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On the role of a whiteboard in raising a child

Everyone who is a parent has an opinion on parenting. There are scores and scores of books written on the subject. Even  people who have no children (yet) will have some opinion on how they would like their children to be raised. What is amazing about it, is everybody is right in their own way! There is simply no 'right' and no 'wrong' way. Each of us does what we think is best for our children. It all depends on what your priorities are and what you choose for your children. What saddens me however is when parents compare their children with other people's children (MY Child scored this much in this exam, how much did yours score?My child plays tennis and violin.Does yours do anything? My child went for state championship in Chess. My child is preparing for IIT entrance.What are your child's plans?)

Richard Bach had said " Children are not our property and they are not ours to control anymore than we were our parents property or theirs to control". Khalil Gibran too expresses these sentiments beautifully. (Click here to read it).

I have worked with children for more than 8 years. I used to conduct workshops on developing thinking skills in Children. I used to teach at  schools. I have also taught street children. Somehow I have  a way with kids, perhaps it is because I really like their company. But that really does not make me an 'expert' as each child is different.

So,when people ask me for tips and tell me to write on parenting (and I get so many such requests) I hesitate, because these are my own methods. This is what I believe in.These are not absolute diktats, as what I want for my children might be very different from what you want for yours. Recently I got a mail which asked me to please, please please (yes the please was repeated thrice :-)) write a series on what I do with my children. and why I don't share ! Earlier too I had got such mails. So with explanation and disclaimer in place, here goes the first post :

There is one thing that I feel every home with a child (by a child I mean those above 3. Till then they are toddlers) MUST have--- a white board and some markers available handy along with a duster or a wipe. Put the whiteboard at a convenient height where the child can reach it and write comfortably on it. Allow the child to do whatever he/she wants on it. Don't be bothered about scribbles, squiggles or whatever he/she does on it.

How does it help? Well, it is a very handy tool for expression. To the child, there is no tomorrow or later. It is NOW. If a child wants to draw, a resource is readily available. It is hard to resist a white blank space and markers available readily. It is easier to forget about it when it is tucked away in a drawer which is what happens with paper and crayons.

Also, it is neat and does not have to be 'put away' like papers, coloring books, paints and crayons.

Ever since my children were little, the white board has always been a part of their room. Both my children wrote so much and drew so much only because of the whiteboard being readily there. It was so much fun!

My daughter used to line up all her soft toys and play 'teacher-teacher'--a marvellous way to reinforce what she learnt at school but of course she did not realise that. To her, it was just fun. When my children's friends came over, they would love to draw on the board.

Learning multiplication tables also became fun on the board as writing on it was so much better than writing in boring notebooks with pencils. The whiteboard did not feel like a chore, it felt like play! So too spellings.
We would play the 'teacher-teacher' game where I was the student who always made spelling mistakes and my children would correct me. I would act silly and pretend I didn't  know and they would proudly write the correct spelling on the white board. (Of course this was when they were much younger. Both read on their own now)

When my daughter learnt to write, this was one of the first things she wrote on the white board. I had to click a picture! (click on images to enlarge)


Sometime back,she again made this and I again clicked a picture.I am sharing that here as well.



My son also uses the whiteboard a lot.


  
Once when I was not well, this is what he had done.




Having a whiteboard readily available adds so much fun to daily routines with a child.
When a canvas is blank the possibilities are indeed endless! (and yes I mean that as a metaphor)

In case you are worried about how it will affect the decor, let me assure you, it makes a superb accessory in a child's room. This is how it looks on their wall:



So I have finally overcome my reluctance and shared one of the things that I do with my children, with all of you.

Depending on the response that this post gets I shall decide whether to post more of these or not. If you found this post useful and want me to write more such posts, please let me know :-)
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PS: Some of my articles on children and parenting have been published in past issues of Readers Digest Joy.


Comments

  1. Loved the post. I ain't married but it does look like my parents thought the same way. We didn't have white boards but we had those black boards(the ones you can roll up) and chalk pieces. I was reminded of my childhood - exactly the same games (teacher-teacher) et al.
    Your kids` creations are indeed cute:) Do write more as my friends & I teach part-time and I'm sure we can use your tips.

