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Friday, December 16, 2011

Telling Your Little One About How Mamma Papa 'Got' Her


My little one is a lady of four now. And its been quite some time when she started asking about 'how' mamma papa got her. Of course this had to happen. Some kids ask about it later, some ask earlier. My baby started asking me about the same when she was about three-n-half.

Earlier, Indian parents were more secretive about most topics that skirted around issues of a physical and sexual nature. Such talks were almost a taboo, not almost, I think I can say to a certain extent, they WERE taboo. In fact, most Indian households still are not comfortable talking to their children about issues that involve anything to do with sex or the human body.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Mamma Im 4 Years Old, Now I Will Do All Your Work"


About a week ago it was my daughter's birthday and she turned a happy 04 years. Of course I cannot still believe she is all of 04...seems like we just brought her home a few days ago from the hospital. But I'm sure all us parents feel the same.

This time we asked her if she would want to celebrate her birthday with the kids at the nearby orphanage. Now that my little one has started understanding the concept of sharing, and regularly giving food and clothes and toys to street kids and slum children, she readily agreed, even asking us to take milk and other things. We went together to buy return gifts too.

My little one was already aware of the date of her birthday. She would wake up each morning and ask me if it was the 09th of August already....each day I smiled and kissed her and told her she had still a few more days to grow big.

Finally the day came and as I confirmed it was the 09th, she was ecstatic. She jumped off from the bed and signaled me to stop. "Mamma, I am a grown-up now, so I will do all the work, you rest." She went to the kitchen and got me a bottle of water. She helped me with washing the clothes. She helped me keep my plates back in the sink. She helped me with everything. The whole day was spent like this, before she went to school and after she came back. Finally, after a fun birthday party with her friends, she slept a tired and exhausted sleep.

Next day my daughter was back to being my little one again, needing mamma for ALL her things and work :) Was I the happy one !!!!!


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

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones.... Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Discipling Baby Discipling You


Was sitting with someone today and as is prone when any two parents sit together, the discussion veered towards young kids. The person I was sitting with happened to have a young child at home, a child of about 06, and it seemed to be a big reason of concern to this man who was the grandfather – of seeing an unruly child at home and not being able to do anything to discipline the child. There was a lot of reason for concern – for one, the child was already at an age when most basic discipline issues are already part of a routine, when the child is alreay aware of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ behaviour, of basic etiquettes, of how to behave in front of ‘outsiders’, and in general, how to be a well-mannered child.

Having an indisciplined child can be a real problem, one that poses the threat of embarassment for you, while making your child the subject of ridicule and potential rejection by other kids and parents. There may be instances where your child may be conveniently left out of play dates and birthdays, when you see a decrease in the number of friends coming home to play with your child, while instances of your baby being invited to friends’ house goes down visibly. You may wring your hands in despair, talking stern to your child, and sometimes even resorting to means of punishment and hitting. But once you sit down and actually think about it – who is to blame for this situation? Is it really your child, or is it you, the parent, who failed to inculcate the basics of discipline and manners in the little one?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Supermom's Recipe Book - A Must Have For All Moms



Sonali Shivlani, the Supermom, has recently come out with her book Supermoms’ Recipes. The book, whose tagline is ‘Of The Moms! For The Moms! By The Moms!’ has been compiled with healthy and delicious recipes from the kitchens of real moms, the main scoring point being that each recipe has been tasted by the child, approved on taste factor, and also been approved for its nutrition content by Paediatric Nutrition Counselor Sonali Shivlani.

In cases where Sonali felt the nutrition factor had to be worked upon, the recipe was changed a bit with the consent of the mum, and the child was asked to taste it, and only once the taste factor was approved again was the recipe published.

Each recipe takes up a page and features the mother and child who have shared the recipe. The fun part being that the recipe is named after the child.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sonali Shivlani's Supermom's Recipe Book

I first met Executive Director CAPPA India and Paediatric Nutrition Counsellor Sonali Shivlani at her office while she was still working on a very interesting and unique concept – a recipe book by the moms and for the moms. We were talking of work, and when Sonali mentioned the book to me, I was immediately interested to know more. Being mum to a young daughter myself, I know very well the kind of preparation and thought that goes into the meal of a toddler or a growing child. Many recipes need to be modified and tried and tested before a child will willingly want to eat something healthy and filling. So I was really curious to know why Sonali wanted to venture into such a difficult and challenging territory, and how was it that this book was taking shape. The book is called Supermoms Recipe Book and is available now in all leading bookstores.

