Favorite bedtime story! πŸ˜Š

When my son was very young, he liked to hear bedtime stories. Wife generally read books or narrated stories. Sometimes the responsibility fell on me. I was too lazy to read and with my limited recollection of full tales my well of stories dried up pretty soon. ☹️ Only options seemed to be to either read a book or try to recollect full stories from my past reading. That would have made for too much effort for me but then I found a simple solution: Tell him his own story! Son warmed up to the idea quickly. πŸ‘
The basic structure of the story always remained the same!
Start with his birth and incorporate different activities into the tale. Activities could include things like reading, writing, math, biking, swimming, sports, music etc. In the tale, in every activity, when he started, he would suck and over time he would get really good at it. In some instances, he would even do well enough to get a prize! πŸ‘To test if he was sleepy, before every activity, I would ask how he did when he started. If he was not sleepy or sleeping yet he would enthusiastically reply “He sucked!”. πŸ˜‚ If I did not get a response it was cue for me to end the storytelling πŸ˜ƒ
The beauty of any solution lies in its simplicity and in this tale, I could add, modify or change elements based on whatever new activities he was currently engaged in or had recently taken part in. After a while whenever he said “Dad, tell me a story!” both of us knew what he wanted to hear πŸ˜‰
My reasoning as to why it always worked
1) It had a ring of familiarity to it πŸ‘
2) It always had a happy ending πŸ₯°
3) Kids (and many grown ups) like to hear their own praise from others! πŸ˜…

Happy Mother’s Day!

To my mom, all mothers and everyone celebrating their mom:
“Happy Mother’s Day!” πŸ‘πŸ™
A mother’s love is the purest, most selfless form of love. Few weeks ago watched on TV real life story of Ada Blackjack nΓ©e Delutuk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Blackjack), an inspiring story of true love, grit, determination, faith and hope. πŸ‘Œ In 1921, she joined an Arctic expedition across the Chukchi Sea to Russia’s Wrangel Island. She was recruited for the expedition to sew fur clothing for the team. She joined the expedition to earn money for her ailing son Bennett. Long story short, the expedition ran into rough weather literally and she was left caring for one expedition member who fell sick while other members of the team ventured out. She cared for the sick explorer who died after about 5 months. All alone, except for the expedition’s cat for company, she toughed it out for ~ 8 months in extreme weather till she was rescued. The money she earned helped save her son. πŸ‘

It’s delightful to see people’s face light up when they fondly recall memories of their mother. It’s funny to see big Shaq quake in his boots when his mother admonishes him for some silly on-air feud. πŸ˜‚ It was heartbreaking to see and hear George Floyd call out for his mother as his life was ebbing away. 😒 It was heartening to read about Bam Adebayo surprising his mom by buying a home for her in appreciation of all her hard work and the sacrifices made by her when he was growing up. πŸ‘ My mom helps me stay grounded and think positive. πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

In recent times it’s become a habit for me to watch reruns of cooking shows on TV. “It reminds me of food cooked by my mom, it’s so comforting I could keep on eating this dish” is among the best praises lavished by patrons of restaurants and judges of cooking shows. Hearing that I feel
“With moms around, the world is in good hands. Everything will be alright” πŸ‘

Happy Mother’s Day! πŸ™

2020 Raj Farm Update# 8 – Bountiful Harvest πŸ‘

It’s harvest time at Raj Farm, folks, and it’s been bountiful harvest this year! πŸ‘ This news must come as music to your ears as y’all have been waiting anxiously to hear this good news all year. It’s been cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, onion bunches, basil, strawberries and roses all the way! πŸ‘Œ Yes, we have had to deal with rapacious rabbits but the hardy plants of Raj Farm have weathered the most ferocious attacks and still stand strong and tall πŸ‘ We here at the farm shored up the defense of the most vulnerable plants by standing them up on smooth and sheer plastic face i.e. inverted buckets, to make it harder for the rabbits to get a grip on this situation. So far it appears to be working πŸ‘
For more information let the picture speak to all patrons of this farm.

Always remember one thing:
At Raj Farm we don’t produce produce, we harvest love πŸ™

2020 Raj Farm Update# 1

Did you think Raj has gone to seed? Well, if you did you would have been right actually literally πŸ˜€
Yes, Raj Farm is back! The seeds hold mysteries in the center picture with hints on top & the sides!
Will current Raj channel the former Raj to discover back the farmer Raj mojo? πŸ˜‰ Time will tell!
Is Raj all in? You betcha, he has bet his farm πŸ™‚

Teaching Spanish

Son chose Spanish as foreign language to learn in school. Being multilingual is always useful especially in today’s world where it’s not uncommon to communicate with people from different parts of the world. I saw son was reading Spanish numbers. I volunteered to teach him. Only problem: I knew Spanish numbers from one to five only (uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco) having heard or come across those numbers in usage like numero uno, quattro (4-wheel drive) etc. Not wanting to put in the hard work of actually looking up what six to ten were in Spanish I decided to improvise πŸ˜€ So, six turned into sixo, seven into seveno,…, ten into teno in my Spanish version πŸ™‚ I was in the zone and willing to go eleveno to hundredo too. Son had enough though as what I was saying and what he was seeing were totally different! He politely declined my offer to go any further. Anytime after that when I asked “Hey son, want to learn Spanish from me?” his standard response was “No thanks, I am good”. I wonder why πŸ˜‰

Don’t blame me, blame all those 1-800 # that never use seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez as options to choose language of the call. If they had I would have scored a perfect ten, I mean perfecto diez πŸ˜€

Greatest joy, biggest regret

Among the greatest joys of life is the look of unalloyed delight in a child’s face. It’s a look of supreme satisfaction and living in the moment to the fullest. When my son was in pre-school, elementary school one of my pleasures was saying or doing things that would bring a smile and light up his face. Could be something as simple as saying a few words of encouragement, a warm hug, spinning stories to praise him, getting a game or saying/doing something silly. Most worries melt away on seeing bright smile of a child πŸ™‚

The biggest regrets tend to be words said or actions taken in haste. Expressing disappointment at lower than expected grades or displaying anger if something is broken or lost. Or turning away a youngster selling cookies to raise money with the thought “How many cookies can one eat? I don’t want to add more sugar to my body”. Overreaction could be caused by external factors like something not going as planned at work or an appliance breaking down and waiting a long time for a response on calling a 1-800 #. Luckily wife is there to set the situation right many a times and drill sense into yours truly πŸ™‚

Bottom line: Doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. Fortunately we get a chance to set things right in most instances even if we get it wrong the first time.