Life, Mundane musings

Learn Something From Everyone

Each individual is unique and gifted in their own way. If you look close enough you will find things worth learning even from the people you dislike most or from people you think are far less smart than you.

With my husband forgetting his tupperware tiffins at office all the time I am constantly buying new. Recently I met an Aunty who lives a few blocks from our apartment building who works as a consultant with Tupperware. The first time I met her, honestly, I felt slight pity on her. She and her husband would be almost 60-65 year old and live in a good neighbourhood in a small 2 BHK. The living room is like an ordinary middle class living room, with 2 huge pictures that stand out – wedding pictures of 2 beautiful couples. I thought these must be her son or daughter’s pictures and that they must be living in other city or country and with her husband being retired she has to work with Tupperware to make some money. The next time I visited, I asked her if the pictures are of her sons or daughters and she proudly told me they are both her daughters. I don’t know why but the pride on her face and in her voice when she told me they are her daughters’ pics made me think a little better of her.

One time when she didn’t have an item that I wanted she offered to drop it to my home in a couple of day’s time. There is a big temple near my apartment building and she said she comes there very often so it would not be a problem for her. One day I received a Whatsapp message from her asking if I’ll be home that day. I was impressed… the simple lady I was feeling sorry for is not doing too badly with technology. She came around noon and as I offered her tea and biscuits she refused saying she hasn’t done her pooja so cannot eat anything. Yet, she didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave.

She told me she walked down from her building to mine and this would mean she could skip her evening walk today if she wanted to. She asked if I am working somewhere without sounding the least bit intrusive. By the time she left it was almost time for me to go and pick up my daughter. I usually take an auto for both ways since I don’t drive but that day inspired by Aunty I thought I’ll walk. And I continued doing that till the winter session ended, all thanks to an old lady!

Having known each other for some time, we talked more with each visit and I got to know that she’s also a Reiki practitioner. She said she can teach it to me and my friends if I am interested. She then went on telling stories about how she helped her daughters do better at school and work by doing Reiki for them. I noticed the pride and glow on her face when she was talking about her skill. She even offered to do it for me for free…. I mean come on, I had only met her a few times that too as a customer and this simple woman who seemed so ordinary on face and is so talented and enterprising under her humble demeanour was willing to offer her services for nothing in return. I was touched, a little by her generosity and more by the way she’s living her life. When she offered I told her I am not keen on joining Tupperware because I feel it is a lot of effort for a little money and she agreed with me, adding that she was only doing it because this keeps her socially active and she gets to meet lot of nice people through this.

And there I was, so bored of my life as a SAHM and yet not willing to trade it for anything. Comparing my situation with Aunty I felt it was not too different from mine at least on weekdays. We both stay home and we both have limited social circle and nonexistent social life. What is different however is that she has made a great effort in keeping pace with society – be it with respect to technology or going a little out of her way to meet new people or to keeping herself busy constructively and making herself feel useful again. It was something I must learn from her. When someone from an older generation can be so enterprising why couldn’t I? When someone who on face value is much less educated and smart than I am, can make her life more exciting and find newer avenues to explore why should I feel sorry for sacrificing my career? She gave me a lot of food for thought and helped me bring some positive changes in my attitude and life.

I hope we all keep our eyes open for such positive people around us and learn whatever we can from them. It will only make our life more enriching. 


Disciplining your child, Parenting

Making Toddlers Listen

As a mother, I always worry about teaching my kid to do the right thing. But to do that, the little one needs to follow too. So how to make the little apple listen and follow. The first thing that comes to mind is, set an example. Yes, that is first and foremost. But toddlers are just not yet wired to follow in the age group of 2-3, especially if they are in a bad mood. So how do we make them listen, understand and follow?

It’s a multi-step process.

