Why I value “Early Literacy Skills” as a developmental milestone:

As children grow, they reach milestones every other day. And I have witnessed first hand, as a teacher as well as a mom, how strong foundational skills are so very critical for children to attain their developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are things that most children at a certain age should be able to do. Children achieve these as they observe, explore, play, move, act, learn, speak, and so on. Broadly speaking, developmental milestones can be grouped into 5 major areas: physical growth, sensory and motor development, emotional and social development, language development and cognitive development. Given that these milestones are well researched and scientific in nature, parents, teachers, doctors and nurses refer to these in the form of a checklist for screening purposes. Observing, testing, assessing and recording these milestones from time to time helps parents and professionals to monitor the children’s growth and development. Ideally, attaining these milestones is supposed to be a joint venture for parents and teachers wherein both parties provide the children with umpteen opportunities, consistently, so they can learn and grow in an age appropriate manner. Taking that a step forward, as a teacher mom, I believe that milestones are also about preparing the children for their next milestone. And I have seen that the pandemic is unfortunately having a terrible effect on the growth and development of young children as both parents and teachers are struggling to cope. To address this issue, we, as parents and teachers, need to modify our roles as well as expectations and adapt to the new normal. We need to step up because our children deserve to learn and grow regardless of the pandemic. They have a future and they are the future.

A good place to start would be by finding out “what my child is supposed to do and know, at his/her age. And how can I help?” Although developmental milestones are common to most children, each child has his/her own learning journey. Not only do they have their own strengths and weaknesses but also their own learning styles. To add on, they have their own interests and inclinations as they learn at their own pace. I have a 3 year old, turning 4 soon and thanks to my teaching knowledge and experience, I am well versed with what she’s supposed to do and know at this point in her life. To be honest I am not as concerned for my girl’s physical and socio-emotional milestones because she is generally doing well out there.

However, during the course of the pandemic, I started to get a little concerned about her formal schooling skills: reading and writing skills in particular. Call me traditional, but I do believe that these skills, even today, serve as a strong foundation in education. In my experience, the perfect blend of the traditional and modern educational skills and practises have shown the best result in raising well rounded learners. We don’t know what the future holds, so we need to prepare our children in every way. Young children need to be exposed to all sorts of learning opportunities so they can discover their strengths and work through their weaknesses as they learn and grow. Yes, the pandemic has been rough on young children as well as early childhood educators. And as stressful as it can get to balance the roles of a parent and a teacher to the same child, I still give it my best shot because my child doesn’t deserve to loose out on her developmental milestones just because we are in this global pandemic. I feel so blessed to be a teacher mom and that’s why I choose to make time in our busy schedules to use my expertise and help my child strengthen her formal schooling skills.


How? For starters, to enhance my girl’s reading skills at home, I make it a point to read her a book everyday. My first go-to-activity for her has always been “Let’s get a book.” Why? Her reason will be “because its so much fun!” My reason is “because reading a book has so much value in it.” Through that she learns how to handle a book, how to track the pages from left to right and top to bottom, how to turn the pages one at a time, how to hunt for letters of the alphabet and now even for high frequency words like you, the, and, is. She even understands and appreciates the job of an author and an illustrator. We talk about the story line, evaluate characters and their actions, take turns to ask and answer simple questions and talk about our favorite part of the story. She’s gotten so good at it by now because I remember reading a book to her every single day even back when she was younger… we explored sensory books together, we read picture books, I spoke about the pictures to her, we pointed to identity characters and objects in those pictures and gradually she started to speak about the pictures herself, as she turned 3. She then started to sequence the events of the story and even associate the story with her own experiences. Now, she is interested in not just the pictures but also the print. This is a kid who started recognising her own name so early in life because she was repeatedly and consistently provided opportunities to identify her name. We even sang songs to learn the letters in her name like in the BINGO song. Now, she can not only identify but also spell out and write her name by focusing on each letter in her name. She is sounding out letters, pronouncing the words properly and expressing herself in complete sentences by now; at times even modulating her voice to suit different characters and their emotions throughout the story. I feel so very proud of her as she is learning to experience the “joy of reading”, to not just expand her knowledge but also her imagination.


