Motherhood – the art in my he’art’!

8 a.m 3rd October 2002 – Getting ready for a check up with the gynaecologist. I’m 5 days away from the EDD (expected date of delivery). Talking about delivering a baby here. My first one.

9.30 a.m. “Hope your bag is ready?” asked the doctor.”Go back home, get your things and get admitted. The baby is ready to arrive. If we wait for it (the gender of the baby is a secret in India) to grow more, a normal delivery might be hard to achieve. We will induce labour”, announced the doctor. 

My live and life-long project was about to take off.

12 p.m. You don’t want to know the rest.

There is a reason why the delivery of a baby is called labour. It’s a warning for what lies ahead.

The baby was born at noon the next day on 4th october and is celebrating her 18th birthday this year!

When Tattoos were trending

You are promised the ‘glowing’ with babies, but there is only ‘slowing’ and ‘growing’ (in size). The first baby is a nightmare, a delight, a miracle and magic all at once. And a struggle forever.

You’ve had the time to prepare yourself with all the books there are, with enough attention and advise, yet lacking in the experience and ‘mind muscle’ to tackle the little cooing and gurgling machine, every minute of the day for months to come.

 It takes just about a few weeks to throw those books on childcare somewhere in the corner, to collect dust never to be seen again!

The cooing-gurgling machine

Everything first in her life is a first for you as a mum. You see the baby as an extension of yourself. The umbilical is always attached. It takes another baby, and a few varied experiences to alter your ideas around mothering and you begin to see the child as a separate being.

I can bathe myself

You slowly learn how not to cry when she cries, how not to whine when a tantrum happens; how her play is her work, her performance and grades are hers, and not yours; how growing up is what she has to go through and you cannot make it magical or pain free.

All you can do is Be there, remain calm, show up at every single moment the child needs you and be your real imperfect self. The prowess you require is a heart full of love and commitment.

Things begin to get peaceful when you allow the child to lead the way, to lead you.

Riding a dinosaur

Children have oodles to explore and discover, a great deal to share with and show you. You merely have to allow them to experience life, sit around and listen. Listen with patience. Listen to understand. Listen to believe them. Listen without interrupting or commenting.

Time teaches you when to push them, and when to back off; when to help them and when to let them make mistakes; when to talk and when to just listen; how to begin loosening the cord and eventually find the strength to let them go.

One of the Kangaroo Kids – first school!

They say that time moves in a straight line, but in fact it circles ! And it circles just too fast! Here I remember turning eighteen and someone comes along to remind you,”that was decades ago!”

Parenting is perhaps the most back- breaking, soul-wrenching, neck-aching, and myth-shattering job I have ever done. It is also one of the most heart-throbbing, love-filling, mind-stretching, strengthening & self-esteem building role a human could ever play.

It can take months, years, perhaps a lifetime to find peace in your parenting experience – truly an experiment at every stage and every single day. When you’ve learnt to tackle your ducklings at A stage, they’ve moved on to the next!

You find parenting hard, because it is hard, not because you are a bad parent. You are raising a human baby after all.

As a species, humans are incredibly smart. Human intelligence however comes with a curious caveat- our babies are among the most helpless at birth.

A baby giraffe can stand within an hour of birth, and can even potentially flee predators on its first day of life. A baby monkey can grasp its mother and hang on for protection and nourishment. A human infant can’t even hold up its own head.

Humans belong to the subset of mammals, called viviparous mammals, that give live birth to their young. This means that infants must grow to a mature enough state inside the body to be born, but they can’t be so big that they are unable to come out. This leads to a trade off — the more intelligent an animal is, the larger its head generally is, but in humans the birth canal imposes an upper limit on just how large that head can be before it gets stuck. The brain, therefore, must keep maturing, and the head must continue growing, long after birth. The more intelligent an animal will eventually be, the more relatively immature its brain is at birth – something I learnt along the way, that explained why parenting the human baby is so tough and why new mums look like they’ve been shot out of a cannon! 

As children mature, they teach you life’s greatest lessons. Children are the greatest gurus. They make you a better person. Better you in every way. They help you to move ahead by compelling you to draw on your strengths, as you chase their amazing pace of growth.

Mothering cannot be taught. Motherhood is your journey. It has to be lived. Its your unique story. You write it. Wrong it. Right it. 

Here to hear ♡ your story,

Rohini – Counsellor

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

For my young lady who turns 18 on 4 October 2020:

Happy 18th my brightness, my paradise, my story teller; my chaos & my calm, the spontaneous to my plans, my baby with bright curious eyes and no sleep in them, grown up to be a sincere and compassionate young lady.

Live in lifelong curiosity – to hunger for knowledge and to thirst for experience.

Remain as kind and generous as you are

and make a palpable difference to the lives you cross.

Believe in yourself and the power of the tiniest contributions.

Overcome challenges with intelligence and grace.