For those of you who do not know Sonali, she is a mom to two lovely children – a 10-year-old boy Nirvaan and a 08-year-old girl Moksha. Sonali has been a hands-on mum throughout her parenthood, but at the same time has been extremely career oriented. She pursued her certification as a childbirth and lactation educator and later a pediatric nutrition counselor. She has worked with more than 7000 couples through her prenatal programs across the country. She also heads CAPPA India which is affiliated to one of the largest Birth Professionals Training Organisation in the world.



Here’s a little bit from our chat:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

About Sonali Shivlani


Sonali Shivlani is an Internationally Certified Child-Birth and Lactation Educator, also certified from CAPPA U.S.A.
She is currently the Executive Director CAPPA (India) and brings the International CAPPA Birth Professional courses to the Indian sub-continent. She is an accredited La Leche League Leader, and is on the panel of Indiwo, a TV18 venture.
Her Pregnancy Program has been part of the services at CLAY Wellness for 5 years now. More than 2000 expectant couples have undergone this unique program which focuses on customized personal support for each couple, preparing them for pregnancy, birth and also the months thereafter.
To get in touch with Sonali, you may call her at 9821290090 / 022-65812444 / 022-65812555
or Email: sshivlani@gmail.com

**********************************************

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

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones....

Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feed A Kid Every Saturday




I know this is not a post related to books in any way, but when I see so many kind souls out here who keep dropping by this blog, I can't but help make a genuine request to each one of you.

I am Debolina from Mumbai, India, as many of you already know. I am really passionate about street kids and try and help them in my own way as much as I can. But I am really a single individual really, and there is only so much I can do. Its really a big challenge you know, to try and give even the basic of basic amenities to these little ones out there on the streets...to try and give them a little slice of this beautiful thing we call Life...which they really don't have, while we have too much of it...don't we?

Till date, my husband and I have been going out and feeding these little ones on the street. We cook at home and take a meal once a day each weekend for these kids on the streets. But it really pains me to see the number of hungry and extremely poor kids who turn out asking for some food, while I have to sadly ask them to leave, as I don't have any more food left to distribute then. Its really one of the saddest and most humbling experience ever.

My husband gave me this idea to try and get people together from all over the world and instead of just us doing this, why don't WE ALL try and give a little bit of smile and sunshine to these kids?

Beginning this Saturday, the 28th of March, and for all Saturdays to come, lets join the 'Feed A Kid Every Saturday' movement... The reason to stress on Saturday is that most people are off work on a Saturday and hence have more time to do their bit. Of course if you can do this even on the week, nothing better than that...I am stressing everyone to atleast feed one hungry child out there, but if you want to share more love, of course you can feed more children, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Colourful Book Covers Book-Reading Challenge 2011


I know you all love colours, dont you? And now, probably, you are also beginning to identify new colours, or maybe you already know a lot of colours, and are learning some more new colours as you see them. So why not play a colour game with your books and see if we can find so many colours in our books too? Of course you can take mamma papa's help AS MUCH as you want :)

The Fun Way To Do This Challenge:


This challenge means that you have to read one book for each of the colours that are mentioned below. If the mentioned colour is RED, you have to read a book which has a cover where the main part of the colour is RED. See...easy, and fun, isnt it? Now lets have a look at the colour list....and yes, if you think there are some other colours you would like to add to the list, let me know here in a comment on the post and we will share the same with our other little friends and parents...

The Book Cover Colour List:


1. RED
2. DARK BLUE
3. PINK
4. LIGHT GREEN
5. YELLOW
6. ORANGE
7. LIGHT BLUE
8. DARK GREEN
9. MUSTARD
10.PEACH
11.LAVENDER
12.PURPLE
13.BLACK
14.WHITE
15.BROWN

Lets make this into levels depending on how many books you and mamma papa want to read:
Level 1: Tiny Baby - 04 books !!! WOW
Level 2: Small Baby - 06 books !!! WOW
Level 3: Little Small Baby - 08 Books !!! WOW
Level 4: Little Big Baby - 10 books !!! WOW
Level 5: Big Baby - 15 books !!! WOW

Share your book lists in a comment on this post....Happy reading !!!

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

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones....

Debolina Raja Gupta

I Love Alphabets Book-Reading Challenge 2011


Hey parents and little ones.....if you love to read, this is just the kind of book-challenge for you this year, especially if you have started recognising your Alphabets...A-Z...For those of you who have just started learning A B C, let's take the challenge slowly, one step at a time for each new alphabet you learn, and soon, you will be at the end of this fun challenge :)

No-Rules But The Fun Way To Do This Challenge:


1. Mamma or Papa (even better if you can manage to get both mamma papa each night to read you the story) have to read you a book, the title of which begins with a particular alphabet, like one book that begins with A, one which begins with B and like this till Z.
2. If you are learning your alphabets randomly, you can read books in a random sequence...You can start with reading a book that begins with C, then read another one which begins with, maybe, O...whatever alphabet you are learning right now, you can read a book that begins with that particular alphabet......