  • First, make sure that the kid is not throwing a tantrum. If he or she is, distract them with something
  • If distraction technique doesn’t work, let them take their time to finish up their act. Do not react. Use a poker face and ignore
  • Once the tantrum is over, or the tantrum is not in picture, bend down at their level and gently ask them, while looking in their eyes, to do what you would like them to. Mostly this should work
  • If the above doesn’t work, very gently tell them, while staying in the same position “ I will count to five and then you have to do it. If you don’t, then mommy will have to show you how to do it” or simply start doing yourself and ask the kiddo for help
  • Still no movement, well them, show them how to do it. Hold their hand gently and make them do what they are supposed to do. As an example, cleaning the room and putting toys in their place. None of the above worked? Hold their hand gently and make them pick toys and put in their own place. After one or two toys have been picked, they will themselves start doing it
  • In the end, show them their hard work, give a big hug, and load with kisses

The above strategy works everytime, without shooting up my blood pressure. Teaches a calm behavior to the child and in the end, it’s fun to laugh rather than be mad.

Give it a shot!!!

(PS: The strategy has been adapted from Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules: Your 5-Step Guide to Shaping Proper Behavior)



Crafty baby

Celebrating Father’s Day!

Though I am not a person who believes in celebrating a relationship only on a particular day, Father’s Day has come to mean something more than a normal day ever since VMJ came into our lives. She is very attached to me since she spends most of her waking time with me only but her attachment with her father is something else. She won’t run to him for everything but she wants him around ALL THE TIME. Ever since summer vacations have begun its become a major task for KJ to leave for office as VMJ clings to his legs and chants “Mat jao Papa (Papa, don’t go!). She calls him in the afternoons sometimes and asks if he’s coming home soon or not. One day he said “Yes, I’m coming, you sleep now.” And the first thing VMJ asked as she got up from her nap was “Where’s Papa?” She got quite upset when I told her Papa hasn’t come yet and he has stopped saying things to please her since 🙂

Anyway, coming back to Father’s day. The reason I like celebrating this day is because I feel its a celebration of all the joys VMJ has brought in our lives. We don’t do anything much, VMJ and I make a card for Papa dearest and he either takes us out or buys some treats for us 🙂

On her first Father’s day, our little doll was only 3 months old and I had got a pic of her with Papa enlarged and framed. The frame held place of pride in our bedroom until recently when we moved it to VMJ’s room. One her second Father’s day, last year, I got her hand print on an A4 sheet and after it dried I took a print out of a poem on it that I took from the net and tweaked a bit to make it personal. Here is the poem:

I won’t always cry, Mummy,
When you leave the room
and my supermarket tantrums,
Will end too soon,
I won’t always wake, Daddy,
For cuddles through the night
& one day you’ll miss,
Having a chocolate face to wipe.
Yo won’t always wake to find my foot,
is kicking you out of bed,
Or find me sideways on your pillow,,
Where you want to lay your head.
You won’t always have to carry me,
In asleep from the car,
Or piggy back me down the road,
When my little legs can’t walk that far,
So cherish every cuddle,
Remember them all,
Because one day, Mummy.
I won’t be this small.

It is so touching and so sweetly worded, and I had made some changes that suited VMJ and Papa. KJ loved it totally… more because of VMJ’s cutie hand print on it 🙂

If you are wondering how to take your little one’s hand print, don’t worry. Its fairly easy. If your baby is too small, wait until he’s sound asleep. Then make a thick paste of water colour of your choice in a plate larger than your LO’s palm. Apply the colour on his hands using a cotton swab or brush, whichever is convenient for you. When the colour is evenly spread on his hands, hold the fingers straight and press firmly on paper. It would help if you have the paper clipped on a clipboard and then it wont move and will also have a firm background. Take the print on 2-3 sheets at least so if one smudges you don’t have to go through the process all over again. if your child is older than 1.5 years, he most likely will enjoy getting his hands messy and with a few smudges you will be able to get the perfect print.

