Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tantrum Threes.......

My daughter is three....and yes, like many of us already know and will vouch for, the threes are the Tantrum Threes.....
On a regular day my daughter does not get too much time to throw tantrums....not that she is a regular tantrum baby. She is generally quite well-behaved in front of others, thankfully so. I always believe that mood swings and tantrums are best handled behind closed doors, or at home when there is no outsider present, when you can give your undivided attention to your child and handle the situation better.

In my experiences as a mother I have come to realise one thing - that a child will ALMOST ALWAYS behave weird or throw mood issues when the parents are not giving them the desired attention. This is especially true of a baby who lives with only the parents. They are so used to constant and undivided attention from parents that even a little deviation of attention to a second person can trigger of a mood swing, and sometimes, tantrums.

One of the biggest threat of triggering a tantrum in a baby, especially my daughter, is when I scold her in front of someone else. I may scold her or say anything to her when she is only with me. But the moment I say something in front of another, even that typical 'big eyes mommy is angry' look, it is enough to bring a bout of tears in her......I know now its always better to take her to a side and talk to her in private, even though she is three.....Being three is not the issue here though, the thing is, she maybe just three, but she has a mind of her own, and a sense of self-respect that is at a tremendous threat of getting wounded when scolded in front of others.

Of late my daughter has been showing a lot of mood swings when it comes to food. I used to get really upset at times, trying to force her into eating, which would further aggravate the mood swings. Lots of tears and crying and pouting would follow, add to it my anger and frustration.

I found out a better way to deal with it. Instead of forcing her to eat all the time, I give her her plate and tell her to finish it. I am careful to serve very small portions on her plate. If she finishes and wants more, good. If she doesn't want more, at least she finishes the tiny portion served. Some days she does not want to eat at all. Instead of forcing her too much to eat, I let her do whatever it is she is doing. In the meanwhile, I eat my portion with a lot of show, mentioning in between that the food is good and that it is making me grow big and strong. I don't tell her to come back and eat. Sometimes that does the trick and she comes back to the food herself.

Sometimes she really seems to be full. So I grant her the benefit of doubt and let her skip her food for the time being. She may be three, but sometimes it's useful to ask her what she would like to eat, of course giving her a few options from my end first. I mention three-four dishes and ask her to choose. In most cases, when I serve her the desired food, she usually finishes it.

Well, it is going pretty okay for me at the moment....I thought this could be useful for you too.....

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Winter....

It's winters....that time of the year when our little ones are again so prone to those bouts of cough and cold and we parents are running around with that dreaded thermometer in hand, calling up the doc, fixing an appointment, and trying desperately to make the poor little ones drink the daughter seems to love medicines!!!!so my task is difficult to explain to her that now she does not need any!!!
Sometimes, winters approach so suddenly on us that we dont really get the chance to keep our woolens in the sun, just like ma used to do when we were small. Of course we all are quite restrained on time these days. What with office and home and many more added responsibilities, it is not always possible to take out time and remember to do each and every chore. If you did not really get the chance to sun-out your woolens before use this winter, try and send it to a good dry-cleaner. Sometimes, children develop allergies, especially rashes and cough and cold from these same woolens that have been in storage for most of the past year.
This winter, let honey be your child's best friend (not for infants though, and if your baby has had any prior allergies or reaction to honey, make sure you check with the doctor first). A little honey in milk, instead of sugar, will help your child stay away from the regular cough and cold. Also, why not add just the tiniest pinch of ground turmeric in your baby's milk? Or even jaggery? Not only are these rich sources of nutrition for your little one, they will also help your baby fight the virus.
Green leafy vegetables are back with the let your child enjoy these...of course make sure that you clean them properly before feeding your child. Clean and boil these greens in salt water and then mash it (if your child is too small) or cut into fine pieces and mix in the flour you use for your daily roti and parantha. Use the boiled water of the leaves to make dals or curries. The best part about these leaves are that, if you dont have the time to do this each day, just boil them and keep them in the fridge...once boiled, they can be easily stored for a week to ten days. Also, make ample use of the lovely vegetables in the market, carrot, beetroot and so many other nourishing foods. Make vegetable soups/stews at home, make vegetable porridge, make custard with many natural things for our little ones just waiting for us to bring back home.
Of course it is not always possible to keep cough and cold at bay. But lets try and go a little more natural this season....
And for us parents...I know we all have that childhood fantasy of playing doctor all the time....but please remember, when it comes to your child's health, we are simply NOT ALLOWED to play doctor...even if it is 'Just A Cold', please take them to a good doctor..

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shopping With My Little Fashionista...Tommy Hilfiger Children's Wear India

This was something that the brand Tommy Hilfiger asked me to write on.

If ten years back you asked someone about fashion and to which age group it applied to, chances are you would have heard something of an answer like teenagers/young adults. And this would have been the starting age group to which the term fashion applied.

Not untrue, this was pretty much the scenario till a few years back.

But come back with the same question today – which age group does the term ‘Fashion’ apply to in the starting category - and the answer just has to be – toddler.

It is not funny what the toddler of today is capable of – be it colour coordination, contrasts, matching, accessories, what to wear and what not, what to wear when, and what to wear with what – our toddlers today know all that and more.

Fashion today has taken up a whole new meaning. What was earlier a term for the teenage and young populace is today a term for someone who is just out of the crib. And if that is the case, as a mother I do believe that it is definitely the responsibility of the brands to come out with creations that are not only stylish and cute, but also sensible and realistic.

My little darling is all of three, but she knows more of her wardrobe and get-up than probably me.

My house has become a pink house, thanks to her phase of PINK ONLY, that still rears its scary head on and off, and I will say it, with due respect to all pink-lovers, that I HATE PINK!!!

Babies today know much more than we give them credit for. My daughter walks into a store with me, already decided on what she wants, whether its going to be a skirt, or a frock, or a tee, or a dungaree, or Capri, or jeans, or shorts…she has it all pre-decided – of course it is a different matter altogether that she never really sticks to that list, we always have to try and trick her into not selecting too many outfits – a trick she is soon catching up on and outdoing us.

So, as a mother, it is really a pleasure to walk into a store and see most of the work already done – that the displays are well-coordinated and thought out, that their staff is well-versed in the outfits and combinations – that is always a real help to a parent who is alone in the store with a toddler – that the material is such that will not harm the tender toddler skin, that the colours are bright and cheerful, that there are as many frill and fanices as are boys’ tees and shorts. The selecting, the coordinating, the trying on – it is always a comfort to have someone around who can help you with these little but important points and also guide you towards a useful purchase, without of course breathing down your neck.

Once someone had gifted my daughter a dress on some occasion, with all due respect to the person and to the thought that accompanied the dress, I did not make her wear it much, as the colour I thought was too dull to be put on a baby. As a mother to a daughter in the toddler age-group, I always prefer colours that are bright and fun. Of course a baby looks good in any and every colour, but that does not negate the fact that I do not really dress her up in greys and browns and shades that will make a day seem dull…and neither does she go for that colour in the store either. It is interesting to have a store that has bright and happy colours on its shelves - that is the store where babies’ clothes should be.

On a typical day when we are going out, my daughter has her preferences on what she wants to wear. She usually gives me two-three options and I am free to choose for her, but sometimes she takes the upper hand and decides on her own. So once the dress has been selected, she will promptly decide what clips to wear and which socks and shoes will go with it.

Get it right – kids today are not easily fooled, and neither are the parents. So unless and until a brand can offer them the best that is available, the race is already lost. Parents these days are much more aware and conscious about what is good and bad and what options there are in the market. Be it the material of the dress, the way a zipper has been stitched on, the buttons, the pattern – whether it can graze the skin of the baby – parents today are much more aware and take each aspect into consideration before making a purchase. And why not, if you are paying so much for a dress that the kid will outgrow in the next couple of months, it only makes sense that you make sure you are getting your money’s worth. And it is always good to come across a brand that acknowledges this parent-perspective.