Believe in the power of “will try again” and “next time”.

Go hunting when you’re hungry and be big enough to share the catch when you make it.

Forever the ‘art’ in my he’art’.

My brightness. My Tvisha.

Love, Mamma.

 

 

 

 

 

Why speak to a counsellor, when you can use your problems to punish everyone around you! 😊

In life’s struggle to become Ben Franklin’s healthy-wealthy-and-wise (or was it Aristotle’s), I realized after much deliberation that it’s rather straightforward to become healthy, over wealthy or wise.

In the absence of wisdom teeth, being wise is not a privilege I enjoy. My first ever visit to the dentist at age 39 and a quick x-ray revealed absolutely no signs of any “wisdom” sprouting through my jaws. 

Apparently, wisdom teeth have lost their significance in evolution and will slowly disappear from all human jaws, just like the tail bone vanished.

Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, were the evolutionary answer to our ancestor’s early diet of coarse, rough food – like leaves, roots, nuts and meats – which required more chewing power.
The modern diet along with marvels of modern technologies such as forks and spoons has made the need for wisdom teeth nonexistent. As a result, evolutionary biologists now classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs, or body parts that have become functionless due to evolution.

So 28 teeth is all that I was destined to live with ! It wasn’t until now, at age 44 (after one horrible tooth extraction, antibiotics, probiotics, painkillers, and weeks of curd rice, mashed potato, ripe banana, and other soupy mushy mashy food) that I realised that 28 teeth was the luxury figure I was starting out with! My current status is one husband, 2 kids and 27 teeth!

The Wealthy bit- Teeth or no teeth and no matter your skin colour- black, white, or brown, if you have the green, blue, pink and orange stuff in your wallet, you can walk around looking wise and pose as you please! The only other thing that comes close to the herculean task of birthing, parenting and bringing up kids is earning the coloured banknotes !
This is especially hard for counsellors in our country where mental health and health are not part of the same discussion, mental health being the illicit part of health and mental illness for the most part, a family secret. It’s more likely that you will die of the fright of being stigmatised, or fear of being called crazy, depressive, neurotic, psychotic, rather than the illness itself. I mean why go for therapy and discuss matters with a stranger, when you can use your problems to punish everyone around you! So therapists and counsellors are definitely not the wealthiest people around.

Therefore the inference, that becoming healthy is actually the simplestofthe three virtues (reference healthy-wealthy-and-wise).

Eating well, eating right- the fruits, the beans and the greens; walking, cycling, hopping, jumping if you like, flexing the bones and muscles enough to keep them supple and working; spending time in nature,  breathing well, talking to friends, cracking jokes about your family or cracking up with them, laughing at life’s absurdities, smiling often, singing, resting well, sleeping enough, seems like something I have more power to control. 

If you are a balanced package of  healthy wealthy and wise, its impressive. If you aren’t feeling particularly effective in any of the three aspects, you can always be a bad example for someone or perhaps an inspiration for your little people, so they can master the early-to-bed-early-to-rise way of being. Go ahead inspire the young, while I get back to counselling sessions to hear stories of the wealthy and the wise.

Here to hear you♡

Rohini

About Talk Child – this is what happens when babies don’t kill you !

The counselling room

 

Hello I’m the counsellor at Talk Child.
I’m honoured that you’re taking time to read this.

Talk Child is one of my three babies. It was born two months after my first born. Maybe it was an attempt to keep myself alive as I mothered a little human.

When I had my first child, 17 years ago, I thought my life was over :)! It took me several years to understand that the journey of learning and loving had just begun then. 

An imperfect and exhausted parent who is trying to do a lot of things each day, my endeavour is to remain connected with my children. There are moments when I imagine myself doing great things (imagination is everything, it keeps you going), and then there are times when simply making it through the day is good enough. 

Amidst it all I am still trying to comprehend what it is to be a parent. The identity seems much more vast and enigmatic than anyone would have you believe.

Talk Child is about listening and talking and sharing- moods and feelings, and real stories. 

I spend several hours every week hearing people’s stories and concerns. Most of these people are parents or planning to be parents. I listen to them as they speak about their awfully amazing little people, their fears of failure and aspirations for their children – the “what ifs” and “hows” of parenting. I listen to a myriad of complains against spouses. The stories in counselling sessions are rarely romantic.

Talk Child is about parenting. Understanding children in urban Indian families has been our penchant!

Talk Child offers a space for you to sit comfortably. There is someone to listen to you without judgement and opinion. You are allowed to think about yourself and for yourself, and hopefully be led by the light within you… the light of reason, self-compassion and empathy.

Rocking is relaxing. Rock as you talk!

Talk Child remodelled in the year 2014 from the conventional face to face counselling practice, to an online procedure as well. We listen to you and talk to you online, through video calls too.

