Ada Lovelace Who?

Lilsakos was at Green Crusaders market last Sunday. Showcasing at a place where you end up meeting like minded parents, your kind of kids and see some examples of parenting done right is what makes this job I do amazingly interesting.

Green crusaders market is a sunday market in Noida that encourages green organic , meaningful companies to come out and display their passionate business ideas and products. The ambience and energy here is very different from the mall visits families are stuck with because of few available outdoor options in the city. When your work gets to you to meet the right audience it makes all the hard work worthwhile. I met some fabulous parents and kids who were thrilled to see Lilsakos products tickling their kids brains.

Lilsakos Achievers Coasters were the heros or should I say sheros of the display on Sunday. Ada Lovelace coaster was recognisable by a few kids and it became a wonderful conversation starter and we ending up discussing Charles Babbage, first computer, Ada being the first computer programmer in the world and lots more. Ada who? came from a few parents who lost out on undertanding the conversation. They also pledged to read up on her and went back appreciating the thought behind the inspiring products. Lilsakos is also proud to have a young fiesty budding designer who likes stories where girls save themselves and has designed some fabulous wall art to inspire kids that got rave reviews too.

Another hit product was the bathroom ettiquette wall art. Lots of parents engaged and discussed the perils of toilet trining, how important it is to put up signs that help in building good habits and help in educating about importance of hygiene in their kids.The continent cushions and continent coasters always find buyers who love to travel. Lilsakos has the essentials like bath, decor, accessories, mini learners products and also some not the usual kind of merchandise. These aren’t mainstream or focus on how kids look,these look beyond and* aren’t tiaras and bows,

* instead are conversation starters about the 🌎 , inspiring people & ideas,

* designed to make home environment more and more stimualting,

*made with love to motivate kids to be their unique selves &

*and inspire them to dream and work towards their dreams and read stories like that of Ada Lovelace, Emelia Earheart, Serena Willaims, Indra Nooyi etc

*there are no pink & blue brains here

*it’s a mighty little place for little strong, adventurous and kind kids and their conscious parents.

Saakshi Kapoor Singla

Pick Ups & Drops are not wasted efforts!

Not all parents have the privilege of having their own vehicle for pick ups and drops for their children. Not all parents even when they have the privilege, want to do the mundane job. Many children are fortunate enough to travel in school buses and get a break from their moms questioning sessions after each school day. The others are ferried in their own cars with their house help and drivers.Some of them are happier because their didi’s and bhaiya’s are like their family members, old and trusted people who dote on them. The others not so fortunate as their drivers and didi’s faces are ever changing,  who are many a times just doing a job , well done or not. Most of them have their eyes glued to their phones instead of the kids in their care, some smoking their lungs off and others enjoying some not so nice jokes with their fellows in the queue. No judgement really, but some of them look too scary to entrust our precious children with.

Being a mom who has  been there , outside in the kids collection queue for most of the last sixteen years, I have seen it all. Sometimes it has been tough and limiting and not easy to juggle work as per the pickup drop schedules of my children from school ,classes , birthdays etc. But all in all it’s been a pleasure…one because I like driving and secondly being there with them during these car rides has been the easiest and sure shot way to connect with them. It has not always been pleasant though. Sometimes I’ve hovered too much, other times the kids have been not so polite.I have had my share of some very bad days, when I have cribbed and cribbed and the trips have not always been happy. Many car rides over the years have also ended up in big fights, tears, rage and extreme emotional outbursts from both sides. My love for doing it everyday doesn’t automatically mean, my kids must have enjoyed them forever too. Being ticked off for many reasons like untied shoe laces, ruffled hair, homework questions include some not so pleasant car prison like memories.

My car has been where the most meaningful conversations with the kids have happened over the years. It’s here, where none of us have had an option out….nowhere to run , or hide from each other. With two young adults , one who is ready to fly and has finished school and the other having just an year to go. Life has been good, as we are happily bonding and are not in each others hair or critical of each other anymore.Loads of teachable  moments thereafter with me doling out life lessons and advice in earlier days of my parenting , car rides with them have now become just pure fun connecting time. My car companions have taught me a lot too. I am happy about being ticked off for skipping a red light or being caught for being condescending in my discussions  by my very independent thinking children. From discussing news, ideas ,relationships, family ties,  ted talks to daily detours to get our favourite ice creams on the way back home …its been all worth it ! And I will miss it big time soon!