There are endless days at home with my toddler when I have realised how aware she is about the concept of fashion. She is no fashion model, my little one, but she does have her taste in place. She knows what dress she wears at home and what dress she wears out, she knows the concept of matching, these days she is moving towards the concept of contrast, she has her likes and dislikes in place.

And yes, as a three-year-old, she has also begun to tell me what to wear and what not, like if I am wearing something to go out in, she will tell me if she does not like it and promptly ask me to change.

These are just some of the few things that my daughter does which make me realize how the concept of fashion is changing.

Mine is not an isolated case. I am sure you too must have experienced this in your own way, either with your own kids, or with young children in the family. And I am sure it has definitely amazed you, as it has amazed me. And, if your and my experiences are anything to go by, we can safely say that, fashion, as it is today, is definitely not going to grow up anytime soon ;)

As mentioned on the Tommy Hilfiger page: 'Debolina is the Editor of Parenthood and Pregnancy Magazine and blogs about her Little One at My Little One And Me.'

I would love to hear the views of ALL parents...Im sure you have interesting experiences on similar lines too :)

And like I always say and believe in:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, November 29, 2010

Helping Her Cope With Departing Visitors

It's always difficult for a little one to understand the fact that the visitor who was here till yesterday is gone today.

A family member who comes for a short stay and then goes back, will, in most cases, end up making your toddler burst out in tears.....Toddlers and young children find it especially difficult to adjust back to regular routine once the guest is gone. If it's a cherished family member who has now gone back, the trouble is even more.

Many times, children will not voice their sadness, they will not tell you they are missing the person who has left now. But the signs will be all over the house. A child will most likely be touchy once the house guest has left. They will be upset or angry at the slightest instance, not ready to listen and almost as if waiting to find an excuse to cry. Your child may be moody or sulky, may refuse to indulge in the regular activities they did before the guest arrived/left and may not want to listen to you at some instances, they may also accuse you of being unfair. All these are signs that your little one is missing that person in the home....that they are trying to deal with the separation of the house member who has left.

When her grandparents told her they were leaving, my three-year-old daughter went up to them and asked in the most innocent expression ever - 'Why? What have I done?" We realised she was taking their leaving as a sign of something wrong that she had done. It is wrong to tell children that their doing something wrong or naughty may result in mamma-papa or others leaving. We are guilty of doing this sometime or other, I am sure you may have done it sometime unconsciously too.

In my experiences with my little daughter, I have realised that children have a very short attention span if they have other options of distraction around. So, both me and my husband make use of the fact that once a visiting relation leaves, we give our daughter ample things to be distracted with.

This may not always be a materialistic way of getting out - we do not always buy her or a book or a toy. There are many ways this can be handled easily.

1. Two-three days before the date of the guest's departure, we keep telling her the guest has to go back home, that they have people there who are missing them and now they need to go back there and get back to their work.
2. We reassure our daughter that we are here with her and will always be - it is only the visitor who will be leaving.
3. Sometimes, if there is a new toy or a book that I know my daughter is especially looking forward to, I make it a point to not show her the same till the last moment, when the person has left. Then I sit down with her and help her go through her new possession.
4. I always take my daughter to see-off the guests. We do not tell them to sneak out. Leaving while the child is unaware will only make them more insecure, they feel that there is a chance that mummy-papa may suddenly vanish too...This is applicable in daily life too. It is always better to let a child know that mamma-papa are going out, and to let them say their goodbyes.
5. Let your child get involved in some activity when the person leaves. Christmas is round the corner. So I brought down last year's Christmas tree and asked my little one to help me with the decorations. We spent the whole day decorating the Christmas the midst of the lights and the mistletoe, she forgot who had left and that someone had left at all.
6. Sometimes we leave for a movie right after the person has left. That helps her get distracted too.
7. We avoid talking of the person who has just left, so that our daughter does not remember again and get sad.

Give your little one more love and affection and give them your full attention once the guest has left. Let them know and understand that mamma-papa are always around no matter what, and that together, you can still have a lot of fun....

And like I always say and believe in:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Day Papa Went To Live In The TV !!!!!

That day hubby was at work late and I decided it was a good moment to watch one of those home-videos, the ones we shoot and seal our memories in....

So me and daughter sat down in front of the TV with a bowl of popcorn and saw the memories when we were just a 'couple' baby yet!!! And that was precisely the first question that came up......'Where is baby? Why is baby not there?" I explained that baby was doing something very important...she was busy somewhere else with some important that did the trick for some time...

After a few minutes the screen was filled with me and hubby and others....and all of a sudden came a wail from this side of the TV..... 'PAPA IS INSIDE THE TV!!!!'

I turned around to look at my little one and she had already given up the popcorn bowl, looking at the TV instead and pointing at her papa who was happily doing a dance inside the screen, oblivious to the fact that daughter was watching and missing and crying...

"Papa will not come back to Navya? Papa has gone to live inside the TV? WHY IS PAPA IN THE TV? Call him now...NOW...I want him here...PAPA...come OUT!!!!"

She got up and ran to the TV and asked her papa to come out immediately....and then started the tears...she got really upset and scared and sad that her papa had gone to live inside the TV...and she was extremely concerned that now papa was forever locked inside the would he ever come back to play and fight with Navya?

I tried to explain her but the concept was just lost on her.....

She got up and went and stood near the TV screen...then, as if a thought had occured, she went and got a glass.....
"I will break the glass and hold papa's hand and pull him out...then I will put the glass back..." she told me...the glass in question was the glass on the TV screen and the glass in hand was to break the TV screen.

I managed to pacify her and make her agree to wait for a few minutes and papa would be back home with her....switched off the TV and it made matters even worse...the screen was black and now papa was lost !!!!

Finally she heaved a sigh of relief as papa came back home and hugged her :)

That evening was a discovery!!! And an experience.... What innocence...I had never imagined there could be such a reaction to seeing papa on TV !!!

Lovely....ain't they?

And like I always say and believe in.....
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ
Happy Parenting!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not Because I Said So....

How many times today did you tell your little one to do something, just ‘because I said so’?

How many times did your little one question you back about something you asked them to do and your instant response was – ‘because I said so.’

Think about it, we all do it all the time. Telling our kids to do a certain thing they may not want to do, or may not really understand, and when they come to us with the question ‘WHY’, the best we can offer them is – ‘Because I said so’ or ‘I am your mamma and you do as I say’ or ‘Don’t ask so many questions, just do what I said.’

It’s the easiest way to get out of a tricky situation, or to make it easy on ourselves and evade clarifications, but think about it – what if everyone around you would always tell you to do something of which you didn’t have a clue, and the only reason you kept doing it was because they told you to…how frustrating would that be?

Babies don’t come out in the world with their little heads full of wisdom. The tiniest bit of knowledge and understanding, logic and reasoning that will help them grow into intelligent and better human beings is something that is given to them by us – the parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, peers, family and all other associations they will make over the years.

It can sometimes be exhausting to answer each and every question they have. And sometimes, there are really no answers to what their young minds come up with. It is at times like these that we end up giving them the universally used ‘escape route’ answer of ‘Because I said so.’

My little three-year-old is a pro at questions now. Her curiosity had begun to develop as she was crossing the months, be it trying to understand what that little thing was hanging on her baby crib, or what was that big thing (tree) she saw outside her window. When she could not speak she would point with her finger and make those gurgling noises, the ones that indicated a question. And of course, the day she started to talk, there was no stopping the flow of questions that had piled up.

A few examples of her questions:
“Why are you big?” “Why am I small?” “Why is the moon white?” “Why is the moon in the sky? When will it come down to me?” “Look mamma, the moon is torn (referring to a moon partially covered in clouds)” “Who put the water inside the tap? (when she wanted to put water inside the tap herself using a mug)” “Can Minnie Mouse jump out of the TV if I hold her hand?” “Why is papa inside the phone? Why is he not coming home to me? (talking to her papa and missing him)” “Can I fly? Why? Plane can fly. I want to fly.” “I will not share. Why will I share (referring to sharing toys with her friends)? You don’t share your toys and books with friends na?” “Why are you not sleeping? Its night no? (referring to when I put her to sleep but don’t sleep myself).” And there are many many more….

