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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Want Something And Only Something.....

My parents were spending the past two weeks with us here and they left this afternoon. While they were here, my daughter went through various mood cycles - sometimes too happy and excited and only jumping around, sometimes cranky, sometimes conscious and shy, sometimes angry and rebellious, sometimes deciding not to speak at all, sometimes her love would be too much to handle.

She went through a whole set of varied emotions through these past two weeks. And seeing her, I could already make out that this time would be a tad more difficult to handle her once my parents would leave and the house would be left to just the two of us again for the entire day and almost always till after she was in bed at night.....

As predicted, she cried and sulked the moment she knew her grandparents had returned. No amount of cajoling or picking her up in my arms was helping. She cried, sobbed, pushed me away, hit out at me for letting her dadun-dimma go and leave her like this...she took it out more on herself than she did on me.

She was so angry she told me she would not speak to me "baby will not talk' came the little threat from those pink puckered lips. And since she was not speaking, she only pointed out things to me, so that I could still get her whatever she needed. Like, she spent the entire evening sitting on my lap, shoving me but still sitting on my lap, and not talking to me, instead, pointing out the water bottle, the sketch pad and crayons, the and when whatever was needed !!!!

Finally, she was a little pacified and agreed to lie down with me and go to bed (after picking through dinner on her own!!!) :(
(I had always thought I would be happy when she would start eating independently on her own, but strangely, when she did not let me feed her today, it only made me feel sad and want to take part in that regular routine once again)

As she put her head on her new pillow (my husband picked up a Barney pillow from HKG for her as it is her current darling) I told her to turn to mamma and hug me and sleep. She refused, not even talking to me, still lying and sobbing in between periods of being still. I wanted to cheer her up then.

"What happened? Tell me...are you angry?" Shaking her head to show no.
"Are you hungry?" Shaking her head again to show no.
"Are you sad?" Nodding her head to show yes.
So I sat up.
"Why are you sad? Do you want something?" I asked.
She thought for a moment and then nodded her head again to show yes.
"What do you want. Tell me, let me see if I can get it."
"I want something."
"Okay, what something?"
"Yes darling....but what something?"
Oh no, I realised what I had done....!!!!!!!
I tried all other methods and tricks, but she cried for the next half hour for something.
Finally - "See, today something has finished. Mamma will go to the market in the morning and get something. Then you can have something tomorrow. Okay? Is that fine now?"
She nodded her head again to show that it was fine.
And after about fifteen minutes she was off to zzzzzz land.......

Monday, August 16, 2010

Navya's Independence Day......

After celebrating Independence Day in school my daughter was extremely excited to take part in the celebrations in our building as well. So she promptly dressed in her white kurta and dupatta and sang the national anthem with zest. When it was time to go on stage, she went, but once there, was in no mood to perform. So the elders encouraged and cheered her and in the end the only thing she said was... 'there are nice flowers in the garden" much for being an observant child !!!! Of course everyone was amused...

Next was time for a drawing competition...the minimum age was 4 years but even though Navya is freshly 3, she still got her place to paint her own masterpiece...and paint she did...with all her colours spread all around her, sitting, singing, looking here and there, and finally sprawling out on the rug and shaking her legs while making a line or the final masterpiece was a huuuuuge yellow sun, a smiley face, the alphabet 'L', a fish, a bird, a combination of an apple and a tomato and a few other things which I tried to decipher but horribly failed... sorry Navya, next time !!!!
So in the end it was a lovely Independence Day with a return gift too...and of course the getting together and meeting and greeting is always a happy thing for her :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Vow To You My Little One......