A successful counselling session is about establishing a connect. The human mind is complex. We may never penetrate into another mind, despite living with someone for years; while sometimes just a call can establish a therapeutic link.. a warm trustful connect! We appeared on Facebook in 2015 http://www.facebook.com/talkchild

The Thinking Human

Talk Child thrives on the belief that every human child is intelligent and is equipped innately with a set of strengths to grow into a complete accomplished individual. Opportunities need to be presented. Maybe human babies can even create those!

To know more about us and to get in touch for guidance or counselling, you can go to www.talkchild.com 

For Blogs its www.talkchild.wordpress.com

This is what happens when babies don’t kill you! They compel you to drawn on your strengths, chase their amazing pace of growth and move ahead yourself!

Welcome to Talk Child 🙂

 

About Talk Child – this is what happens when babies don’t kill you !

The counselling room

Hello I’m the counsellor at Talk Child.
I’m honoured that you’re taking time to read this.

Talk Child is one of my three babies. It was born two months after my first born. Maybe it was an attempt to keep myself alive as I mothered a little human.

When I had my first child, 17 years ago, I thought my life was over :)! It took me several years to understand that the journey of learning and loving had just begun then.

An imperfect and exhausted parent who is trying to do a lot of things each day, my endeavour is to remain connected with my children. There are moments when I imagine myself doing great things (imagination is everything, it keeps you going), and then there are times when simply making it through the day is good enough.

Amidst it all I am still trying to comprehend what it is to be a parent. The identity seems much more vast and enigmatic than anyone would have you believe.

Fresh Greens make the air pure and clean

Talk Child is about listening and talking and sharing- moods and feelings, and real stories. 

I spend several hours every week hearing people’s stories and concerns. Most of these people are parents or planning to be parents. I listen to them as they speak about their awfully amazing little people, their fears of failure and aspirations for their children – the “what ifs” and “hows” of parenting. I listen to a myriad of complains against spouses. The stories in counselling sessions are rarely romantic.

Talk Child is about parenting. Understanding children in urban Indian families has been our penchant!

Talk Child offers a space for you to sit comfortably. There is someone to listen to you without judgement and opinion. You are allowed to think about yourself and for yourself, and hopefully be led by the light within you… the light of reason, self-compassion and empathy.

 

Rocking is relaxing. Rock as you Talk!

Talk Child remodelled in the year 2014 from the conventional face to face counselling practice, to an online procedure as well. We listen to you and talk to you online, through video calls too.

A successful counselling session is about establishing a connect. The human mind is complex. We may never penetrate into another mind, despite living with someone for years; while sometimes just a call can establish a therapeutic link.. a warm trustful connect! We appeared on Facebook in 2015 http://www.facebook.com/talkchild

20191009_120301
The Thinking Human

Talk Child thrives on the belief that every human child is intelligent and is equipped innately with a set of strengths to grow into a complete accomplished individual. Opportunities need to be presented. Maybe human babies can even create those!

To know more about us and to get in touch for guidance or counselling, you can go to www.talkchild.com

For Blogs its www.talkchild.wordpress.com

This is what happens when babies don’t kill you! They compel you to drawn on your strengths, chase their amazing pace of growth and move ahead yourself!

Welcome to Talk Child 🙂

Rohini Sethi

Consultant Child Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IF WITCHES WERE REAL- a true story!

Reading is fabulous. The imagery it creates in little kids can be fantastical. Reading also brings alive the past – the lived and the long forgotten past.
Reading “The witches”, by Roald Dahl, with my nine year old (my second born) this summer, took me back in time.

The year was 2005. The month was May and the story that follows is a witchy one.. the only witchy encounter I ever had!

I had just moved to Bangalore.
My husband had leased a cosy apartment for us, which was home for the next 3 years. The apartment had a fresh paint smell, polished marble floors, neatly finished teak wood fixtures, a warm little dinning room with a beautiful sit out – a balcony.

A huge mango tree fenced around the balcony of this first floor apartment. The mango tree was an absolute beauty. Its strong branches and leaves rustled in the breeze. It gracefully dropped a large part of its branches into the cosy sit out.

The enormous tree cut the sunlight and made the apartment quite dark on cloudy days. Bangalore can be cloudy for a large part of the year.

The three storeyed building belonged to a renowned family of central Bangalore, who converted their large family bungalows into apartments. This description of the flat by my husband has remained with me. He has been a lover of homes ever since I’ve known him.

This particular one was finalised after a wide search of homes to arrive at a stylish yet affordable space, in the centre of Bangalore, a city which was gaining momentum in more ways than one.

The landlady, Ms. Seher, lived in an apartment across ours on the same floor. “We’ve spent so much to meet your requirements”, was the first thing she told me when I met her, even before the hello!

“Your husband was so particular about renting a new place..we spent over a lakh to paint, polish and clean it..”, she went on…. my attention not on what she spoke but on how she spoke, and even more, on the way she looked – cold and pale, with light glassy eyes. I could almost see through the iris and pupil, into the depth of her eyes.

