If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON’T!

posted in: Books, Favorites | 0

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We’ve been taking weekly trips to the library. Dora loves picking out all types of books. However, it’s been over six weeks since we checked out this book from the library and we’re constantly renewing it.

The Plot: During show and tell, a little girl decides to bring something unique to the school. She brings an alligator to school but ends up in a lot of trouble!

I think Dora really enjoyed this book because she loves bringing unique and challenging items to school. Her friends had quite a hard time guessing her letter thing during the puzzle game. Dora was supposed to bring something to school that started with the letter of the day. She gave her friends three clues to guess the item. No one guessed the right answer because she brought Origami Crane to school. Although she would have preferred a real Crane.

Birthday Parties from the Past

posted in: Dora's World | 0

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I’ve been pretty lazy this year, and it just hit me that Dora’s birthday is a little over a month away. I’m usually planning a creative birthday surprise for her. But I’ve been pretty lazy, meaning I haven’t even started planning for my wedding.

In my defense Dora keeps changing her mind, she started with Frozen, to Minnie Mouse (Don’t worry her Minnie Mouse phase still exists with her interest in bows), to Inside Out, to Shopkins and now she’s ready for Dora to Explorer. She’s pretty set on having a Dora the Explorer birthday party, and I’m pretty excited for her.

She’s been trying to convince her friends that she’s the real Dora to the Explorer. For her first birthday, Rayka wanted to have a Dora the Explorer themed party, but my mom decided on Disney Princess. We’ve thrown pretty extravagant birthday parties for her, but this year she wants a simple birthday party in the house with her friends. Fair enough right. Not really, when it comes to the Bengali culture, there’s an expectation that parents are invited with their kids. Dora wants to have all her friends there, so I’m trying to figure something out. Just kids, like she wants it.

Now it’s time to start making decorations, so here’s some of the decorations that Dora and I have created in the past for her birthday parties.

Dinsey Princess Birthday 

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Dr. Seus Birthday Party

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My Little Pony Birthday Party 

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Big Hero 6 Birthday Party 

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Honey Lemon - Copy

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Fred - Copy

I’m always so busy during the birthday parties; I never take photographs. I made every character from Big Hero 6 including a huge Baymax that was double the size of me. I’m planning on getting better at documenting my birthday crafts.

In the end its all about Dora’s happiness. No matter how perfect or imperfect the decorations are, Dora’s always super happy with the end results. She always feels proud about her big sister. I guess that’s all that matters!

A Christmas she’ll Remember

posted in: Dora's World | 0

 

 

December 25, 2015, is a date Dora is always going to remember. Yes, it was Christmas time and even though we don’t celebrate Christmas religiously (since we’re not Christmas, we do take advantage of the holiday and make it a day about family and, of course, Santa Claus when you have a five-year-old in the house. However, Dora loves it. Her imagination heightens like crazy when she thinks about Santa Claus traveling all around the world in one day, delivering presents?

 

I think I was asked about one hundred questions in regards to Santa coming through the Chimney, is he able to visit every house, did he go to Bangladesh? Since our mom was in Bangladesh during Christmas time. Was Santa going to go to New York for Shehab? Since Shehab spent Christmas in New York. It’s quite fun making up answers, and it always amazes her.

Dora and me

Dora got a couple of surprises from Santa Claus: she received a chocolate maker and a Shopkins game board. And a present from the Tooth Fairy (since the Tooth Fairy was at a conference when Dora left her tooth under her pillow). I know we’re horrible.

We even had a little slip up the following day when my brother, Preenon,  asked me to wrap a gift for him. He somehow managed to grab the wrapping paper we used for Dora’s presents. She instantly noticed, since Dora’s pretty observant with a, “Hey that’s Santa’s Wrapping paper.” Preenon’s response, “Yea Dora! I got it from Target, Santa shops for wrapping paper at Target!” Followed with my, “Dora, Santa isn’t able to make everything in his workshop, that’s too much work for the elves!Ok, we’re getting pretty good at this right. Success!

Preenon & Dora

Except when we went to Target and she saw her Shopkins game. “Hey, Ishika, look that’s my Shopkins game! Santa didn’t make this; he bought it from Target because he doesn’t make this game in his workshop!” Absolute save! Yes, we managed to make our five-year-old baby sister believe that Santa shops at Target if you ever get stuck in this situation.

Let’s just say Christmas was a success until I found Blueberry at the bottom of her cage and Pumpkin struggling for air. I didn’t realize it, but when I roasted our Christmas lamb in the oven, the nonstick roasting pan was harmful to our birds. Even though they resided in the living room, the fumes spread throughout the house and as a consequence Pumpkin died in Dora’s arms.

