT continued to be her playful-self. But I kept my cool. I kept reminding myself that it was not by might, nor by power, but only by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) that I can win her over. Gradually things changed. These days the minute she arrives from school she does her home work!

A couple of weeks back, the teacher sent home the portions and time table for the 1st Mid Term Exams. (1st Mid Term Exams for LKG??? Slightly shocking!! It’s 2014, Mich. Not 1985 😱) Trust me, I had never felt so anxious even for my BE exams!

I coached her to the best of my ability and kept waiting for the results. Yesterday, KT brought home her answer sheets! (Allow me to show off a little, please! It may not be an IAS or IPS exam! Just LKG 1st Mid Term! But for me, it is the very first exam my little girl has written – so precious and unforgettable!)

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So proud of you KT doll! Mamma’s over the moon 😍

And thank you, Jesus, for a great start to an incredible journey!

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STOP the Discrimination & CELEBRATE the Girl Child

It all began when I was pregnant with KT. I must have been 20 weeks pregnant. That’s the stage when almost everyone across the world gets to know the gender of their baby – they begin planning, shopping and deciding on the baby’s name with a lot of excitement. However, that’s not the case in India. For a while it kind of annoyed and angered me, why modern India has not changed the law regarding the gender disclosure. But eventually, as I witnessed some incidents and people, I was glad that that law still remains! Modern India isn’t modern after all!

Incident #1

I travelled to my hometown, Trichy, for my third trimester. My antenatal checkups were at the same hospital where I was born. Once while I was seated in queue for my check up, I happened to notice the conversation between two pregnant mothers also in queue.

Preggo mommy A, expecting her second baby was seated with her 3 year old daughter.

Preggo mommy B asks 3 year old girl, “Do you want a baby sister or brother!”

Little girl smiles and replies, “A sister!”

Shocked preggo mommy A, in a slightly angered tone, corrects the little girl saying, “Don’t say like that. Say you want only a brother. Only he will take care of you when you grow up!”

Puzzled little girl replies, “But amma, won’t daddy take care of me?”

I almost burst out in laughter at the little girl’s reply. However, I kept wondering what made that mother hate even the very thought of having a girl child the second time!

Incident #2

It was May 7th, 2010, early morning. I had just undergone my C-section. Although under anesthesia, I could feel the doctors dig out my baby. Unable to control my curiosity even a second longer, I asked them if the baby was a girl or a boy. Their reply shocked me right on that operation table.

They said, “Sorry ma, we will first inform your husband and parents outside. You have to wait!”

WHAT??? You kidding me??? A mother who carried the child for nearly nine months in her womb doesn’t even have the joy of knowing the gender of her baby after its birth???

However minutes later, I overheard them filling their charts saying “F, 2:25 am!” I immediately knew it was a girl and I almost wanted to jump out of that table with joy!

Only later I came to know that the doctors refused to tell me the baby’s gender because it was a girl child. I still do not know what the idea behind it is when the baby is already born!

***

Until that point of time I had only studied and read about girl child discrimination and female infanticide at school and media. But some of the incidents that followed alarmed me all the more!

Incident #3

One of my mom-in-law’s house helps walked home one day bearing the news that her daughter has given birth to a girl baby the third time. Even before we could congratulate her, tears began to roll down her eyes and she said something that tore my heart, “God has cursed us with three girl children!”

My sis-in-law and I waited for her to mellow down and tried our best explaining that a girl child is no less than a boy. Sadly, no amount of convincing helped. She walked back with the very same heavy heart she walked in!

***

After these incidents, I thought to myself, “Well, may be, this girl child discrimination is still prevalent among the illiterate and the downtrodden.” But then certain things that followed proved me wrong again!

Incident #4

At church one Sunday, Uncle X, a well educated businessman, congratulating Uncle Y, “FINALLY, you’ve become a grandfather!!!”