Her skin was wrinkled in severe detail. It had a translucent look to it. Her eyebrows were arty, thin and precisely drawn out with a brow pencil.

She had large bony hands with pointed nails, painted a bright red, filed to maintain a sharp tip. She tapped her hands on my shoulders as she spoke. My attention swayed with her fingers fearing I might get poked!

I was also worried she might hurt my kid (my first born, age 3 years) in an attempt to pull her cheeks.. as some adults do, to show their affection.
She noticed how distracted I looked when she spoke. “You look stressed dear.. don’t you like the new home.. we have spent so much on it to renovate it.. hope you don’t move out too quickly like the previous tenants after messing up the walls and bathrooms.. don’t you like Bangalore?”, she asked.

While in fact my wonder had less to do with my settlement and more to do with the peculiar appearance and queer mannerisms of the landlady.

Our first meeting ended with,”I can smell kids”. That statement was enough to scare any kid. “.. I can see you have a very quiet and shy little one..hello there”. And my three year old curled into my legs. She was anyways always between them ever since she was born!

The “smelling kids” story continued, “I worked as a school teacher for over 35 years and retired a few years back..”, Ms. Seher proudly shared.

“Oh, how lovely”, I smiled! (Gosh.. the poor school kids, how scared they must be of you I thought!)
“Lovely, it was..”, she continued,”when Bangalore was quiet and we walked or cycled to school. The city had fresh air, children were respectful, scared of teachers and obedient.

Now the city is noisy and crowded.. it’s hard to walk around with so much traffic and pollution.. Richmond town isn’t how it was.. the children are spoilt brats with no values and parents are too busy to teach them any. Bangalore is getting warmer, we barely had homes with fans.. now we need fans all summer.”
“Fans is great”, I said, “considering the rest of our country is scorching away in May”.
“I’m happy to be home and retired.. but Sheela still has a few years of service left.”

(Now whose Sheela?? I thought. Not another strange and scary neighbour, I hope!)
“Sheela is my friend and flatmate.. we’ve been friends for years and worked in the same school.. you’ll see her in the evening sometimes”, she elaborated even before I asked, almost reading my mind or expressions maybe.

We made a couple of trips to the home to settle our stuff, before moving in, but never met Ms.Seher or her friend Sheela.
On one such luggage dumping trip I bumped into a frail old lady. ” Hello are you Sheela? Seher’s friend ? we are your new neighbours”, I greeted her enthusiastically. The lady looked at me and said, “I know, I am Seher’s sister, I live on the ground floor and don’t ever call me Sheela again!”. She mumbled something in her mind and mouth and walked away. Not sure if I meant to have heard it or not.

That night I shared that meeting with my husband and he said Sheela was just a bit loud and slightly rude, so she must be unpopular with Ms.Seher’s family. And how did it matter to us, he said. It didn’t matter at all. It just got me more curious about Ms.Seher, Sheela and our intriguing new neighbourhood!
Meanwhile, my kid-with-a-mind, told us that if any of the scary aunties asked about her, we should tell them that she is asleep!

Interestingly, the ladies avoided us, lest we ask for some more repairs or polishing. They were far from the prying neighbours we thought they would be.They were rather inconspicuous – unseen and unheard. The silence on our floor was uncanny.

In fact Ms.Seher did not even recognise me on one occasion. This was soon after we had moved into her apartment. “I’m having trouble with a tap.. could I have the plumber’s number please”, I requested one day. She opened the door just enough so I could see her glassy eyes… shimmering in the dark home, with no lights switched on.

She stared at me for a few seconds, like she didn’t know who I was and just when I was about to get lost into the depth of her iris and pupil, she replied curtly, “The Wimbledon is about to begin dear, please.. I don’t like any disturbance during the match”, and she shut the door.

There is always a first time for things.That really was the first time someone had shut a door on my face!

We met Sheela next. And how!

I opened the door of the flat one evening to step out and screamed with shock. I saw this large lady with black kohled eyes, standing outside the door. “Hello, why are you so scared? I was just seeing this blue charm hanging at your door, it caught my attention. We haven’t met, I’m Sheela”. Godd.. I almost fainted with the shock of the situation.. someone standing like that at my doorstep.
“Hello”, was all I said.
“Where did you get this, its quite attractive!”, she asked.
“My mother sent it. Its the Turkish evil eye”, I replied.

“Do you believe in nazar (the evil eye) and all that? I didn’t think young people like you would”, she laughed.
“Never really thought about it..”, I smiled.
“We just decorated it for its beauty.. but I’m sure someone must have believed in the evil to have invented it!”, I laughed with her.

Sheela reminded me of the Patriarch in traditional families- the head of the unit, curt and firm, authoritative, who went to work and whose word was final!
I also unscrambled why Seher’s sisters didn’t approve of Sheela and were rather unhappy about their sister’s happy connection with her!

