Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review - Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

I'm back with another review of  a completely amazing book by Julia Donaldson

Book: Room on the Broom
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler

Why I picked it and what was my Reaction: A witch, a broom, a cat and the words " Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler" made me instantly fall in love with this one. When I read the I was smiling, the way the witch has been portrayed as the most gentle creature on earth was totally amazing. The story, the rhyme, the words, the illustrations, the situation... I just loved it all. 

The Toddler's take: I think Zoe knows its a Julia Donaldson book even before I tell her... she loves Room on the Broom (or 'witch and the hat') as she likes to call it. So much so that she wanted to dress up as a witch for her school party. When I read it to her the first time all I got were repeated request of reading the book again. I got the same reaction when I read it in my session, so I have tested the book on not one, not two but a lot of kids. 

Zoe 'reading' 'Witch and the Hat' to Pooh!

What it is about: Extract from my review of the same book on Artsy Craftsy Mom "The story is about a kind hearted witch and her pet cat, they love flying on their broomstick. The witch keeps on dropping her hat, her bow and her wand. These are retrieved by different animals and all the animals want in return is a lift on the witch's broomstick. The witch allows all of them to fly with her, till the broomstick snaps into two. Suddenly the witch gets in danger, will her new found friends be able to help the kind hearted witch? The story is exciting, with rhythmic verses and lots of fun. The kids will fall in love with the kind hearted witch. Repetition of verses, a lot of drama and a little suspense makes it a complete winner and a must read.  I love the book as much as Zoe does; I also love the underlying message on sharing, friendship & trust."

How We Read it: Lots of Drama and some more... with different voices and moving around all over the place. 
Age Group:  4+ but if you are raising a reader a 3 year old will also enjoy it as much, Z has this book since she was a little over 2 and she loved it.

BZM Must Buy, you can pick it up from Flipkart

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cheers To Z3

Hey Beautiful!

I love to see you grow everyday Ma Sha Allah. And you have really become a little girl over the past year... You have become taller, leaner (skinny actually), that day Fizz was saying 'My little girl has really grown up' and that is when he sees you every single day. So, now you understand what I mean when I say you have grown up. Even I feel the same. I truly do... specially when I see your dresses & jeans become shorter. I have to buy new clothes every now and then.

Every single morning you wake momma up with your brightest smile. And I can do anything for that smile of yours. It is the brightest and the most mischievous smile I have ever seen in my life.  

You learn so much everyday. I expected that by the end of the 3rd year you would know the names of all your favorite books... you know the names of almost all the books you have and you pretend read the book as well. You tell me the same story in your own words. You can count from 1-29 and then you start 20-10, 20-11, 20-12 :-P. You know the days of the week, which I was shocked to know when I heard you recite the other day. You know almost all the major colours (almost 10-12 of them) and you correct Fizz as well. Your phone phobia has disappeared and you can talk on the phone with ease. Be it for pretend play or actual talking on the phone. I don't think I can match up with the speed you solve your puzzles and blocks.

If I recall the day you entered our lives 3 years back, I couldn't have guessed you will become so big so soon Ma'sha'Allah. You were so small, so tiny and so delicate. You know what... when I held you in my arms for the 1st time... I cried as I wasn't sure I would be able to take care of such a delicate and such a precious little thing.... I guess we did just fine. When I see your little feet touch the floor as you rest on the chair I feel my little baby... who I easily held in two palms of mine when she was born has become a big girl.
One thing that I expected is that you will turn out to be a chatterbox... which you have become in the true sense of the word. When I heard you say Mamma for the first time I was in tears... but now you say ... Momo please read me this book... or please come with me to the bathroom... or Momo will you take me to nusic class *music class. You learn so many new words everyday and you create complete sentences, 3 cheers for that! You not only speak clearly most of the time... you also make up your own stories, which I love listening to. You can be the sweetest (at least sound sweetest) when you request "Fizzy/Mamma can you do this Pleeeeeease". My heart melts right there and then.

Everyone knows about your love for books, besides books you also love playing drums and cars. Pretend play and painting is something you don't mind doing. What I love is the fact you do not need company while playing and you can keep yourself busy and engaged.

