Sunday, 25 December 2016

Electronic Heroin- They aptly call it

When Agu was 2 months old, a family came to visit us with their 6 year old son, from the time they entered the house till the time they left the kid was busy playing games on his dad's phone and the proud parents say "he doesn't bother about anything else as long as he has his favorite game going on the phone". I found it a bit disturbing.
When Agu was 18 months old, another family came over and their 5 year old son had his head dropped on to his mom's mobile phone screen busy playing games. Again the proud parents say "it is better he has the phone in hand, or else it gets difficult to handle him". I was deeply upset.
When Agu was 22 months old, I heard a proud mother of a 20 month old say they got her daughter an iPad and got it insured so it was ok if she dropped it on the floor. I was scared, scared because of the fact that how oblivious we are of the long term effects this might have on our kids.
How many of us have seen those little kids with heads buried deep inside their tablet or phone at the mall, at the hospital waiting for an appointment, at the restaurant, completely aloof from the world around them? I have always found this scene highly disturbing. At a very young age, when they are supposed to be running around and exploring things, there they are sitting and swiping the screens of electronic devices and once they are grown up and can't keep their hands off those devices we label and blame them "gadget addicts".
We as parents have always dreaded this addiction and have tried a lot to keep our son away from this so called fancy gadgets and here are a few lessons learnt:

Try to say NO when it is easier to say YES:
It is very easy to soothe a cranky kid with your mobile phone. When they are rolling on the floor crying for something our basic instinct will be to give them what they ask for, but then try putting in that effort to let them know there are things they can't get by throwing a tantrum. Ignore the tantrum first and talk to them once they are slightly calm. Trust me this will be really difficult at first but practice it a few times and you will be amazed by the outcome.

Make them feel like it is just another thing in the house:
The more we try to keep them away from something, the more they would feel it's something very special and they are missing out on that special thing by staying away from it. So treat the gadgets like how you treat other things in the house so that your kid would eventually get over the excitement of getting hold of a phone or tablet.

Screen lock your phone:
In case your kid gets the phone in hand he will try tapping on it a few times and finds that nothing is happening and moves over to something else. This will save us from freaking out and yelling and snatching the phone from them.

Meal time=Meal time:
Recently I saw a video where a mom is feeding her 8 month old baby with a phone strapped on to her head and video playing in it. When many others found it funny I found it very annoying as this is what we are preaching a baby as small as 8 months and later when the kid can't eat without watching a video we blame them. So right from the time they start eating solids, get a high chair, let them explore the food, let them know that meal time is for eating and it has nothing to do with watching video.

Many a times we forget the fact that habits are made by us. A toddler doesn't know what's in a phone or tablet, they don't know that they can eat chocolate whenever they ask for, they don't know about many basic things untill we  introduce them to it. So all we have to do is get over those short term fixes and try to give them a healthy behavioral foundation so that we won't have to blame them, or yourself, for those little actions that speak aloud later on.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

What a month with Toddler and without Husband Taught Me!

We came to know about my husband's travel plan just a week before the travel date and there were a million questions running in my head because I had no clue how I would manage our darling toddler all by myself 😁 Those evenings when he's back from office was the time I would cherish, as finally I hand over Agu to him and get some time to think a bit about myself. Initially I thought I will travel to my native but somewhere I wanted to see how the independence works too. So after a lot of thought I decided to stay back and confront the battle. It's been a month now and here are a few lessons learnt 😁

Shower Time:
After I make sure that he is comfortable doing something he likes, I sneak into the bathroom for a shower. There are two scenarios here because of which I have learnt to hop out of the bathroom in less than 5 minutes.
Scenario 1: 2 seconds after I step inside the bathroom Agu comes and starts banging on the door "Mamaaaa shut the dooooor"(by which he means open the door).
Scenario 2: I don't hear him after about 2 mins into the shower and I get all creepy scenes come into my mind, "Is he chewing on a live wire?? Did he throw husband's PS3 down the balcony?? Did he manage to switch on the gas stove??" So there I am hopping out in no time.

My Punching Bag:
I realise how much easier life is to have that calm better half around to neutralize my anxiety, anger and all my roller-coaster of emotions. Now that he is not around, the only option I'm left with is to master the art of controlling my emotions. So here I am, missing him especially when it's his turn to change agu's diaper 😄

Keeping Calm is the Solution:
So as we all know toddlers try and find reasons to throw a tantrum, like he rolls on the floor when his banana gets broken into half while peeling it, hides under the bed when I say it's naptime, yells when I don't play his favorite song by Rihanna "What's my name" while driving. It was difficult to deal with tantrums alone and I realised it is really easy to yell back at them or give them a whack (I'm really against physical punishment and strongly believe it is only a way of letting out our anger and is never ever going to make your child a better human being). So I started walking out of the scene, I just walk away to another room or just sit and count till 10 and trust me that's all it takes. Those few seconds let us calm down and it really helps us deal with the tantrum with much more ease.