On day four came in Shanu, a very enthusiastic domestic help. She rattled away the names of all the north Indian food she could cook at a self-initiated interview.

“Aap dilli se aaye ho(are you from delhi)..”, she asked.”Hyderabad se”, I said, to avoid getting too pally!

“Mujhe rajma chawal, dal makhani, palak paneer sab banana aata hai “, she insisted on pleasing the north Indian she assessed I was.

Wary of her enthusiasm, I still decided to give her the job of the house maid, thinking about the boxes left to unpack and a home to set up.

Shanu was caught pinching stuff in the house one day and I gently asked her to leave. Little did I know who else I was upsetting besides Shanu.
“Why did you turn her out?”, bang-bang came in Sheela… shouting and furious that evening. “Well, I caught her stealing.. so didn’t have much of a choice there”, I said.
“But she did all our work too.. and now she won’t come to our place either! We find it very hard to find maids.. Seher doesn’t like too many of them and now see how tough you’ve made it for us, by turning her out!”, she ranted rudely.

“You can keep her for as long as like.. or until you find her stealing something”, I said sarcastically. “Whats the big deal..they are all thieves.. you keep an eye on her.. atleast she cooked and cleaned well.. how are we going to manage now?”, fumed Sheela.
“I have to go to school..and Seher is so ..so.. forget it.. you won’t understand.. send me the next lady you hire. No one comes to our place otherwise”, she fumed and walked away.
“I wonder why” I thought aloud.. “because they are so scary”, affirmed my kid-with-a-mind!

We enjoyed settling in the quaint building. We occasionally bumped into Sheela but barely ever saw Ms. Seher.
One stormy evening, around 5.30pm, it was pouring fiercely.. so we couldn’t step out of the house for our usual park outing. Enjoying the rain and my tea in the balcony, my daughter and I spotted a beautiful white Owl on the Mango tree. It perched firmly on one big branch of the tree, so close to where we sat. Wow and wow again, we were fascinated by the beautiful visitor.
That was the first time I had seen a white owl and we excitedly clicked pictures of it and watched it for the next hour. The owl wouldn’t fly till it was dark and we didn’t want to miss any moment of this rare sighting.

The rain got fiercer in the next hour and as soon as it turned dark… the beautiful white visitor flew away.

After a few days we bumped into Sheela locking the door of her flat, looking very sad and lacking her usual dominant energy. She wore no kajal and her eyes were swollen, like she had cried. “Hi Sheela.. how are you and hows Ms.Seher.. we barely ever see her.”

Seher left last week. “Left for?”, I asked hastily. “Seher is no more, she passed away.. my dear friend and partner for life, my only support and family… “, she spoke very sadly and teary eyed.
Astonished at what she said, “but.. but..we were here all the time.. when did she pass away.. and how come we didn’t hear from anyone else about it.. in the building I mean.. or hear any sound.. “, I asked ghastly!
“Last week.. that evening when it was raining heavily.. she breathed her last around 6pm”, she shared sadly and stepped down the stairs without talking anymore. “She was very particular about her privacy.. and her secrets”, she muttered as she walked down.
“Now you are my only company and support.. I will see you when I return after my prayers”, she said with her back to us.
My kid ran into the house first and I followed her and locked the door tight!”
“Mumma I don’t want you to be aunty’s friend.. okay?”, insisted my three year old.

“In fairytales, witches wear black hats and fly on broomsticks…
Real witches dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs” – Roald Dahl

“And they vanish..
just like that..
Without a whimper or sound on fiercely stormy and rainy evenings.. while we sipped our tea and watched the mango tree“, is what we believed.

Rohini Sethi                                                                                                                                          

Child Development Consultant        

https://in.linkedin.com/in/rohini-sethi-32715247

Life is hard, growing up is painful – the body aches and the heart breaks !

Growing up is painful.

Tiny humans arrive painfully through the mother’s womb.
Nothing is easy even after that miraculous arrival. Little babies cry with aching gums when they are cutting teeth. Their legs ache when they begin to walk.

They have their first heartbreak when they step into the unfamiliar, that first school.. fearful and insecure about leaving their homes and caregivers.

Its hard for the two year olds, when no one understands their babble or what they want; while teenagers grumble when adults misinterpret their moods and jargon.

The young teens imagine themselves as being on stage.. conscious, guarded, oversensitive and touchy sometimes.. its not easy to handle an audience after all. They imagine so many eyes peering at their face and skin and hair and discussing their height and how thin or ‘thick’ they are!

Seventeen year olds think their life is probably the worst… so much to do, so little time and truck loads of expectations, hearts to nurture and mend sometimes.. its a hard life!

The mothers of all these kids claim that they have the hardest days of all, while the Grandmother says she wants to die… her life being unworthy of living anymore – nothing to do, no one to talk to, with declining support from the once treasured physicality – the body!