Lets make this into levels depending on how many books you and mamma papa want to read:
Level 1: Tiny Baby - 06 alphabets !!! WOW
Level 2: Small Baby - 10 alphabets !!! WOW
Level 3: Little Small Baby - 15 alphabets !!! WOW
Level 4: Little Big Baby - 20 alphabets !!! WOW
Level 5: Big Baby - 26 alphabets !!! WOW


Remember to tell mamma and papa to make a list of ALL the books that you read from A-Z....I would love to hear about it and it would be nice to share your list with other little friends too, so tell your parents to share a comment on this post and then let us know about your booklist...have fun together with mamma papa and enjoy your books :)


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

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones....

Debolina Raja Gupta

Book-Reading Challenge 2011 For Little Ones And Parents


I am an active book blogger and member of many book blogs and contests, as well as personal book challenges that are just so much more fun and interesting. While I was going through my own list of book-reading challenges, I thought it would be fun to start a very own book-reading challenge for our little ones...and why not?

If you too are a book worm and would want to see the book-reading challenges I am taking this year, click here

This is definitely not a contest, but just a fun way of making book-reading a little more interesting for our little ones (and even for us)!! You can choose to complete as much of the challenge at your own sweet will, it does not mean that you have to make your little one rush through a book just to complete a challenge. A book is something most of us have grown up with, something that is very much a part of our lives and who we are, and some of us would sure want to pass this love of books down to our children.

I am just making up two different kinds of book challenges for our little ones and parents. Click on the given section to know more about each of the challenge...

1. I Love Alphabets Book-Reading Challenge (click here to know more about the challenege)
2. Colourful Book Covers Book-Reading Challenge (click here to know more about the challenege)

Have fun and drop a comment on this post to let us know you are taking the challenge...Bravo !!! And visit the challenge posts and do share your book list with other little ones and parents by dropping in a comment :) Enjoy your books now :)


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

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones....

Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Few Lines I Came Across A Book, Describing The Mother-Child Bond


I am reading the book 'Eat Pray And Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert. Its not a parenting book at all, nor in any way is it related to parents or children. But I just came across these beautiful lines that I feel describe the mother-child relationship really well. Just sharing them here:

"I feel about ... the way a new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to - I just don't care."

***************************************************************************

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

Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones....

Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Little Compassion And A Little Shame


About two weeks ago I had gone to the market and just as I finished my errand and began walking back, I saw a little boy, a street child to be precise, right in front of me, standing quietly, with a tiny smile plastered on his face, looking at the big green cooling coconuts on the stall where a man with a foreboding look stood serving customers. I immediately touched my purse but then noticed another young woman standing at the stall, looking at the boy and smiling. The boy was not looking at her and the woman seemed to be really amused. So I assumed what I was naturally thinking the woman was going to do and asked her if she was giving the boy a coconut.

"No no...Im not giving him anything" she promptly said and reached out her hand to grab the watery coconut that the man now placed in her hands. She gave one more look at the street boy and walked away.

The boy was a little one, just about four years old, almost the age my daughter will be in a few months, and I immediately sent out a thank-you at our own circumstances and at the fact that we are so lucky.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Saloni and Vasant's Baby-Birth Story


Divya Deswal is a Doula - a birth assistant, someone who provides guidance and assistance to a couple who are about to have a baby and assists and helps them to have a smooth delivery. Divya is also a childbirth expert with P&P. Here, she shares one of her birthing experiences.

'Saloni and Vasant were in my childbirth class. As we went through our 4 days together I felt that these were THE people to benefit from hypnobirthing (Hypnobirthing is essentially a method that teaches the parent that in the absence of fear and tension, pain does not necessarily have to be an accompaniment of labour).
To begin with, they believed that birth was natural.
We began in earnest.
Vasant was very involved. At one point when we discussed listing of fears, he said "my biggest fear is that, what will I do when she is in pain?".
The expected date of delivery was sometime around end Oct, we decided not to go by dates. Also they had decided not to have many ultra sounds. They were also keen to use water for labour and we were set to give birth. Lots of practise, and there never seemed any sense of panic or urgency. The doctor was on board with this as well.
Saloni went for a routine check on the 3rd morning. By noon she was having mild surges, and was at a friend's place near the hospital but decided to go back home and wait and watch. I met them at home at about 3 pm that afternoon. She had eaten sandwiches and was relaxing. As I sat with her the surges seemed to get closer so we decided to go to the hospital.

