Monthly Archives: January 2011

The morning after

Akank gets better organized with her work, eats her lunch till the last scrap, completes all classwork, enters homework in her school organizer and updates me on her lessons at school, the day after we have an encounter at home. I have read articles, received advice from family and friends, on how children have to be treated as responsible people, how it is not advisable to ever raise your voice or be annoyed at them. Major pooh-pooh. I call that methodology impractical. I have seen it not work with Akank. There have been days when I have been blessed with immense patience, understanding and good humour and on such days home work lasts over 3 hours. Then there are days when I am short fused, irritable, crabby and easily annoyed. Home work and revisions get done in half the time.

Two days back Akank and I had a face off after school. The next day, she came back with completed classwork, lunch and entries in the organizer. Even the books that she had collected for deprived children in Bintan, that was rotting in our library for weeks on end, were dropped into the collection box at school. When I asked Akank what brought about the change, she shrugged. I observed that the show down seems to have worked well and she was quick to say this –

‘ Not really. I was sitting in the school bus thinking about it. Then a thought occurred to me. Piece of cake. As soon as I got to school, I completed everything on my check list. I realized that I was delaying it all because I didn’t really want to do them. I even stuck the cover of my portfolio that was falling apart. My teacher had reminded me of it a few times last week ‘.

No, I am not celebrating yet. I have a strong sense of deja vu about all of this. I know this will happen again. And yet again. Till then I hope to have more days filled with immense patience, understanding and good humor.

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Conversations, Humour, School


Scavengers and Brokers

Last week, Akank began learning a new concept in Math that needed her to keep tabs on the ‘stock market’ at school. The assignment is supposed to run for two weeks at the end of which the kids would be assessed for data management and bar graphs skills. They have been given a set of 12 stocks of various values to track and a sum of 10,000 dollars as portfolio capital.  The teacher posts a daily update of the price list and once in a while , a piece of news about a few companies from the list. The children are expected to understand how the news affects the value of the stocks and accordingly make decisions to buy, sell or hold stock.

This week, she is also going on a Scavenger hunt to China Town. The Chinese New Year celebration is on full swing this time of the year, and that is the theme of the hunt. The kids have been divided into small groups and given tasks to complete. From picking up something from the New year market and explaining its significance, to identifying characters and phrases related to the New year, to creative photographs to writing her observations, she has a packed 4 hour trip tomorrow afternoon!


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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in School, updates


The mantra – No one did it.

I knew there was going to be troubled times ahead.  Show me a parent who has not needed to raise her voice to make her tween see her point. Show me a tween who has never been shouted at. Akank and I will miss that list many times over. If she makes me happy 83% of the time, she upsets me the other 17%. It’s just a number, don’t do the math.

Maybe its the age and this phase will pass. When we were kids, I think it was the boys that got shouted at more often than girls. At least, at home, my brother seemed at the receiving end of my dad’s wrath all the time. I could get away with murder. Or a bad report. The tears would be my savior- it still is!  No dad could bear see his little girl weep.

But tell me, what is with the girls these days? Or is it just Akank that does not shed a tear in fear of not completing some assignment or forgetting an important file back at school. I remember being a nervous wreck  about such things at school. I would complete assignments and submit them on time even if it meant only to please the teacher. With Akank, when I point out unfinished work she says, ” No one had the time to complete it”.  And If I argue that point this is how the conversation shapes up.

Me -Oh come now Akank, let us not assume that everyone else is like you.

Her -No really ma. You can call anyone and find out. ( an open dare to see if you will pick the phone and call)

This is when you begin to doubt if you were over reacting. So you settle for a ” So when do you intend to complete this work?

Her – We don’t have EngHum ( English- Humanities) tomorrow. So the next time I have it, then.

Today she had an EngHum class and I asked if she had completed the work that was unfinished.’ Oh that? No, I didn’t. I forgot”

And I say to myself, at least the child is not continuing to pull wool over my eyes.


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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Conversations, School


Matters of the heart

Akank wanted to let me in on some girlie secrets one evening last week. She swore me to secrecy and told me not to let anyone else know. This post is not about what her secret is. I do not want to jeopardize the trust that Akank has in me.  When Akank told me about it, I reflected back on what kind of secrets I had when I was her age. Did I have any? Of course I did. Would I have dared tell my mom about it? Heck, no. In the days I was a little girl, there were stricter norms. I was close to my mother and I would tell her all from school. Every little fight I had, who said what and who I was best friends with. Ask my mom today and she will remember a few details from my school days that I myself do not recall. However, girlie secrets were off bounds. It’s not that I did not trust her to keep my secrets. It’s just that in the days I was a little girl, moms expected girls to behave and follow decorum especially when we were at co-ed schools. My mom would have lost sleep over any girlie secrets, had I confided.

The fact that my 11 yo considers it safe to talk to me about her secrets makes my heart swell with pride. I have assured her that I will  be a good sounding board, a confidante, friend and anything else she wants me to be. And she knows that when it comes to academics, I will go back to being a parent.


Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Conversations, Emotions


Vacation diary and then some

Akank had a packed term break . She had listed out her choice destinations to visit over the term break and we managed to take her to a few.

Apart from a cruise to Malaysia on the Super Star Libra that lasted for three days and nights, Akank also went to the Flyer, Sentosa, Boat Quay and the botanical garden.We threw in a ride on the Jewel cable car ride to Sentosa as an extra. Her initial list also had Universal Studios at Sentosa, the East coast Park, a ride on the Hop on hop off and visit to the Marina bay sands. Of course we asked to iterate her list to accommodate our time constraints. We have left the list of places that we-did- not- make- it- to, for later.

Akank has begun her Term 2 with a fresh frame of mind. The New year resolve that she has made includes many desirable traits that she wants to inculcate, topping the list are- being organized, honest, humble and friendly to all.

Over the break, Akank revised some concepts in math, re read a few of her favourite books, watched reruns of her favourite movies, spent a lot of bonding time with Maxx and her grand mothers and chilled at home. By the end of the 3 week vacation, she was ready to begin Term 2!

The first day at school seems to have gone off well. Some highlights from her debriefing session after school hours:

A new kid in the class from Beijing. ” A cute chubby girl”

A friend who noticed a few desirable changes in her- ” You seem less vain and quieter”

A classmate who had ignored Akank the whole of the first term, finally noticed Akank and said hello ” Hey.. ssup”

A bunch of paint smudged,work sheets from Art class that she brought back to share. ” I have something exciting to show you!

I love school, ma!

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in School, updates