Coming to writing skills which is the least looked forward activity for any parent, teacher or even children, as they start approaching kindergarten. It’s hard, it needs precision and can be time consuming. Children between ages 3-6 generally love to express themselves by speaking it out and they can go on and on and on…But when asked to pen it down in some form, they tend to make it brief, vague and abrupt. I did get concerned when I noticed my girl lacking behind in her fine motor skills. She has immense curiosity for print around her but didn’t quiet show any curiosity for penmanship: be it through scribbles or drawings even. So here’s what I did. I tapped on technology for this skill. I introduced her to my Apple Pencil and showed her the “power of penmanship” on an iPad. It blew her mind off and got her so ready to pen things down. Hands-on, engaging, creative and exciting for the both of us. I spent time trying to guide her how to hold a pencil correctly which is so very important for her to draw efficiently. Before the pencil, she did use crayons and markers to scribble around, but that was with a reflex grasp called the “palmer grasp” which is great for exploration. But now at age 4, she needs to convey meaning through her drawings and writings which requires her to use her “pincer grasp” and even her “dynamic tripod grasp” for stability and detail. While teaching her about the correct pencil grip, I realized that she does have strong fine motor skills thanks to all the play dough we played with in her toddler days but I had somehow not guided her to apply her fine motor skills on paper. Probably because writing as a skill is something that we as adults rarely use these days. We type, but thats not a writing skill. And I do want her to learn writing as a skill. I do believe in the science of graphology. So, we worked hard and yet kept it fun and interactive with activities involving tracing, colouring, erasing, and simple drawings of people and things around us. Now, she is excited to write her name, and even other’s names by asking them to spell it out for her. She has learnt to write from left to right too. We play fun games like “Copy”, where we take turns to copy each other’s drawings, shapes, numbers and writings. Sure she mixes uppercase and lowercase letters during her writing exercises and makes some directional errors too but that’s just a part of learning at this stage. The perfectionist in me, makes her fix it but then again sizes and formations are something that takes a while to develop. I’m being patient and also am so very excited that we are finally heading forward in our writing quest, and what makes it even more exciting is that she shares my excitement as well!


Here’s what I believe in: Whatever day and age we live in, everyone should have an opportunity to learn reading and writing as life skills. One does learn to write better by reading, and read better by writing. Reading and writing as skills work together to enhance our thinking and communication skills. “The more we engage with these skills, the better we get at them, the better we get at them, the more we like it and the more we do it. Let’s not forget that these skills make all other future learnings possible and I truly believe that learning is a not only a lifelong process but also a skill in itself. What better way to prepare for life than get a head start in the early years of life.

Pleased with being a “One and done parent”

The Awesome Threesome…

It’s so very unflattering to be questioned or even to have to explain why my family size doesn’t seem to match the “stereotypical” portrait of a “happy family”. Since I have a 3 and a half year old now, this is supposedly the “right” time for me to think about having another baby to “complete” my family. If not saying it, people are definitely thinking it, specially on days when I’m sick with “pregnancy” like symptoms. And when I do say that I’m pleased with being “a one and done” parent, there’s always the implication that this statement just momentarily holds true for me and that I would soon change my mind, for reasons best known to them. The most popular one being, having a sibling for my only child and its trillion advantages. Sure, every decision in life has its pluses and minuses, but to assume that a family unit of 3 isn’t as good as it can get, is something I find pretty patronizing and ill-informed. I’d say, to each, their own. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable to give my opinion to anyone about how many kids they should or should not have. I’m amazed at how people so righteously find it their place to even share a passing remark or even “that sorry look” on this (no)issue. If anyone does get to have an opinion, that place sure belongs to members of my family: my husband, me and my daughter – the people who actually have to do the hard work at making it a truly “happy family”. (On a side note, my daughter recently shared her list of reasons why she doesn’t like babies J It was interesting, no doubt!)