I, a little confused hearing it, ask Uncle X, “But uncle, Isn’t Uncle Y already a grandfather since he has a 6 yr old grand-daughter?”

Uncle X laughingly replies, “But only now Uncle Y had a grandson!”

I left the scene almost fuming, pitying the girls born in his home and the ones that will be married into his family!

***

 At this juncture, I have to break a news so that I can continue with my latest experiences.

!!!WE  ARE EXPECTING OUR SECOND BABY!!!

By God’s grace, this pregnancy has been incredibly smooth and I am almost in the final lap. I’ve got no words to describe how excited KT is about the ‘Tummy Baby”! Watching her excitement, has tripled Vj’s and my excitement! I will definitely keep you all posted when the little one arrives!

Nevertheless, I noticed something different that eventually has grown extremely annoying each time I am congratulated or greeted for my pregnancy!

Almost every other aunty I met, touches my tummy and says, “Next-tu paiyan-than!” (Meaning – It should only be a boy next!)

Some super-spiritual aunties took it to the next level by saying, “If we have faith and pray, it will definitely be a boy!”

Other statements I keep hearing,

“If its a boy next, then the family will be complete!” (So you mean a second girl baby will make it incomplete???)

“A boy is needed for the stability of the family!” (Oops! I believe it is God who stabilizes my family!)

“A girl will not belong to you after her marriage. Only a boy will take care of you!” (Firstly, Vj and I look to God for our resources and help, be it physical or material. Like Job in the Bible, we believe our latter days will be more blessed than our former days. Secondly, I am confident my children will find sensible spouses who will love us and care for us.)

The amusing part is when I reply to these dear aunties saying we are actually wishing for a girl baby! My! You gotta see how their faces turn pale in shock. They go, “Really? Are you serious?”

Please do not get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing against boys. They are just as adorable and cute. Just the fact that girls, especially children, are looked down upon grieves me terribly. What I have experienced is just nothing in comparison to what many of my friends and other women go through in our land.

One of my dear college friend, was under so much pressure during her first pregnancy to give birth to a boy child, she simply dreaded giving birth to a girl baby.

Another college friend shared with me, she doesn’t want a girl child for the only reason that she is scared her daughter will have to go through similar in-law-tortures like what she’s going through.

My ex-colleague once shared that her husband and mom-in-law wanted her to visit a village witch doctor who can predict the gender of the fetus by pouring some hot oil in her ears. And she was instructed that if the witch doctor predicts the child to be a girl, she’ll have to abort the baby. I do not know if she went to the witch doctor, but thankfully to her relief, she had a baby boy.

A friend of mine from Bihar shared that in remote parts of north India newborn girl babies are still thrown in the trash, abandoned in the trains and even murdered by the very hands of the mother or grandmother. This friend’s parents have adopted one such abandoned girl baby and have rescued numerous other babies who are now growing up in loving foster homes!

It is then I realized the reason why our country is obsessed with boys and girls discriminated is twofold. A vast majority esteem boys as prized possessions (In fact they really are, but so are even the girls!) and a superior sex. Others just dread having a girl child, not because they consider a girl is any less, but simply out of fear of how that poor girl may end up getting treated in our distorted society and system!

Although our nation has taken giant leaps towards women empowerment and equality of women, some of the bygone customs and traditions of our land passed on for centuries has corrupted the mindset of many not allowing them to change. The reason I am writing this post is not because I want it to cause a movement. That would be asking for the moon I know. However, the least I hope is that a few who read this will understand what I am trying to say and boldly take a stand in their circles to stand up for a girl child.

As a mother of a precious girl, it is daunting to think how my princess will tackle a male obsessed/dominated world. But then I guess, it is the duty of each mother to raise their daughters, not in fear, but with courage and confidence that someday soon our girls will not only stand up for themselves but will show our nation their worth in action!

In conclusion, I would like to share the last incident. If you have patiently read this post this far, I would request you to spare a few extra minutes of your time to read this as well. It’s an incident that inspires me, unlike the ones above!