Feel like a Magnet:
As he is grown up enough to understand that Papa has gone somewhere and isn't returning any time soon he was very clingy to me probably because of the fear that I might also travel leaving him home all alone (Ohh I wish 😁). So it's like the moment I step out of the bed, he wakes up, depriving me of even his naptime me-time. Duh!

Thanked Online Grocery Shopping:
Believe me we have tried taking Agu with us everywhere possible, be it the vegetable shop, super market or even fish market and he really enjoys it. As I didn't have the patience or rather strength to stand in ATM queue carrying Agu to draw cash, online grocery shopping came as a boon.

So the most important lesson learnt is that we are capable of doing things when there is a necessity and those things we have always dreaded to do wasn't that tough after all. So all mommies out there, one month and I am still alive which means we all are indeed super humans without a visible cape.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Toddler Recipe: Cheesy Spinach Pasta

Agu loves pasta and it always comes as a savior whenever I want to feed him veggies. I puree the veggies and add it to the sauce. So here's a very very easy recipe that he loved.

What you need:

Boiled pasta: 1 cup
Garlic: 4-5 cloves
Butter: 1 tbsp
Spinach: 10-15 leaves
Grated cheese: 3 tbsp
Milk: 1/4 cup
Salt: a pinch

Method:

1. Saute the palak leaves in a little butter, cool and grind to a smooth paste along with milk.
2. Melt butter in a pan and saute garlic for a few seconds.
3. Add the palak- milk mixture to it, add the grated cheese and boil until it reduces to thick and creamy.
4. Taste and add salt if required.
5. Add the boiled pasta to this sauce and saute until the sauce completely coats the pasta.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Our Naughty Bundle of Love turns 2!

I remember when I asked my friends about the pain during giving birth and all of them gave me the same answer that it's just a momentary thing and you will forget about it sooner than you ever imagined. After agu was born, after all the pain and trauma, I thought all of them lied to me, that I will be scarred for life. 2 years since then, now I know they were all right, having a baby around makes you think of a million things at the same time and you hardly have time to sit and crib about your delivery experience that happened 731 days back 😬

Parenting taught me that every year is like a new chapter, where life throws new challenges at you and you rush and figure out ways to deal with it. Last year was more of dealing with tantrums, trying to teach him a bit of basics of discipline, making him understand that if he jumps from the bed he would fall and hurt himself (I am not sure if any of it got into his head though 😁). There were times I really thought I wasn't a parent material, times when I wished things were as easy and magical as we saw in movies, times when I thought I was really a Bad Mom. Then there you are growing up so fast, learning to eat on your own, communicating with us through words, sleeping through the night, showing your affection through actions that always steal our hearts. Now I realise having a kid is almost like having to hold your heart outside your body, I cry when you are hurt, get mini heart attacks when you try new acrobatics, laugh our hearts out with your drama :)

Happy birthday Agooocha! Continue being the strong-willed kid that you are already now, remember we are there right beside you as a punching bag for your tantrums, a pillow to jump sleep and cry on and moreover parents to fight it out with you 😀😀

Friday, 7 October 2016

Toddler and the Food Dilemma

6 pm:

Me: Agu is freaking me out, he hasn't eaten anything today, no wait, he ate pasta in the evening. So the only thing he has eaten from morning is just pasta!

Husband: What about those 2 bananas he ate for breakfast?

Me: That was just fruit, he ate just half an idli that I made for him.

Husband: He ate an egg during lunch right?

Me: But he didn't touch the rice.

Husband: what about a pack of Bourbon biscuit on his way back from the shop??

Me: oh c'mon, that's just maida and sugar which is junk!!

Husband: Stay calm, I'm sure he's not going to starve to death by any chance.

Me (after a while): I think I should make one of his favourites for dinner.

Husband: Sigh!

There are times when I turn into an obsessed mama like this keeping a check on his calorie intake and other days when I would be glad if he had a glass of milk!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Story Behind a Happy Kid

When I was pregnant, I read an article where they said there is nothing called a happy baby, a content baby who gets their needs attended to turns out to be a happy baby. This somehow gave me a clue as to why we always associate a mom to the word exhausted. To be honest being a first time mom, I was an overly obsessed mama whose world suddenly shrank to her baby whom I felt was helpless and needed my protection all the while. I know it sounds insane but at that phase of life there was this tiny human with me who was clueless about the world around him, who had no means to communicate and I felt solely responsible for him. I used to read hundreds of articles, blogs, installed apps so that I never missed out on any cue from his end. As days passed by things started getting better, I was able to read his mind. Day and night my favorite or rather only pass time was to wait for his cues and get things done for him. This made me realise how much of an effort goes behind carrying around a happy kid and world (including me before having a kid) easily labels them happy kids with lucky parents. So here are a few things that I felt is worth the sleep deprivation and dark circles :)