Vedic Chants For Your Unborn


There has been a sudden spate of new-born joys in my friend circle of late. A few of the celebrations have already been through, though of course the good cheer and sheer joy of having a new-born around is still brand new. Another very very dear friend is expecting to bring in her second angel this coming month....want to surely congratulate second-time soon-to-be mum Namita Lolge on her upcoming second joy :)

So I was chatting with my friends and that is when one of them told me about this pregnancy wellness audio that she was hooked on to during her pregnancy. Honestly, I never listened to any pregnancy audio while I was expecting my daughter, so I can really do not have an idea of how effective these are. But today, just on a lark, I decided to check out the audio she was talking about. She had mentioned it was in the voice of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and that it was extremely soothing and calming for her during those precious months. I searched a bit and found the exact audio she was talking about. Sharing the link here for other mums-to-be. All the best mommies :)

http://garbhsanskar.webs.com/apps/videos/videos/show/2875015-garbh-sanskar-shri-balaji-tambe-wellness-music-for-pregnancy
***************************************************
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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Planning That Conception



Click Pregnancy Books to get the best deals on Parenting Books

So it’s been a wonderful time till now, just you and him, and now you’re planning to bring in that extra-special one, that little one who will make this already-perfect picture a little more perfect. Of course you have all the love and care of your family, but here is a little more assistance to help you understand the whole process of pregnancy while you are planning to conceive. Have a look:

Must-Read Sites Pre-Conception:
1. What To Expect: http://www.whattoexpect.com/preconception/landing-page.aspx Visit this site to read and know all about pregnancy, even before you conceive. A site that helps you understand the essentials.
2. iParenting: http://www.preconception.com/articles/preparing-for-pregnancy-219 Visit this site to read articles about pre-conception and fertility.
3. Pre-Conception: http://www.preconception.com/expertqa/ Read here to clear your doubts and check with experts about various pre-conception queries.
4. Fertilinet: http://www.fertilinet.com/websites.htm

Must-Read Books Before Conceiving:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Child Alone In Car....Never



Yesterday I went to the market with my little one. As we were parking the car, I saw another car standing right on the side of a busy market road, with hundreds of cars and bikes and buses and vans rushing past. As I looked out, I saw a toddler, a boy of about 3-4 years, sitting on the driver's seat and fiddling with the steering wheel, and, the car keys, while all windows were closed. I tried to look inside the car and, to my horror, saw that the child was alone in the car. Even as our car came to a standstill, a man, the baby's father, came rushing out of a shop, and on seeing his son in the driver seat, quickly came over and opened the car door from the driver's side. I had full intentions of getting down and taking this further, but even before we pulled up and stopped, the careless and irresponsible father had driven off, this time putting the baby alone at the back, that too without a car seat!!!! Of course, what else could I have expected of him?

This is not a one-off case, and many parents who read this will not make much of it. For many parents, especially Indian parents, this is a common scenario, and if they are themselves not guilty of doing something similar, they find this pretty routine, and hardly confront a parent/person who has neglected a child in this manner. Abroad, this is a punishable offence, neglecting your child calls for charges and the accused parent faces investigation. In India, this 'chalta hai' attitude (its okay) is worming its way into our daily lives, and how.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baby Giana And Her Bed-Time Ritual With Mum Rosine



Lovely mum Rosine Reny Verghese from New Delhi writes in to share her baby's special bed-time ritual with us.

'Dear Debolina,

Hi.....I am Rosine from Delhi and I have a 2-and-half year old daughter named Gianna. Like most babies her age, she is fond of all the different animation movies. So after supper she usually watches some of her favourite movies like Barbie, Baby's day out, Barney, or Nemo the fish.
Finally when she is tired and wants to sleep she comes to me and says " Mamma sleeping time" .
After brushing her teeth and wishing goodnight to her grandparents she holds my hand and leads me to her story book shelf and picks up a few for herself...some of her favorite story books are Red Riding Hood, The Little Mermaid and Cinderella - to name a few.
I have to go through all the books which she picks up from the shelf, I have to read out loud to her and sometimes explain to her what is happening and answer all her questions...
After finishing her stories, she gives me a good night kiss and then holds on firmly to her teddy...she loves to hold on to her bedtime teddy every time she goes off to sleep and that teddy has been with her since she was 3 months old...
And once she lies down after hugging the teddy, within a few minutes she is in her own dreamworld...sound asleep......
With love,
Rosine Reny Verghese
Mum to Giana'

***************************************************************
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

Friday, March 25, 2011

Playdates For Your Little One - Important, Important, And, Important



You must have heard countless parents, especially mums, swear by it. Playdate - that one term that immediately brings to mind a picture of a roomful of kids, toys, colours, things thrown on the floor, constant shouting and singing and screaming, a little fighting too, and of course lots of fun for the little ones.....