( Re posting the above article from 2016, reminiscing …. after hearing from a mom who said she can not make it for our event ,” because that’s my pick up time for my girl “.

I am now a mom of college going kids , studying far far away and yes i do miss all those pick ups and drops and terribly so !

Saakshi Kapoor Singla

Are you A Pygmalion Parent?

I have been hibernating…missing from this space but not from my most favourite topic about what makes kids tick and have been indulging in lots of reading and researching. Something I read today stuck on and thought it was worth sharing. Something that I have been following as a parent forever and ever without the knowledge of the fancy name it is called by in Psychological circles “The Pygmalion Effect”. 

The Pygmalion Effect is a phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an improvement in performance.

But why is it relevant here on a parenting site?

Turns out it is one of the key factors of raising successful and well adjusted kids.

The messages we give out during our parenting journey with our kids are the beliefs that are reinforced in their minds. Beliefs that become a blueprint for them. If the blue print is positive, our kids think themselves to be capable and work towards it. If the blue print is negative , they feel their limitations and work towards strengthening that belief in their minds. We often label our kids … sometimes these labels are good but many a times they aren’t. We label them as shy, as not good in studies, not athletic, lazy etc. And these become their reality. Our expectations form the basis of our child’s self-image. So our expectations should be high from them if we want them to perform better. High expectations does not mean we should expect our tone deaf child to become a Beethoven in future. But a belief that they will become their best versions and what makes them unique.

What we tell our kids will either help them reach success or knock them down, inflate their self esteem or deflate it and start a series of self doubting thoughts and lack of confidence. Parents attitude toward their children spills into their kids psyche and influence how they feel about themselves. Therefore it is important for us parents to continuously give out signals that are strong positive impressions. Our children doing well stems from our own unwavering belief in their ability and goodness.

Brooke Hampton’s famous quote, “Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become”, talks about this beautiful power of believing.

So are you a Pygmalion Parent?

If not, stop labeling, and make your kids believe in their strengths by having higher expectations from them & they will surprise you by performing to the best of their ability and better!

I am a Pygmalion Parent and it’s worked for me to be one… my kids are on their  individual journeys and I don’t know where will they reach. But they are sure of themselves and I continue to believe in their inherent strength and goodness! 

I don’t have the brakes in my feet and steering wheel in my hands anymore!

Parenting is TOUGH and BITTERSWEET in all it’s stages. But what is the toughest part of being a parent? Many would argue child birth and seeing their kids going through pain..something on which they have no control on. And that’s what I thought till I took my kids … okay not kids- my young adults for their driving lessons.

Metaphorically kids being in the driving seats is what every parent is waiting for. But literally, kids in the driving seat and you in the navigator seat means the kid is in control of his and your precious life. And that in my opinion is the scariest and toughest part of parenting.

Before every driving lesson I have to prepare , prepare hard and push myself out of my comfort zone, wear my brave armour …tell myself ….if I can teach them to talk and walk, how much difficult can this be? Parents who are in the similar stage as me … I think know what I mean. To see your child growing and blooming into a tall,handsome, pretty and confident , sure of himself or herself adult is Aaaaaaaawwwesome ….but God can’t it just end there. Do I have to go out everyday and fret and have my heart in my mouth while they take the wheel. And me doing  what? …..helplessly pressing and pushing hard to find the brake in my feet on the other side of the vehicle. And when I can’t find that brake , a difficult realisation sets in everyday ….I am now the “Navigator” and navigators are guides….controls aren’t supposed to be in their hands and feet.

Why didn’t Mr.  Henry Ford and his counterparts not think of putting the controls on both sides of the cars?

Why Why ?

The toughest part of parenting is to see your children put themselves at risk again and again with you sitting as a onlooker on the other side.  Praying hard and hoping other people on the road can see the “Learners” sign on the back of our car and have their brakes well oiled. (That reminds me, I need to put the red danger sign in the front and all the sides of the car too).

My  anxiety level keeps growing by the minute during their driving lessons. With my heart talking aloud and legs shaking I am short of screaming my lungs out, dying to take the control back. But the bullet has left the gun, my kids aren’t willing to let go the control anymore. How much ever I want them to go back being babies….it isn’t possible. They are in the driving seats now. How well or not so well they drive their cars and their lives is in their hands and my control is diminishing and soon will become zero. I am waiting patiently actually not so patiently to see them manovering their cars and lives well.