It took a while for Dora to realize that the hospital couldn’t save her parakeets. It was heartbreaking to watch her tears while she held Pumpkin and cried. I didn’t allow her to hold Blueberry since she passed away before. We put Pumpkin and Blueberry in a little box and plan to bury them in the summer.

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I think it’s difficult for Dora to understand the concept of death. She knows what the word means but to see it in front of her confused her a little. To her Pumpkin and Blueberry were just sleeping, how could they be dead? When we put them in a small box, Dora kept on saying that I should check and see if they were awake. She eventually understood that Pumpkin and Blueberry were in a forever sleep, and she hopes to reunite with them one day, so she’s going to stay strong for them. This little girl’s strength amazes me every day.

Rest in Peace Pumpkin and Blueberry

Dora's Letter

 

When you view the world through Dora’s eyes

posted in: Dora's World | 0

 

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I see a lot of posters on Facebook about “how being a kid is so much easier than being an adult.” Especially because children don’t have to worry about anything. I am guilty of being one of those individuals. However, I recently realized a child’s world isn’t as carefree as we believe it to be.

Maybe it’s just me, but when I try to look at the word through Dora’s eyes, I can see that she understands more than we believe she does. She understands that there’s pain, fear, and worry in this world, that sometimes you need to take responsibility for things you don’t want to, and sometimes you can’t control what the future entails.

The only difference between a child and an adult, children see everything through a positive lens. Dora’s very optimistic, and when times get tough, she tries to change the situation with a comical joke or a silly smile.

One example that’s constantly heartbreaking to me is the fact that she knows that come May I’ll have to move in with Shehab. I often find myself living in denial about the fact that I won’t wake up to my baby sister’s smile every day or coming home to her squishy hugs. Often I break down into tears and can’t help but smother Dora with additional hugs and kisses.

I know that Dora understands because the emotions are reciprocated with a simple, “Ishika it’s going to be ok, I love you.” We’ve often had conversations about the fact that I’ll have to live with Shehab, sometimes I joke about the fact that I don’t want to live with him, and I get a,

Ishika, you’re married, you’ll have to live with Shehab Bhaia!

Well, what about you Dora, don’t you want to live with me?

Ishika I live here, what about Mommy and Daddy? Don’t worry I’ll stay sometimes.

My eyes constantly fill up with tears when we have this conversation, she’s so much stronger than I am.

Ever since she was born, I’ve always spoken to her as an adult and said things straight. She’s got great communication skills and loves to discuss everything. Sometimes she’s my go-to person for advice, even though she’s five.

The difference between a child and adult? Well yes, children are a little more carefree because they’re optimistic. They know that obstacles exist, but they don’t let challenges hold them back, especially Dora. I can’t even explain the number of lessons Dora has taught me.

The greatest lesson Dora has ever taught me is to always  forgive the people who hurt you. I always build a wall around myself, but Dora, well she doesn’t care. She shows individuals compassion and love and changes their feelings for her. Watching her reaction makes me break down my wall.

She doesn’t care if someone hurts her or is mean; she never gives up on people. I’m always hearing her say, “Ishika be nice, maybe they’re just having a bad day, and they need someone to be nice.This often happens when I am yelling at cars on the highway.

When you view the world through a child’s eyes, you see the beauty and compassion in the world. You realize that anger and fear only hold us back from healing a situation that could potentially damage a relationship or create more obstacles in life. Dora’s only five, but sometimes I feel like she’s a wise little soul. Since the day I heard her heartbeat, she’s constantly teaching me about the reality of life and love. Because through her eyes, all she sees is wonder and happiness.

 

Bullying

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Dora has recently started getting bullied at recess by some of the kids. The recess supervisors are watching out for her. Having been bullied at three-years-old, it’s been having a large effect on her now. I want to share a story from the past that shows how bullying at any age can affect a child.

Bullying

Dora survived bullying two years ago and that was when it began. A couple of the little girls from our Bengali community decided that they did not want to include Dora. The bullying was one of the hardest things I’d ever experienced in my life. How do you teach three-year-old girls that it’s hurtful to be so mean?

I watched how they made statements like,

“Dora, you’re not our friend!”

“Go away, Dora!”

“We don’t want you, Dora!”

I tried to keep Dora away from them, but she was little, she wanted to make friends. It wasn’t until the night she began screaming in her sleep; I couldn’t handle it anymore. She started screaming,

“Why can’t we just be friends, you have to be nice.” Dora often expresses how she’s feeling in her sleep. That was the last straw for me.