Knowing their Cycle: Sleep and Hunger
We have always tried to plan our outings outside his sleep timings as a sleep deprived kid is almost equal to a hungry monster, they have no clue what all tantrums they end up in.
Always carry one of their favorite snack or fruit with you when you are heading out of the house, never ever leave without their sipper with water. When you are out of food or water, thats when they need it the most and act like they are going to die of thirst :)

Plan things ahead:
If we have to attend a function at 4 pm which is midway his sleep time, try to change the whole cycle for the day by waking him early in the morning, early lunch and put him to sleep quickly so that we won't have to wake up a sleepy kid, dress him up and end up at the venue with a fussy face.

Your hand bag= baby bag!
Wet wipes, extra diapers, extra pair of clothes, his favorite toy, extra covers, cookie box, sippy cup. This is what my handbag looks like since the past 2 years. Always stock up on things so that we won't have to panic when there is a necessity.

Help them burn their energy:
Toddlers are superhumans and they just have so much energy they hardly get exhausted. So play with them, take them to the park, choose a workout that they will enjoy too (my toddler loves dance with Bipasha and because of him I end up working out 5 days a week now).

Try to read their mind:
Trust me it is not easy but then this is the best way to deal with them and who else can do it better than their moms and dads!
For example if there are guests in the house and your sleeping toddler wakes up crying, take him to a room, be with him singing his favorite rhymes and bring him out only after you feel he is ready. Who would like to see a bunch of new faces when they are out of sleep? So just give them some time and make the whole situation easier for them than forcing them to be nice to strangers :)

So here I am, admiring all those moms out there trying hard to cover up their dark circles and hunger pangs so that they end up raising a not-so-fussy kid, now I know how much of an effort goes behind it!!


Attaching a few 'behind the scenes' photos for proof 😁

Friday, 23 September 2016

Toddler's favorite Butter Garlic Potatoes

To start with, this is one of the easiest snacks you can think of with just 3 major ingredients. You can dice the potatoes in whichever shape you like, wedges or finger chips shape. So here's the recipe:

Potato: 2 medium sized
Butter: 1 tbsp
Oil: 1 tbsp
Garlic: 3 cloves crushed
Salt: a pinch

How to make:
  • In a heated pan add butter and oil (Butter gets burnt fast, hence adding oil to balance it out).
  • Sprinkle salt and add crushed garlic.
  • Arrange the potatoes cut side facing the pan, cover and cook on lowest flame for 15 minutes.
  • Open the lid, rearrange the potatoes with the uncooked sides facing the pan. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. 
  • Repeat this until all sides get cooked.
  • I really like the potatoes brown so I increase the flame and toss all sides for about a minute each.
  • Tadaa..yummy potatoes ready and the perk, no deep frying required!
Do try this and let me know if your toddler liked it :)



Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Concept of God!

Being brought up in a not-so-religious atmosphere at home, our son some how learned the word "Krishna" as he was used to seeing krishna deity in our native home. Later on we realised that he started associating every form of God as Krishna which really amazed us.

When he saw the statue of Jesus Christ at my sister's college, while driving past a Ganesha temple, a glimpse of Hanuman Chalisa on TV, there he was shouting out "Krishna" in spite of the physical forms of God that we humans believe in.

Though at that time we were only amused about how he was able to connect that they are all forms of GOD, later it made us think how much of a less chaos the world would have had to witness if we all believed the way a toddler did. There might be some supreme power that has control over the whole universe but sadly we tend to forget the fact that the physical forms of them and religions made out of them are mere man made fancies.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Wife of a Football Fanatic

There we were, toddler and I (2 people equally clueless about football) cheering for PAPA at the ground.

Toddler:
Initial few minutes, tries to go with the crowd and claps when the rival team hits a goal or Papa's team misses a goal, after which he realises I am not very happy with his cheering so decides to imitate me for the rest of the match.
During half time runs to the ground, grabs chocolates and juice which was meant for the players.
Tries to impress another players daughter with his dribbling and "throw and catch" skills (by no doubt paternal genes working well here :))
Calls out Papa 53 times during the match.

Me:
With no idea about an off side or corner or defender, eyes glued just on the goal post so that I don't miss a goal.
Runs behind toddler half the time, dragging him to where we sat.
Proudly says "that's my husband" to a bunch of ladies sitting near me admiring Mr. Husband's football skills (well he knows really well how to show off those sweep in kicks and heading the ball).