Most of these questions, when asked at moments when I am occupied, has seemed to be rather absurd and I have committed the sin of dismissing it with a ‘I said so.’ But these same questions, when I thought back later with a clear head, had a deep sense of curiosity and an urge to know. And I realised what a mistake I was making as a parent.

It is much easier now and better too. For I have made it a practice to try and answer as many of her questions as I can. It is informative for her and her seemingly innocent yet practical questions give my thoughts a fresh perspective, a new way to look at things. I cannot but admire my ma at moments like these, who used to answer to my each and every question when I was a kid. She never once dismissed my questions as being useless, and it is to her that I owe any of the good things that I can claim to pass on to my daughter.

'Heal the world we live inSave it for our children' - MJHappy Parenting!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All Of Me That Is She.....

So now that I have a little daughter I am really beginning to understand what my parents used to mean when I would question them on something and they would say - ‘you will understand when you are a parent yourself’, or when they would go through the family albums checking old pictures of me and my brother or talk endlessly about my antics as a child and I would ask them to stop, they would get back with - ‘you remind us so much of our own selves its amazing’. I did not really understand any of it then, sounded more of just the ‘parent-talk’ that children get all the time. But now that I am a parent myself, things seem to have come back full circle.

It is amazing how a little new life can be so much like you. When you have not taught her your own characteristics, your own likes and dislikes, and yet she knows all of it, even the most eccentric ones, down to the last detail.

I see so much of me in her all the time…..especially now that she is in the wonder-stage of being a toddler, it is amazing how she already knows all the details of my likes and dislikes and has started emulating much of me…most of my habits now a part of her daily routine too.

Like books. The reason I mention books first of all, is, well, because for all these years, all my friends and those who know me, always seem to associate me with books. Ask them about me and I am always the ‘girl with books.’ So it was with great pleasure that I noticed her first inclination towards this magical world of books, and now she is one of the biggest inhabitants of the book-world. Not only that, as a child, and I must admit, even now, I had this peculiar habit of keeping my current book that I was reading under my pillow while sleeping, it was as if unless the book is under the pillow, it will vanish when I wake up. And I realised one day with amazement that my daughter too keeps her book under the pillow before she dozes off. Not only books, I used to keep all my girlie little treasures under the pillow and she does the same, some days it’s a favourite hair clip, some days a torn old pic of a cartoon character she loves.

Of course I don’t have to go over my emotions once again as she shows an inclination towards the cuisine from the part of India where I originally am from. I know I am being biased here, but who can not help but smile when she goes out for a lovely family dinner and all she wants is fish…cant keep the ‘bong’ness away for long.

My parents say I used to hate those days when I was home from school, that I always talked about school and was eager to go to class. My daughter is on a two-week break due to school holidays, and even though she is only three, she is hating each and every moment of it. Not only does she cry each day to take her to school, she tells me before sleeping each night what to prepare for tiffin the next day at school, asks me to keep her uniform ready as she will go to school in the morning, and when she sees that both mamma and papa are not sending her to school, starts calling friends and family and asks them to take her to school. She even has dreams about school.

I have always had an immense love for music, I love to sing and hum and listen to different kinds of music. And one of my sure-shot ways to uplift my mood is to sing along loud to my favourite music… daughter LOVES music of all kinds…and all languages…she loves to sing along…even before she was two, she knew the lyrics to many songs and could identify a song the moment she heard the first note.

I am a crazy lover of dance and my daughter can dance the whole night non-stop..she can carry on dancing as long as we choose to have the party.

Play acting….I could spend the whole day making up stories and playing different characters all on my own….my daughter weaves her own stories now and play acts all the time at home…..

I had a fondness for raw lemon, that harsh taste of extremely pungent and sour lemon drops on your tongue….my friends used to gawk at the way I would savour the taste…my daughter does just the same. Take her to any restaurant and the moment she sees a slice of lime, she will pick it up and savour the juice.

I loved playing teacher teacher…it is one of the most favourite games of my daughter’s.

I love bags….have to admit she loves too….already!!!

I sleep on my right…she does too.

I loved to draw as a child……she loves too.

I always used to recite poems on the swing….she does too.

I was always fascinated with planes flying up in the sky and the dot disappearing in the night sky….she loves watching planes

Durga Pujo was and still is my most favourite festivals…..she has started loving it too

People say I have expressive eyes. I make a lot of signs and expressions with my eyes….so does she..

I don’t like spicy food…same for her. I don’t like chilled water….same for her.

I don’t like colas….same for her.

I was always an inquisitive child, always asking millions of questions for each sentence my parents uttered…so does she

As a child, if my parents happened to be talking amongst themselves, I would get between them and turn their face to me…………my daughter does the exact same thing now.

I always used to fight with my mum as a child, even now do, but I loved and love her with all and more than just my heart……my daughter too has all her fights and tantrums and sadness pangs with me, but she wants my hug and my assurance and even for a single moment, she does not like it if I am not there….she loves me like no one can ever love me.

So much of me in her already.......and I know each new day will bring in some more discoveries soon……

Like I believe in and always say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reconnect Time With My Little One - A Weekend Getaway

Just came back from an amazing long break – three long days of what I will call ‘reconnect time with your little one.’

The past few weeks had been extremely busy for hubby and me, and the one person who was getting affected by all this work, by no fault of hers, was our little daughter. With mommy and papa both busy and stressed, she was missing those long hours in the garden, as mamma would have to rush back home to finish something or the other, she missed those bedtime-stories with papa, as he came home too tired and too late, sometime late enough to miss saying goodnight. No, all was not well when we missed that smile and those long hours of cuddling and doing nothing really with our little one.

So a break was an absolute must…..away from all this noise and stress, away from the never-sleeping monitor of the laptop, the constant ringing of the phone, the many social obligations and that ever-the-culprit ‘I-will-just-finish-this-in-a-minute’ and spending the next hour on the laptop…..we knew we had to get away from this and that is exactly what we did.

We knew pretty much what we were going to do on the trip – nothing! And that is exactly what we did – nothing!

So the first trick was to select a destination which would hardly have anything to do outside the hotel.
That decided, we knew the hotel we were going to stay in was one of the leading names today, both within the country and abroad, as the epitome of Indian hospitality. So there was no hassle of worrying about what to expect in terms of hygiene and food and other so-many thoughts that invariably cloud a parent’s mind on every trip.
We wanted this trip to be one close to nature, where we had consciously decided to plug-out ourselves from the eternally-grinding machine called ‘urban life’. So no laptop, no work, no phone and no TV. Instead, our car was loaded with kiddie books, colouring books and colours, kick-ball and swim suits and our books that we were looking forward to read at leisure.

The drive in itself was fun – for a change we decided to chuck the music system, instead, our little one sang and recited poems the whole way and we all joined in. She would look out at the speeding country-life outside the window and point at the hills and the forests and the animals and the lakes…stories were born and tales told, some by me, some made-up by her.

My little darling is a huge bookworm, and what could be better for her than to be left free in the bookstore and browse through books? Since we were not watching TV in the room, she made many dashes to the bookstore in the lobby, going through the many books and pages of stories and fairies and monsters.

As it was the Diwali weekend, the hotel was decked up in lights of the diyas and colours of the rangoli. Our little one loved to see the countless plays of fireworks up in the sky from the balcony. The whole city lay decked up in front of us, the sky a stage of many colour and splashes. She enjoyed every different colour, shouting ‘red’ ‘green’ ‘yellow’ at the different bursts of colours in the sky from the fireworks.