I vow my darling little one,

To always remember to keep your interests before mine,
To tell you everyday how much I love you and what you mean to me,
To always hold those memories in my heart which make me smile with love, and make me cry in joy,
To snuggle up to you each day and tell you that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me
To remember how my life has changed since you arrived and what a blessing I have in you
To always keep that amazing baby smell with me, the one that lives in your neck,
And also that milky smell that I love to fill my senses with,
I promise to always listen to each and every word you say,
And to understand all those words that you might not always speak out loud,
To see every expression that crosses your face,
To cherish and help you realize all those dreams that live in your eyes,
I promise to hold your hand always, through thick or thin, through rain or shine,
To support and encourage you in your ambitions,
To give you the wings to fly high and reach the sky
I promise I will always be your friend, and always also your mamma first before I am me,
That my daughter will always be my truest friend and confidante
I promise I will never shout at you when I am low, I will never bring out my anger on you.
That I will love you and protect you with more than my heart and soul,
Soothing all your fears and erasing all your worries.
Always cherish each moment we have together and wish you the best for all those moments when you are away from me,
I promise to care for you with all that I have,
To always provide the best that I can,
To guide you towards the journey called life,
To let you know what is right and wrong and to let you choose for yourself,
To never hold a grudge against you no matter what you say
To always be around whenever you need me
To help you heal a broken heart, to help you see there is always something better after the tears are dry,
I promise I will always keep you safe, that I will always give the most importance to you my darling,
And I promise today, that whenever and wherever it is that you need me, I will always be there for you.


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

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Planning That Birthday Party....

It was my little one’s birthday two days ago…..and man, was I rushed?!!!! To give you an idea of how busy and mad these last few days have been, I was planning to write and share this before the birthday, but ended up getting some time and writing it only now. She turned three this year, seems like a miracle – I still can’t understand how and when time flew by and where did all those moments go from the time she was born till now? All parents say this all the time, they don’t realize how soon time went by, that one day they look at their little one and instead, they see a grown-up, all independent and busy in her own life and friends.

Well now that she is turning three, she already has a huge network of friends. So one thing I really needed to keep in mind was to remember each and every friend of hers whom she really loves being with, as also those who had invited her for their own birthday parties. Also, last year we had done an elaborate celebration at a pre-planned venue, so this year we decided to throw a party at home, with lots of music and fun. But that means there is so much work to do. And with around 20 kids and a few adults being invited, it also means that we need to be extremely careful and organized while planning the whole thing.

These are a few tips that may help you while arranging for your little one’s party, whether at home or a pre-planned venue:

For a pre-arranged venue, these are the key things you need to keep in mind:

Make a separate list of how many children and how many adults will be attending, including your own family.

Find out what is the children’s menu and make it clear that you want things to be done less spicy (or zero spice, as is required). Many venues have special birthday menus that cater to popular and non-messy items for children. If the venue will not arrange for food, make sure you check with the caterers or any other option you have in mind. Sometimes, a venue may not deal in providing food but they do have tie-ups with caterers who handle the food arrangements. Check about the same.
Remember to order the cake at least two-to-three days before the birthday. Also, take into account the number of guests and accordingly place the order. Sometimes, kids like to have more than one slice of the birthday cake. It is alright to have a little extra cake than to run out of it and having to refuse the children. You can always share the extra cake.
Check about the music. Many venues will ask you to bring your own music. That is also a better idea as you would know best the kind of music that is enjoyed by your child and the guests who have been invited.
Return gifts are a major area which needs your attention. What to gift depends pretty much on the age group of the children. Keep the gifts interesting and age-appropriate. Sometimes, children open the return gifts at the birthday venue, thus making other kids also want the same gift (if you have different gifts). If possible, try and keep the return gifts as age-neutral as you can. Something as simple as a fancy drawing and colouring kit works quite well with children of different age groups.

If you are planning to host the birthday party at home, keeping these few things in mind could help a lot:

Creating space:
having a birthday party at home means lots of young children and lots of energy and jumping and running about. Kids will need the space and you would want to safe-guard your precious or delicate items. If you have allocated a special room or area for the celebrations, try to remove the furniture or breakables to a different room. You may convert one room to a kind of storage for that particular day and keep it out-of-bounds while the guests are there.

Valued away:
remember to keep all your valuables and important documents in a place where it is out-of-reach of those tiny but ever-curious hands.

Keeping it safe: since there will be so many children around, you do not want to take any chances of any one getting hurt. Remove all glass items and things that might cause injury. Removing any sharp-edged items is a good idea.

Decorations: get lots of balloons, streamers, ribbons and other decorations and do up the place. Bring party hats and hand it to all the kids. Make it fun.