P.S: I can name the Liverpool Football Club Manager even when you wake me up in my sleep, that's how contagious it is to have a football fanatic in the house :)

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Long Awaited Me-Time

So I realise my toddler is pissed with me for some reason as he was intentionally walking past me fifteen times trying hard not to make eye contact.
My first thought was "Finally I'm going to get some me-time..yaay!!"

After about 5 minutes, I was not able to handle the ignorance any more and there I was begging on my knees to get his attention (as if my lover just dumped me for another woman).
This is what motherhood is all about, you crave for me-time all the while and when you finally get it, you have no clue what to do with yourself 😁

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Myth about Nuclear Families

We live in a generation of nuclear families and I have always loved the space, the freedom, the independence we have at home. So many times we listen to people condemning kids brought up in nuclear families that I am always up for a debate for the same. So I really wanted to scribble some of the most common comments and how I really feel about them. Here they go!

Nuclear family= Gadget addict kids:
To be frank I strongly feel that gadgets are only a matter of convenience for the parents. I still get really disturbed when I see kids in public places swiping iPads or phone, completely aloof from the world around them. If you can spend quality time with ur kid, if you have the patience to play with them, if you are willing to run behind them, if you can take a little effort to take them to the park or play area, you are never going to see a gadget addicted kid. It has nothing to do with nuclear families.

Kids brought up in nuclear families talk late:
I have heard this around 201 times for the past 21 months and this is so wrong. Let us take an example, I wake up in the morning, while I am busy cooking breakfast I hear constant babbling between my toddler and my husband (mostly about the football match that happened the previous day or new model of a car or so on), we eat breakfast together (no running around, no force feeding), we sit and talk and eat. As it is just me and the toddler in the house whole day, I narrate to him the things I do, I tell him stories, I show him flash cards or photographs and show him things and people. So in a way he is constantly listening to words that too with undivided attention. We really don't need a dozen people around to teach them how to talk!

Kids brought up in nuclear families don't know how to share:
Kids are mini humans and they like to imitate things, our actions work far better than words with them, they learn things faster from what they see us doing. For example if he sees us sharing things with our spouse or the toddler himself he will definitely try to do the same. When you say sorry when you are wrong and thank you when others do something nice to you, you would be amazed when you see your toddler doing the same at a similar situation. Our son gives away his toys when at the park, don't mind when other kids explore his toy box or ride his favorite car. Tell them to do something a hundred times and you would only be disappointed, show them how to do it and you would be amazed by the way they imbibe them :)

Being in a nuclear family doesn't really effect the kid in a negative way, in fact I have seen a lot of positives to it. I have seen kids brought up in joint families as well and trust me I have got convinced that it is just a myth that kids are far better, speak quickly, learn sharing and caring when brought up in joint families. So next time someone tells you something about your kid, you know what to say!

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Slice of Pineapple

At the Restaurant:
On our attempts to keep the toddler entertained, I offer him the slice of pineapple (with the peel), they had decorated my mocktail with. After a minute that slice just disappears from his hand and we realise he stuffed his mouth with it. With a smile on my face and heart beating in my throat, I try to poke my finger in and take it out but you know how adamant these mini humans can get! Husband and I try our best not to panic but revise "how to save a choking kid" in our minds. Two minutes later we realise he managed to gulp it (mind you, pineapple with the PEEL) as if it was a blob of cotton candy and topped it off with his share of potato wedges.

Toddlers are indeed super humans.

P.S. The pictures show his default expression whenever he takes a sip of my mocktail and at the end he's the one who finishes half of it!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Weaning Story

So unlike every other milestones so far, weaning our son from breastfeeding was freaking me out. 18 months and there was no sign of him self-weaning so I was left with no option but to do it myself, but HOW was the question haunting me. I read a lot of articles (as always), spoke to mommies who have been there but somehow I was not able to convince myself as to how I will go about it.

I still remember how it all started. The initial days when he was tiny and had no clue how to latch on, when my stitches were still sore, my husband woke up every hour to mix formula and feed him with a spoon, then it transformed to our me time where we cuddled and talked about so many things..that's when he listened to most of my confessions :) Hence stopping it abruptly without really telling him about it was something I could never imagine. I know he was just 19 months and it might anyway end with a few tantrums for the first couple of days but I felt guilty of it.

Every kid is different and a method that worked for me may not work for another kid but then as my friends were asking me how I put an end to it, here it goes:
Agu is one of those high spirited strong willed kids, who is very sure of what he wants and its nearly impossible to distract him during an outburst of tantrum. So what has worked best with him is to talk things out like where we are heading to when I take out his pram or if we want to dress him up we tell him we are going shopping, small things like keeping him informed has helped us deal with him way better. I reduced the feeding to nap times, i.e. twice a day. Most difficult to put an end to, was the night time feeding. So I fixed a date when I was going to stop feeding him and told him "we have two more weeks and then you are going to have moo moo milk" (cow is 'moo moo' for him). Everyday we kept reminding him with a count down and with so much excitement that even he started feeling it wasn't anything bad. So the first night after weaning was tough for both of us but i didnt want to give in so within 2 days there he was, listening to rhymes or stories and sleeping on my tummy!