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  2. No offense meant to the people who asked you to write this post but I find it really amazing that people ask tips about parenting. If they can simply look back at what their parents did to bring them up and then probably fine tune it to suit modern day requirements, voila! they'll have an awesome guide to parenting!

    Coming to the white board idea, I simply loved it! My mom used to run a school in the place where we lived and we had a black board and lots of chalk at our disposal. Atul and Purvi's sketches reminded me of my childhood.

    PS: Current mood video is brilliant!

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  3. Varun: It isn't easy as it sounds.(and I realised this only after having children.Before that my opinion was same as yours :)) If it was as simple as what you say there would have been no need for parenting books at all! There are so many now and i have studied a lot of them.I find that many things my parents did are so far outdated to be applied to my children. What they did was 30 years back! World had changed so much! Also not everyone is fortunate to have 'perfect parents' if you know what I mean. I don't do many things my parents thought was important with my own two. I too have asked my older friends for parenting tips.yes--current mood video is from one of my fav movies too! :)

    Lostworld: Thank you :) I do feel a blackboard/whiteboard is very essential.

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  4. What a nice post.
    Just let the children be...

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  5. Loved your post......I m not still married so i cant comment much except that i love the whiteboard idea a lot..It is a great outlet for the kids creativity and expression....also much easier to clean than the kids writing on the room's walls :))
    Even i played teacher to all my dolls who were my students......ur post made me quite nostalgic actually as it took me back to my childhood days.....what fun.....thanks for sharing with us....i would love to hear more.....

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  6. liked the article very much preeti.plz do write the articles regarding parenting.even i used to play teacher teacher game in my childhood.thks for the article.

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  7. Oh so cute..!!! :)

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  8. I loved this post very much, Preeti and you are 100% right with the white board role. I have one here for my toddler and she absolutely loves it so much. She never leaves the board blank. She always doodles a cute "smiley face"(that's how she calls it!) every time. Somedays, she improvs by adding shoes, curly hair etc. You are right...it is their little tool for expression.
    Thanks again for sharing these ideas. I liked your current mood video today. The music and the film is one of my favorite. Also, kudos to the cute work by Atul and Purvi. Have a fantabulous day!
    Cheers,
    gayu

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  9. hey Preeti, I loved this post. That is a very innovative thing to do. Wonder where you get such ideas from -:)

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  10. Hi.......just wanted to add...please do tell Atul and Purvi that their pictures are priceless..... Looks that talent runs in the entire family :))

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  11. I'm 26 and I still want a whiteboard in my room!! :)) And I must say you've done up your kids room very beautifully...

    Loved your post, Preeti. Do post more such posts...

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  12. This is wonderful piece of advice and i would luv to hear more on this series from you..
    Correctly you have said above..there is nothing called perfect parent..and we alway try to find out best for our child...and through your blog post you can help in a gr8 way..

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  13. This is wonderful piece of advice and i would luv to hear more on this series from you..
    Correctly you have said above..there is nothing called perfect parent..and we alway try to find out best for our child...and through your blog post you can help in a gr8 way..

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  14. nice post .. u r blessed with very sweet kids .. now,am getting a white board fro myself too !!!

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  15. Hi Preeti, its nice of you to be sharing ideas like this.. especially when you have so many request mails..
    The pictures do tell a tale of ur kids creativity!

    looking forward to reading more..

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  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. I absolutely loved this post. And please please please continue this series :)

    Even though I dont have kids yet, I have a white+black board combo in my house. It's in our formal living room which is empty right now....and whenever my friends' kids visit (which is very often :)), they are busy out there.

    A friend visited me last weekend with her 2-year daughter, and the kiddo kept herself busy with the board...so I told her where to get it from for a bargain :)

    I always had one too as a child.

    I really admire your parenting skills, and I love how devoted and sincere you are to your kids. I hope to learn a lot from these posts and from you.

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  18. Lovely Post. Loved the whiteboard idea. And u have two very talented kids:) so cute ur daughter's version of the sun has spectacles:)

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  19. You said it! This post was very different from one of your older posts where you mentioned how we could tell how much time a parent spends with their kids where I felt there could be many reasons as to why a parent cannot.