Birthday dress: if you still need to shop for her birthday dress while the birthday is just a few days away, do it now. You may not find the dress you/she has in mind, the size may not fit or there may be any other problem. Keep some time in hand. If you have already got a perfect dress for your little princess’s special day, remember she will need shoes to match too. It is her birthday and she will be the focus of all eyes. Co-ordinate her dress and take time out to get shoes and other accessories if you are planning to get them new.

Making the guest list: this is a tricky one as many times you will end up inviting more than you initially intended, and sometimes, you may even need to invite people not as much for friendship as out of courtesy. Some one might have invited your little one to their kid’s birthday and now you have to return that courtesy. Other times it could just be that though you are not too pally with that particular family, they always extend a warm hello to you. Sometimes, these things matter a lot while creating a birthday invitation list.
Birthday invitation card: there are many options available at your local stationer’s for a birthday invitation, but nothing is more special than creating a birthday invite at home. Simple as it may sound, it is a hugely time consuming job and requires immense patience and concentration. So if you are ready to invest some time for the same, remember to bring in the stationery well in advance. You would ideally need to invite everyone at least a week in advance, and creating cards would take up quite some time.

Food: check how many kids and how many adults are there in the list and select the menu accordingly.

Set a time: set a start and finish time for the party. Remember to clearly state in the invite the timings of the party, from when to when. If possible, mention the time when you are planning to cut the cake. During the celebrations, keep an eye on the clock and start giving feelers to guests at least half an hour before you want to wrap it all up.

Keeping it tidy: place bins at strategic locations. Show the bins to the children and tell them to dispose all garbage in the same. Keep extra spoons and packs of tissues on the table.

Keep the supplies extra: keep some extra paper plates, paper cups, disposable spoons, straws and loads of tissue.

Keep an eye on the little ones: if you are too busy, make sure there is someone around to keep an eye on your little one.

Seating: make sure there is enough space for people to sit or lounge around. If there is not enough space to sit, try and make some space where adults can stand together and chat.

Music: make a DVD of your child’s favourite tracks and keep it ready. Play it in advance to avoid any problem once the party starts.

Enough light: it is a party and you may want to make the lights a little dim. Just ensure that the children are always under adult supervision, especially the really little ones.

Keep balconies out of bounds: if you have a balcony at home, make sure the door is safely locked. You may feel you can keep an eye on everything, but there is no telling when something might need your attention and the kids are left alone and unattended. An open balcony area is a huge safety hazard.

Keeping the gifts safe: if possible, entrust someone with the responsibility of keeping away all the gifts as soon as they arrive. There will be many children in the house and they too may want some of the gifts. Also, remember to keep the name tags attached as it will help you later to thank each one accordingly.

Medical kit: too many children in the house can mean injuries and cuts. Remember to keep a first-aid kit handy.

Return gifts: again, these should always be as age-appropriate as possible, but if you feel there is too much mixing of age-groups and if there is a chance of children crying over someone else’s return gift, try and keep it a neutral (something that can be used in all age groups) and same.

Cameready: remember to check your camera beforehand. If it is a manual one you may want to get yourself an extra set of reels. If it is a digital camera, remember to keep the batteries charged.


These are more or less the things you need to keep in mind while planning a birthday party for your little one. So get ready and begin planning now. After all, you don’t want to get into a mad frenzy as the D-day arrives.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Reacting To The News She Is Pregnant

Guys, whatever you do, remember to NOT scream when she tells you what the little pink lines have predicted. If your girl tells you she is pregnant and you react with a “WHAT!!!!???? HOW!!!????” and a scared or blank face, rest assured you will have to relive this moment many times in your life. Of course she will accuse you in all the fights in later years how you were completely unhappy about the news.

You may have not have planned the baby and now it is on the way. For all you know, it will be the best decision of your life. But one of the most crucial moments for her to sense your reaction to this huge news is how you react to it. If you show a lack of interest or sound scared or not as happy as she would have imagined you would be, chances are she will always think you are not ready for fatherhood yet. Your first reaction to the news of pregnancy is very important to how she will react in the next few days to come. If you are calm and happy about the news, she may be more prepared to accept what is to come. If you are not prepared, hardly will she be.