The Story of Mini Mini Dosa

So when your toddler makes a face when you ask if he wants dosa, you become very innovative and make these and announce "See what you are going to have, mini mini dosa!!!" (stressing on the "MINI MINI part"). Toddler, all excited, hogs on it and you smile because you have found a new favorite dish to satisfy his taste buds, atleast for a couple of days! :)

Friday, 29 July 2016

Driving with Toddler

Tips to master driving skills:

1. Drive alone, when you make blunders you can convince yourself you are the only one who saw it.
2. Take toddler with you; you will have somebody to sing with you all the way and they have no clue about gear and clutch what so ever so you end up seeing only a smiling face each time you peep into the rear view mirror (confidence booster for sure!).

While my husband checks in for Kabali, here I am, stuffing my face with doughnut with my toddler. Motherhood is..errr...well...truly amazing...Sigh!


Fitness with Toddler

So I bribe my toddler with cookies to come with me to the gym.
Packed things: Sippy cup, 5 double chocolate chip cookies, his favorite green ball, stacking toy (all for half an hour at the gym).
Then I realised taking toddler with you to the gym gets you double the workout, 15 kg on one hand all the while :)

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Banana and Dates Muffin

Whole Wheat Banana and Dates Muffin:

Wheat: 1 cup
Oats: half cup
Banana mashed: 1 cup (I used ripe robusta)
Dates chopped: half cup
Butter (melted): half cup
Baking powder: 1 tsp
Jaggery powdered: 3/4 cup
Milk: half cup
Vanilla essence: 1tsp

How to cook:

1. Preheat oven at 180 degree for 10 mins.
2. In a bowl mix mashed banana, butter, jaggery.
3. Sieve in wheat and baking powder to this and mix well.
4. Add the chopped dates and fold gently so that it gets distributed throughout the batter.
5. Line muffin tray with cupcake paper base and pour in the batter in all the muffin wells.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes until they are cooked and the top becomes slightly brown.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Dear Monday, Thanks for being there! :)

You post your post pregnancy weight loss story in your blog and motivate many of your friends, after a couple of months you get a text from your friend:

Friend: Hey..thanks a lot for the motivation, I lost 8 kgs!!!
Me (staring at the cupcake in my hand): Wow!! That's great!! Thanks for letting me know.

Damn, I'm quitting sugar from tomorrow (remembers the tub of Bavarian chocolate in the freezer), or rather from Monday! :D
Dear Monday, I am sure you have witnessed a lot of broken promises..to hit the gym, to wake up early, to start a diet, to quit sugar. Thanks for being there and keep coming up every week, we have a lot more promises to make over you!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Life with a Toddler :)

So Mr. Husband tries to motivate you showing the new Nike ad, you see Deepika Padukone and other ladies sweating out and thinks "what on earth am I doing with my life?!" and gets all geared up to hit the gym next morning.
You jump up to switch off the alarm so that you don't wake up your toddler, sneaks out of bed, tip toes to the bathroom and thinks "yaay finally I'm doing it today!".
While you brush your teeth you feel there's someone standing behind you, with a chill down your spine you turn around to see a smiling face calling out MAMA! And you are like "oh no, not again" ! :D Makes up my mind and ends up with another day that starts with my usual cup of coffee.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Stay at Home Mom Woes ;)

That moment in your life when you realise the only people you have met for the past 3 weeks are your maid, your cook, your husband and of course your toddler(who has in fact listened to all my confessions by now). Sometimes you might feel like questioning your sanity, your graduation certificates and work experience smirk at you, your patience is tested to its limit, you scroll through old photographs and wonder how life has changed and you feel like digging a hole and burying yourself in it, you feel like packing your bag and go on a solo vacation to a hill top may be, that moment when all you need is peace of mind and it might seem so hard to find it.

And then your toddler runs to you, holds you tight and lay on your chest, that moment you realise how much you love this life and how it is worth all the insanity!!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Those Little Acts of Love!

We were the kind of couple who unintentionally had a frown on our faces when our co passenger had a baby, used to opt for a table far away from a family just because they had a baby, dreaded when there was a kid near us at the movie theatre, all because of the fact that we had always associated baby to "miniature humans who cry for no reason". Now that we are parents, we know exactly how it is, when your little one throws a tantrum and I know I owe a huge apology to a lot of mothers out there for those stares I have showered upon them at various instances, trust me I was completely oblivious at that time. So here are a few strangers who taught me the small acts of love.