Overtime Dora began making friends with the older kids and playing with others, but Dora just has such a loving personality.

At the next event when I experienced two little girls pushing Dora and telling her she wasn’t their friend, watching this completely  broke my heart. I had talked to the mothers of these two little girls about the issues, but nothing was resolved.

I sat the little girls down and I told them how I was sick of their behavior, they didn’t have to be friends with Dora, but they had to be nice. She didn’t do anything wrong to them. I probably looked insane lecturing two four-year-olds, but one year of bullying was enough.

I’ve always talked to Dora like she was an adult and I don’t believe in the whole “kids are mean” or “kids will be kids” cliches. Children understand a lot more than we believe. When you allow behaviors like bullying to go on you’re teaching one child that they can negatively empower and patronize another. My parents always taught us to fight our battles, but sometimes you just have to step in.

When I stood up for Dora, it gave her a push of confidence. At the next event when the bullying started again, I watched her take one of her bullies to the side and lectured them about being nice. That was one of my proudest Dora moments.

So why did Dora being bullied so much affect me? I was bullied as a child and left out. No one tried to stand up for me.  I was only eight and Dora was three. Looking at how she handled things, she’s a lot stronger than me.

I would like to request that everyone take bullying very seriously and talk to your children and siblings about it. You never know how it can affect someone’s life.

What steps do my family take to help Dora?

We explained to her that there would be difficult times and some not so nice people.

We explained that she should always express how she feels and communicate her feelings to others.

We talked to her preschool teacher about how she was being left out by certain children in the community, just in case it happened at school. It didn’t, but it’s very important to communicate things with your child’s or sibling’s teachers even if it’s not happening in school.

The bullying ended, she has now become friends with all the little girls in the community. One little girl tries to bully her still, but Dora manages to stay strong and to stick to her true friends. However, it’s important to observe your child or siblings surroundings. You can’t protect them from horrible obstacles but you can communicate and make them stronger.

10 shows every kid should know about…

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I love connecting my childhood with Dora’s, even though we’re nearly twenty-one years apart. When Dora shows interest in my childhood, I love introducing her to things from the past. Even though I love some of her current favorite shows: Mickey Mouse Club House, Doc. McStuffins, Wild Krats, My Little Pony, Daniel Tiger, and SuperWhy. I can’t help but think about some of my childhood favorites. Here’re ten shows she loves to watch and should watch…

Don’t worry we do limit her television time! 

  1. The Magic School Bus
  2. Tom and Jerry
  3. Looney Tunes
  4. Recess
  5. Rugrats
  6. Arthur
  7. Powerpuff Girls
  8. Dexter’s Laboratory
  9. The Jetsons
  10. The Flinstones

Three out of these five shows have become a daily must for her. The Magic School Bus, Recess, and the Rugrats. I’m secretly hoping for the day she lets me throw her a Looney Tunes party! How cool would that be? I’m secretly hoping she’ll start talking about these shows at school.

Do you have any more cartoons to add to the list?

Encouraging her to read

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At the end of pre-K Dora’s class started recognizing letters and sound. Letters and sounds were emphasized in Kindergarten. I loved going to Dora’s Special Person’s Day because we observed Mrs. Wolter’s teaching techniques. The kids learned practiced memorizing vowels and letters through song. It was amazing to observe, and it’s helped increase Dora’s interest in reading.

For the past couple years, Dora and I try to read every night. Dora would often take the book and pretend that she was reading the story. With the transition she made in Kindergarten, she’s started to recognize words, sounds, and letters. She’s ready to read herself.

The other day she was trying to read and started to get frustrated. When I asked why, she kept on answering, “I just can’t do it! I just want to read like you!”

Even though I’m constantly trying to encourage Dora verbally, I have to find other creative ways to encourage her confidence. I was quite lucky because my mom brought a couple of my childhood books and toys with us when we moved to London, and there it was on the bookshelf: My Ready-to-Read Stories. childhood book.

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I brought it to Dora and talked about how this book first helped me learn to read. She didn’t believe me at first until she opened it up and saw some of my past markings. The backward S brings back memories.  

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That blast from the past was all Dora needed; that connection between our childhood helped her with the push she needed to try again. I told her how I had to practice a lot, and it took time to finish the entire book by myself. Dora reads, at least, two pages every night.

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And every night she always asks, “Ishika is this how you learned to read?”

I realized that even though Dora looks up to me, I need to show her that I was once in her position, that things take practice and time.