Incident #5

Around the 1950s/60s, there was an Inspector of Police named Mr. Deva Asirvatham who worked in and around the small town of Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu. He was hardly 21 yrs old when his 17 yr old wife gave birth to a beautiful girl baby. Within a span of little more than a decade the small family of three grew into a family of 11 with 8 daughters and 1 son. In that day and age, I have no clue what kind of talks the poor couple had to put up with for giving birth to EIGHT girls. However it is said that each time the father brought home the news of a baby girl’s birth, his face beamed with pride and not even once did he regret having his daughters.

While his daughters grew, his job and his income didn’t grow in proportion. He could have easily opted for what many of his peers with just one or two daughters did – get the daughters married post SSLC (12th Standard). But this father was someone who knew that his girls were not mere baby-making machines. He knew his precious girls were worth much more and that they had the potential to accomplish greater things. With the little income he got and a lot of sacrifice from his end, he encouraged his daughters and educated all eight of them with Masters degree in various fields.

Today, Mr. Deva Asirvatham and his wife, Mrs. Cecily Asirvatham are no more. But their daughters are – each impacting their corner of the world and the society around them. I take immense pride in letting you know that they are none other than my grandparents and my mom, Mrs. Lily Pushpam, happens to be the eldest of the eight sisters and one brother!

Hats off to my granpa and granma who did not succumb to the pressures and traditions of their times. They rose above the norm. Without doubt there must have been a bunch of people who must have told them how foolish they were to invest in their daughters’ education and how some kgs of gold instead would do more good than a couple of degrees. I am so glad that they had a mind of their own and knew what was best for their daughters because that’s what made my mum who she is. It is who she is that constantly inspires me to become a better mother and a better woman!

I really hope Vijay and I would be such parents who would value our children for who they are, irrespective of their gender. We can’t describe what joy and pride KT brings us each passing day and how precious she is to us. Whether our next baby is going to be a girl or a boy makes no difference to us since we believe each child is a gift from above – equally prized, equally precious!

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She Drives Me Crazy!

I enjoy my whole day with K8O except when its meal time. The last week has been one big challenge. I do not know whether it is a milestone or a phase every kid goes through. She wants to eat herself!

When I shared this with my mom and mother-in-law, they both told me its blessing in disguise! Blessing?!!

Firstly, she never allows me anywhere close to her plate. Secondly, when she’s eating with a spoon, after a couple of minutes of artwork with her spoon on the plate, she’ll gather some food. By the time that spoon travels to the mouth.. Magic!.. The spoon will be empty! Not because she ate it.. Just that the food fell back into the plate!

Even worse is when she wants to eat with her hands. When given rice, she eats morsel by morsel. Give her idly or dosa, she’ll butcher it. Don’t ask me how long it takes! It takes FOREVER! Even after all that time, her plate will be just as full as I gave it in the start!

She loves curd. So anything and everything has to be mixed with curdie. I don’t know how, but just as they say a swan separates milk from water, she picks up teeny tiny lumps of curd and just eats that!

Want to know what happens when I don’t pay attention for a minute? Either her plate will be upside down orrrrrrr she’ll be pelting food at the toys or people around her! Thankfully she hasn’t done it in a while now!

Be it any mischief, I can handle it. I do lose my temper with some of the things she does, but then that doesn’t last for more than a minute. She gets away her innocent eyes and naughty smile. But what frustrates me the most is when she refuses food. I get so stressed and worked up!

I’ve tried giving her different plates of different colors, shapes and sizes. She has spoons of five different colors and two baby forks. But nothing works. I just hope this is a passing phase and soon she begins to love food as much as me!

Anyways, before I conclude, thought you might be interested in knowing how all this meal time drama ends. Trust me, its the ultimate. Its the hug she gives me.. a bare hug with her curdie hands! What can I say? Its the best hug in the world!