We all indulged in the luxury of endless hours of sleep, not being disturbed by the phone or the calling-bell. Our daughter had carried her collection of books from home, and she had also added to it at the hotel, so now she had a whole new set of books that awaited reading. Our family-bedtime was spent snuggling inside the comforter, propped up on the pillows, papa reading page-after-page of animal stories and santa and princess. Each sentence would be followed with a little voice chirping with endless questions and we would patiently tell her all that she wanted to know, before proceeding to the next line in the story. We never knew when we all dozed off to sleep.

Breakfast was fun time, sharing from each other’s plate and sampling a different fare from each plate.

That over, it was time to rush out to the huge sprawling lawns. Long walks and poems and our little one was in love with the routine, and so were we. The touch of naked feet on soft wet grass, playing kick-ball and running around with abandon, no boundaries to adhere to, every space yours to enjoy…….the flower bed formed under the trees were a big draw for our little one. She would pick up the many different flowers from under so many trees and form her own pile, the game being to see how many different colours she could get. She collected twigs and started a counting game, seeing how many twigs she could collect before she came to a stop in counting. She ran with the butterflies in a game of catch-me-if-you-can. The swing was a favourite part which she indulged in for hours, singing aloud songs and poems at the top of her voice.

Back in the room it was time for more stories and colouring and snuggling and playing together.

We never realised how these three amazing days came to an end. But we did realize one thing – sometimes it is really important to let go of the many deadlines that so become a part of our lives and instead, head out somewhere, just to be yourselves. After all, no joy is worth that smile you see on your little one’s face after a story-session or as you are throwing that ball to her at the park…..

As I believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Juggling Her Vacations With My Work....

The holiday season is on and it is a full 02-weeks I have with my little one now....Well, of course I am happy....ummm....well....yes, really, I am.....

But I am also a lot of more things.....can't help it you see, it comes with the territory of being a working mum!!!

So the moment the 02-week vacation was announced from her school, my first reaction, yes, I admit it, was - '02 weeks!!!! Oh no no no. What am I gonna do now??!!!!!" Well, yes I knew I would have her with me the whole day, and we would have tonnes of play time and story time and song-n-dance time, cuddly time....all those lovely moments that only your little one can bring to your life...But then, I would also have all those mails to work on, all those messages to revert to, the phone calls to answer, the meetings to be planned, the work to be assessed and planned for the coming days, all the writing and editing and everything else that is my work...Where would I fit in all that with a toddler in my lap, asking all my attention and time?

So the day before the 'vacation' really began, I spent the entire night sitting up and planning the next two weeks..and of course, finishing off any pending work I had...
The morning of the first day of vacation I was really hoping she would wake up much for my wishful thinking, but I guess now that she is tuned to her 'school' routine, she anyway wakes up at pretty much her school time all seven days of the week...Yes, okay, I know it is a good thing...
My forces were all ready - colouring books all displayed in prominent places in the house, colour box ready and full of lovely colouring pens and pencils, baby-movie DVDs stacked up, board games and jigsaw puzzles, books, activity books, toys...everything ready to assist me for the next two weeks.....

So its either a lovely picture-colouring book and a box full of crayons while my daughter is sprawled on the floor creating her masterpiece, or a big tub of popcorn while she is settled on the couch with comfy cushions....And where am I? Check for me behind a door or a different room altogether, talking into the phone urgently and trying to finish off all my work before the masterpiece is complete or before the movie is over....

Oh, for now...I really gotta go :))

'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your Little One - Bully Or The Victim ?

This is one of the most frequent questions parents find asking themselves once their little ones step out of the safe nest and go out into the world. With babies leaving home and entering playgroups as early as one-year, it is a common concern parents share. Some places begin proper schooling at three, some even a little earlier, and in none of these age-groups are the little ones grown up enough to share their fears and thoughts at a level that can be deciphered easily.

As parents, it is always our job to understand those unsaid words of our little ones. This age, when they are just beginning school, and the environment, of a new phase in life, new people and place, can be too confusing and overwhelming for them. Many parents would agree that kids this age are still not able to differentiate between truth and the imagined world, they frequently lose track of what they were doing or saying the moment there is another new distraction. So it is really not their fault when they start saying something and it eventually turns out to be a completely made-up accusation....

Dont scold or tell them to stop talking like this. It will only make them begin to keep things to themselves, things that are best shared with an understanding and caring parent.

My daughter is three and she always comes home with a scratch or a small wound. Though I am still tempted everyday to pick up the phone and blast everyone at the school, I have learned to understand that sometimes it is best to let kids handle certain 'problems'. Many times my daughter has come back home with tales of how she has been hit by her classmate. And in reality when I checked the mark, it turned out to be a simple insect bite. I dont deny sometimes she is actually hit by her friends, which kid hasn't ever been? And sometimes she herself has hit back...

The point here is, while dealing with toddlers or very young kids, we, as parents, must be fair and practical. Not every scratch can be fought back by calling the school. And it is not fair to ignore the marks either. Observe your child properly, you are the best judge of your little one's moods and behaviour. If there is a sudden change in behaviour, loss of appetite, lack of sleep or too much of it, if your child is not talking to you as much as he/she used to, if there is a sudden dislike for school or going out to meet friends, get in touch with your child's teacher. Have a word, visit the class and find out what has been going on. Tell your little one you love them and that you are always there with them, for them. Build the trust and confidence so that your baby can come to mommy or papa anytime with anything to discuss, let them know you are always interested in their life and that you are always their best friend. And the most important thing, let them know that your love for them comes with no conditions....that you will always love matter what....

'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Teaching Her Through Everyday Things And Games

Bumped into a friend yesterday at the market. Talked about this and that and the chat slowly shifted to kids and how they were doing in their new life in school. I told her my daughter was having a lovely time, that she wants to go to school even on a weekend. My friend looked at me and shrugged her shoulders.
"I don't know what to do now.He (referring to her three-year-old son) will just not listen to what the teacher says. He has never sat still in one place and now I am always being told by the teacher how he is so indisciplined. And how I am I supposed to teach him so many things all of a sudden?"
"So many things? What do you mean? What do you have to teach him all of a sudden?" I asked.
"Oh, the numbers, counting, reading and writing, and alphabets and birds and sentences and shapes and this and that and everything. Whats the point of sending him to school if I have to teach him everything?"

I realised where the discussion was headed. After some more talking and sharing we parted ways.

Thankfully, I have not had to go through this tough situation my friend has landed herself in.I understand her predicament. It is indeed difficult to suddenly sit down with a three-year-old and teach him, as my friend put it, 'everything'.

But what if that 'everything' is just a part of play? What if you don't need to teach it to your child, but instead, your little one loves it on her own and asks you to do more of it?

There are so many ways we can teach the essentials to our children. Times have changed.Earlier, school began much later.Today, the age limit has shrunk, but the expectations and the standard of teaching and learning has only gone up.

I remember when my daughter was born I had got a whole set of baby books for her, all those soft cloth ones that we would sit and read together, of course I read them to her. She did not understand any of it at that age,but the one thing she learned was that listening to someone read is fun.And as she was growing, her interest in books began to grow as well.It was soon a routine to see her sitting in one place and go through books,admiring the pictures and running her fingers over the alphabets just as she had seen mommy do.No wonder her next curiosity was to know what these alphabets were.So followed the game of A B C.We played this game many times,while playing ball, we would toss the ball to each other and I would sing the alphabet song.As she grew I would say A and she would say B and we would go all the way till Z.

Similarly we played the number game.Whenever we came on a staircase my daughter would hold my hand and hop and I would go 1 2 she is 3 and can count till 50.

The garden was a place she loved to go and I had a chance to show her the plants and birds.We learned the shapes together with toys - a round ball, a heart locket, a rectangle carpet, an oval egg, a square box...the shapes got more interesting as she discovered new objects to name.

The conversation game happened all the time...we talked and talked about anything and everything, and still do.We played with the dolls,putting them in make-believe situations and talking about things.

She learned the world of colours through everyday things that came her way - a blue bib, a white bottle, a pink cap, a red frock, black shoes, green ball, purple sketchpen, golden sun, silver moon.