They aren’t there yet…But HOPEFULLY will be soon. With this thought…I ready myself to get into passenger side of my car everyday , give them the wheel and hold my breath and keep reminding myself ….that I am not and cannot be in the driving seat anymore!

Those who criticise our generation, forget who raised it !

 Teenagers Opinion ” Those who criticize our generation forget who raised it”.

Universal Parental Opinion: Our children lives are tougher today. The zones they are living in are much more complicated than those simple days of our growing up life. Internet , loads of exposure to lives of others, peer pressure, materialistic attitudes etc etc. Also the general unrest in the world , conflicts between countries and different sects , terrorism, intolerance for other people’s beliefs, religions, sentiments, ideology and so so many varied influences. Thousands of news and TV channels, apps, portals, information sources …some genuine …some fake, zillion options for everything….one click snap decisions etc etc. Not to forget the Social Media frenzies …..Facebook, Instagram , what’s app, snapchats have all made our world smaller , more cohesive and connected …and that is good , very good . But what’s it brought with it is people getting a chance to peep into others people’s lives…a look into neighbours and friends homes and a overzealous interest in things beyond their own spheres.

Life lived through filters, smart phone lenses, selfies, posts and updates seems like a pretty dangerous made up…pretend world to our generation. While I am a worried parent…..like so many others parents of our generation ……scared for our children losing their innocence a little too soon.I am not sure if it’s the exposure, the Internet, the smart phones or the new generation to be blamed. We were not born in the computer age and are the ones who are finding it harder to handle these mediums.It’s us who are misusing it ….getting affected the most ….finding it distracting because we come from a time where words like online friends , click of a button weren’t part of our dictionaries. These gadgets and social media platforms are new toys in our hands and we are going crazy. Some of us have learned to not take anything and everything on social media as gospel truth , are more discerning in our choice of what we do with it, use it to find old long lost connections and keep our time fruitfully engaged by staying away from envy and judgements. But some of us have fallen prey and are living pretentious lives, a life stunted by the ease of having a view of what others are doing, how others are living and making comparisons.

My Opinion : It’s our problem! Sadly …I hate to admit that the intolerance for other people’s opinions, beliefs, religious and political views and the fixed mindsets problem is more of our generation’s problem. We don’t see young people tweeting stupid things, or sharing their life stories on Facebook,worrying who is eating what, wearing what and doing what or getting into what’s app family group or friends group fights.As a parent of teenage kids,I have had many opportunities to watch closely …my kids and their friends and lots of other teenagers out there in my circle and they seem to be much more sorted than what we all give them credit. They had their phase of doing some stupid things ..yes..over sharing of their lives ….but a lot of it is finished and done with. They are off the Facebook , they never tweet to sensationalise, their Instagram stories are creative and fun , their snapchats …I don’t know …but are maybe ok because I haven’t seen them having emotional road blocks over social media or seem to have feelings of envy and distress over other people’s livesor have insecurities like …everybody is happier than me….or I am the best ….look at my illustrious life …everyone is travelling the world , have awesome families but me etc etc …kind of heartaches that what we adults have had in our share post the advent of Internet and Facebook.

The new generation is so much more sorted than us in terms of where they want to go …they have confidence of having the courage to work for what they want from life. They are smart , quick and can use GPS , google maps , Wikipedia and all kinds of technology much better than us. They don’t need to be directed …instead we are dependent on their directions which in turn is helping us navigate through this new world. They know where to find answers from and have the right key words and the right questions to manoeuvre their way through anything. They are the empowered ones !

Why are we then worried for them? ….instead we should worry about us and help ourselves …to make peace with the idea that this is the new world …which has information available on one click …where everything is out there and in our children’s reach. And there is nothing that we can do about that but use it to our advantage.Live our lives more creatively and happily and enjoy the fact that we got a chance to see this change right in front of our eyes. Be role models for our children ….role models of people who are smart to see the pros of the dynamic new world and make the most of our time left on the earth…thanks to new amazing new options…learning more and doing more meaningful things with our lives. And our children seeing us making the right use of the information overload and make better decisions about online safety, privacy and using the power of Internet and social media to make a difference in this world!

Even if the times aren’t simple anymore …our children are not complexed and are not disadvantaged..rather they are  much better equipped and empowered to live their lives to the fullest!

