Just back from a week out with kids and friends and friends’ kids and I cannot sleep. The images of the week gone by and the to-do list of the week ahead clash inside my head as I toss, turn and finally sit up and start up my Mac to..what else, blog!
Our trip to Dharamsala included two couples and three kids- aged 9, 5 and 4. Quite a bit of our time and patience went into managing the kiddos and so I thought I’d pen down what worked and what didn’t. At the end of it all, I wonder whether it wasn’t the kids that had the fingers on the control buttons all along!
1- Kids are competitive, so comparisons are a no-no, even though tempting at times! Aadyaa and Maayra, the two girls aged 5 and 4, drove us up the wall with their constant competing. They wanted the same number of spoons to play with at each meal, they wanted to eat the same stuff, play the same game on the same ipad at the same time, outdo each other at getting our attention, all the time! All four of us were taking turns at getting irritated with them on Day 1 and 2. By Day 3, this was getting to be hilarious and I started noticing how much we incite them to compete.”Look at her, she is eating so well. Why can’t you?”…..”Look at her, she is siting properly in her chair. You also sit down!”
And so on and so forth. Within ourselves, perhaps, we are competitive too, I thought. And that’s why we need to super super let go if we are calm them down. As the vacation progressed and the holiday chill sobered us down, the girls seemed to calm down as well. Or our management skills improved, perhaps! Just wondering how much of our own stresses, insecurities and inner struggles we pass on to our kiddos unwittingly!
The two inseparable squabblers having masti time with ‘Hansa mumma’ who pampered them and scolded them in equal measure!
2- Never underestimate children, they are built to amaze! Rahul and me were enamored of the idea of trekking on this vacation. When we mooted the idea, Udai was super enthusiastic, but we were all a little skeptical about whether the girls could trek a lot. Aadyaa had managed a couple of hours of walking earlier this year at Ramgarh, but could we push her a bit more this time? So we set off one morning and decided to see how it goes and we were more than pleasantly surprised. The kids rose to the challenge and loved the adventure, even the youngest of them all, Maayra. Finding new paths to climb up, getting stung by nettles and recovering fast, drinking from a cold mountain stream- all these little thrills served to entice them to go further and further and we ended up successfully completing a half day trek without much fussing and with enough energy to enjoy the rest of the day as well!
Starting uphill from Dharamkot. Hansa and the kids walk ahead of us…
Udai was navigator, happy to do extra climbs to check out if we were on the right path. Proud to say he is turning out to be one sure footed trekking enthusiast!
Conversation is a great way to keep the kiddos going! Mishu and Maayra in full flow
Shot #1 Even as she walks, she romances the camera, my little one…
Shot #2 Peek-a-boo? No, she’s in the midst of a kathak routine!
Shot # 3 And there, she reaches the sam! Inspired by her kathak lessons, she danced her way to the top
Thrilled by the little mountain stream and happy to play in the crystal clear ice-cold water…sheer bliss!
Little imp all but tumbled into it!
Me with the kids…posing…
Hey! Look here! Mishu and Hansa caught by my lens
Udai’s idea of a little sunbathing break, with Aadyaa happy to join in
Rahul, impatient to restart climbing!
After we reached the temple, our hilltop destination for the day. Horsing around with papa!
And snuggling with mumma too, before we begin the climb down!
3- Don’t shy away from using tech to keep kids busy, too-principled is passe! When you’re on vacation, you’re there for a break. So letting the children have a good go at the ipad once in a while is just fine, in my opinion. They do the same at home as well, or watch television, for a small bit of time everyday. I found that asking kids to share an ipad or iphone actually meant they found ways to cooperate, take turns and share. They taught each other new tricks, they exhibited patience while waiting out their turn.