Of talking about money, saving, needs, etc. with your child…is it too early?

Thank you BlogAdda!

*Terribly hotch-potch, incoherent thoughts being scribbled, more like an introspection than anything else*

This is something I have been asking myself for quite sometime now. I’m at a stage of parenting where I am unable to decide how appropriate it is to talk about money to my 6year old kid. Is it too early or just the right time or am I late already in instilling the importance of the ‘M’ word to my child?

Of course, like any parent, I want my child to understand the value of money. I want her to know that she need not get all that she asks for. Every little trip to the toy store or book store or any shop for that matter need not mean that she gets to pick up any thing and bring it home. Sometimes she may have to earn to get what she wants. Which is why we have started playing this li’l game lately, where every time she does something good- eg. eat her meals on time, sleep on time, finish her homework, treat people around her well, clean up her room, etc. etc.- she gets to earn a point- each point valued at one riyal- that she has to note down in a book. And at the end of the month based on the number of points, she earns riyals which she can use to buy anything that she wants.

I cant claim this game a success yet, though, for there still are days when those trips to the toy store and grocery store end up in a massive tantrum-throwing and ‘nobody-loves-me’ session because, “Amma didn’t buy the kitchen set” or “Papa didnt get the chocolates I liked”. Yes there are days when she goes on a rampant ‘lets buy this dress’, ‘I want that shoe’, ‘I want this’, ‘I want that’ spree and I explain to her about how all those things require a lot of money and that she needs to learn to be happy with what she has.

There are times when she finds something interesting at a friend’s house or in a TV show and asks for a similar one for herself and I end up denying her mostly because I know it is just a momentary fascination that she will not fancy for long, and eventually will dump it inside her toy-chest never to be taken out.

And at other times when I deny her, I tell her that it is expensive which her Amma and Papa cannot buy for her.

Whenever I see her disregarding her toys and her other possessions, I have found myself drilling into my child, the need to give due importance to money, the importance of learning to understand the genuine need to have something before demanding for it and learn to forgo the things that she doesn’t need because her parents are working really hard to bring in the money and manage it so she can get what she wants. So its only natural that she is thoughtful enough to consider all of that.

The other day her constant fiddling with the TV had me chide her for rough-handling something that was very expensive and how we cant afford a costly repair on it, so she had to be more cautious and less clumsy.

Such conversations with her have resulted, I observe, in her going through a change in the way she approaches us and things around her in general.

Now, when something catches her fancy, instead of jumping around with excitement at the prospect of buying it, she merely asks us, ‘can we buy this Amma, does it cost a lot?’ or ‘I wish the doll house wasnt so expensive!’

Thats when I sense her holding herself back and wonder if I am being a little too harsh on her by pushing her to grown up too fast, if I am denying her the little pleasures way too soon..

On another occasion, at a family gathering in a restaurant, Namnam dropped a soup bowl on the floor leading her to a nervous query, ‘Amma, will I have to pay for this bowl?’

When I see her running around the toy store looking for that perfect toy and settling in for the next best because- in her own words- ‘it costs so much!’, I feel a tinge of guilt seep into me! I feel immensely overwhelmed at seeing her growing up so fast so soon! Does she have to grow up so soon?

I do want her to learn about saving, to prioritize her needs, to value money, to manage finances. And I know life will teach her all of that. But is it really the time to introduce her to that phase? Am I going overboard? Would I rather let her be? God am I crazy?

I really dont know what is the right thing to do here…

The Rainbow Cake..

That I made for my angel who turned 6 today..

A piece, anyone? πŸ™‚

For the recipe, head straight to Sin A Mon whose delicious creation is what drove me to try a hand at it.

Thanks a bunch, Monika! It was indeed a joy to bake this cake for Namnam, who was literally left gaping at all those colours magically woven with each other, when she cut it :). Needless to say, it was much relished and appreciated by her and all of us πŸ™‚

The Lanka Sojourn- Part 2 (KANDY)

Part 1 can be read here..


Where were we? The spice garden, right.

So after a long walk around the garden we set off for Kandy.

About 115kms further from Colombo, Kandy city is situated in the midst of hills with an altitude measuring 500m. It was also the capital of the last Sinhalese kingdom. It is now a World Heritage Site.

The distance between the garden and the hill station was covered in a little over an hour. It was a smooth drive for the next 30 minutes or so with heavenly weather riding along with us all through. There were some downpours on the way, however, which reminded me of the warnings by the weather sites and almost made me anxious about the possibility of having our holiday getting doomed even before it took off properly. But the rains lasted barely for a few minutes, lifting my spirit up again.

Oh no dont get me wrong! My eternal love for rains was very much intact and I didnt mind the showers…but I didnt want a busted-holiday either, you see! :mrgreen:

With the start of the next half hour began our climb up the hills. It was a bumpy ride up which we were prepared for after reading about it in TripAdvisor. The website had even reviewed that the rough ascent would give way, in time, to this hotel where we were to check in, and which would boast of a scenic view from atop.