” Boys Will Be Boys ” “Girls Poor Girls”

“Boys will be Boys “and “Girls poor Girls ” are the longest withstanding clichĂ© that we know of in our world…Stereotypes that we resented when we were growing up and stereotypes that our kids resent when they have grown up enough to make sense of the above two phrases.”Boys will Be Boys ” phrase has for centuries absolved men from many wrong doings and it’s time to stop that and make them accountable too. ” Girls are Girls …poor girls “clichĂ© has stopped the women from going after their dreams for far too long, and given them also a reason to not work hard enough … Again for far too too long!

Times are changing , so is the world around us , there are a few strong and sensitive leaders , both men and women who are emerging and breaking the stereotype , giving us and our children a chance to get inspired. To make gender equality a reality. In in this new era , are we parents trying hard enough to merge with this new reality? Are we contributing in diminishing these age old distinctions in how we are parenting our boys and also our girls? How far have we reached ? Quite far but not far enough still because even the progressive parents who have impressive educational background backing them up are guilty somewhere and not just the uneducated people or the regressive orthodox parents out there.

The orthodox regressive parents are more straight forward in making the distinction based on the sex of their children. And have the most consistent and most gender biased parenting style. They have no ambiguity and have more acceptance from their children..Which off course doesn’t make it into an ideal scenario because their boys grow up to be Chauvinistic king size pigs and their girls grow up into submissive , I can take any shit , because I know how to ….kind of adults. Girls should be doing the housework , they don’t need to study much, let’s get them married the soonest …kind of parents. Boys should be taught riding, driving the soonest possible , the boys should be fed as soon they come home, they never need to lay the table or pick up the dishes……kind of parents.

There are some parents who treat their girls as princesses who shouldn’t be rough handled, should be dressed in frills and pink, protected from the sun, the grime and harsh words and don’t need to do much work ( because they will have to may be do a lot of it when they go to their own homes with many responsibilities ). They feel that girls should be brought up with tenderness and tenderness only. These parents also treat their sons well ….they don’t have to do any chores and are given things on a platter but their boys aren’t allowed to cry. Crying is for girls , they say ..toughen up , you have to face the bad world tomorrow …they say that a little too often. There are too many expectations from the boys ….get your marks …you can’t suck at math, it’s fine for girls because they don’t necessarily need careers ….and not math and science for sure…., and the girls don’t have to work for earning their bread tomorrow, how will you run your own businesses and homes tomorrow if you don’t study or take sciences and man up today.

And then there are parents who try the hardest to make sure that their girls and boys are brought up exactly the same way, with the same leverages, same expectations and same tenderness and also the same toughness.These are the ones who are progressing towards making the world a better place …where people hopefully will be seen as their unique selves and not as the fair sex and the not so fair sex people. In homes like these girls aren’t delicate princesses and cry babies, they are warriors , wonder women inspired young minds making the most of their talents. Girls who understand the value of labour and know that their brains are most important part of their bodies.They are made to earn their privileges and don’t mind the arm rustles too. In homes like these boys aren’t kings either, they are sensitive to people around , work for their privileges, are allowed to cry and express their emotions. Boys who are tough Super Heroes who care and who can be the softies too and don’t mind shedding a tear. Homes where children know housework is not only the job of the mother and her house helps! Homes where boys are encouraged to be feminists and where girls are taught to be tough!Homes where boys and girls both are given the confidence that they can do anything that they want, may it be a job earmarked for men or stereotyped for women! Homes where they can dream big and are taught the importance of hard work and dignity of labour irrespective to their gender and the job associated with any gender.

But this is a long haul from where we are right now, because even these kind of homes where gender equality to quite an extent lives , aren’t the most ideal that they could be. Because when those boys and girls are maturing into teenagers …we parents find some of our gender distinction free parenting style going out of the window. Like we will make our teenage boys to be more independent ….go on metros, uber the town alone, come home later ( maybe) etc etc . And I am guilty of the above and so are so many of my friends …Not because we don’t want our girls to be more independent because it’s high time we absolve ourselves from the duty of driving them around and letting them live their lives as freely as our boys.

Sadly this is one area of our parenting style that we don’t like but are stuck with for as long as our world isn’t safe enough for girls. For as long as women aren’t respected by every monster out there. For as long as the other two kinds of homes and parents don’t start bringing up their boys differently. For as long as boys aren’t encouraged to be human and allowed to express their emotions openly, for as long as they are not brought up as kings and not as a the superior race, for as long as they are all brought up to be feminists!