Travelling alone with my baby:
The lady on the flight who played peekaboo with my 14 month old son when he was bored during our 45 min journey to our native. If not for her, I would have seen myself walking up and down the aisle.

At the mall:
The lady who sent her toddler to talk to my baby when he was throwing a tantrum just because he didnt want to sit on his pram.

At the supermarket:
The lady who let me go ahead her at the billing counter because I was trying to balance baby and vegetables with both hands.

At the park:
The gentleman who helped me fold and unfold the pram to pass through the entrance when I was struggling to do it with baby on one hand.

At the apartment:
The old man who stopped by just to hold the elevator door for me when I was trying acrobatics to keep the door open with my leg while pushing the pram in.

When I look back there are so many such small acts of kindness which has made that moment a little easier for me. Thanks for making me realise this is all it takes to bring a smile on people's face, to make that moment a little less difficult for them. So let's spread the joy of love to people around us! :)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Cooking and Me

My love for food started from a very young age, I had a recipe book where I used to jot down recipes since the time I was in fourth grade. After getting married I got more hands on chances to try out new recipes with a very loving food critic at home. My friends usually ask me how I make a specific dish saying I would have found the easiest way of making it. It is actually after we started solids for our son that I realised it just takes a small effort from our end to cook things at home which would end up being healthier and tastier than store bought ones.
So here are a few tried and tested recipes which has managed to satisfy our little one's taste buds. Hope you will try them and let me know how it turned out :)

Whole Wheat Dates and Choco Chunk Cookies:
Whole wheat – 1 cup
Jaggery (powdered) – 1 cup
Melted Butter – ¾ cup
Dark chocolate (roughly chopped) – ¼ cup
Dates - (roughly chopped) – ¼ cup
Milk – as per need to adjust dough consistency

Method:
  • Preheat oven at 180 degree for 10 minutes.
  • Mix whole wheat and jaggery in a bowl.
  • Add the melted butter and prepare cookie dough. To adjust the consistency of the dough add milk if required (consistency should be like roti dough).
  • Add in the dates and choco chunks and mix lightly so that it reaches all over the dough.
  • Make small balls and lightly press. You can also flatten the whole dough with a rolling pin and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.
  • Bake for 15 minutes and cool for a while at room temperature.
  • Note: The cookie hardens as it cools so do not over bake it.


Spinach and Potato Tikki

So last week there was fresh spinach in our balcony garden and decided to try something different and trust me it has become a new favourite at home!
Spinach (Palak) : A bunch
Potato: 2 medium sized (boiled and mashed)
Garlic: 3 cloves (Optional)
Dry mango powder: (1 tsp)
Cumin: ½ tsp
Green Chilli: 1
Salt: As per taste

How to make:
  • ·         In a pan, add oil and once it turns hot add cumin and garlic and sauté for a minute. Now add the spinach to it and cook on low flame till the leaves are wilted and water completely evaporated.
  • ·         Let this mixture cool and grind it to a smooth paste along with green chillies.
  • ·         In a bowl, add the mashed potatoes, spinach puree, salt, dry mango powder and mix well. Make sure that there is no water and to get the right consistency add a bit of rice flour if required.
  • ·         Make small balls out of this and shallow fry on medium flame.
  • ·         Crispy tikkis ready!


Note: To make a healthier version just brush oil on the tikkis and bake them for 20 minutes.


Garlic Pasta:

Boiled Pasta: 1 cup
Garlic: 4 cloves
Milk: 1/4 cup
Butter: 1 tbsp

How to make:
  • Heat a pan and add butter to it.
  • Once the butter melts, add chopped garlic and saute for a minute. 
  • Now pour milk and add a pinch of salt, let the milk boil and reduce a bit.
  • Add cooked pasta and keep it on low flame till the milk reduces and coats the pasta well.


Note:
To add more veggies to it you can either add stir fried veggies or grind carrot/ broccoli/ beetroot along with garlic and continue with step 2.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Oh your son is a foodie, you are so lucky!!