For this year’s Father’s Day, I wanted to make something I had seen on another blog a while ago – hand print tulip flowers. Yes, I love hand prints and foot prints…. I feel they make a great memento and honestly there are so many things you can make from them. 

So, I got VMJ’s hand prints on paper sheets. She was too happy to oblige as after my taking the prints she got to play with brush and paint.. hehe!

Once the prints dried up, I cut them with a very thin border. I also cut out stems and leaves on a green paper. By this time VMJ had gotten up from her afternoon nap and was eager to help me out. I helped her put glue stick on the back of our flowers and stems and stick them on the ivory sheet. Once that was done she picked crayons of her choice and we wrote ‘I Love you Papa’ on top of our tulips and ‘Happy Father’s Day’ along with date on the back.

When Kj got back from office today, she couldn’t wait and handed him the card, saying “Maine banaya hai (I made it!)” and Papa was so happy… 😀

Here’s a pic of VMJ posing with the card she had just finished making. Try and make it, its easy and quick and absolutely adorable! image_1


Happy Father’s Day everyone!



Healthy baby

Relieving constipation in your little bunny!

Constipation is a common problem in children of all ages. Though it seems pretty  harmless only a mother knows how much pain it causes her child. Constipation usually begins when babies start formula milk or during their transition to solids. Their young intestines are stressed by the sudden change in diet and need some getting used to. The limited water intake doesn’t help either. The result is infrequent, hard and often painful bowel movement. 
A rule of thumb is to increase the sugar intake in your child when he’s constipated and cut down on sugar as much as you can when he has diarrhea. However, if your child is less than 1 year old and still nursing you should offer more breast milk as a first step.
Traumatized by VMJ’s cries as she dealt with constipation around 1 year mark I scanned the web for home remedies that would ease her pain. Here are the best ones I found:
  1. Putting oil/Vaseline to baby’s bottom. It loosens the opening as well as greases it for an easier bowel movement. Dip an ear bud in Vaseline or coconut oil and insert gently in baby’s bottom. Don’t insert too much, just a little is enough
  2. Prepare a warm bath for the baby with 2 tsp of baking soda added to it. Let the baby soak in it for 10 min
  3. Prune juice/ prune water helps a great deal. Boil few prunes and strain the water. Give to your child couple of times a day. Prune puree is available in the baby food section and works like a charm
  4. Spinach brings quick relief too. Add puree in yogurt, cereal or give as it is
  5. Pear, Papaya and Peach. You can make baby’s cereal in pear or prune juice/puree
  6. Give a few spoons of a weak concoction of saunf (fennel) or ajwain (carom seeds). Boil a pinch of these with a cup of water and your magic potion is ready. You can also make cereal in this or add a little in formula, but give a little at a time
  7. Increase the amount of sugar in her diet (and do the opposite when she has diarrhea, cut back on sugar)
  8. Rice cereal usually makes babies constipated. You can make healthier rice cereal at home – lightly roast brown rice or oats and grind them. You can use either or both together to give variety of cereal and taste. They cook in just couple of minutes in the microwave. You will have to let it cool down and perhaps add more water because it thickens as it cools. But until the constipation eases away, cut down on rice. You can add double the water if you want to give it at all. You can also add fruit and veggie puree to add more fiber to it, or make it in yogurt instead of water
  9. Yogurt is healthy as well as aids digestion. Home made is best, however if you are giving store bought must check for ‘live active culture’
  10. Black raisins are very good for relieving constipation. Just soak a few in water overnight and give this water and soaked raisins to your child
  11. Stay away from banana. In some kids it increases constipation so don’t give unless you are sure how it works with your baby
  12. If everything else fails, you can safely administer Glycerin suppository (look for infant suppositories). Its recommended by pediatricians and is available easily at chemist shop without a prescription. A suppository brings relief within a couple of hours, in case it doesn’t you can use another safely the same day



Educating your child

Teaching Seasons: Summer

Sometimes we can’t decide what more to teach our kids, especially when it is vacation time and they are too young. That’s when you need to look around for inspiration and pick things from your immediate environment that you can tell your toddler about. I feel a great way of teaching new things and introducing new words is by going season by season and increasing the level of complexity as the child gets older. A season changes our clothing, our menu and the weather, all things that form part of your child’s surroundings, making it easy for you to educate him about these. 