You too may be scared, that is all but natural. And anxiety and confusion are as strong a player in this first reaction as any. But just try and keep in your mind to be a little less verbal about your fears right now. These thoughts are best to be discussed later when she is in a better state of mind. For all you know, she is more scared and freaked out than you think you are – it’s a live human being inside her!

So when she pops the news, take a deep breath, give her a smile and run to hug her, a kiss on the forehead would be really assuring and sweet too. For, though we all have our fears and concerns, parenthood is a lovely journey, something that becomes a way of life, as also our identity.

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

Happy Parenting !!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Handling Her Mood Swings

Most of the mums I spoke to about what was the one thing that really irked their husbands when they were pregnant gave me almost a unanimous answer – that the worst thing their husbands had to endure during those nine months was their mood swings.

And that is the exact same thing the men said.

If it was not difficult for you men already to begin preparing yourself for the new phase about to begin, you also have the huge task of listening to your girl all the time while she nags and tells you how horrible and useless you are while she is handling all the pregnancy problems.

We cannot take sides here. Of course the woman is definitely going through a lot of hormone changes at this point and she herself is really confused, trying to understand what is going on and how she can get back to her previous self, trying to prepare herself for what is to come, all the while trying to figure out how she will suddenly turn from being a couple to a parent.

It is a trying time for the man. Suddenly the hot and sexy woman he so loved to come home to, who would reward him with a smile and more at the end of the day has turned into a woman he hardly knows anymore. One moment she is happy and chattering, next moment she is depressed, bursting into tears, accusing you of things you don’t realize you did, sulking, refusing to talk, becoming a different person altogether. And of course you don’t know what is going on with your life anymore.

The best for you to handle these moments of irritability and mood swings is to avoid a confrontation. Don’t argue too much with her, instead, wait for a later period when she is calm and in a position to understand you better, and then tell her what you are feeling. Tell her you understand she is going through a lot and you appreciate her for all the pain and discomfort she is handling.

If she is nagging you for something, try and see what it is that you are doing that is ticking her off. If making a few small changes in your lifestyle and habits can make her calm and happier, try and do so. Ask her if there is something that is bothering her. Sometimes, the fear of what lies ahead and the insecurity can make her act irritable and angry. Try and soothe her fears. Tell her you will always be there with her to support her, tell her you both will have the best time of your life now that a little one is about to arrive. Tell her all good things about having a baby and try to encourage her to see parenthood as being positive and fun. Give her a break. Let her have some fun time to herself. Encourage her to meet friends who may be pregnant and to share their experiences. Take her out. Spend some quality time with her. Excuse her for the smaller mistakes she may make. Excuse the pending work. Look at the nicer things, rather than reminding her of what she is doing wrong. Compliment her on her looks, even though you may not like the bumpy look and she may always look like a tired hag instead of the looker she earlier was. Let her know you love her the way she is, and that you love her even more now that she is doing so much for the baby.

Some women may have mood swings for the entire nine months. Some may not have any at all. Some may even continue to have the mood swings even after the baby has arrived.

You will know the best way to handle your partner. But whatever you do or say, just make sure that you remind her constantly of the love you feel for her and yes, also keep complimenting her on how she looks.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Understanding And Appreciating Those Little Gestures

As parents we have one of the biggest responsibilities on our shoulders – that of being fair to our little ones, to guide them through life, to show them what is right and wrong, to understand and appreciate their interests and talents and to help them nurture their creativity in a positive way. It is a huge responsibility, one that involves a fresh young mind, and how we care for them is what will make them the person they will grow up to be.

It is a huge responsibility, yes, and sometimes we do tend to make a few slips and misses. Sometimes we fail to see those tiny signs that are so vital and can make a huge impact on a growing mind. Keeping a few things in mind and making a conscious effort of keeping our eyes and minds open can help us understand our little ones better.

Take a closer look at your little one. Do you see a budding artist there, or a musician, or a painter, a dancer or singer, a story-teller, an actor, doctor, chef, hair stylist?