From the time our son was in my tummy till the 17 month old that he's now, his weight was always on the healthier side. Being a solely breast fed baby it brought us so much joy whenever the weighing scale showed an exponential number each time we took him for a checkup or vaccination. Starting solid food was one thing I did a hell lot of research on, reading numerous articles (I wouldn't have read so much even during my college days ;)) and watching videos on foods to avoid till a specific age, types of combinations of purees and the amount of food to be given. When he takes a nap I Google for new recipes for him, keep a count of veggies and fruits he had that day, trying to include dairy and rice as well..the list just goes on. Though he enjoys food, he has got a picky palate like ours and it does take a lot of effort to satisfy the foodie in him and when these well wishers say "oh you are so lucky he eats everything", I really feel like snarling and pouncing on them :)
So here's a list of things that I feel might help you mommies out there with a foodie or not-so-foodie baby!
Booster Seat:
This is one accessory I can't live without now. From the time we started solid food for him we made it a rule that it's the place to be when he eats. 17 months now and I still owe a lot to the chair as it has helped us making mealtimes hassle free. Unlike high chairs, booster seat can be easily carried around, so take it along when you go for a vacation or to the restaurant nearby.
Trust your gut feeling:
You read so much about each phase of the baby that you have all the information stored somewhere in your brain. So do things that you feel is right. I started giving our baby chicken when he was 8 months old, fish when he was 9 months and red meat when he was 10 months old. We stopped cooking separately for him when he was 10 months and hence he got used to our spice levels as well. Trust me I had to witness a lot of frowning faces while trying to make this possible but then now that he sits with us and eats everything, the same frowned faces now label him a foodie who eats anything and everything and we, the lucky parents ;)
Mix and match:
Every kid is different and they have taste preferences just like we adults do. So if we are able to find a few ingredients that work fool proof with them, half your work is done! Garlic works like magic with our son, add a dash of garlic in his stir fried veggies or pasta and he would eat all of it most of the time. So even with this there is always a chance of rejection but then it works like 90% of the time! :)
Bland is absolutely fine!
Our son loves rice porridge without salt in it, plain idli and dosa without chutney, plain milk, oats  boiled in milk without sugar. This is in fact good news for us as he's not addicted to the white poison "sugar" and he doesn't demand chutney with his dosa. I had to fight so much with well wishers who tried to portray me as the cruel mom who doesn't even give her son sugar! Even now after seeing his love for bland food i still get advice "give him sugar with idli", " how will he eat plain porridge?", "add flavoured powder in his milk" and so on. If your baby loves bland food, please don't try to spoil their taste buds by adding a laddle of sugar in their milk or salt in their rice and porridge.


Monday, 14 March 2016

The Never Ending Post Pregnancy Drama

Delivering a baby is not a fun game. Having gone though it once I know the pain (both physical and mental) a lady goes through. The battle in a labor room lasts for nearly 12-18 hours and we come out totally drained, still trying to get used to the sagging stomach, pain from the stitches and moreover longing to hold the life you just created! When your only wish is for a quiet time, you see the tug of war between the crowd in the room to hold the baby, the endless suggestions as to how to wrap the baby to how to hold him and you sit there watching helplessly. Once the crowd subsides, the focus comes to the new mom as well, what to eat what not to eat, how to feed the baby, how to put him to sleep and so on. That was the evening that really changed me, from a helpless mom to a fiery mamma and we (my husband and I) decided we would never let the world decide how to bring up our baby. 18 months since and the number of suggestions and concerns and advice has only gone up and we have decided to respond only with a smile and not to follow anything that we don't believe in, So here are a few lessons learnt, 18 months so far and we know we are doing it right :)

Well-Wisher: Now that you got a baby boy in the first try, you wouldn't have to worry and pray to get a boy child when you get pregnant next. You already have a boy in the family!
Me: Thanks for your help with our family planning.

Well-wisher: The baby did not get his dad's fair complexion!
Me: May be we will have a moment of silence for the loss of "fair-skin" legacy :)

Well-wisher: Oh my god! Baby has lost so much weight, he has grown so thin!
Me: Yes, we are undergoing a diet plan to lose weight and the results are showing well on him :D 

Well-wisher (at each stage of baby's life): You are yet to see the real difficulties of parenting, he is going to be a lot more troublesome as he gets old.
Me: I am tired of listening to this threat from the time he was born. To be honest I have felt things getting easier as baby grows..from a baby bag full of sterilised bottles, boiled water, lactogen, diapers, extra clothes, flannel etc. to just a sippy cup of water and a fruit..from a delicate helpless life to an independent toddler (yes he thinks he is capable of taking care of me by now;)). May be it is how we look at things and anticipating a trouble loaded tomorrow is never going to help, trust me.

Well-wisher: He is seeing only his dad and mom all the time, that's why he is not very social.
Me: Oh yes, we are planning to rent people to run around the house, probably that would make him more social as you label!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Let's break the stereotype!

We live in an era where we hear a lot about gender equality, but sometimes I feel the more we stress on something the more it acts like instilling primitive thoughts in people's minds. 21st century and we still have to have campaigns to treat boy and girl child equally even then the discrimination begins even before a lady gets pregnant. There are people who still chant mantra to get a baby boy, people who get disappointed when the nurse comes out with the baby and says "its a girl", people who feel a family is incomplete without a boy! Gone are the days when parents preach their girl child only to learn cooking and run a house, though at times a distant relative "aunt" drops by once the girl is 20 years old to check her skills on becoming a wife. As we know there is never a right way of parenting, it differs from person to person, but then here are a few things I feel may have a negative effect on the child on the long run.