    My son has lots of kids of his age and I usually express encouragement when some kid does more than my son does and somehow my friends think I am very worried about my son which is not true. I actually let him be, do what he likes and let him grow but im just exploring things which I might not know is available. I agree with you on comparisons- siblings, friends etc

    I also agree on a white board coz i have a doodler for my son and i let him draw anything to know what goes in his mind, what fascinates him etc coz he doesnt talk a lot. He is just 18 months :).

    Do post. Every parent has something special to share I'm sure! Enjoyed this one

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  20. I love the Whiteboard it is also in my hostel room

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  21. Good one. Very informative with real good tips on parenting. My kid is just 8 months old however i can definitely keep in mind & follow the advice given as & when needed. I remember as a child i always used to write on all the doors in the house with a chalk or a pencil & if it could not be wiped out, then my parents used to have a tough time getting the door re-painted!!!!!!

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  22. Very nice one.. am too a child enthusiast.. though I guess I still am a child... Suggestion (yes, the metaphor too !) was marvelous. Just thought how about replacing or supplementing the white board with a flip chart too? then they can write - draw - scribble and store them too! and u dont need to take a snap, or miss (if its erased before u came to see it !)

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  23. meghnaad: Yes--flipchart I had tried. But it is a big chore to preserve the scribblings :) Esp while moving places (and I move a lot)And everything isnt worth taking a snap of :) Only a few :)

    Maneesha: oh yes--this prevents urges to scriblle on wall too :)

    Ashish: useful right? :) Esp for those idea which suddenly come.

    Fay: i don't remember in what context I said it. I do feel it is important for parents to spend time with their children. Yeah--a doodler is really a good idea. I must add that each parent thinks they know what is best for their child, but it may really not be what a child wants. (I saw a superb tamil movie yesterday which illustrated this) And whenever I see a well brought up and grounded young adult, I always tke tips from the parents who raised such a marvellous person.

    Pooja: Even I had not noticed that! I did mention your comment to her and she said she drew that because the sun himself will feel really hot with all his warmth!

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  24. Mindspace: thank you! :)

    Bedazzled: Many people have whiteboards as is evident from comments, even thought they dont have kids :) It is great fun :)

    Rashworld: yes--do see my comment to Fay above.

    Ayush: Thank you!! I too loved their quilts and duvets :) Am sure you enkoy doodling on your whiteboard.

    Rujuta: :-) Just childrens drawings. I am sure many children draw like that. But yeah--will tell them :)

    Rohan: thank you :)

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  25. It's an awesome tip Preeti - please keep sharing. Our parents might have done things just right for us but with time, people's values change. The same idea put across to my folks in their time would have been considered an extravagance - in times of budgeting they would feel a slate and chalk would do just as well - white board markers were super expensive back then. While our parents are what we truly want to emulate when raising our children, I'm even they had good friends who gave them a tip or two in raising us. It matters more so when it comes from some one who has worked with and understands children like you do.

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  26. Blackboard and white board - chalks, markers, permanent fixtures with my kids. This is a great post about letting children just develop at their own pace - a friend who lives in Japan keeps her kids entertained and informed for long stretches with simple Origami - safety scissors and paper :)

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  27. Preeti, I am a mother of two sweet kids aged 13 and 11.
    Parenting is indeed a challenge in today's world and each child is different and the same parenting rules don't apply to all the kids.Each child is different.

    Btw even i used to do what you did but instead of white board , I used the blank white sheets of calender backs and other cardboards which were used in place of board. Loved your writing and share your thoughts. hope to be a regular at your blogs. keep the good work going.

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  28. That's a very nice tip Preethi :) You should always let kids imagine.Let them allow to see the world how they want to see. And when that comes out in a paper or a board you ll be amazed to see what you would have missed to see :) I still aint married but i know this for sure coz my dad is a Professor & we used to have a black board & loads of chalk :) We used to always scribble in it.Teacher Teacher was our all time favorite game. ( Other reason being i could bully my bro :p I used to be the teacher :p) His students were always greeted with our scribblings in the place of integration & differentiation :)

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  29. Mridula: heh hehe--i can imagine how amused your dad's students must have been :)

    Asha: Welcome to my blog and thank you for commenting..yes charts/calendar backs etc also work the same way. :)And you are of course very right about parenting.

