Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 66, Tuesday MAy 5, 2009



Special Feature

With or without you

Rolling out the shiny tube in her chubby little fingers, she smears the glorious red colour all over her rosebud mouth, trying hard to colour inside the lines. Holding up the hem of her skirt, she gingerly steps into the high heels several sizes too big for her. She eyes the reflection in the mirror and claps her hands in glee. “I look just like Mommy!”

TRuth be told, mothers hold enormous sway over their children, boys and girls alike, in their formative years. Girls idolise their mothers, boys seek and crave the acceptance and unconditional love.

Sometimes, it is this love that even becomes a matter of life and death:

Mothers hold our hearts in their hands. They can be our best friends, and they can also be our biggest enemy, and this isn't necessarily the fuzzy indignance of a Spice Girls song going “She used to be my only enemy, and never let me be free”. Sometimes Mummy doesn't know best.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Once upon a time, it was the jealous stepmother who sent the beautiful but hapless stepdaughter out to the forest with instructions to the girl's escort to bring back Snow White's heart. These days, it seems to be the mothers themselves who are ripping out their daughter's hearts. Only, it isn't their own daughters they're jealous of. It's all about keeping up with the Joneses. Or the Kasautis, if you will.

Step into any beauty parlour on a busy day, and you will find at least one dominating matriarch presiding over a daughter's 'transformation', dictating how the stylist should reproduce the 'Deepika' cut, or bleach the face two shades lighter. The daughter's opinion isn't consulted. It is as if she isn't good enough the way she is, because Ms Omuk's daughter is so much better.

A recent article on MSN talks about how mothers influence body image in their daughters. According to the surveys and studies that birthed the write-up, it's never too early for girls to start picking up on behavioural and psychological cues from their mothers. For a woman, how you feel about your body is often determined about how your mother felt about hers.

Too much of something
It bears remembering that 'mother' is just a letter short of 'smother'. They have the best intentions at heart, but sometimes, they overdo it. Part of it is the desire to live vicariously through their children, part of it is the overwhelming urge to protect them from this cruel, unforgiving world. Sometimes this translates into too much attention. Drowning your child in excessive praise and material gifts will do less by the way of boosting self-esteem, instead, leading to a constant need for approval, and leaving them poorly equipped for a harsh world that doesn't brook any incompetence.

Ask any child, and s/he is bound to complain that their mothers nag them about their studies. Sending them to endless coaching centres, haranguing their class teachers, and in general fussing over them not only doesn't improve their performances, it creates unnecessary pressure. As the Live song goes: “The greatest of teachers won't hesitate to leave you there by yourself chained to fate.”

In the end, however much they complain, and however much we complain, we know we couldn't do without them. To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day.

By Sabrina Fatma Ahmad


She believed in me
My mother didn't teach me to walk but she taught me to stand. From the cradle to the first step, she was along with me. But time drifted us apart. As I came of age, we separated our ways, our differences sheared us apart. Until our hearts found each other once again.

I have suffered from depression all my adult life. Locked in solitude, I found little place for friends and kin. I was locked in a world where the canopy of grey clouds hid the shining rays of the golden sun. In my small universe, rain never cleansed my sorrows or washed away my pains.

I tried, desperately to end my life. Not once, or twice. But countless times. Each new attempt bringing me closer to the point of no return.

I can not imagine the pain endured by my mother seeing her child destroy his life. It must have been tough. But she never lost hope or gave up.

When the doctors suggested electric shock therapy (ECT) as a remedy for my suicidal attitude only she held firm. Twice a week they passed electricity through my nerves, a desperate attempt to jump start a positive response in me.

I was sedated during the procedure but I can not even dream of imagining how she felt as she saw me go into convulsion due to the shock. When I used to wake up, her sullen face would light up with a smile- happy that I was back.

Two years after the therapy, I can not say I have fully recovered from my depression. But had it not been for my mother's determination to see me cured, I may never have undergone the treatment. In a desperate attempt to see me learn to live, she put me through a procedure with considerable risks. But I have lived to tell the tale.