The fathers, well, who has the time for their peeves, is what they claim to suffer!

Life is hard.
It’s hard when you are 5… It’s hard when you are 15. It is also hard when you are 45 and 65 and 75 and older, I suppose. Doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong. It also doesn’t mean you are the target or the prey.

You are just like everybody else. Its hard for everyone.

Every age is differently challenging. . each day is a new find, a new block !
You can never be practiced enough for it!

What is constant is the stuff within – the  purpose and passion you live, and love with; your integrity; your belief in yourself; and the trust in the people around you.

Talking about easing the hard, well,

-Listening lots and speaking lots more seems to work for me.

-Loving immensely and unconditionally is fulfilling.
-Finding the funny in people and situations – laughing lots at myself and at life’s absurdities keeps me going.
-Expressing disappointments – about people and things- yet forgiving (sometimes) and moving on (almost always), adds to the peace!
-Living purposefully & trying new things, distracts you from the stress!

Life is about experimenting.. its about trials and errors.. it’s about moving ahead with belief and confidence.

Let all kinds of days happen to you.

I don’t see a way out of the hard! No promises of things being easy peasy lemon squeezy !

Hard it is and hard it will remain!

 

 

Rohini Sethi                                                                                                                                          

Child Development Consultant        

https://in.linkedin.com/in/rohini-sethi-32715247

 

Making Peace With Imperfections

I’m often accused of talking too much about myself.

This embarrassed me immensely when I was younger. As I grew older, I started receiving the ‘compliment’ with a pinch-of-salt. Beginning to accept it as a personal folly now and sincerely laugh along with those who find it funny. I call it a partnership laugh. Sometimes even that isn’t received well! Partnership laughs are rare, as rare as true love!

Jokes are never really common ground. They offend far more than they amuse, is my latest and greatest, age-related learning. Age-related learning is sometimes called wisdom and maturity. I prefer to use age related learning though, fearing more comments on my wisdom and maturity. Someone actually said this to me once, “both your kids seem more mature than you. ha-ha!”. Wasn’t quite sure if that was a compliment or just another ha-ha. I just took it as a parenting skills compliment and forgot all about it.

But what has remained constant is that I talk about myself, choosing it over talking about anyone else!

Talking about the weather is second on my list. Whenever there is silence, I talk about the weather, especially when its getting cold. I love the chill! Maybe because I grew up in a desert… so warm is home, while cold is a treat, something like a party, a total mood mender! People usually look forward to stuff that isn’t home and is not easily available. The distant, the far and the unattainable is always more attractive than what lies inside or beside us.

Still discovering the special that lies within; meanwhile, here’s a list of some imperfections I am learning to make peace with:

  1. It feels like a jet lag to be nice – to everyone, all the time and everyday- now these are three different things to me!
  2. Find it exhausting to be motherly perfect, socially and financially productive, equally so, on all days of the week.
  3. The hair, the face and the clothes are never in happy harmony… ever! One of them is always rebelling.
  4. Humour is cathartic, so I’ve always believed. Amusing myself keeps me going yet it can be socially catastrophic when you are seriously letting out!
  5. I push doors that say “pull”!
  6. I like nonsense. Lots of it!
  7. Reacting often, and speaking faster than I think, is definitely a weakness.
  8. Sharing too much and overly communicating, and probably expecting the same, can be a huge problem.
  9. Being patient for really long and bursting just when its most important to be calm, is a sure shortfall.
  10. Distancing myself from people who are boring and whose kitchens and washrooms aren’t clean (not good enough reasons to alienate I am told!), is yet another personal deficiency.

Listing your imperfections is probably just a tiny beginning to knowing yourself better. The list can go on and on.

Making peace with your imperfections is about accepting your flaws and follies. It is also about understanding that even the drop dead gorgeous and the fabulous have good and bad days, and so can I! More importantly its about presenting yourself as perfectly imperfect to your little people.

When someone you look up to, like your mum and dad, can be imperfect, so can you!

When stress to be perfect eases, we begin to perform and progress!

To laugh at peers or to laugh at children’s fears is not helpful. Showing kids to laugh at life’s absurdities, mistakes and oneself is the kind of humour that helps us to heal and deal with the world. When shortfalls are celebrated and mistakes are enjoyed, they cease to be a problem.

Children ought to grow with the idea that mothers are not machines, fathers are not formulas and people are not perfect… that will make them more forgiving towards themselves too.

I’m learning to make peace with my imperfections… would love to know if some of you are too… just so I feel normal :)) !

 

Rohini Sethi                                                                                                                                          

Child Development Consultant        

https://in.linkedin.com/in/rohini-sethi-32715247

 

 

 

OckyPocky – Purposeful Play And Playful Purpose

The mesh and maze of everyday struggles are making it increasingly hard for parents to make choices for their kids. Today’s child is a very interesting being. Children are born into and live amidst an explosion of information overload; are overprotected and over expected of, have less time and more to do!