    Madhumita: My son is also very fond of origami! He learnt it himself---it's one thing I can't do!

    Shades of grey: Yes of course whiteboards were expensive back then.A slate/chalk also works just as well.Thank you! :)

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  30. Excellent idea! loved the post and of course we want more!!

    I loved the way Purvi has drawn the sun with his sunglasses!! :D

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  31. Thanks for the post. I am commenting here for the first time. :)
    This post reminded me of my childhood. My mom works in a college & our our home (staff quarters) was a old classroom of college & for some reason they retained the huge black board. I was so thrilled to have it..:) I too played teacher..
    I too feel that u have a way with kids..:) keep posting more of these

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  32. Aksha: welcome to my blog :) What fun it must have been as a child to have a huge REAL board, isn't it?! :)

    Mamta: yep :) only after people pointed it out I too realised :) I am so used to her drawings :)

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  33. Hi ! It's me...I'm so sorry not to have visited for so long.

    Yes, there is an opinion for each parent. When my Eldest son was born, I was given a book called 'A Good Enough Dad' by Nigel Planner. It taught me that you don't have to strive to be a parfect parent, you only need to be good enough.The second lesson I learnt was relating to the quote here in your post, that we do not own our children...they are not possessions.We are guide to bring them to a place of independence. I think you are doing a great job with your two..they are incredibly fortunate to have such brilliant parents!!

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  34. Hi ! It's me...I'm so sorry not to have visited for so long.

    Yes, there is an opinion for each parent. When my Eldest son was born, I was given a book called 'A Good Enough Dad' by Nigel Planner. It taught me that you don't have to strive to be a parfect parent, you only need to be good enough.The second lesson I learnt was relating to the quote here in your post, that we do not own our children...they are not possessions.We are guide to bring them to a place of independence. I think you are doing a great job with your two..they are incredibly fortunate to have such brilliant parents!!

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  35. Preeti, I think my dad and you will get along well.

    We had(have) the exact same whiteboard with us. Always did. They were replaced with newer ones, but as long as I can remember, my parents always had a white board for us.

    I loved this post!! :)

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  36. I shall always keep this in mind, for the time when I've some of my own :-)

    I really liked this post. I don't see why all of us won't benefit from reading of your methods and experiences in parenting. I sure will :-)

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  37. Hi Preeti!!! Nice post :) I also have learned a lot during the time I was rasing anish and I'm still learning. U were guess one the first one who gave me great insights about parenting and introducing books to them at a very early age. Thanks

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  38. Agree with you entirely. My daughter plays 'teacher-teacher' on her soft toys, friends, me, her grandma...anyone she can get. And she also uses it to convey her messages. One night when my husband was expected back from an official trip in the night and she had to go to sleep, she wrote a 'Welcome back..I love you' message for him and slept. :D

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  39. great post! i would like to c more of this kinda post!

    Even v had a black board at home! Used to be fun!

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  40. Lovely post preeti! :-)
    When I was a kid I always wanted to have a blackboard to write and draw stuff.As I didn't have one, I used to scribble it in my rough books! :)
    This magic Whiteboard is a perfect tool for developing a child's abilities. It lets kids express themselves by drawing and is a constant source of fun and joy for the entire family.:D

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  41. The person who commented in Mandarin: I have no idea what you said :P I wish I did.

    If someone can tell me how to translate the comment that appears here please enlighten.

    Anusha: i too did not have a board when i grew up. The margins of my text books were filled with scribbles too :)

    Hunter: Thank u. Lucky u :)

    Wannabewriter: Soooo cute! Did u click a pic?

    Shaily: :) You remember how we used to discuss Glen Doman? That Pondicherry school really helped.

    Tranquiliy speaks : :-)

    Only one: Lucky U! :) I never had a whiteboard or a blackboard as a child :)

    Niall Young: Oh --your three are too! Your sons are such fine young men and annie is a delight! The book sounds good.

