Friday, March 18, 2011

Kai veesamma

My handsome and charming son, who is the proud father of my adorable and perfect grandchild, who is just 4 months old, asks me, "Amma, how did you teach Anna to speak before he was 1 yr old?". While our elder son started speaking even before he was 1 year old and started speaking fluently by the time he was 18 months of age, our younger son started speaking only after he was 2 years of age (My parents have told me that I started speaking before I was 1 year old while my astute and blessed m-i-l has told me that my husband started speaking only after he was 3 years of age). Our elder son even started reciting stories when he was just 2 years old and he could read before he was 3 (How this put us into a big predicament, I shall get to at the end of this post).

I told my son, "we speak to children from the day they are born." But it beats logic that one child in the family starts speaking before 1 year of age and another sibling starts only after 2 years. Anyway, as I have often said, there were so many visitors at home on a day to day basis and when there was a small baby, they spent some time talking to the baby. And there were always people surrounding the baby. They found a meaning in what ever the baby did and responded with, "Oh, where are you looking?", "what is it that you want?", "why are you crying?", "are you looking for amma?", and on and on. And then as the baby grew up they made him wave his hands and sang to him,

Kai Veesamma, Kai veesu (wave your hands, baby wave)
Kadaikku pokalam kaiveesu (we will go shopping, wave your hands)
Mittai vangalam kai veesu (we will buy toffees, wave your hands)

I forget the rest of the song.

They made the baby clap hands, chanting

Krishna Rama Govinda
Rama Krishna Govinda
Venkata Krishna Govinda
Kalla Krishna Govinda
Govinda Govinda

And when the baby started making fists, the song went like this,

Kuppi, Kuppi,
Chandukuppi, Chandanakuppi,
Tharumayya, Tharum

(Chandu was the paste used to adorn the forehead of children. When we were young, there were no sticker bindis, we used home made bindi paste, known as chandu, only black. Later we started getting chandu  in black and red colors in bottles (kuppis). The chandu pottu was applied on the forehead of the baby to ward off the evil eye)

Listening to continuous blabbering made them pick up words early, perhaps. It also was an exercise for the baby to move his hands and legs.

My Kalathappa (paternal grandfather) had his own gibberish vocabulary to play with his grandchildren and he enjoyed every minute he could get to spent with the babies. He would ask the baby to be put near him when he had breakfast or lunch. When he was relaxing in his easy chair, he would have the baby on his lap. One could hear his gibberish from half a kilometer away. He would come all the way from our farm, about 3 kilometers away in the hot sun so that he could spend some time with his grandchildren.

I spent all my time in my maternal home or my in-laws' until our older son was 1 year old. This meant he was always surrounded by a host of uncles and aunts and cousins all the time. In my husband's home, our child was the first son after my husband and my in-laws and other aunts (my small mothers-in-law, as one of my friends used to say) would not move away from the baby even for a second. They were always talking to him. Perhaps that was the reason why he started speaking before he was 1 year old.  When our younger son was born, I came to Bangalore even when he was just 3 months old and he was not lucky to have so many people pampering him all the time.

As I said earlier in the post, our elder son started reading even before he was 3 years of age. So, when he was 3 years old we put him in a kindergarten school. They taught the kids to write the English alphabet and numbers 1-10 in the first 6 months. They had also issued a Hindi book with the alphabet. So when he came home, I started teaching him the Hindi alphabet and numbers 1 - 100 and some simple addition. At the end of 6 months, his teacher said she could not keep him in the class as he had learnt everything that was to be taught for the next 6 months also, and he was promoted to what then was known as Upper KG. Having finished his lower and upper KG in one year, there was no class he could go to the next year. As he was only 4, they would not give him admission in 1st standard. We had to run around many schools, before we could get him admitted to a pre- primary class, the next year. So, my advice,"take it easy!"


Pavithra said...

Dear Ammupatti,

Your elder son's story pretty much sounds like the story of mine. I was told that I started speaking for 8th month and stayed at grandmother's place even from a young age. Today with the amount of play tools , Cd's and everything available, kids would never look back or wait to learn from elders, I guess. Nevertheless, the rhymes were so sweet. I was instantly reminded of "Amma inge va va" and "Chinna pappa engal chella pappa". Best wishes for you grandson. He is such a cutie pie.

Pavithra Vijay

Urmi said...

Lovely post, Ammupaati :)

My little son has heard and sung these songs when he was a baby all thanks to my mother and MIL who have been around him in various stages. I would like to add to this list - 'Dance paapa'. Would you like me to send you the lyrics? :) I used to sing it as a child and we would sing it to my son too when he was a baby :)

I am the same case as your elder son, except that I was not able to read etc so early. But I was talking from when I was below 1 yr of age and was singing songs fluently too - mainly tamil songs :)

Ammupatti said...

Hi Pavithra and Urmi

I am sure there are many more kids who started speaking before the age of 1. Recently I met a baby girl just 2 and already singing bhajans so sweetly.

Yes, I would like to have the lyrics of dance paapa

Thanks both of you.

best wishes said...

I have one more line to add to Kai Veesamma, Kai veesu:

Kai Veesamma, Kai veesu (wave your hands, baby wave)
Kadaikku pokalam kaiveesu (we will go shopping, wave your hands)
Mittai vangalam kai veesu (we will buy toffees, wave your hands)
Medhuvai thingalaam kai veesu (we can eat them slowly)

Maybe somebody else will provide additional lines.

I have also observed that the first child talks/reads early for the attention-receiving reasons mentioned in the article. Later children are more attention-seeking, due to perceived competition. My second did not read until quite late and, when asked why she was not reading by herself, replied, "Why should I? It's much more fun to have you read to me!"

Urmi said...

Here it is :

Dance paapa Dance paapa kovam kollathey

Amma vara neram aahum channdai podathey

Kamala ponnu kamala ponnu kadaikki pogathey

kadailirkara mittai ellam vaangi thingaathey

1st para -

nethhilikara chandanapottu nethhikki nalale

kaaka kotthina gundu malligai kondaikki nalale

kuruvikotthina javandhiyapoo thalaikki nalale

Dance paapa, dance paapa [repeat again one time]

Ammupatti said...

Thanks you Urmi for the lovely rhyme.

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Dear Ammupatti,

What a lovely post.

We sing "Kai Veesamma" to my baby son all the time and its available on Youtube as well :-)


Ammupatti said...

Thank you Kay


kavitha said...

Hi Ammu patti Iam a big fan of yours.Now i want to know how to make therandukuli puttu.

Ammupatti said...

Yes Kavitha, I have been thinking about it. Very soon!


Anuradha Harish said...

kai veesu amma, kai veesu
kadaikyu olam, kai veesu,
Mittai vangalaam, Kai veesu
Midukkai tinnallam, kai veesu!