When I see my mother smile at me, or cuddle me once in a blue moon- I feel the warmth. Behind her 'frailty' I find her strength and in her I think I finally find a will to live.

By Pothbhola


Reading to your child

THe practice of “reading aloud” or “bedtime stories” is not common in our culture; however 'storytelling' sessions by grandparents or the parents themselves are an integral part of our culture. After all, the famous 'Thakurmar jhuli' did emanate from popular stories for children; a compilation of tales told by grannies to their beloved grandchildren.

This is beneficial for the little ones as they get to hear words and familiarise themselves with language and also get a chance to bond and interact.

Reading sessions with your babies, toddlers and young children can be brief but they must be enjoyable for both them and you. Make your child an active participant in the process and welcome questions and listen to what he or she has to say.

Take cues from your child and choose books that will interest them. A two-year-old child may be crazy about cars of all kinds and so books on vehicles may capture his attention.

Be expressive and add drama by varying the pitch and tone of your voice. You can also add action by jumping, running etc. Adding puppets, if possible, can make your storytelling sessions more interesting.

For young children do not pick books that have too much “text”. They might be bored with long narratives. Start reading to the little ones as early as possible. In fact, you can start right from the cradle.

Remember that unlike adults children are not bored with the same stories and your little one may request you to reread favourite stories again and again. By all means, do comply with the requests because children learn through repetitions. . Rhymes and poetry are excellent because they help children think about the sound and structure of words.

Continue reading to your child even after he or she has started reading on their own because for some time reading skills will lag behind comprehension skills. They will understand more complex words and storylines than they can read. Apart from being a wonderful way of bonding with your child, reading aloud offers a multitude of learning possibilities.

By Malina Islam


Some suitable books for ages 0-2
A Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; Brown Bear, brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.; Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.; Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
Tona Tunir Golpo; Thakurmar Jhuli.

Some suitable books for ages 4-6
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss; Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak; Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey; Clifford ,the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell; Aesop's Fables; Bangalir Hashir Golpo by Jasimuddin; Nasiruddin Hoja.

On The Cover

Even without a roof overhead, sometimes a mother is all the shelter a child will need. Come flip through our pages as we pay tribute to mothers.
Photo: Zahedul I Khan
Model: Paula and Arshan

LS Picks

For Mom, with love

Celebrating Mother's Day can stretch your wallet as well as your grey cells. Firstly you run the risk of a faux pas selecting the wrong gift at the wrong price and secondly there is the danger of being clichéd. Here is what the LS team thinks…our picks for your pick.

#1. There are a few days left, so you can get to work now. Buy cotton yards in pastel shades of powder blue, lilac, tangerine, lime yellow or simply white or cream. If you are handy with needlework, make handkerchiefs with crochet lace borders and embroidered motifs or figurines. Nothing too pricey, but something with a warm, personal touch!

#2. A surprise tea party may just do the trick. Set tables in the veranda, or the lawn and invite your mother for a light, home made snack. Nothing fancy: minted ice tea, cucumber sandwich and maybe some pastries. Once again, the personal touch is the key. You may bake a cake or confectionery but if your cooking ability is not up to the mark you can just go to King's Bakery, Shumi's Hot Cake or California Fried Chicken Bakery with your order.

#3. This one is real cheap. Hire a rickshaw for two hours and take your mother to the Dhaka University premises, where she may have spent her graduation years. A walk down Fuller Road, the Arts Faculty or just simply familiarising with the new landmarks may be an occasion for both of you to enjoy.

#4. If your mother is quite the nature lover, you may take her to the nurseries near the High Court building, in front of Shishu Academy. The wayside shops also present a wonderful array of terra cotta figurines, pots and vessels, which may just be the right gift.

#5. When was the last time you saw your mother visit the salon? Last but not least, number five in our list is to treat her with an all expense paid trip to the spa. As a daughter, you can make a ladies' day out and enjoy being pampered with a soothing massage and warm pedicure and make an attempt in setting aside all your differences with a heart to heart talk. As a son, buying the coupon should suffice, and of course don't forget the warm smile to go along with it.

-- LS Desk



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