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. Hey preeti, I read the chinese comment and googled it ..
    and the meaning of the comment is:-
    Life is like riding a bicycle, you don't fall off unless you stop pedaling - Claude Pepper!
    :-)

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  44. A good idea in the kitchen too, for when things are running low.... :)

    I love how organized you are! xoxo

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  45. Thanks Preethi, I have been thinking about getting one for sometime, now I will just do it :-)

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  46. Duly noted :)

    I used to have a slate and chalk too at home. And would at times go to my Dad's office in the afternoons too. His lab had a full classroom size blackboard. I would have to stand on a lab stool to be able to reach up to write/draw. Didn't realize up till now how useful it might have been.

    Loved Khalil Gibran's poem :)

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  47. hey! i guess it was a real parenting tool huh? me & my bro always had one in our room as well...and as we grew older, i used it for my to-do list while preparing for exams, etc...there is something very satisfying about striking off one think done on the board! :)

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  48. Right on! I am always open to tips and luv mama tales of all mammas but just that I dont force anything on my son atleast not now:).

    Btw belated congratulations for "National Best Seller" nomination. I also liked Satish's post but somehow the comments never went through then.

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  49. Thank God there wasn't a condition as such that only 'parents' could comment, coz I wouldn't have been able to resist!

    And no, no opinions from this lady, atleast FOR NOW :)

    I quite liked the Happy family drawing, but pray tell me who is that on the roof. And Atul writes digital script, wow! :)

    P.S: Such a cool post, seriously! I really wished I had that white board while growing up. I mean it!

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  50. Sparkling: :-) Oh--even I wished I had a blackboard/whiteboard while growing up :) I think it is me on the balcony she has drawn :) Her dad is in the garage near the car and she and her bro are outside :)Yeah, atul does all kinds of writing.


    Fay:Thanks! Even i dont force anything as such. But yeah I do nag about stuff that has to be submitted :P :)

    Sunshine: lucky you! Its so much fun to scribble on it. :-)

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  51. Ajay: Have read that poem so many times now that I think I can reel it off by heart :) Loved the lines 'your children come through you but not from you' and 'they are Life's longing for itself'. I didnt know you had access to a board (that too full size) while growing up :)

    wanderlust: You're welcome!

    Gillian: not very organised, but somethings I do :) xoxo

    Anusha: Thanks so much! how does one gogole from comments page? U have to copy paste right? and then do page translation--or is there any other way?

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  52. I love this post. I would love to extend it to adults too. There is no better way to illustrate ideas or brainstorm than with a whiteboard. The erasability helps to put down all the thoughts to make them into a coherent piece.

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  53. sruoloc: yes--you said it well!

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  54. Wonderful idea Preethi! I am going to incorporate this soon in my house.

    Do keep up with the series! Will look forward to it.

    Nilu

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  55. Hi preeti>
    Yeah ..that's right! I copy pasted that comment.. and then I found a site on google wherein I just had to paste the comment in a box and click on translate. :-)
    Do you want the site's link?
    :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Anusha: yes please--that will be great! :)

    Nilu: thank you :)

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  57. Vidya Bellary

    Yeah Preeti . Its indeed true, a board and a marker/chalk will make a great impact on children's creativity ! Even we have one , though my daughter is 14yrs old!! (ever since she was 4 yrs). Why dont you share many more of such .....

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  58. Absolutely beautiful Preeti. Whiteboard seems priceless. My daughter uses her magnetic writer a lot, I should get the whiteboard soon ;)

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  59. Absolutely beautiful Preeti. Whiteboard seems priceless. My daughter uses her magnetic writer a lot, I should get the whiteboard soon ;)

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  60. Hey preeti >>
    Here's the link:-

    http://translate.google.com/#

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hey Preethi,

    First time here..liked ur post :)its kinda reaffirmation of what i was thinking..

    I 've been contemplating getting a chalkboard/black board... but whiteboard seems to be a better idea..
    My daughter is always drawing on all available papers.. [earlier it was walls].. and it takes some effort to put away the stuff and preserve some of her drawings. I guess a whiteboard would be very convenient!!

    ReplyDelete

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