You have adjusted well in school, and I know you are one of the naughtiest one in school. You have to carry your own school bag, even though it is a little heavy for you. You love your school which was one of the biggest milestones. When you talk about your friends (Ishika, Jainish, Jaivish & Aka-kanksha) I just love listening to you. You also found someone you love spending time with and she loves your company too... yeah I'm talking about Laasya. I guess we need to spend more time together... what say Shweta? And your new - found buddy Hrishikesh, I do not know how much H remembers you, but you keep talking about Hrishikesh. Three of you created a ruckus on the playdate but you enjoyed each other's company none the less.

Another milestone which we achieved this year was your potty training. Not training actually. I just told you one fine day, and you were ready. Night training is still left but we will reach there once my baby is ready.  

There are things which you do, which prove that you are still little. Like your tantrums... my God! Who said Terrible Twos were bad, I think its Troublesome threes now. You are short tempered and all kids your age are... but it is nothing to be proud of and I hate it when you show your temper off. Having said that... I must confess you are extremely loving as well. If you love someone you make sure people know that. When you see mamma or Fizz upset or angry you start with your "Make Happy Face... Sad Face, Surprise Face, Shocked Face, Crying Face... Big Happy Face." I love playing this game with you as you beat both Fizz and me to it. You are the undisputed Drama Queen. I thought I was the biggest drama queen ever... till I met you... and you are the best! I bow down to thee. Your expressions (specially the surprise, curious and sad face you make)... things you say and do to get attention are HILARIOUS.

Something really bad happened this year... which could have been avoided... I think Mamma was careless. Because of me you were in the hospital for 1.5 days and believe me those were the worst days of my life. I was so helpless Z, I'm sorry! Mamma loves you alot Buba... remember that!

Guess How Much Love You!

Momo/Mamma/Momma (it's high time you decide)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Pick - The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson

As mentioned, I would be telling you about some amazing Julia Donaldson books for a couple of weeks and this week's pick is The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson.

Book: The Gruffalo's Child
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler

Why I picked it and what was my Reaction: Well, reading Gruffalo and reading it over and over again made me pick the sequel. Gruffalo,  Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler cannot go wrong.

The Toddler's take: People told me this is not as entertaining and engaging as the first installment, but I beg to differ.  Z and I can vouch for the book... She reads Gruffalo followed by The Gruffalo's Child and it is something she has to do. Her giggles, her questions, her kissing the book continues in this one as well.

What it is about: The book starts sometime after the first one ends. It is a totally adorable sequel to The Gruffalo. It starts when a cold winter night, Gruffalo tells his child about the big bad mouse. Gruffalo's child becomes inquisitive and she wants to find out everything about the mouse. So, as her dad snores one night, she tip-toes into the jungle. The Gruffalo's Child meets the snake, owl and the fox before meeting the Big Bad Mouse, what happens next??? well read the book to find out. 

How We Read it: Lots of voices, emotions and drama. 

Age Group: 3-6 years

BZM must buy, pick it up from Flipkart

Monday, November 18, 2013

Her Z-ness

Random Updates:

Went to pick Z up from School today and asked the teacher hows she doing..... and I hear "Ohhhh she's doing great. Her energy is infectious and she loves to talk"
Why wasn't I surprised? She's just like me.

Zoe talking to the cushion (make belief Fizz)
Z: Fizzy do you miss me??? OK do you want to listen to a story. Opens her hands like a book. Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived in a jungle called Gina. Gina was sleeping, in the morning she saw a giant and giant said "Come Zoe Come" (how did Gina become Zoe???) Zoe shouted 'No,giant you bad bad boy ... go home.' Simish (Finish).
OK... Did you like the story???"

And Here is the Drama Queen...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Stay a Child Forever - Contest Entry On-Board the Mommyship

This post is for the Children's Day contest by On-Board the Mommyship, a blog by Rituparna, which I love reading. 

Here they want us to tell in not more than 150 words that one quality (why just one) you want your child to remember all his / her life.

I always wish Z keeps the child in her alive when she grows up, people say I've managed to do that... and I'm proud of the achievement. Z has taken so many things from me... I wish she adopts this one as well. :-)

You are special because you are able to forgive and forget easily, you smile at the drop of a hat, your curiosity knows no end... Z you love being funny and being yourself, you know how to have fun, you don't judge people around you based on XYZ, you love stories and believe in them, you do not believe in Failure, you smile from your heart!!! There are so many things about children... about Z that I love and would want her to keep these qualities in her forever. 