And the kitchen was the best place to learn her vegetables and fruits.

Thankfully, I did not have a tough time teaching her any of this. It was more of a game for her and even for me, and more than I enjoyed teaching her, she loved learning all the new things of the big wide world.
It is really easy to teach our little ones about these basics in education by using the simplest and most interesting ways, available to us right in our homes, every single day.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Letting Her Enjoy The Richness Of All Cultures....

It is the time of the biggest Bengali festival – Durga Puja - and like all years, I am celebrating it with all the proper rituals and taking part in most ceremonies. But this year, it is a little more special than all the previous years – this year my daughter has taken part along with me, and enjoyed, (which is most important), a tradition that is so special to my heart.

I am a Bengali, and even though I was born and brought up outside ‘Bengal’ and have never really lived in the ‘city of joy’, I still identify myself with the culture and richness of my heritage – I am proud of it and there is no other way I would have preferred to be.
My husband is from the northern part of India, and though he is originally a UP-ite and though he has never lived in his origin state, he too is aware of the rituals and festivities that are a part of where he comes from.

Our daughter is a child of the world – and we are glad that these days we have the opportunity of exposing our children to the goodness of various cultures and traditions. With the advent of television, internet and other channels of media and the mixing of races and castes and cultures, the world is now a big flowing pot of culture, you just need to put in a ladle and bring it up to the surface, and each time you will have a different culture on your plate.

My parents had shifted to a different state after their marriage, where later I was born. When I was young, my parents took care that I follow the customs and traditions of the place I was growing up in, but they also made sure to introduce me to the culture of the place where I originally came from, they made it a point to make me understand and appreciate the richness of that culture which was miles away from my child’s mind right then. So in a way I was lucky that I had more festivals to celebrate than my friends. Not only did I celebrate and enjoy their festivals, I also had the chance to celebrate the added festivals that came from my parents’ side.

My daughter is luckier. Not only does she have the two different cultures from her parents’ side, she also has a third culture – that of the place she was born and lives in – and of course the culture and festivals of the ‘west’ that is now a global culture.

So we have a big New Year bash each year (the Western New Year), my daughter especially loves the music and dances away till the wee hours of morning, her tiny feet never stopping for a moment, even when her mommy sits down occasionally to ask her if she needs a rest. Then again, on Bengali New Year, I inevitably have something sweet at home and make it a special day. We have a wonderful time playing with colours during Holi, we have fun and celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with pomp and participate in all the competitions and concerts. At Eid she gets delicious 'sevayin' from our Mohammedan friends. We celebrate Durga Pujo with my husband and daughter all dressed up in traditional wear, digging in to the mouth-watering Bengali fare, looking in awe at the majestic Durga, my daughter dancing to the beat of the dhaak (the big drums played in Durga Pujo). We celebrate Navratri, joining our hands together with all others and chanting the prayers and the shlokas. We dance to the beats of dandiya. Diwali is a special time when thousands of little lights and diyas deck up each part of the house. My daughter and I get down together to make Diwali patterns and light the diya each morning and evening. I am not fond of crackers and my daughter too seems to love the lights much more than she likes the crackers and the noise. Christmas is special too, as our home gets a Christmas tree and my daughter gets to create snow!!!! She loves putting up the candies and the bells and balls and gift boxes and stars and santa and the number of tiny objects on the tree. She sits near the tree for days and talks to it, or simply stares at it with fascination and love. Christmas is also the time when there are many events lined up, what with New Year being just round the corner and invariably my daughter ends up taking part in those cute little baby shows and has a fun time. And in between there are some more events and celebrations that keep happening each year.

My daughter is growing up with a taste for all cultures and with an understanding that all this is hers – she does not restrict her emotions and liking to a Bengali, or a north-Indian or a UP culture, she does not let her love for festivals stop at just the Indian ones, as long as there is participation and a chance for her to do something at the festival, she will be happy and look forward to it. She is too young to differentiate yet, and it is our responsibility as parents to ensure she is introduced to all that is good and interesting for her little mind, as well as all that will give her the tools to embrace the world in a more loving manner.

Both my husband and I believe that each culture has its own good and richness and that exposing your child to all the positives from an early age will let her develop a sense of understanding and tolerance towards those who don’t necessarily share the same heritage or cultural background as hers. Exposing her to many cultures and letting her participate in events and festivals will erase any cultural boundaries that a child might otherwise have. The more they know about each others’ culture and ritual and religion, the more they will open up to the world, sharing each others’ goodness, and eventually turning the world into one big family – the way it was originally intended to be by that person who is supposedly sitting up there somewhere……..

So let her know all the flavours and cultures there are in this world to explore – it is her own world after all, let her make it her home too.


And like I always say and believe in:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Little Sharing And Caring

Its really really hot these days......all of us are reeling under the heat....hiding behind curtains and ACs and anything that will provide even a little promise of a respite.

So these days when I wait for my daughter's school bus to bring her home in the afternoon, I always make it a point to carry something cool and hydrating for her. She loves the juice or even the cool glucose drinks....

She came home yesterday and after finishing the bottle, started playing....that is when she noticed her 'happy plant' standing quietly in the heat, and along with that the bowl of water for the birds. She went to her bottle, but when she found there was nothing inside, she went to the kitchen and poured some juice in the bottle. Then she came out to the balcony and poured it in the plant and the bowl.

I asked her what she was doing. "I am giving nice juice to my happy plant and the pigeons" she smiled.

I was touched. I explained to her that plants and pigeons love to have water and that they dont really like juice that much, so maybe next time on she can just give them water. "They will have fever if they dont drink juice also." - this came because I tell her that if she wont eat and sleep properly, she will get ill (which for her means fever) and then we will have to take her to hospital where the nurse will give her an injection.

"Ok, you can start by giving it water, and mamma will make sure that happy plant and the pigeons dont not get sick. Okay?"

She was happy that her happy plant and her pigeon friends would be taken care of and gave me a big hug.

Encourage your child to share with all of nature.....let them place a bowl of water outside in the heat, so that birds can come and have a sip. Bring home a plant and let your child water it once a day. These are some simple and practical ways of teaching your child responsibility and letting them develop a feeling of sharing and caring for others.

After all, it is we parents who will eventually shape up our little ones into the kind of humans they grow up to be.... happy parenting !!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Now That She Knows Mommy Is Working.....

Just another hectic week went by, the weekend came and went and it all vanished in a wink even before I had a chance to sit down, take a break and enjoy the luxury of two days without work or anything important on my mind..... what I really needed and wanted was two FULL days to chill out, to sit with my darling little one and to have a nice chat with my hubby over steaming cups of ginger tea, looking out at the sea lying calm and beautiful outside my home.

But that is exactly what you call 'Wishful Thinking', isnt it?

I always admire mothers who manage to continue work without neglecting their kids. Well, everyone has their own way of managing the situation at home. Some have family at home, mostly grandparents, who look after the child in the absence of parents who are out on work. Some have full-time maids at home who look after the child when mummy and daddy aren't home. Some do a mix-n-match of family and maids. Some take the help of a professional carer, nanny, some sort out the expertise of a day-care centre or a creche.

I have always been a work-work kind of person and initially it was very difficult for me to give up my job after marriage and just sit at home....Of course I hated it...not that I have something against women who choose to be at home after marriage, but just that it was not what I wanted, it was not my ambition in life. My dream was to have a happy married life, to be a loving and caring mother and to raise a child who would be happy and healthy and most important of all, a good human being. And my dream was also to manage work while I worked towards the rest of my dream.

My daughter was born very soon after my marriage, just after we celebrated our first marriage was not planned, but like they say, the greatest gifts of life are never planned....and so started my identity as a mother....

The first few years after marriage it was not possible for me to work, as I did not have a family support where I lived and there was really no one who could care for my baby if I went out. I absolutely do not trust maids and hence that was not an option. And both me and my husband were very apprehensive of leaving her in a day-care the whole day while we were out. It was something we mutually decided and I was content being the mother to my darling baby.