Conversing with technology comes naturally to most kids. If you don’t hand them a device gently enough, it will be begged for, borrowed or snatched, acquired and twiddled with anyways! It is a part of their era and how!

When I was first approached by OckyPocky to share my independent views on the kids’ application, what really excited me about the application was that it encourages purposeful play and playful purpose. The application is easy to use, repeatedly so, without the fear of an overdose or harm of going off limits into unknown arenas. It allows children to thrive and learn in a fun-filled way. The stories, rhymes and activities are delightful, purposeful, meaningful… Like little gems!

OckyPocky achieves a balance between onscreen and off screenplay, which is really important. So the child can learn the activities on screen, download to keep them available and try them out with the adults around, allowing the child to be social, engage in physical play, interact and be creative all at once! The team of professionals at OckyPocky is driven by the keenness to evolve and improve… always listening to what parents and children have to say about them. They are continuously play-testing to refine the app.

Kids educational applications are beneficial for the adults in the child’s life too- those who interact, play and learn alongside. How lost we would be if we didn’t have a nice little story to share with our little one, after a rough and busy day at work or if we couldn’t sing along with what our child was enjoying!

I would describe OckyPocky as nutrition in a capsule. Here, by nutrition I mean, brain food- food for the child’s cognition.

When a child begins to move independently, she starts looking for brain food; it’s the greatest need of any human baby to grow cognitively. Handing a child a smart device loaded with child-centric visuals and healthy voices of expert storytellers is important.

Education today is about learning to act in the real world – the world of screens, click, touch and tap! It is about technology that guides, enables the child, entertains, is safe, occupies and engages all at once!

Handing over the right device, at the right age, loaded with the right stuff in it, is really the need of the hour. Smart devices are almost like windows to the world. It would be a lie if I said that I could work without one or otherwise manage! While handing out a device without a child centric, safe area, a play-learn-grow enclosure is almost like having access to a loaded weapon!

Find out more about the app by visiting www.ockypocky.com

Rohini Sethi      

Talkchild.com                                                                                                                                 

Child Development Consultant

https://in.linkedin.com/in/rohini-sethi-32715247

 

 

 

Counselling is not about advising in the elevator or at a party

A strange inhibition clouds my otherwise confident self, when someone asks me what I do.

I imagine telling  a parent, that I am a child development consultant/ counsellor, and the inside of the parent’s mind getting into a kind of cosmic frenzy, tangles of guilt, generating a few hundred questions that need to be answered in the next couple of seconds and a thousand not- so- happy images of their child in their head.

Exhausting thought! The less talked about the better! I have begun to call my fear, a complex…  the counsellor’s complex!

I also imagine being expected to rattle out, 5 tricks to conceive a bright/ smart baby;

10 techniques to destress children;

15 tips to keep your marriage “alive” after your child’s birth;

20 games for children’s physical-mental-cognitive-spiritual development;

 25 things to look for when choosing a school for your child;

101 activities to occupy your child during summer vacations and so on.

And if I were to say, “Do nothing! Just be your normal, natural, instinctive self;  go with the flow, let the kids be, let them eat well, play well, touch sand, water-play, play in a park, enjoy the swing, slide down a couple of times, fly kites, twiddle with their electronic devices, do pillow fights, gaze at the stars and sleep well” , that would mean I need a therapist and some help myself!

There are no 5,10,15,20 ways and tricks to do anything with things that breathe and grow and develop and evolve. How could there possibly be a formula to development, when we are so different from the person next to us. Each child and adult is a unique, dynamic and extremely complex unit, connected to other such complex, unique beings through varied relations. How could something that works for me, work for my neighbour! How could a list of guidelines ever suffice to the dynamism around!

So what is counselling? And what it’s not!

First what it is.

Counselling is the art of talking therapies.

It is listening; listening to a person who seeks help.

It is about coming to terms with problems you are facing (for the client), with the ultimate aim of overcoming or overpowering them.

It is about defining your own goals and arriving at your own plan of action.

It involves setting aside time in order to explore difficulties and stressful emotional feelings.

It is a two way effort.

It entails mutual respect, confidentiality, responsibility and consideration between the client and therapist.

It is speaking to and sharing your thoughts with, someone who doesn’t know your past and is not going to be a part of your future; is not judgmental and has no bearing whatsoever on your existence or attitudes. The counsellor is a complete stranger in that sense!

Counselling is about equipping people to help themselves. As clich`e as it may sound, the ultimate objective of counselling is to help you, become your own therapist.

Getting “counselled” is about working around your own self – accepting shortfalls, recognising weaknesses, exercising your latent and apparent strengths.

Counselling supports you, brings forth your strengths and redirects you. It does not create a new you! The goals we work towards need to come from the client, for them to work.

What it is not!

Counselling is not direct advising. It is not giving instructions either. Direct advice seldom works long term.