If I want to choose just one thing and would want you to keep that intact forever... it would be your quality to See Beauty in Anything and Everything... whether it is painting, your books, music, singing, people, a small insect, sand, cupcake, the distorted 'Piyatha' (Paratha) mom makes, the funny faces you make, it all. I just love it.

Always keep this in your heart because there is beauty in everything from a small pebble to big blue sky... God Bless You Z...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Story of the Past 5 Months

So, Z officially completed 5 months of Siksha today and I'm a proud mom. Though, she did take a little time to adjust to school without mom & dad... Now she is a happy kid and we are happy.  Though I would like to add she hated going to school when she was recovering from cold or the terrible stomach flu she had... but that is natural. I have seen so many positive changes that we can see in Z. Recently, a friend of mine asked what changes have you seen in Z since she started her school. That made me think about this post.
  • Z has always been a chatterbox, but now her vocabulary has improved immensely. She uses many new words every single day.
  • Z has definitely become more social. She doesn't get stressed when someone wants to speak to her or play with her now, as she used to get a couple of months back.
  • She has started taking interest in puzzles and legos, which initially she did not. Her speed as far as doing puzzles is concerned has increased.
  • She wants to go to school and keeps talking about her teachers and her friends.
  • She did go as a 'rock-star' for the fancy dress party & I hope to see her on stage on the Parent's Day function.
  • Z sings one or two new songs each day, her favorite song... can you believe it is 'Lakdi ki kathi' which was and will always remain close to my heart.
Now I like the fact that I had actually not listened to everyone who was suggesting me against a Montessori. I had listened to my instinct and I did make a right decision.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Z Speaks 2

We go to pick Zoe from school, and as a ritual I ask her what she did in school:
Z -  Mamma there was Curious George in School
Me - Really?
Z - Yes Mamma...
Me - OK... And what did you do with Curious George?
Z - Play pink blocks, sandpit, snacktime and artwork
Me - Wow Zoe... So will he come again tomorrow
Z - Hmmmmmmm No Mamma tomorrow Peppa Pig! Curious George ENOUGH


Z and Me Reading Monkey Puzzle (review coming up later this week)
Z - Oho Mamma! This butterfly is Mad
Me -  No baby why do you say so
Z - Baby Monkey will find his Momma. Butterfly making Baby Monkey sad

I was watching TV with Zoe, and I switched one of my channel and there was an argument going on the TV, before I could switch it off... Z says "Ooooooo Mamma! Why are they shouting." She then shuts her ears, and says "Mamma please quiet quiet."

Faizan gets off to pay the electricity bill, Z being Daddy's Darling says: Where has Fizzy gone?
Me: Baby he's gone to pay the bill. Electricity bill.
Z: But why Fizzy?
Me:Just like that
Z: Mommy you pay the bill
Me: OK ba next time I will
Z thinks for a second
Z: No, Zoe pay the bill. Mommy Fizzy Relax.


So I had slept just for around 4 hours last night.... and was damn sleepy in the morning.

Z (As I get her dressed for school): What happened Mamma? Are you OK?
Puts her hand on my forehead: Tabbat theek hai?
Me: No baba... Mamma is Sad (making a sad face)
Z: oh oh! Wait Dr. Zoe get Doctor set. Chaliya have daba (medicine)
After giving me medicine: Good Mamma. I kissi for mamma... now smiling face.

My day was made.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review - What The Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson

Firstly, I would like to apologize to Julia Donaldson, our favorite author. We have explored so many books by Donaldson and I have just written about The Gruffalo. Today, we are talking about a current favorite 'What the Ladybird Heard'. And just to make up, I will be doing back-to-back reviews of Donaldson every week.... that is for entertaining us so much. 

Back to the book... 'Once upon a Farm'... well if a book starts with that phrase it shows the amount of fun in store for the readers. How a little, silent, harmless ladybird saves a 'fine-prized cow' from being stolen. The fun continues when the cat says Oink and the 'Baa', 'Moo', 'Cluck' all goes wrong.