Now things have changed. She is three and surprisingly, suddenly she is all grown up!!! I can see she is observant and mature in many ways. And now that I have started working again, I can see that she too has started to adjust to mommy's new routine.

The first few days and weeks were of course difficult on the little one. She hated my laptop, so much so that the moment I would leave it behind she would slam the screen shut and would come running to me, always with some or the other demand of play or story-time or simply a hug. I could understand then that she was getting insecure. I would pick her up and take her in the room and she would show me the laptop. And I would tell her that mommy was not going to work for some time now, that I would spend the next hour with ONLY her....that would always cheer her up.

Since it is difficult for me to arrange for someone on a daily basis who would look after my baby, I try and wrap up most of my work while she is in school. If I have a meeting on a weekday (when my hubby is in office) I try to keep them near home, that way I can always be back by the time her school bus arrives. I am always there to take her in my arms and give her a kiss and a hug and tell her how much I love her and she loves to tell me about her day in school right from when I get her off the bus!!! I would never want to miss that part of the day for anything...

On occasions when there is absolutely strict deadlines to be met I am always working on the weekends on most cases, she understand now that mommy has work, so she spends most of the day playing with her father and spending the day with him. But we do have our together time and we make the most of it. There is so much we do together, story time, tub bath with lots of bubble bath, playtime, dance and song time, movie time, bike riding, drives, visiting a bookstore, crafts and so many more things, anything that she loves to do at that moment.

Some times its really tough to concentrate on work while she is around, the best solution I have for that is the tonnes of kiddie DVDs we have collected over the years. I put that on and she will spend the next hour or so dancing and singing along with the characters and mesmerised in the stories. Some days I pull out a hidden toy-set and set it up. The whole evening can be utilised in work :)) On other occasions I have simply spread a newspaper in front of her and given her a paint brush and a set of water colours. She is happy being the master-painter and I make it a point to sit near her and finish my work.

Some days when I am putting her to sleep (this is a ritual only mommy is allowed and she wont have it any other way) she will tell me to hold her hand and tell her a story...she drifts off to sleep after 2-3 stories... on other nights she wants me to not work at all and just be sitting next to her while she talks and talks about school and tells me everything that happened...I love these sweet and innocent chats I share with her...... on other days, she tells me it is okay for me to work and tells me to sit beside her and work, while she closes her eyes and drifts off to fairyland...

I am blessed to have such an understanding baby. I know it is a big change for her too, but I believe our little ones are really capable of understanding about the adult world, given that we talk to them in a sensible way. If we share our feelings and concerns with them, most of the time our babies always revert back in a way we didn't expect they were capable of.

But thats how it is......keep talking to your child and sharing parts of your own grown-up world with'll be amazed at the understanding and intelligence they possess...and of course, not to mention the unconditional love and innocence...

To all the parents out there...happy parenting !!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Giving That Attention

I was sitting doing my work today when my little daughter came up to me with her colouring book and crayons. She held them out to me, waiting to see if mommy would make something for her. Usually she likes to sit and colour on her own and I was a little surprised to see her asking for my assistance. As I was busy, I asked her to start colouring, "mamma will just finish this work and draw with you" I added with a smile.
My work was precisely what had triggered her reaction, I realised a while later. You see, I had been busy for quite some time then and had consistently been telling her to do her own thing, mommy would be back in a while. That while took a long time and finally my daughter had to come over and ask for my attention. I saved my files and shut down my laptop, focusing all my attention on her.

There are many moments when our little ones need us around, maybe just to know that their parents are watching them, that we are interested in what they are doing. And sometimes, we are just so caught up in our own things that we forget to give them that special look or smile that says 'mommy is seeing, mommy is proud of you.'

A little chat with your little one can go a long way in establishing that bond between baby and parent. Let them know you are interested and even before you realise it, they will be coming to you with all their little tales. Enjoy it before they grow up and start drifting into their own world and circle of friends. If your little one is in the habit of sharing everything about her/his day with you, you may still expect them to continue some of it when they get into those pre-teen and then teen years. Of course if you have always been too busy in your own world while they were playing on their own as toddlers, it is only natural they would look elsewhere to share their feelings than with you.

As much as you should be all ears with your little one and to all their little sweet important events, make it a routine to talk to your little one about your day. Of course they may not understand all of it when they are just toddlers, but talking to them about your day would mark the beginning of a routine that will grow stronger over the growing up years. Your sharing your day's events with your little one will show them that they mean a lot to you, that their views and their attention is something you really cherish. Make it a habit and keep it on......

If you see a difference in your child's mood or a change in attitude, talk to them about their friends and things that may bring out more information. Maybe it was a rough day at to them about it, but remember to listen as a friend first....Your being judgemental can do more harm than you may realise.....

Be there, make them feel as special as they really mean to you and let your child know that no matter what, their parents will always remain their truest friends....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Wish.....

As the days go by and as you run about, busy in your world, busy in your work, you know your little one is right there in front of your eyes, your little angel, still the baby that you love to cuddle so much, still a daddy's girl or mamma's darling.

But then, one day you decide to take it a little slow, sit down for a breath and reach out to your little girl. And then suddenly, you realise, the little girl you have been planning all along to spend some time with is little no longer. With a sudden wave of realisation that hits you, you realise that your little girl is now an independent little being, maybe not so big in age but still, big enough in her ways to ask her own space, to ask for things to be done her own way.

Then you realise that all those busy days when you told yourself your baby would be waiting right there for you should have been played out another way. You suddenly wish you could get those days back, so that you could spend them with your little sweetheart and see her grow up into this independent little girl right before your eyes.

My cuddly bear is my pig-tailed little sweetheart. But though she has barely turned three last month, she already thinks of herself as a grown up. Why, only yesterday, she took her toy phone and spent the whole afternoon speaking to someone, of course she did not reveal to me who she was speaking to, and when I told her it was bedtime and that the phone needed to be kept down, she looked at me once and gave me that smile, and simply turned on her side and began talking again. She thought mamma wouldn't realise what she is doing - you have to give her that, she is only three, so really she thought that I was not aware of what she was doing and that she had succeeded in getting her way. I was amused, thinking in my mind that this kind of a scene would indeed be played out sometime in the near future soon, that a time would come when the toy phone would turn real, when the imaginary voice on the other end would take the voice of a real friend.

Its amazing how fast our kids grow up. My parents used to say this all the time - 'It seems like you were born yesterday, how fast you have grown up.' And I would never understand what they were feeling, rather, I would wonder, get annoyed even, at what this was supposed to mean. Now that I am a mother myself, I know exactly word-to-word what they meant.

I close my eyes and I see the doctor in green scrubs holding a tiny creature, with just the pink nose showing and a twinkling eye turning this way and that - my daughter had one eye open when she was born. I open my eyes and I see this little girl, so sure of herself and what she wants, confident that she can take care of herself and her mamma and papa, sure that everything she does to fool us and have her way is actually fooling us.

I am in love with her, this little universe of mine, and I know that soon things will change, her world will, or rather already has, begun to expand its horizons, and the most I can do is let out a long sigh, and wish I could somehow make the clock go slow, that somehow I could hold her in that baby stage for some more longer.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Let's Help Them....You Know You Can

Remember the last time you went past that red signal on the intersection? The little boy peering in the window, trying to convince you to hand him some coins so he could have some food, so he could give some to his little sister who was standing with him, holding on to the thin hand with little thin fingers. Remember that look?

Remember that young woman, poor and helpless, standing at a side of the road, waiting for the light to turn red so she could walk up to the many tinted windows and ask the people sitting inside in the cool air to give her something, some loose change, some money, so that she could buy some milk for the little infant who was hanging from her saree end, tied up in an old rag around her reed-thin body, the little head dangling dangerously from side-to-side. Remember the way she was wringing out water from her wet saree, the cloth that had got soaked wet in the rain, the same cloth that she was using and would use through the day to tie her little infant in? The wet cloth that the infant would be strapped in the whole day?

