Thursday, December 13, 2012

Some Nostalgia, a Few Good things and New Year Resolutions!

Yesterday one thing led to another and I ended up reading old posts on this blog. Really old ones, from 2004 and 2005. The most obvious part is of course I used to write a lot then. Right now the posts take shape only in my mind, they never get keyed in. I have said this enough number of times, but being a primary caregiver to a toddler is a challenging and overwhelming job. It is a wonder how I read and review a few books and contribute (though not too frequently) to two parenting websites.

Coming back to the topic, my life has changed so much. I would have never imagined in 2004 that my life would take shape in the way it did. I was an MBA student then, this blog chronicles my student days, my fears, getting a job, challenges and loneliness of living and working in Mumbai, shifting jobs and cities, about my family, about getting married, married life, my hobbies and my thoughts. So much of my life is here!

Since I am actually writing here after quite some time, not considering the reposts of my write-ups, I want to write about some good things:

  • I wanted to read 35 books but I have managed about 20 or so. But I am glad I read some amazing books this year and I was more or less disciplined in reviewing each one of them. I will target 35-40 next year. 
  • have been getting a lot of books from different publishers for review and that feels great too. What more can a book lover ask for, if not for a perennial flow of books! Of course, I am not able to keep up with the pace but I try my best. 
  • I still buy a lot of books and will continue to do so. I am not into jewellery or branded clothes or partying, books are my only extravagance! 
  • I watched a few movies in the hall. From the third trimester of my pregnancy till the time my son turned one, I had not seen any movie in a hall. So, in the last 3 months, I went for 4 movies with a friend (movie with hubby in a hall is not going to happen for some more time): Cocktail, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, English Vinglish and Talaash. I loved 3 out of 4 movies, and JTHJ wasn’t my idea. 
  • We went for 2 out of station road trips after our son turned one – first one to the Kashid beach and the second one to Ganpati Pule. The first one was with another couple friend, the drive was of 5-6 hours; while the second trip had just us and the drive was for 9 hours. Both went smooth and were quite a lot of fun. Both places have relatively unexplored and therefore very clean beaches. 
  • Doesn’t feel like it but we completed 5 years of marriage! We agreed we will not gift each other anything and rather buy something for home for memory sake. But I bought a watch for him from the Timex Expedition series while he got me the Philips Hair straightener. And hey, who does not like gifts! 
  • My son is at a very naughty yet adorable age. Every day he comes up with innovative ways to make my life miserable, no I mean, he is just curious but eventually it turns out to be a lot of work. And he also does such cute antics that we forget all the naughty stuff he does! 
  • This Diwali, we got a nameplate with his name too. It looks really cute.
  • We also finally got a cute little Mandir for our home, just the way I wanted. Since our baby is only 16 months now, so there was no chance of doing Diwali Pooja on the floor, so I thought why don’t we get a Mandir, which we have anyways been planning since ages! 
  • I have given up watching TV, completely. It never occurs to me to switch on the TV even when I am raking my brains to think of something to do with my sonny boy. I don’t want him to get into the habit of watching TV. 
  • I had reduced to my original weight of 54 Kgs (without any effort from my side) but now I realise that I am again piling on some weight. So, I need to start my morning walks pretty soon. 
At the moment, I am at peace with myself, happy for what I have and excited about future. I never planned how things turned out, so what’s the point in planning what is going to happen in future. Most of my energy goes in keeping pace with a very curious toddler.
So, the New Year is fast approaching and my resolutions are going to be the same: 
  • Read More
  • Write More
  • Lose Weight; and two  new ones
  • Go slow, enjoy each moment at its face value. We have got so used to multi-tasking that we have stopped enjoying one activity for itself. We need to get back to the basics and start enjoying things more.
  • Have patience with the little one

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gender Stereotyping the Kids

This Post was first published on Parentous - the Parenting blog.

Instance 1.
I and ‘the star’ were going for our evening stroll. The star, all of 15 months now, is a little shy in front of the strangers. In the lift, we met an uncle from the building.

Uncle: “Why are you hiding behind your mom? What makes you so shy? Are you a girl?”
(I got really pissed off on hearing this)

Me: “What is wrong in being shy? He is just a kid, not comfortable with strangers.”

Uncle (immediately got defensive): “Beta, don’t mind, I was just joking.”

Instance 2.

A group of boys, all aged between 9-11, were playing football in front of my building.

I and ‘the star’, were going back home. I overheard 1 boy telling the other boys, about one of them.

“This guy always says no to everything”

Then he looked at the boy in question and said, “are you a girl?”

Then looking at other boys, said “I think he was supposed to be a girl but by mistake he was born a boy!”

Instance 1 is a small example of how our kids are subjected to gender stereotyping in day-to-day life, while Instance 2 is another small example of its impact on young minds. They form opinions, categorize and judge each other, and grow up to become prejudiced individuals.

No wonder this couple went too far in protecting their child from getting stereotyped and stifling his real personality.

What is Gender Stereotyping?

Gender Stereotyping is basically putting down someone because of their “sex” or not believing they are able to do something because they are either male or female. [Source: Wiki Answers]

What is the impact of Gender Stereotyping on kids?

When you start judging a person’s capabilities on the basis of gender, you are doing him or her grave injustice.
I believe, all the issues related to gender discrimination and gender insensitivity spring from stereotyping. When you start judging a person’s capabilities on the basis of gender, you are doing him or her grave injustice. What is worse is that at some point we start believing that it is okay to do so.
At home, kids observe parents and their roles, their interaction with each other and their expectations from children, which initially shapes their outlook about gender roles. Eventually, this reflects strongly in their self-image and opinions about their capabilities.
Why should our children feel less capable or, conversely, more privileged because of their gender?
As a parent we have a huge responsibility of opening their minds and sensitizing them about gender issues. The reason being even if at home we give them a neutral environment, outside of home they would encounter discrimination at every step.

We have to make sure that we are raising well-rounded, unbiased individuals.
The best gift we can give our children is unprejudiced upbringing and equal opportunities. Little kids are impressionable. They are like sponge, taking in everything that parents teach or tell or do. We have to make sure that we are raising well-rounded, unbiased individuals. And eventually, this shall have far-reaching implications on the society at large.

Here’s an interesting article on Gender Stereotypes.