Of course you don’t need to start training them for a career as soon as they are through with their potty-training. But helping them to nurture their interests and encouraging them with their talents will not only boost their confidence, it will also give them an outlet to use their energies in a positive and non-destructive way.

Your little one might be creating colourful masterpieces on the wall. Or do they run off to the park each evening with a football in hand, practicing those kicks? Is your spoon finding itself constantly in the company of your child, being beaten mercilessly on the table or on the cupboard, accompanied to a few odd beats and the shake of that little head? Are your accessories always out of your box, being mixed and matched by your little doll, as she tries them on her dolls? Or is there a constant line of patients in her room, all waiting for the little doctor to give them a shot of the injection? The kitchen cupboard is constantly ransacked and all your flour and lentils are ending up in a gooey mess?

Or picture this – you have already given a warm bath to your little one and they have been all powdered and clothed, ready to go out? And the next instant you find the clothes lying on the floor, while your little one is in the bathroom, under the shower, soaping up himself. Or maybe she has decided to clean up the whole house today with that big broom, in the process sweeping your clothes as well and putting a sheet of dust on your laundered wear. Or are the clothes always out of the cupboard, while she tries to fold and put them back again?

Understand that what you are seeing as irritating (like drawing on the wall) could be a sign towards their creative interests. That something you view as dirty and wrong (sweeping your clothes with that dirty broom or taking off their clothes and heading to the shower again) is something your child has seen you do and only trying to emulate, trying to help you in their own sweet way (cleaning up the house, or taking a bath on their own).

Don’t scold. Or don’t take away those crayons, admonishing them for drawing on the wall. Appreciate the art, tell them it is really beautiful and that you love it, but suggest that it will be even better if they can do the same in the colouring book. Take them to a stationery shop and ask them to select a few drawing books. Once back home, you can give them the same, and maybe a new set of colours too, to encourage them in their talent, and see your little one paint many more masterpieces.

If the contents of your cupboard are lying on the floor while your little one sits with a flour-plastered smile, don’t panic and shout. Tell them there is another better way of doing what it is that they have done. Appreciate and praise them for the gesture, tell them you are proud of them and say thank you for cooking dinner for mommy, but slowly make them understand it is not safe for them to enter the kitchen yet. Why not get them a kitchen set of their own? While you are cooking up a real meal in the kitchen, let them sit right near the kitchen and make a dish of their own. Or you can also take their help in a few kitchen chores, but of course with adult supervision at all times.

Too much accessories being torn and wasted as a result of your little girl’s enthusiasm to dress her dolls? There are many creative toys available in the market these days. Not only will it let her make her own doll’s (or even her own or your) jewellery, but will also let her create beautiful photo frames, lamp shades and other creative things that can keep her occupied for hours. Be sure to be with her when she makes them, as not only will it be unsafe to leave your little one unattended, but your presence will also give her encouragement and send out the signal that you are interested and what she is doing is something important.

Taking a bath on their own, wearing clothes on their own, trying to fold their clothes and cleaning up their cupboards and drawers are all good signs. They are trying to be independent, trying to help mommy in their own way, they are taking their first steps towards becoming a grown-up. Don’t discourage them at this stage. What you say to them now and how you say is of immense importance, so choose your words and reactions carefully. Praise them for their efforts and initiatives. If they want to take a bath on their own, be close at hand and encourage them to clean up those little arms and legs. If your child is very young, this is also a great way of teaching them body parts (clean your nose, now clean your hands, now knees, now neck, so on and so forth). If they want to dress up on their own, tell them you will help with the head, while they can try the arms. If they are cleaning the cupboard, it could be a great way of teaching colours and numbers. Also, many schools teach basic origami to the little ones. Letting them fold their own handkerchiefs and napkins will help them hone their skills and also help them learn to be more organized.

There are so many new things to be learnt from your toddler and little one that each new day can be an experience. Parenthood is a lovely journey, provided you learn to keep the word ‘NO’ to a bare minimum and instead let your child explore the world (of course while being safe). Join them in their adventures and explorations. Smile laugh have fun. Live your childhood with your child.

Give them their wings to fly. To reach up to the sky. And when you see them happy and soaring high in life, you will know there can be nothing more special than to see your child grown up into a happy and good human being, doing what it is that they love to do and are interested in doing, and not ending up going through life just watching the clock and keeping the corporate codes in mind.