Maybe you remember,
Maybe you don't
Maybe you'll help them,
Maybe you won't.
Maybe you will look around for those coins after all
And hand it out without a second look,
Maybe you will shrug and call it all a fraud
"They don't need any money, they are all just crooks.".......
Maybe they really don't need any money
Just a little smile and a little help still could do,
Why not a pack of biscuits,
Or some fresh food or fruits,
Why not a bottle of milk
Or the old clothes you know will never again be worn on you.......

We all say these children begging on the roads, these women with the infants strapped to them and even the old people who look so helpless, are all just a part of a criminal activity going on, that this is all a sham, that none of this is real, that they are all just acting.....

And of course I do not advocate handing them any money...coz who knows where the money will go, and more often than not, they will only be passing on the money to the many 'dons' and beggar-lords who run the no help for the real ones in need....

So why not help them a little tiny bit by giving them something that will really help? A little tiny gesture from our side that would mean so much more to them. Next time when you head out in your car, why not make it a practice to keep a few packets of biscuits in the glove compartment, so that when the little one comes up to beg and ask for money for food, you can hand him the packet, some real food.....Believe me, they really need it....So many times I have handed out packets of biscuits to these little unfortunate ones, and they have grabbed it with a big smile, tearing it open and finishing off the contents, showing it off to their friends who then have been directed to me, and I have handed them out more packs, so they all could eat.....I cant tell you how it felt to see those smiles for some time. Who knows, maybe it was the only decent food they will have in the whole day, at least they had something then...And maybe someone else will think likewise in the evening and give them another packet in the evening....

Your closet desperately needs some cleaning and the old clothes are spilling out, with you constantly in a fight with your cupboard and its contents, trying to keep them under control while they threaten to revolt....why not take them out and sort them out as per age and wearability? Why not make piles of clothes that are sorted out based on who can use them, like infants, kids, women, men. Then you can easily take the bundles and hand them to the local beggar kids and women, even the old people who sit begging on the streets. Don't tell me "I wont do it coz they will only go and sell it off..." You know its an excuse, it sounds unreal and unconvincing even to yourself. And even if they do sell it off, what would you have done with those clothes in the first place? Never worn them again, keep pushing them at the back of your cupboard, and then maybe sell it off to a guy who buys old papers and stuff? Wouldn't you be selling it off too? Come on, you dont need those any more, so why not give it to someone who will definitely use it some way or the other? Old shoes and sandals (but please, only the ones that are wearable...not ones that are beyond repair!!) old sweaters, caps, mufflers, socks, handkerchiefs, napkins, towels...basically anything that you will not use....why not share it with them?

On birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, we all go out and celebrate, throwing lavish parties and spending big moolah..... great.... but why not add a little bit more joy to all these good times by sharing that happiness with some of our less fortunate friends? Birthday...why not go to the nearest orphanage and give them a birthday treat...a birthday cake and some chips and food maybe. Or why not share some food with the beggar kids near your place? Why wait for occasions? If you can, why not make some extra food once a week, or once in a while, a proper meal, even something as simple as noodles if a meal is too much...and why not head out and just hand it out to them? I have handed out full meals to these kids....and mind you, not to the adults who roam around, but only the kids, and I have waited to see that its only the kids who sit and eat the food, and have left after they have had their fill..This way, atleast you can make sure that what you are giving to the kids is not being taken away by the adults who are always nearby. Some days I have given them noodles and they were so happy, some days I gave idli-dosa and that too is a different food item than what they usually get. Even sandwich...they love that...

But almost always, we have started keeping packs of biscuits and cornflakes in the car, so that whenever that knock comes on the window, we are ready to give back something to that endearing smile that hardly has any reason to smile.....

You can do that why not start today and feel the happiness within? Thanks a million if you decided to do so too........And if you still will not do that little bit, well what can I say.....


And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Happy Parenting !!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

I care for the countless little ones out there....Do you?

am too busy to care, but want to do something. Jaago Re and are helping me do my bit for the society.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mum's Cuddle Brings Back New-Born To Life......

Read this incredible piece of 'miracle' news in the papers and just had to share it with my readers.....Am calling it a miracle - though of course its a feat of some form of science - just because the love of the mum and the bond she shared here with her new born is so incredible.

Katie Ogg gave birth to twins in a hospital in Sydney. They were delivered at 27 weeks, weighing just two pounds each. While doctors okayed her baby girl Emily, the little baby boy Jamie was not breathing, as per the doctors. The medical staff battled hard to save the little boy but after 20 minutes of desperate attempts, they declared him 'dead'.

As per the mum:
"The doctor asked me if we had chosen a name for the baby. I said Jamie. They turned around with my son already wrapped up and said 'we've lost Jamie, he didn't make it, sorry.'"

As the doctors handed her son's lifeless body to her, she only wanted to hold her son close to her.

"It was the worst feeling I have ever felt. I unwrapped Jamie from his blanket. He was very limp."

Katie wanted to hold her son next to her skin. "I took my gown off and arranged him on my chest with his head over my arm and just held him" she recalled.

As the baby was not moving, the grieving parents began talking to their 'lost' son. "We told him what his name was and that he has a sister. We told him the things we wanted to do with him throughout his life."

The parents didn't realise but they had been talking to their son for two hours when Jamie suddenly began showing signs of life.

"I felt him move as if he was startled, then he started gasping for air more and more regularly." At first the doctors had claimed the signs of gasping for air was just a reflex action of the body and that the baby was dead. But soon the gasping began to grow more frequent.

"I took some breast milk on my finger, he took it and started regular breathing normally. A short time later he opened his eyes. It was a miracle."

"Then he held out his hand and grabbed my finger. He opened his eyes and moved his head from side to side. The doctor kept shaking his head and saying I dont believe it"."

It is now being thought that the warmth of Ogg's body acted like an incubator to keep the baby warm and stimulated. It adds weight to the theory of 'kangaroo care' named after the way marsupials care for their young in their pouch.

The father later said: "Luckily I have got a very strong, very smart wife. She instinctively did what she did. If she hadn't done that Jamie probably wouldn't be here."

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Many Benefits Of Introducing Your Little One To The World Of Books

A book is not only a great way to spend your time with, it can also become your way of life, opening up windows to the many vistas that were hitherto unexplored, giving you reins to drive your imagination, letting you visit those faraway places in any part of the world or universe that you thought were till now unattainable. A book is not only a book, it is a whole new world – a world that only you can introduce your little one to, a world you should introduce your little one to - The world of books Baby Bestsellers

The best time to start building your little one’s interest in books is, well, right from the time you conceive. Believe it or not, it has been a proven study that if the mother reads while the baby is in the womb, chances are, the baby too will be more interested in reading than babies whose parents have never read during pregnancy, Books While You Are Expecting
And not only that, once your baby is born, you can always make it a habit to read a poem or read out a few lines to your little ones as they lie in your arms. Of course it does not have to be like a ‘study-session’ kind of thing, where you religiously sit down at appointed hours with your tiny one to read out to them. It can instead, be a more fun and gratifying experience for both you and baby.

As your little infant begins to grow, and as the months roll by, begin investing in little books that will interest your little one. The market today is filled with books like never before. Baby Books

The best part about heading out to a book store these days is that they already have done most of the work for you by selecting books in an age-appropriate method and all you need to do is browse the area that suits your child’s age. You have cloth books, board books, regular books with paper, pop-up books, slide books, books that have in-built CDs, books that can be actually hooked on to a laptop and read like an e-file, books that let your child take part in activities like learning to write and draw and spell and learn and what not. Check out more books right here Books For Your Little One

There are so many benefits of getting your child interested in books:

1. Books are a vast source of knowledge, not only at a later stage but even as your little one is just beginning to learn about the world outside. Your little one can learn many things from age-appropriate books, things like colour, body parts, alphabets, numbers, manners, safety rules, animals, birds, shapes, transportation, people who help us, plants, insects and so many more things, the list is endless actually.