While experts have always been stressing about the importance of having a playdate incorporated in your child's routine, the trend is now catching up in India pretty nicely. Not long ago, kids would gather at the park, meet and play with their friends and head back home. On vacations, or on certain special days, a few friends would gather at one child's house and they would play for an hour or so. Then each to his/her home. But such interaction was very few and far between.

A playdate is something that has suddenly come into a routine where I reside. I am one of those lucky few who can claim having the best neighbours in the world - more than neighbours they are friends, more like family now (see pic). And I am really really lucky.

A playdate is good for your little one because:

The Other She








The carton was bursting and overflowing,
It was the annual sale you see,
With toys and books and clothes and stuff
And everything her eager eyes could see.

I gave her a hug, she gave me a smile,
I knew she was ready to go,
She wanted to be home and open the box
‘Whats in there mamma?’ she wanted to know.

I’d given her the frock the other day,
The one that was in her cupboard for so long,
And also her old favourite toy car
The one that ran fine, nothing was wrong.

We reached, I pressed the calling bell,
She opened the door with a smile,
To let us in and into our room,
That was all shining and bright.

She tugged at my hand as I gave her the bags,
‘Lets go in sweetheart, shall we?’
We went in, the AC chilled us down
Cloth and bottle ready in place, she went back to the TV

Five o’clock its time for her milk
And my garma-garam cup of chai
Sitting by the window, she playing, I reading,
I ask her for a toast with my chai.

Tomorrow she goes to her new class,
Her new bags, books and uniform filling up the bed.
She wipes the floor, brings the sheet and cushion
Clearing up the kitchen for her bed.

My darling daughter, my princess,
“She looks so much like you”, they all said.
What? Who? The other girl? The same age as my daughter?
Oh, she is Laxmi, my eight-year-old maid."

************************************************************
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

This post is part of the poetry contest at Promising Poets Parking Lot.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hide-n-Seek Vacations



So, the much awaited (on her part) and the much-dreaded (on my part) vacations are here. I have survived a week of it and am sure will survive the rest too, though now the level of confidence is a little lower I must admit.

The morning begins with me still wishing I could grab a few more winks, but of course my daughter is all charged up, ready to jump into a brand new day with all her dolls and toys and colours and things ready.

And for all of those who ask me or think what we have been doing the whole day for these past few days, well here is my answer....We have been playing marathon sessions of hide-n-seek, where my little doll has been 'hiding' in her favourite red cupboard...note the word 'hiding' and check her 'hiding' in the pic above...that's what I appreciate about her and pretty much all the little ones out there - their ability to hide anywhere and anytime. Ask them to hide and they will be standing in front of you, bang in the middle of the room, put those two tiny hands on their eyes, and wham.....Mamma, find me :)

One more thing that my daughter does - she tells me, Mamma, I am going to hide behind the curtain, find me...

I can never cease to be amazed at their innocence and the freshness these little ones bring to our adult lives each day, each moment. What better thing to write about than My Little One And Me?

*************************************************************
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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What Do You Think Of This New Look


Hey guys,

Was meaning to change the look of the place for a long time now....finally got the time today to actually sit with my blog and give it a fresh new look. I was looking for something kiddy, cute and vibrant, with lots of colours thrown in. I loved the United Colours theme, the way these kids from all parts of the world are holding hands and showing us what love and friendship is all about...

Want your honest feedback....One thing I haven't been able to change is the font size..I know its a little difficult for you but am afraid we will have to go a little tiny on that for the time being, or till the time I get another look...

Do tell me what you think of this one...

*************************************************************************

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

Sleep Tight...And Dont Give The Witch A Fright !!!!


Good night good night good night....those two magical words that I have been repeating these last three-n-half years, but alas, to no avail. They fall on two tiny ears, and even before they are heard properly, are drowned in giggles and gurgles...And I am left to my poor state of forced insomnia, the one that happens when you are almost falling off with sleep, but are forced to stay awake as the little one is still not convinced enough that this is THE time to go to bed...and, well, sleep!!!!

Everyday is a new story, somedays its one story (though such days are becoming so rare now), some days its two stories (this is next in line to becoming rare), and most days, its a bargain between four and five stories....no prizes for guessing whose deal is eventually kept...I am just a bugging beggar in my own house for these matters you see...begging to tell that one story, but ending up accepting the tyranny of five !!!!