See those signals right now and encourage them.


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

Learning To Keep Your Cool While Dealing With Your Little One

“She just won’t listen to me anymore. Its like she does it on purpose to get me all angry.”

“And just when I thought he was ready and I would send him off to school on time, he decided he wanted another dip and taking off his uniform, went and stood under the shower! How can I be expected to keep smiling then?”

Just another page from the diary of a harried parent, isn’t it? All these situations would look familiar to most of us parents. Just when you thought you had the perfect cherub at home, all smiling and sweet, and just when the world seemed perfect, out came the crying and the shrieking and the not-listening phase, followed by anger, shouting, screaming, threatening, tears………and a huge burden of guilt.

All of us mothers have these moments some time or the other. We all lose it sometime, no matter how many articles we might read that talk about ways to maintain our cool. But it does not always work like that. As loving as we are, well, lets admit it, we sometimes do lose our cool and shout or scold our kids.

We cannot stop that. And always being only smiling and sweet and understanding is also not normal.

Articles and books and all that parenting forum thing is fine, but when it comes to live parenting, each parent and child have their own special relationship and understanding. While it is okay to get tips and advice from others on many issues, sometimes, you just need to work on your own intuition and according to the kind of relationship you share with your little one.

Of course it is humanly not possible to do away with anger altogether. As long as it is not affecting your relationship with your child and making them live in fear of you, some signs of showing your displeasure and letting them know you are not okay with it, are fine. Too much shouting and scolding is bad for your child, so that is something we consciously need to work upon. But there are many other ways by which we can give vent to our anger and displeasure and let our little one know that what they are doing is not acceptable. And we all tend to make it up to them by our love and affection, and the treats and extra attention that follow most of these anger bouts.

It is never easy to keep that smile on 24*7, especially when you are a parent to a growing little bundle, that tiny tot who is becoming a toddler and growing into an individual right in front of your eyes. Tantrums and tears are a part of the growing up process, as is losing your cool sometimes a natural part of being a parent.

Here are a few things that help me when I begin to lose my cool. Sharing them so that it might help you in moments when you know there is no other way than you losing your cool:

Take a moment before you react. Your little one is there, right in front of you, doing exactly what you told him not to, and you know you are just about to blow it off. Wait. Don’t react instantly. Take a minute to cool it down. Sometimes, if you shout or react the moment you feel the anger, chances are you will be more aggressive and loud in your behaviour. Giving it a minute will lessen the effect and the worst part of your anger will probably pass off.

Breathe. It always helps when your blood is on the boil. Breathe in, breathe out. Do it till the count of 10, or if it is too much right then, count till 20.

Tell yourself you won’t be angry. Repeat “Its okay, I am not going to shout now, I can deal with this.”

Smile to yourself. Smile and tell yourself that all will be okay, that you will not lose it.

Understand if what your little one has done is actually something you should be angry about. Maybe your little one decided to create a masterpiece on the wall, maybe they tried to play mommy and mix cereal and milk, spilling all that on the floor, maybe they wanted to clean up the house and ended up sweeping even your clothes with that dirty broom. These are not things you should scream at them for. Appreciate their effort and guide them in the right direction, rather than scolding them now and making them lose their confidence.

Too much anger is bad for your little one as well as for you. Try using your eyes and expressions to convey to your little one that you are angry. Sometimes, looking at your child with that stern look is enough to let them know you are upset. We feel our toddlers are too young to understand, but most often than not, they are much more capable of understanding these expressions. Try it, it works better than shouting.

Take the help of a partner when it is absolutely out of control. Tell your partner to fill in for you, so that you can cool it off while someone else handles the baby.

A little rest and good sleep will keep you refreshed and let you handle things better.
Sometimes, lack of sleep in a parent can be cause for irritation and lead to frequent spells of anger.

If all else fails and you still feel you are losing your cool too much with your little one, maybe you should talk to your doctor about it. Excessive shouting and display of anger is bad for your baby. If you are constantly doing the same, it is advisable to seek the help of a professional.


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