To me, no family size is perfect! A family is still gonna have to go through it’s own unique journey filled with successes, surprises and struggles. Having one child suits us and in words of my little one, we are a “happy family” living in the “best home” ever. (Yeah, she is into using a whole lot of superlatives in her rapidly growing vocabulary these days. BEST THING EVER!) 

So here’s why we are pleased with being “one and done” parents: 

It’s our call: 

If my husband and me, both are onboard with the decision to have one and just one child, nothing else matters. From the beginning, we have been very clear about this being a very huge responsibility. If anything, as years pass by, we just get more and more sure about our decision. In fact, we tend to enjoy and savor every moment with our daughter because we know its gonna be just this one time and the milestone-like moments are gonna pass in a blink. The fact that there is gonna be “no redos”, makes it all even more precious to cherish. 


We feel complete: 

And that it! It feels just right! We don’t seem to be missing out on anything. The 3 of us feel like a great team, our personalities and temperaments complement each other and we keep each other as happy as we can be. Sure, we have our low days as a family, but again, we can deal with those much better with just one child to care for. People often talk about “more the merrier” but there’s a down side there which is often not spoken about. Heard of Double Trouble?


We believe in quality of life:

Once we commit to something, we give it our very best! I personally just don’t like that feeling where I am struggling – be it with the task, with time, with sleep, or anything at all. 

Also I have the Type A personality traits: I like things to be predictable, structured, organized, clean, well planned, well paced and generally as close as possible to being perfect. And I love to be like that, well… at least most of the times. I like to be in control, if not, I get flustered and stressed. Basically, I don’t function well with spontaneity and chaos.

So given my personality, I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to juggle multiple kids with their multiple needs and schedules. Frankly, I am constantly exhausted with just one. Yes, I am an early childhood educator by profession and I do this kind of multitasking with young children all the time. But thats work and I have been repeated told that I’m pretty good at it! But this is my home and my personal life. Hats off and nothing but respect to those moms who can pull this off in their personal lives, day in – day out. But its just not my cup of tea. And accepting that, makes it much easier for me to make my decisions. This way, I can focus on putting my best foot forward and providing the best for my one and only child. No excuses to goof things up but then again parenting by itself involves a lot of goof ups … regardless…


It’s practical:

Easy and less expensive. I already find myself overspending on all the things that I buy for my only child. Over the years, I am learning to be more sensible in leaning out my purchases and I can only imagine how me, having more than one kid, would have only made the spending worse. Add to that, I am generally not good at making shopping related, efficient decisions. Period.

And that’s just the basics and the everyday luxuries that we can thankfully afford, for now. Let’s not forget how expensive education and co-curricular activities for children can be. I’d rather be in a comfortable state of mind as far as the financial management for one child is concerned, given that I am not good at planning finances myself. Simply put, I wouldn’t be able to manage this kind of stress now or in the near future, be it for one or more. So I’d rather keep it simple.


We don’t want to live it again: 

Although I had a smooth pregnancy thanks to the “textbook” baby I carried for  9 months, I had a traumatic delivery and some intense postpartum anxiety. So no, I didn’t get to enjoy the new mother bliss one bit. To add on, my baby wasn’t an easy baby, if anything she was just as distressed. It was the most toughest thing I have ever had to overcome, and I have been through a year of chemotherapy in my teen years (for real). I remember, as a new mum, I was always tired, sleep deprived, stressed and sad. Looking back, I feel like it was just as depressing for my little baby and so out of both our control. I often ended up questioning my decision and preparedness for this journey that I so-wanted to take on. But I simply couldn’t think straight back then. 


And my obsessive, compulsive personality made it all even more worse. I constantly worried and panicked about anything and everything that led to the chaos of having a newborn at home. “She’s not feeding well”, “If she does, she spits it all out”, “She’s not sleeping well”, “She’s crying way too much”, and on and on and on…. Eventually things did get better and I fell in love with my little girl and there was no looking back since. But the thought of having to do it all again, scares me to my very core! I’m just grateful that the 3 of us powered through those days and are at our strongest best today – physically and emotionally. And I don’t want to make any changes to that. I know the whole trauma we lived through probably wouldn’t happen again if we tried, but the risk is not something I’m willing to take. I don’t find it worth it given that I have another beautiful soul to care for this time around.