Today, as the sleep fairy took complete hold of me, I decided it was time for the scary witch story...I have the right to be a villain sometimes, don't I? psst psst...it comes with being a mother ;)

Anyway, I began telling her about the bad (of course now she knows that all witches are bad) witch who lives in the jungle and watches when kids dont close their eyes at night and go to sleep..

"How can she see me? She is not closing her eyes?" says Ms. three-n-half-year-old...

And thats how my attempt at a story ends....and begins a new game again !!!!

*We all have our own crazy, sweet, special, funny, adorable bedtime rituals with our little ones, don't we? Let me know what is that special bedtime ritual you do with your darling little one. Write in to me at deborummy@yahoo.com and I will share it here with our readers :)

A very interesting site for bedtime stories that I have come across time and again, called Bedtime stories:

http://www.bedtime.com/


****************************************************************************
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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mum Joanna Biggs Talks About Why She Thinks Her Hubby Is The Best Daddy...


You have loved him too much to spend the rest of your life with him. You have shared fun moments, you have had your pillow fights, you have shared the best experience of your life together - becoming a parent......

So now here I am,giving ALL you amazing mums a chance to nominate your spouse as the Best Daddy....you know he is the best partner you could have asked for...now tell me and ALL OF US why you think he is THE BEST Daddy Ever!!!

Mum Joanna Biggs from England (soon to relocate to New Delhi) tells us why she feels her hubby Maghin, is the BEST DADDY EVER....

"Hi Debolina,

I had to send you this picture as soon as I saw the new topic you have started. The last 16 months have given me sooooo many Carys-and-her-daddy moments, but this picture, to me, says it all.

After a first, unhappy dip in the cold water off the coast of England, what better than to run to daddy for comfort and a cuddle?

Joanna

:-)

Joanna Biggs
Mum to 16-month-old Carys"

What a lovely picture....check out Baby Carys's look, the calm on being caressed by daddy, resting her head on her papa's shoulder and knowing that all will be fine... Hats off to Maghin, the daddy nominated as the BEST DADDY by loving wife Joanna...

Here's wishing the lovely family all the very best in life forever....

If you also wish to tell me why you feel your hubby is THE BEST DADDY, write in to me at deborummy@yahoo.com


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

A Break From The Usual Hectic Lifestyle


Its been quite a while now that I have been enjoying this lovely experience of being a mommy. Can't say Im not enjoying it to the hilt. Of course there are the good days and the bad ones, the ones where I want to pull out my hair, the ones that feel that life could not have been better. There are days I am all smiles and coochy-coo and baby-talk, there are days when I walk around like a zombie, a constant stream of gibberish stumbling out of my mouth, unable to understand how I landed myself in this position....Well, parenting is a roller-coaster ride they say, and what a ride it is!

Yes, there have been some tough days too, but I am not complaining. I got more love and happiness I could have asked for.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Child Labour and You - The Other 'She'




The carton was bursting and overflowing,
It was the annual sale you see,
With toys and books and clothes and stuff
And everything her eager eyes could see.

I gave her a hug, she gave me a smile,
I knew she was ready to go,
She wanted to be home and open the box
‘Whats in there mamma?’ she wanted to know.

I’d given her the frock the other day,
The one that was in her cupboard for so long,
And also her old favourite toy car
The one that ran fine, nothing was wrong.

We reached, I pressed the calling bell,
She opened the door with a smile,
To let us in and into our room,
That was all shining and bright.

She tugged at my hand as I gave her the bags,
‘Lets go in sweetheart, shall we?’
We went in, the AC chilled us down
Cloth and bottle ready in place, she went back to the TV

Five o’clock its time for her milk
And my garma-garam cup of chai
Sitting by the window, she playing, I reading,
I ask her for a toast with my chai.

Tomorrow she goes to her new class,
Her new bags, books and uniform filling up the bed.
She wipes the floor, brings the sheet and cushion
Clearing up the kitchen for her bed.

My darling daughter, my princess,
“She looks so much like you”, they all said.
What? Who? The other girl? The same age as my daughter?
Oh, she is Laxmi, my eight-year-old maid."

Shocked? Sad? Angry? This is reality you know, the real face of India, the face that always critices and complains, but never really has the courage to actually go out there and bring about a change. We like to say we treat our maid well, that this little girl is lucky to work in my house coz I treat her better than the others and make her do less work...Shame...You could have sent her to a school? You could have called her home to study and then sent her back after giving her a glass of milk, couldnt you? And all those times you saw that little boy or girl working in a shop, or pushing that cart on the road, you could have gotten hold of the adult and given them a lesson, you could have complained about them? How many times have you done that?