Tell them they are smart, not handsome/beautiful:
Even from a very young age lets tell our kids that skin tone is just a colour people are born with and it has nothing to do with a person's character. I know a lot has been said about this these days, through social media and blogs, but still we find people looking for a fair bride for their son, force myths on pregnant women to get a fair skinned baby, the increasing mania for fairness products and the endless skin treatments. Still the society always associate beauty with flawless skin and fair complexion. As parents the most important thing we need to do is make our kids comfortable being in their own skin. We need to stress on the fact that physical appearance is only secondary and let them know it is being smart that matters and not being pretty.

Instilling fear:
This is more of an age old practice, wherein we hear the parent telling their kids "You better finish your food or else boo boo will come", "Do not go that far alone, there is boo boo there, it will come and catch you". By doing so, are we not inculcating fear in our kids? Somehow when I think of it, it has more of a convenience factor to it as well. The next time the kid runs a little faster, this so called "boo boo" comes to the parents rescue to get the kid back to them without them running behind the kid, next time the kid refuses to eat, boo boo comes handy to the parent without trying to figure out what the child wants to eat or even whether the child is hungry at all! May be this helps us run the daily errands with a bit more ease but we never know when another person might make use of this "instilled fear" in the child and all we would be able to do is sit back and regret.

You do not have to go with the society wave:
However progressed we think we are, we being social animals are bound to go by the norms of the society. The only thing a girl's parents should look forward to after her studies, is to get her married. Even if the parents don't care, the society panics if the girl crosses the "age to get married" or if a girl does not get pregnant after the "fixed period" after wedding. May be we should let our children explore and grow up and decide on their own. It is not a sin if you decide not to get married or if you decide not to have kids. it is purely your decision and you don't have to change it just because the rest of the world does not go by that.

Girls are usually expected to ignore, forget and forgive and in a way suffer in silence. Give them the confidence to stand up and react, let them know that as parents you are there to fight with them or rather to fight for them.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Let them free!

So we thought we are bombarded with questions about our future only when we were 15 years old, like "Which course are you planning to opt?", " What is your career plan?", wedding plan, family plan and so on (yes yes, I do remember Dulquer in Bangalore days when I say that:))
Now that there's Agu around we realise all the pressure starts right from the first month you are born. "Give the baby tummy time or else he won't learn to roll over soon", "Make him sit with support so that he will know how to sit", "Leave the baby on the floor for longer time so that he will start crawling", "Your baby doesn't talk yet?", "He doesn't call mama & papa yet?", "13 months and he doesn't walk yet? You should hold and make him walk, buy a walker, he must be scared he will fall!!"
C'mon please give them time to explore things and reach milestones in their own comfortable pace. Just because a neighbor's kid started walking at 9 months doesn't mean that we have to make him to do the same. After all they don't have a marathon to run when they are a year old :)

P.S: In the picture its our darling mastering table etiquette :D


Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Last Name!

We live in an era where we hear a lot about gender equality, but sometimes I feel the more we stress on something the more it acts like instilling primitive thoughts in people's minds. 21st century and we still have to have campaigns to treat boy and girl child equally even then the discrimination begins even before a lady gets pregnant. There are people who still chant mantra to get a baby boy, people who get disappointed when the nurse comes out with the baby and says its a girl, people who feel a family is incomplete without a boy!
It is recently during a conversation that i realised that there is still this underlying wish for a baby boy in many people's minds. Though female foeticide has become less common, at least in modern families, I feel even the wish that the child should be a boy serves nothing less than the crime itself. When a child is born there's this constant tug of war for the rights over the baby, the silent gestures or subtle comments that the baby finally belongs to his/her dad's family. Be it the last name of the child, the address where they belong to in an ID proof, our society without a doubt goes by the dad's side. These were things that I never thought about, that never bothered me but then after the conversation I started thinking when are we going to break free of this stereotypic thoughts. What if a family consists of only girls, does their family name just die off once the girls get married? Does it mean that the parents who have worked equally hard to bring up their girl children, pampered them, educated them and married them off in style, have lesser rights over their grand child?
May be it is time we took a step and made a change. Remember as parents we are the most important people in our baby's life hence let's not let this thought get carried forward to our younger generation. Let us not force them to go with the society wave, let us not preach them lessons we don't believe in, just give them the freedom to explore and conclude, lets give them the freedom of choice!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy new year!

Another year gone by and here I am mastering the art of forgiving and forgetting (and of course let karma do the rest ;)) and trust me it does take you a few steps closer to finding inner peace. 2015, thanks for the love, the happy moments, for letting me fulfill a resolution, for fitting me into the mamma role.
2016, hope you will shower upon lesser sleepless nights :)