It is not giving ideas in the elevator, during evening walks, at a party or social gathering.

It is not about getting emotionally involved with the client, looking at clients from your perspectives, based on your value systems.

It is not about getting bogged down by other people’s stress either.

Counsellors are not magicians or mind readers and sadly so (how I wish they were). The thing about magic is that one loves seeing it over and over again, even if you know the trick.

So counselling isn’t magic, no tricks to it and no repeat performances!

Each person is a new trivia and each session a new tale!

Counselling is also not about manipulating your environment and the people in it. It is about looking within and working around your own strengths and struggles!

Counselling is definitely not for those who don’t want to be helped or don’t think they need to change. It cannot be forced.

So if you haven’t been able to extract desirable behaviour from your child/teenager for instance, say 14 years of your association with the kid, despite being the biological parent  and caretaker for those many years, it’s unlikely that a child will respond to a stranger(the counsellor) or oblige the professional help and transform miraculously!

Counselling is about appreciating the human form and mind. It is about recognising that every child/adult is a complete opus, an entity. Each human creation has unique thoughts, feelings, strengths and responses packed inside them, to tackle most situations.

We just need to realise that!

Questions people asked and the response I meant to give but I didn’t !

“Don’t worry I know what you mean .. please don’t mind what I thought .. at least I didn’t say it .. but I meant to !”- rohini

Talk Child is rich with stories. Most stories are about real problems and concerns.

They are food to Talk Child. They help us grow.

Then there are those that are sauces and pickles. They add that extra flavor to Talk Child and life in general. They make you chuckle.. distract you from the serious business of living.

These stories are short. They ping into Talk Child’s inbox each day, as questions, queries, messages and mails. There are some verbal face-to-face exchanges too, that make you wonder.
You wonder what to say.. whether to say those first thoughts that come to mind or not say them.

Those are hard moments to manage.. yet in retrospect, they are the moments that make it to the ‘happy’ memory bank.

Sharing some of those.

[The client query is listed first and my thoughts which I didn’t share are written in italics].

Here they are :
1. “How old is the counselor at Talk Child?”

      Well, as old as me!

2. “How many years of experience do you have ?”

   My career just took off (yippee) with your question; you just added to my experience of understanding people!

3. “Do you have children ..”

      Would you trust me any less if I didn’t ..?

4. “Are you South Indian .. is your second name Sethi or Shetty ?”

      Why .. you mean you wouldn’t seek my help if my second name was Shitty ?? Oh  you made me sad today!

5. “Can you read my mind by looking at my face?”

      I can read you better by reading your questions .. please go on.. litter some more .. I’ll tell you more!

6. “Hey.. hi”. Period. Background information read as: bachelor.. rich joint family..big business.

      Well, I think you need a wife and a heir to your throne..not a counselor! 

7. “Do you help with adult problems?”

      Sure .. for starters, just don’t have kids till you are sorted!

8. “Counselling sessions are expensive. Do you have a package deal?”

      Yes water and coffee is free.. and if you behave well a candy too!

9. “How can you read someone’s mind through a Skype call/ online counselling?”

     HE-HE-HA-HA 💀.. mind readers can do anything 👻💀 beware !

10. “Whats the guarantee that you will help my child to perform better ?”

        Your warranty as a parent has expired. Please refresh .. And don’t have any more kids!

11. “Can we have a trial session?”

        So who is going to try whom? Or are we going to discuss an imaginary problem ?? Or are you just going to try the food I cook ! I’m afraid the trial plea is rejected!

12. “Is online counselling free?”

        Only the air you breathe is free my dear .. excluding the pure air in homes with air purifiers!

13. “My kid refuses to eat what I cook, but eats what anyone else cooks..”

        The kid either dislikes you or your cooking ..

14. “Can you tell me in one simple line how to tackle my teenager?”

       Can you please introduce yourself, your family, your child, your existence and your problem in one simple line..

15. A friend at a party: “I just need to know one small thing quickly ..”

     Any matter pertaining to your child isn’t small. Can you bake a cake quickly..? And I don’t want to know what all you can do quickly!

16. Can you occupy my child for one hour everyday..?

        Oops I don’t function as a television set, I’m afraid.

17. “How old are your children? They must be perfect kids ..”

    Oh yes no problems at all. Our address is Heaven, we eat clouds for meals and GOD tackles our issues first in queue, hands-on, for free! Being a counselor is sure a privilege!

Well, that much for now 😊. A chuckle a day, keeps our worries away. Your thoughts keep us alive. Loosen your grip on your strangest thoughts 🙂 .. let the queries keep coming .. let the craziness continue. If you don’t mind asking, I really don’t mind responding !

Love, Your counselor.

 Rohini Sethi      

talkchild.com                                                                                                                                 

Child Development Consultant

https://in.linkedin.com/in/rohini-sethi-32715247