2. If your little one is into books it will ensure they get into destructive activities much lesser than kids who have nothing else to occupy them. Being engrossed in a good book will cut down on TV time, as well as limit the time your child wants to spend outdoors. Of course there has to be outdoor activity too, a book cannot compensate the benefits of free physical play, but being involved in a book will mean that your little one will use their time in physical activities as well as in something that can be educational as well as being fun.

3. A child who is involved in a book will have a better ability to read and write than a child who does not read. Being with a book means that your little one will learn to identify the alphabet much earlier than others her age and this can only be a benefit when it comes to attending the school. As a personal experience, my daughter could read the alphabets from A-Z when she was only about fifteen months of age, and though it may sound too early to some, she loved it whenever we played the alphabet game with her.

4. Reading will help a child build their vocabulary, as also clear their speech and help in conversation. If you have always read out to your little one, chances are she has already learnt the words as they are supposed to be spoken, and not in the baby-lisp that many find adorable. It may sound adorable for some time, but imagine a toddler who has already reached the age of four and still cant talk clear. Reading to your little one will not only teach them the correct way to pronounce a word, but later, when they begin reading on their own, they will have a better command over the words, as well as have stronger communication skills.

5. Reading helps build concentration power for your little one. A child who can sit with a book for some time in one place will develop better concentration power and hence have better chances of learning as they grow.

6. Being with a book will ensure your child builds a vast bank of knowledge. As your little one gradually grows into a toddler and then a young child, their taste in books will grow and they will invariably end up learning more from books than their friends who may not be interested in books and are always hooked on to the television.

7. A child who shares a good rapport with a book will learn to express her/himself in a much better and clearer way than children who do not read.

8. Introducing your child to the world of books at an early age will also mean that they themselves will be interested in books, hence it will always be easier for them to cope with books later at school. It will mean that they will do so out of interest, and not merely because they have to.

9. A child with a book will never be bored. There is such a vast world out there waiting to be explored, that your child may run out of time, but never out of good books.

10.Lastly, and this is a very important point come to think of it, your little one will spend less on useless toys and cartloads of Barbies and other dolls and things and instead want you to get them books, which is always a much better and useful investment for your child. Also, once your little one develops sufficient interest in books, you can let them find out more about the books they want and you can actually encourage them to start saving their pocket money and allocate a book-budget, so that they can learn and appreciate the value of money and saving, as well as smart-spending. Also, telling them to find out more about the kind of book they want will teach them skills like internet browsing (if they are of that age), taking part in discussions and book groups that can help build team qualities, as well as let them feel they are doing something really important, which, actually, they are.

Slipping Through My Fingers........

Have you seen the movie Mamma Mia with Meryl Streep and Mel Gibson? Do you remember the song ‘slipping through my fingers’? If you have heard the song and if you are a mother, I can bet anything that you did cry at least once listening to the lyrics. I remember how I cried as I watched Meryl Streep sing out loud the exact emotions of every mother as she realizes suddenly that the little girl who had arrived in her arms just yesterday is now all grown up, about to get married and begin her own life, a life away from her mother.

I had to share these lyrics……..the song every mother of a daughter would identify with….

School bag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving good-bye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while.

The feeling that I’m losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I’m glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl…..

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute….the feeling in it
Do I really see what’s in her mind?
Each time I think I’m close to knowing, she keeps on growing…
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when she’s gone there’s that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can’t deny
What happened to those wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
Well, some of that we did
But most we didn’t
And why, I just don’t know

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers……

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Marathon Movies To Keep Her In One Place.....

Must admit it is quite difficult to explain the importance and need of 'rest' to a little one who is sick. Mine is not well since the past couple of days, and if it was not enough that she had to miss school - something she hates taking a leave from - she was constantly being told by her mommy how she needed to rest and sleep and be on the bed.

Of course mommy, that is me, used many excuses and bribes and threats, from baking her a cake within minutes of her asking one, to getting her a brand new colour book and lots of colours, to cooking her a chicken stew just the way she wanted it, to threatening her with a 'pretended' call to the doctor about how big an injection was being readied for a baby who did not want to rest...I tried it all and of course I dont need to tell you all over again that I failed...pathetically !!! :(

So the last option that I had kept stored away till then was to bring out her favourite DVDs. They have always come to my rescue in the past and I was heavily relying on them this time as well.....And just like a loyal and understanding friend, they did not disappoint me this time either..

So here are the lovely DVD friends who have managed to bring in some sanity to my almost-going-nuts syndrome, and also managed to make my daughter lie down on the couch and rest for some time.....

1. Barney and Friends in all their various DVDS - Barney's Colourful World, Barney Goes Live, Barney's Rhyme Time With Mother Goose, Barney and Friends, ABC Barney, A Day On The Farm With Barney, More Barney Songs, Barney And Adventure Island.....

2. Toy Story 1 and 2 - Cowboy Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Bo Peep, Rex the dinosaur, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky the Dog, Jesse the Cowgirl, Bulls Eye the horse...they are all her special friends.

3. Nemo is always a cute little favourite..... with Nemo, papa fish and Dory..

4. Mickey Mouse all-time favourite...

5. A wonderful series of live educational and entertaining activities that is called Brainy Baby.....My daughter loves it currently...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Quick Monsoon Recap To Keep Your Little One's Health In Check

The monsoon has been pretty lengthy this time and not surprisingly, almost each family has a member who is sick and ailing. It is especially difficult on the little ones - either someone is ill in the house and they are in potential danger of being next in line, or they are already ill.

Everywhere you look around you, there are children as well as elders coughing, sneezing, wheezing, feverish, suffering from throat ache, nausea, weakness and what not. And if your child is fine till now, there is only so much you can do to make sure that the infections dont come running home.

We have all passed these many months of monsoon, just a little more to go. So lets do a quick recap of the things to keep in mind during these remaining days of monsoon that will help keep our little ones healthy:

1. Remember to give only boiled water to your little ones for drinking, even if you already have only purified water at home.

2. Wash all food that goes in your little one's tummy. All vegetables need to be properly steamed, boiled and cooked. No raw vegetables or salads during monsoon.

3. No fish for the rainy months. One very simple home-rule I have heard is that you should not give fish to your little one (this is even good for adults) in months that dont have an 'R' in them. So May,June,July, August are the months when you should completely avoid giving fish to your little one in any form.

4. Trim those nails. Dirty nails are a potential breeding ground for germs.

5. Dont let stagnant water collect near your home.

6. Use nets on your windows and doors to keep away mosquitoes and insects.

7. Make your little ones wear long-sleeved clothes and full pants in case you are taking them out in areas where they may encounter insects or mosquitoes. Long-sleeved dresses will protect them somewhat against bites.

8. Remember to help them wash their hands after play time, before and after meals, and after using the bathroom. Make it an everyday habit.

9. Keep an extra pair of clothes and a clean towel in the car at all times. It will be easier to dry your little one and change them into a fresh set of clothes in case they get wet in the rain.

10. Keep a raincoat for your little one in the car at all times. A raincoat is always a much better protection for a child than carrying an umbrella.

11. Avoid outside food and oily and fried food. No stale food at all.

12. Avoid home medication. If your little one continues to be sick even after the initial one or two days, make sure you take them for a doctor visit immediately.

13. If someone at home is sick, try and keep your little one as distant as possible.

14. Use clean handkerchiefs in case of cough and cold.

15. If your little one is running a temperature, make sure to keep a temperature chart so that you can provide the doctor with all the necessary information.

16. No cold or fridge food.

17. No aerated drinks.

18. Include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits in your little one's diet.

19. Check with your little one's doctor about the various flu vaccines. Many doctors will advise you on their own, in case your's has not discussed with you already, talk to them about the vaccines that have come up to counter the effects of flu.

Take care to follow these simple rules at all times and it will help keep your little ones away from infection.


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