And as we drove up, our guide pointed us towards the hotel beautifully nestled in the hill tops of Kandy.

Amaya Hills

In a few minutes we were in Amaya Hills completely spell-bound by the breathtaking view of the valleys and mountains. Add to that- yes, you guessed it right- the smiling faces and warm welcoming gestures of the hotel staff :). In no time the bumpy rides that got us here were forgotten!

The header that you see now was taken from the lobby of the hotel. It was an amazing feeling to see Namnam take in the beauty of her green and lush surrounding, breath in the cool breeze and connect with nature from up close πŸ™‚

A bit of a downside here and every hotel that we stayed in Sri Lanka, though, was the long wait that we were put through while checking-in. In Kandy, however, we were willing to over-look the waiting time of almost an hour, mainly because of the picturesque views that we had been greeted with all around the property.

So while R went to take care of the check-in formalities, Namnam and I went around taking pictures of every plant, every flower, every mountain, every corner in sight, in every possible angle and expression! Even the balcony railing was not spared by Namnam, who had a field click-clicking with my phone-camera during our entire holiday πŸ™‚

And then, as though, to make up for the delayed check in, we got upgraded to a junior suite. We didnt mind it one bit of course! :). It was a very spacious, well made up and extremely comfortable suite with an amazing view of cloud capped valleys.

Heavenly, isnt it?

After a long flight and a winding drive up, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to unwind and relax.

The next day, after a sumptuous breakfast, we headed to the Royal Botanical Garden, a sprawling garden situated in Peradeniya, about 4 miles off Kandy. The garden covers approximately 147 acres with extensive and well-kept lawns, varied collection of medicinal plants, orchids, spices and palm trees.

Namnam was so taken in by the numerous flower beds donning the garden that she had my phone firmly focused all through the walk, continuously clicking shots of whatever she could lay her eyes on!

The garden’s history dates back to year 1843 when it was formally established with plants brought in from Kew Garden, United Kingdom, Slave Island, Colombo and other parts of Sri Lanka. We saw many trees that had their origins going as far back as 1900.

This tree was planted in 1922 by the then H.R.H Prince of Wales

And this very space was alternately used by our little princess to hop back and forth as a means of amusing herself!

Dont believe me? See for yourself..

And this went on for sometime until madam declared that she was tired and needed a break. She perched atop ‘her throne’ and we headed to a nearby cafe.

What did y’all think ‘her throne’ was? The father’s neck of course! πŸ˜€

And here I’d like to mention another attribute of Sri Lanka that I was very impressed with. Hygiene.

There was no doubt that this was a beautiful country, but what particularly amazed us was how much they cared about hygiene, especially in the restrooms. And this held true for not just the star-category hotels and upmarket restaurants, but even those small shops in the nook of a city. There were a couple of occasions where Namnam had had to use the public toilets, sometimes at a garment shop, sometimes in a cafe and sometimes in a street-side restaurant, but each place we went to, had a spotless, clean and well-maintained toilet. I couldn’t help but wonder about how this country which otherwise looked and felt so similar to my own, was way different and ahead, when it came to keeping and maintaining a clean environment around. And I admit I felt a tad bit envious upon realizing this.

Next we visited the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which houses Sri Lanka’s most revered Buddhist relic- a tooth of the Buddha. The tooth is believed to have been retrieved from the Buddha’s funeral pyre in 543 BC and smuggled into Sri Lanka in the 4th century AD hidden in the hair of a princess.

Interestingly it is during poojas or special offerings that the heavily guarded room which houses the tooth is open to devotees and tourists. It is kept in a gold casket which further contains six caskets of diminishing size with probably the smallest casket containing the tooth. Even then one doesnt get to see the actual tooth. On days when the room is open the visitors are only allowed to see the gold casket from the doorway.

The room that houses the tooth relic- Unfortunately the time we visited the shrine, there were no poojas or offerings, hence the room was closed for public viewing.

However we were lucky to have stumbled upon a taxidermy of Raja and learned about this great tusker who carried the casket of the tooth relic at the Esala Perahara- the grand tooth festival- from year 1950 to 1987. He was declared a national treasure by the Sri Lankan Government in 1984. He died in 1988. His stuffed remains are kept in a museum within the safe confines of the Tooth Relic Temple.

Raja taxidermied…

From the temple, we, then, headed back to the hotel. We were so famished that a simple dhall and rice tasted the yummiest to our growling tummies!

Dhall, by the way, is the Sri Lankan version of Daal, a very very delicious one at that. I could have it plain with no side dishes and relish all the same!

With this, our two-day stay in Kandy was almost over :(. We packed and kept our bags ready for the journey ahead and retired for the day. Our next destination. Nuwara Eliya, the hill city known for its tea plantations.

To be continued…