WHERE TO COMPLAIN FOR CHILD LABOUR:

1. You can lodge a complaint at your nearest police station.
To get a link to all the police stations across India, you may log in to www.karmayog.org/policedepartments/

2. PRATHAM HELPINE FOR CHILD LABOUR
022-65134884 or EMAIL Kishore Bhamre on kishorbhamre1@rediffmail.com
This number is ONLY FOR MUMBAI AND MAHARASHTRA
Please visit www.pratham.org for more details.

3. HELPLINE TO COMPLAIN FOR CHILD LABOUR
1098 is the number to complain against child labour if you are in any of the following cities:
Agartala, Aurangabad, Chennai, Guwahati, Kanchipuram, Kozhikode, Nadia, Pune, South 24 Paraganas, Varanasi, Shimla, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kanyakumari, Kutch, Nagapattinam, Puri, Thiruvananthapuram, Vijayawada, Ludhiana, Ahmednagar, Baroda, Cuddalore, Imphal, Karaikal, Lucknow, Nagpur, Rourkela, Thirunelveli, Vishakhapatnam, Akola, Bhopal, Delhi, Indore, Kochi, Mangalore, Nasik, Ranchi, Thrissur, Waynad, Allahabad, Bhubaneshwar, East Midanapore Jammu, Kolkata, Madurai, New Jalpaiguri, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, West Midnapore, Alwar, Chandigarh, Goa, Jaipur, Kollam, Mumbai, Patna, Shillong, Udaipur, Agra, Amarawati, Cuddalore, Gorakhpur, Kalyan, Kota, Murshidabad Port Blair, Sholapur, Ujjain and Gurgaon.

We all like to say that Child Labour is a crime and should not be allowed. So stop complaining now and ACT.

********************************************************************************
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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Little One, My Rainbow


My daughter saw a rainbow today..on TV...its quite a feat to see a 'real' rainbow in these times of smog and pollution and skyscrapers. She loved the colours and asked me why and how there were so many colours in a rainbow.

My doll: "So many colours mamma? In one rainbow?"
Me: "Why not? You can have many colours together."
My doll: "Like my skirt?" (pointing to the skirt she was wearing at that time)
Me: (smiling) "Yes, like your skirt, and also like mamma."
My doll: "Like mamma? Like you?" (wide eyed)
Me: "You know how many colours of the rainbow you gave me? I will tell you."

"Violet when you blessed me and made my life bloom,
Indigo when you tell me 'Mamma I Love You".
Blue as your hugs come and caress me through,
Green as you make my life so full.

Yellow as I hold you to my heart each day,
Orange as I walk you home.
Red as the love in my heart as I call your name,
So many colours to fill my life.... and i wish the same and more for you."

She loved the use of colours....but of course, even before she left the room, she had already forgotten all of what I had said, and was busy in a new game :)

********************************************************************************

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Goonj - Your Help And All The Difference


Dear Friends,

This is a sincere request to you all for your help, support and that desire to 'Share A Smile.'

As my personal and professional self, I am working in close collaboration as a volunteer with the NGO Goonj, which has received the Real Heroes Award by CNN, the NGO of The Year 2007 Award and many more. We are doing a simple, yet extremely important collection drive. Your help and support will make many get the basic requirements of life.
What you can share:
Clothes:
Old or new but in wearable condition – Woolens, Sarees, Salwar Suits, Kurta-Pyjamas, Trousers, Shirts, children clothes, Bedsheets, Blankets
Footwear:
Of all size, in pairs (if possible, left and right tied together)
Utensils: Old/ New- Pans, Plates, Bowls, Glasses, Tawa, Spoons & Ladles, Cooker, Cups, Tongs etc
Stationery: Old/new school bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, Pen, pencil, sharpener, eraser, scale etc.
Paper: Newspapers, magazines, one side used paper.
Dry ration: Pulses, Spices, sugar, tealeaf, rice etc.
You can also contribute - Large quantities of surplus/waste cotton & hosiery cloth for making sanitary napkins & undergarments
To know more or to make any financial contributions, please log on to www.goonj.org
Please feel free to get in touch with Rohit Singh of Goonj at 09833237678, mail him at rohit@goonj.org, or get in touch with Arvind of Goonj at 09967890692, or mail him at arvind@goonj.org.
I would request you all to kindly have a look at the collection centres and understand how you can send across the items.
To know in detail what items you can contribute, kindly click:
http://www.goonj.org/whatcanbe.html
DHL is providing free pick-up in Mumbai and suburbs till the 03rd of March. Kindly call them at 022-26585151 to see if they are providing pick-up in your area.
For a complete list of the Goonj collection centres, please click
http://www.goonj.org/collection.html

I thank you in advance for your spirit and the belief that together, we can make a huge difference out there.