We don’t go by stereotypes:  

Since we are both comfortable with this decision, there’s no way anyone can make us change our minds, specially when they have so little to do with the whole experience that they want us to go through. And why? Because of the stereotypical image of a “family”. Thanks but no thanks, we are not building our family empire to “fit into” anything. And NO, my daughter is not going to be lonely, no she’s not going to be spoilt, she will learn to share, care and socialize just fine. There’s no guarantee that children with siblings are better off on these traits anyways. Look up some research out there, its true! To be a happy family, every member of that family needs to be happy and I have my doubts about how much of this happiness will remain when the stress and chaos of having to raise multiple children starts to play its part in our currently stable lives. We are happy as we are, even if we don’t “fit in” with the majority.  

There’s more: 

Right now, I’m in such a happy space with my daughter. We share a solid bond and yet live our own separate lives through the day, only to reunite and reconnect at the end of each one. Best feeling ever, specially now that she can’t stop talking! Exhausting and challenging as it may get, I only come out stronger as a mum. Bottomline is that our lives are going to revolve around my little girl, for the rest of our lives, and making sure she’s at her happiest and healthiest is going to be our number 1 life goal for as long as we live. BUT, I am also coming to the realization that we, as parents, are individuals too. Individuals with our own interests, needs and aspirations. On the brink of burning out as a mum, I learnt that it is very important for me, as an individual, to stay in touch with myself in order to be able to be a happy mum. Happy Mum = Happy Child, remember? So no, I don’t think it’s a good idea to lose our individuality as parents and make our child, our only goal. It’s only gonna suffocate us, and probably even her later, as she starts to get her own life up and running. So, when she sees us as hardworking parents, prioritizing ourselves as individuals too, she is simultaneously learning to discover and value her own individuality as well.

Now, some of these reasons above hold more true to me than for my husband and vice versa. But at the end, we agree to it as a whole, as a team. And I’m so grateful for that, because if that was not the case, it would have led to a lot of complications in our relationship. So I speak for all 3 of us when I say that having one and only one child in our family suits us and works the best for us, as a unit. We love this awesome threesome and look forward to our beautiful lives together, just like any family does!



As a “teacher mom”, early childhood education is very important to me. I always wanted my child to have that strong foundation, at the right time, to set her up for success. I believe an early start is what one needs. And I have seen it work wonderfully in action, not just on mine but also on children with moms like me. It’s a belief, it’s a choice, it’s the actions …which are worth making, well… most of the times !

My 3 and a half year old is capable of having fun, meaningful conversations with me about anything and everything. I see her developing an IQ as well as an EQ. That balance of Early Childhood Care and Education is very important to me. That’s why I chose to be an Early Childhood Educator. I learnt how my personal beliefs as a hands-on mom can be so very critical in getting my child ready and curious to learn at school. And that appetite for learning is what any teacher would love for her students to have so that it can be built upon.

Mom on the job: As a mom, I want nothing but the best destinations on my child’s itinerary for life. But wanting that isn’t enough! I also need to make sure that my child is well prepared and well equipped to take on that journey filled with ups and downs.

Teacher on the job: And as a teacher, I want my students to meet their learning objectives as per my lesson plans. But just wanting that isn’t enough! I need to plan out an exciting journey in the most healthiest, safest and adventurous ways possible in order to achieve age appropriate learning milestones.

Double Shift on the job : As a mom, a lot of my personal “needs” might endlessly stay at the back seat while my child is engaged and exploring the world of education, at all times… at home and at school. And as a teacher, a lot of my professional “wants” might get endlessly overlooked when in reality, most of those wants are what I need to succeed as a teacher.

Complicated yet mostly true for teacher moms. And what I, as a teacher mom, would really want is for moms and teachers to work in true partnership to make this magical learning journey a true success. How? When? More in the next…