Why I picked it and what was my Reaction: The first line did it for me... the vibrant illustrations are beautiful (though they aren't by Donaldon's favorite Axel Scheffler). Zoe immediately fell in love with so many animals all in a single book. The vibrant yellow was also responsible for me picking up the book.

The Toddler's take: She immediately fell in love with the book, she loved the book and her love for it has only increased. We have had this book for more than a year now... and she wants to read it every single day. She loves when all the animals take out the noise of other animals... and her "Oh No!" reaction, after every animal is so funny.

How We Read it: Lots of voices that is all the book needs. It is such a great book in itself, I don't need any songs or games or puppets. She is completely engrossed from the first page till the end (though the story is a little complicated for a 3 year old).

Age Group: 4+ but if you are raising a reader a 3 year old will also enjoy it as much.

BZM Must Buy, you can pick it up from Flipkart

Monday, November 4, 2013

Z is a born story teller

I don't know what it is... is it her love for books... or watching her favorite Julia Donaldson story come live on TV  (put something else and Z will happily skip her 1 hour of TV).... or listening to her dad making some totally crazy stories... or seeing her mom narrate in the most animated manner.

Even if mom or dad are busy, she will look for a book and start reading ... she doesn't read yet. She pretend reads the book and makes an amazing story... right there and then. Picture this... I went for my cousin's wedding and at one of the functions I made Z sit on the couch and went to have dinner. Z looked around... picked up a brochure kept there and started reading out loud "Once upon a time... a long long time ago..." everybody looked at her and had a big laugh.

For Z, it wasn't funny, it was serious business. 

She prefers a book but, if she doesn't have one it is perfectly fine. For instance, I went to pick her up from school the other day and as I always do... I asked her what she did at school. She told me Gruffalo was there at school and she wasn't scared... According to her she even played with Gruffalo in the sandpit and with the pink blocks. Then again that day while sitting on the pot... she said 'Mamma I'm a vegetable. I'm a banana.' I told her 'Baby ... Banana is a fruit" then after thinking for a minute or two she said... "no I was a vegetable and I was a small green pea. I don't like green so I became a yellow banana."

This is common amongst 3.5 year olds but Z isn't 3 yet and she has been doing this for past couple of months.

All I do... well I just try to read more and I try I never stop her when she is trying to make up a story. I also ask a lot of questions when she is done. You should see the spark in her eyes when she answers my questions.... Its amazing!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Its the simple things in life that really matter…

Children, especially younger children are very simple creatures and simple things please them more than anything else. I say that with a mommy experience of almost 3 years. Z has lots and lots of toys… like many other children her age, but all her toys do not impress her for long enough. Simple things on the other hand keep Z happy and busy for longer period of time…

Books keep her completely engrossed (I know books don’t come cheap now…), that is the only thing she asks for and wants most of the time.

Even if I don’t talk about books, Z can be kept happily engaged for long. I was in Kanpur couple of weeks back for my cousin’s engagement and Z with her cousins was creating a ruckus. Well, I was there to keep the kids happy without much noise. I pasted sheets of brown paper with a scotch tape on the floor and gave all the kids lots of crayons. The kids (all between 2.5-6 years) were busy for a good one hour. The younger ones like Z did end up spoiling some beautiful pictures the elder ones were drawing.

I make sure I take Z to the park or our terrace everyday. There I let her do, pretty much whatever she wants.

I have bought a small broom and a duster for Z, she loves dusting around and cleaning the house with the two. I think she is a cleanliness freak like her dad.

Z has a chalk board and she loves scribbling on it with her chalks. She also has so much fun finger painting.

Z loves to talk and she can spend hours, if you are ready to sit and listen to what she says that is.

Leave her in the sand pit and see her get dirty in the matter of minutes.

Most of all Z loves getting/giving lots of kisses and huggies to ‘people she knows’. If you are a stranger to Z, meeting her for the 1st time… don’t even try to hug her. She will shriek the loudest shriek.

So, now we have stopped spending a lot on Z’s toys so much. We have also started donating her toys, which she has outgrown or has never touched.

I just wish I had realized it earlier and saved a lot of money we have already spent on her toys. I guess better late than never.