A 1000 books challenge before kindergarten

One of my friends gave me this crazy idea of finishing of 1000 books before preschool challenge. (http://1000booksbeforekindergarten.org/). The idea sounds a little crazy at first but believe me this is the best thing ever happened to my Avni :). After starting this challenge(I used to read to her earlier also but never this frequent), her vocabulary has has grown in leaps and bounds. May be I started this challenge around her 2nd birthday which is the normal ‘language explosion’ time for any toddler. So It can just be a coincident. But Still I like to believe that books have evidently helped her to learn much faster.

Many things which I tend to tune out while reading a book, she catches it. Its a big challenge to get my toddler to sit still for me to read her a book, But once I start reading she gives me her complete attention. I normally read a book couple of times  and mark in Goodreads what she has read so far (https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/50082994). The other day, when we went to library Avni was picking up many already-read-books and saying ‘Chiya read’, so she is definitely remembering the read ones.

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Review: The Humbug Murders

The Humbug Murders
The Humbug Murders by L.J. Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was on top of the library shelf for Choice Reads December. I randomly picked it up while I was waiting for my little one to finish her Playing. The initial few pages was interesting but the hero – one ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ – was kind of boring and a non hero material. I was about to put it back, just then I saw a name Charles Dickens. Oh! ‘Its the one from Christmas Carol’ – I almost screamed in my head and put the book in my bag. By the way, I read Christmas Carol way back in 2010(Dec 3rd I finished it to be more specific!) , no wonder I forgot the world famous hero #lameexcuses 🙂

But apart from this initial excitement of finding a author and character in the same book, the book had nothing new to offer. Dragging and jumbling chapters, unimpressive characters and not-so-much of a mystery – all these pulls down the book. I would have rather read a Charles Dickens book. So gets a 3 from me.

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The Multiverses riddle!

The other day I was watching Little Krishna with my Avni. She has a fervent obsession for anything related to her little Chinna (K still evades her speech and gets replaced by a benign ‘Ch’).  In that movie, Little Krishna had decided to teach Brahma a lesson and summoned an infinite number of Brahma’s to show him that there are infinite number of universes and ours is just one of them.  I was grinning like a Cheshire cat during that sequence. It just so happened that I watched the TED talk about Multiverses just a day before this happened.

It seems science just recently proved\acknowledged the existence of other universes. The ever diminishing skeptic in me calls this a mere coincidence! Still it amazes me even to think that thousands of years ago, people knew things(be it as a form of literature or as a fact) which we recently found out.

Ref – Multiverse in Religion

Review: The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late

The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late
The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late by Thomas Sowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book as a reference read for toddlers and their speech issues. The book opens up a completely different perspective about how we see toddlers. The highly intelligent toddler who shows symptoms similar to that of autistic one – is the main theme of the book. I highly recommend it to any parent who has a late talking child. It helps you to get a new perspective. On the other side, the book is a perfectly painted picture of a intelligent kid, that any parent of an autistic kid wants to embrace. So this book should never be used as a sole guide.

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Review: Talking to the Dead

Talking to the Dead
Talking to the Dead by George Noory
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Few months ago I have read a book on afterlife – The Laws of The Spirit World. The book was not as impressive as I thought and I gave a 3 rating for that.(https://hazydreamsandreflections.word…). While reading this book, I was constantly reminded of that one. Many a things described in the book about afterlife and the ‘other world’ seem very similar to that one of the book. There is little chance of plagiarism and the similarities surprised me to say the least. May be the ‘other’ world is indeed the same as described in these books . We never know!
Spoilers ahead–>
Now back to this one, The moment I started reading the first chapter there was one and only one question in my mind. They talk about the ‘Phone call from the dead’ in the first chapter. Why no one has ever verified with the telephone operator where the call was from? or may be Was there a call in the first place or Were they illusions of grieving minds? I never got the answer! Since this question was in the back of my mind, I never connected with the book. So Talking to the dead gets a 2 from me.

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Happy New Year!

This year is special in many ways.Here are the Why’s.

  • Because I left my dear job. I thought it would be hard and I kept telling myself that I can come back anytime. But surprisingly, It’s not so! My little one Avni – just managing her is such a herculean task for me, I sometimes wonder how benign my old manager was. I had never managed a house alone before. I always had help. Either my in-laws or my-parents were always there to buffer me.  Initial days, I was clueless. With a hyperactive toddler, I hardly knew what to do. Dirty dishes always piled up in my kitchen, Clothes and toys scattered around the floor, Everyday I was bogged down by the things I have to do and was furious because of the things I can not do. I never did any of these household stuff when I was working. I had help, damn it. (Yes, You always stay a princess when you are with your parents! My parents never let me enter kitchen). And every time I do cleaning or washing a voice in my head always whispered me to go back to my old job. It took me almost a month to get a grip of me and put me back in order. After a complete meltdown and a few tears later, I decided to change for good than being stuck in the past (A couple of ted talks, really helped!). Be it project management or home management, it’s all about how you treat it. Treat it with respect and tackle it the same way you do a production release. Notes, reminders,budget planning, quick fixes, clean up, creating schedules, resource allocation and may be a weekly assessment call with hubby to analyse the budget overshooting – I do everything that I did before but with a better perspective in my home. Slowly I am managing home better, I am turning out to be a better cook than before, a better mom than before, a more nagging wife than before (which is a must have after six years of marriage). Later when I start working, I would definitely miss this time of my life. After all this is the time where I learned the meaning of the word – Home maker.
  • Because I discovered a wonder called Library. I had never read a book from a library before coming to Seattle(Apart from couple of engineering text books.). I always bought the books which I read. Here I joined Bellevue Public Library – King County Library System. Every time I enter the library, I have a tickling sensation in my tummy. So many books, OMG I never thought I would have access to more than a 10000 books. I was ecstatic in the initial days and just being in the library has a calming effect on me. I take my little one Avni there, couple of times a week for her Lego or story time. My reading rate has increased and since I have the choice, my reading content quality has increased. If I love a book, I read it. This is the time, I learned about a magical place called Library and this shall be remembered forever!
  • Because I get to know Avni better – When I was working, I was never close to my baby. I hardly got 4 hours a day to be with her and that was not sufficient. I never knew her as much as I should be. Lately, I get so much of time with her that I slowly realize how fast their personality grows. The way she communicates, the way she mumbles, the way she shows her anger, the way she sleeps – I am new to all these. Its like knowing her with a new perspective. She was always an infant for me. The change to toddler was so abrupt and surprising that every moment I am experiencing new things. I get to experience terrible two’s 24×7 and that’s makes this year even more special.

I read 22 books this year. Considering Avni and her tantrums , it’s a huge number. It’s mostly fiction. But I am happy with the content. I have read couple of good books and have managed to write reviews for all. I had run a 10km marathon and was active enough to run a 5km any day. Baked enough cookies and cakes to satisfy my sweet tooth, Well 2015 was not bad.

2016, I have a target of 50 books and I want it to be majorly non fiction. As usual, this years new year resolution would be “less time online and more time offline”.

Wishing a happy new year to all!