Since its summer time, lets start by teaching our little ones about summers. You need to begin by telling that the weather is changing and we have kept the warm winter clothes away. It is getting hot and we sweat when it gets very warm. To keep our bodies cool we need fans and AC. Your toddlers might already be knowing about fan and AC and that fan is switched ON or OFF by a switch. You can show the switch and ask then to turn the fan on and off, and if your child is old enough you can teach how turning the regular makes the fan go slow and fast. This way you not only teach them cause and effect but also teach opposites – slow-fast, ON-OFF, warm-cool. 

Another thing you can do is to invest in an inflatable pool and let your child splash away. Not only is this an activity most kids enjoy tremendously, it can help pass some time during the boring summer vacations. You can buy some cool bathing toys and cook new stories everyday. Or you can use a good bath gel, make lather and use it to hide small toys that your baby will have lot of fun finding. More opposites you can teach in the pool are wet-dry, hide-seek, clean-dirty (referring to your child’s hands or feet before and after the bath).

Summers also bring lot of delicious foods – mangoes, watermelon, litchi, ice cream etc. You can teach colors and shapes while enjoying these yummy treats (oval for mango slice and semi circle for watermelon slice), and also teach new adjectives like mangoes can be sour and sweet or ripe and raw (more opposites!). Mangoes can be juicy, litchi can be delicious, watermelon can be refreshing and cool. 

You can make ice lollies with different flavors and relish each afternoon. Some flavors that I have made this summer so far include:

  • Watermelon mint ice lolly: Grind some watermelon in a mixer with few mint leaves. You may add a little sugar if the watermelon is not too sweet. Add chopped strawberries, grapes, cherries, kiwi fruit or any berry that you have available. Pout in ice lolly molds and set in freezer for few hours.
  • Lemonade ice lolly: Make lemonade and add finely chopped mint leaves and some cut fruits as above. I added some peeled and cut litchis and it tasted great. You can sprinkle some chat masala or salt just before handing it over to your child.
  • Fruity ice lolly: Take any fruit flavor crush – Strawberry, Mango, Pineapple or even Khus. Add enough water and some chopped fruits and freeze away.

You can also freeze tang, just experiment with different flavors and colors to keep it interesting for your little one.

When it gets very hot we usually get some rain, you can use this opportunity to teach your child about the water cycle. Teach when it is going to rain, starting with grey clouds. I teach my 2.2 year old by showing her grey rain clouds and telling her that rain comes from the sky and lives in clouds. When there is a lot of rain in one cloud it turns grey in color. When it gets even more rain that it can not handle it breaks (show how that can happen by filling a water balloon with water, that the balloon can sustain only so much water and bursts when its over filled). When the clouds break it starts raining – it rains on trees, plants, people, roads, park and hills. Plants drink this water. Sun comes out and dries up the rain (relate it with incy wincy spider rhyme). With sun’s heat the water dries up and hides in the clouds. This is simple enough for toddlers to understand and when they see the grey clouds and rain, they are able to relate too.

You can tell some summer stories to your child like the story of the thirsty crow and maybe show video of the same on youtube.

Taking inspiration from Nukta you may get some fast growing plants that flower in summer and plant those with your child.

Since its so hot, most people keep a water bowl in the balcony for birds. You may do that too. Keep some grains along with the water and watch birds that come to feed and drink with your little one. 

Summers may not be too much fun when it gets awfully hot but with your creativity you sure can make it a fun time for yourself and your children! 🙂

Happy summers