It’s all about Minnie Mouse

posted in: Favorites | 0

It's all about Minnie Mouse

Dora has been going through many phases over the course of five years. One thing that’s stayed consistent is her interest Minnie Mouse, Dinosaurs, Princesses, and Fairies. Recently she’s been going through a major Minnie Mouse phase again. It showed up last year when she loved watching Minnie Mouse’s Bow Boutique and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Recently she’s gotten into wearing a lot of Minnie Mouse attire.

The Minnie Mouse phase has to be my second favorite phase because I can relate to her interest! Dora and I differ when it comes to our childhood interest, what do you expect when there’s a twenty-one-year difference between us?

I asked Dorsa why she loves Minnie Mouses. Here’re her answers…

  1. She has bows, and she makes them.
  2. She has great taste in clothes and shoes.
  3. She’s so funny!
  4. Minnie makes perfect bows.
  5. Minnie Mouse is so pretty and smart.

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I told Dora about Pinterest today, not sure if it’s a good thing or a mistake. She sat there for an hour pinning her favorite Minnie Mouse and Birthday party ideas.

Belly Talk

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Belly Talk

I lost thirteen pounds since December 2014, and It’s been a great accomplishment for me. I started making a lot of healthy choices, changing my lifestyle and exercising daily. I had asthma, and one of the benefits of exercising was getting myself off steroids.

So how does Dora fit into this scenario? Well while I was on my weight loss journey, I started teaching Dora about healthy habits and the importance of exercise. We managed to stop drinking pop, replaced candy with yogurt, even though Dora still took advantage of the Yo-Crunch yogurts, and replaced juice with constant water consumption. We even got adorable tumblers to help motivate our water consumption.

Let’s just say we were working towards a great start! I taught Dora about the importance of eating fresh fruits and veggies and how it was good for your skin and health. Dora began eating balanced meals and exercising daily. She was my motivational coach. Until…

My engagement to Shehab. When it was settled that Shehab and I were going to get married, the pressure to lose weight heightened. Losing weight wasn’t about trying to be healthy; it was about confirming to superficial perspectives. Physically and mentally it slowed down my weight loss progress and lowered my confidence, but it had worse effects on Dora.

I didn’t realize it, but Dora observed my actions every morning when I would analyze my body in the mirror.

Often she would ask me why my “tummy was so big?” and I would answer, Dora I ate too much and now it’s blown up.

She heard me complaining to my mom that I was stressed out, I wasn’t losing enough weight!

When you’re so concentrated on yourself, you don’t realize how it affects others, especially your baby sister.

A couple months ago I noticed that Dora eats a lot less, barely finishes her food. When we ask her to finish, she alway finishes with, “No Ishika, I’m full, I don’t want my tummy to get big, look it’s too full!”

The most heartbreaking words I’ve ever heard, Dora picks up on things so fast and seeing that she started becoming concerned with her body appearance broke my heart.

So how did I fix this?

I’m careful with my words, not that I’m back on track, and my confidence is back, I’ve been teaching her about healthy choices again, stretching every morning, learning about foods that are good for the body.

And I’m constantly reminding her that she’s beautiful, perfect and smart.

And when I’m upset or fall back into my bad habits, Dora always follows – up with an “Ishika remember you’re beautiful, perfect, and smart, that’s all that matters.”

Little Miss Dora’s Boutique Business Plan

posted in: Crafts and DIYs | 0

 

Boutique_Business_Plan

It’s National Write a Business Plan Month, and since I have a miniature entrepreneur on my hands, I think it’s just about time to get my little boutique shop up and to run again. I should disclose that Dora has made herself an owner of this miniature business. She does do a lot of work, though, including trying to advertise our products.

She even did a great job at the Saint Paul Art Crawl I participated in two years ago.

So what was Little Miss Dora’s Boutique?

Little Miss Dora’s Boutique was a crafty kid accessories and gift store I created. I love making things for Dora, and I’ve always handmade all the designs for her birthday parties. However with a job, family, and now a husband it was a little difficult to maintain. So what’s my plan for re-launching the boutique?

Well, I do have a very adamant career coach, she’s five-years-old, but she’s very serious about getting her store going. So here’s our business plan:

  1. Ishika needs to craft at least three times a week to keep up with inventory.
  2. Dora then gets to advertise and sell said inventory
  3. Dora gets to make more money so she can buy a medium size purple car to drive herself to Kindergarten

Ok so we share the profits, and the majority of the profits do go into her savings account, Dora’s actually been doing a great job with learning to save.

During the Saint, Paul Art Crawl when she sold key chains for me, she was saving up for Magic Clip Dresses. She collects them. They’re pretty fun. I think she’s better at goals and saving than I am.

I was made aware of National Write a Business Plan month via http://www.brownielocks.com/

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