Have a great day.

******************************************
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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are You A ToyBanker Yet ?




I am sure you all loved playing with toys when you were young…..I am sure you had a favourite toy, maybe a few favourite toys….. I am sure you have loaded your little ones with all kinds of the latest toys available in the market out there….And, I am sure, you will continue to do the same….

Not an isolated case, are you?

Of course we all love toys, and now that most of us are parents and have our little ones at home, the moment a new toy is launched, we all run to get the latest addition for our little angels…..

As part of our ‘Share A Smile’ project, I happened to get in touch with this wonderful team of young and self-driven individuals, who, like us, not only talk about that much-needed change in the system, but, unlike most of us, are actually bringing about that change themselves.

Meet Shweta Chari….a young, full-of-life, energetic 20-something, an electronics engineer, an MTV youth icon nominee, and, at heart, still a child.

Shweta is the founder and CEO of Toybank, a bank with Toy Deposits and Joy Dividends, an idea that came into action on the 15th of August 2004, with a vision of reaching out to needy children through fun and play, using toys. The idea of Toybank started in a small restaurant in Mumbai. The year that they started operating, Toybank had 15 volunteers, were working with 4 NGOs and were reaching out to 238 kids in Mumbai. Today, Toybank has more than 200 volunteers, and has managed to reach out to 7000+ kids, as of 2010, and is working with 24 NGOs all over Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune and Delhi. Not only does it allow a person to donate toys from India, Toybank also has its reach in the UK, from where many ToyBankers have been showing their support to the noble cause.

Toybank’s ultimate dream is to place a toy in the hands of every child in India, and then, in the rest of the world. Shweta and her team understand the importance of toys and the role it plays in developing the psyche of a child. Hence, Toybank is very clear on what toys they WILL NOT accept: no lifestyle dolls, no guns, swords or any other such toy that can instigate violence or create discrimination of any sort.

What ToyBank does is really simple:
1. identify schools
2. inform kids about the right to play
3. toy collection drive in schools/corporates/housing societies
4. gift wrapping with volunteer support
5. identify NGOs, government schools for distribution of collected toys
6. plan an event and distribute collected toys to underprivileged kids

But through this simple process of collecting and distributing toys, ToyBank is today reaching out to more than 7000 kids, and with your support, one day they will soon reach their goal of placing a toy in each child’s hand.

Toybank’s founder Shweta Chari is very clear on why the emphasis on toys. As we sit at a coffee-shop, facing the sea, she infects me with her vision and her enthusiasm, her smile lighting up her eyes as she talks about ‘her kids’ and why ‘TOYS’:

Debolina Raja Gupta: NGOs asking for clothes and money, yes, but how come toys?
Shweta Chari: Every kid has a right to play, it is a basic right that no child should be denied – a right to free play, a right to have unrestricted play time, and the luxury to have that feeling of owning that one object of desire, that magical thing called ‘toy’. There are hundreds and thousands of NGOs who are already doing a great job of collecting clothes and food and money and sending it to needy families. But if you talk about toys, how many street kids do you see out there who have a toy in hand that they are not trying to sell at a traffic signal, but instead, are playing with? Many schools and corporates donate old books and clothes, sometimes even money, but how many people have you seen who go out there and donate toys? Come on, remember the times when you were a child and had that one most-favourite doll, or that car, that was your constant companion, or that soft toy that you hugged and slept with? Remember how special that bond was? Can you imagine how your childhood would have been if you did not have even a single toy to play with?

Debolina Raja Gupta: And play?
Shweta Chari: Play is essential to development as it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional wellbeing of children and youth. In fact, play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognised by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child. We strongly hold the belief that every child, irrespective of his/her social and financial background, has the right to make the most of his/her childhood. While accessibility to a decent education is of prime importance, one should not overlook the importance of extra-curricular activities in molding the lives of these children as they evolve into strong, sensitive individuals. After all, these are the very same children who will represent the face of a better globe, a responsible globe. They may be living on the streets, but they are still little kids, and deserve to have some joy in their lives too.

Debolina Raja Gupta: So how does the collection system work?
Shweta Chari: We go to schools and talk to kids about sharing, about how there are so many children out there who have never had a toy, while these kids in school are so lucky. We tell them about the joys of giving, about trying to share a few smiles with other kids out there. We meet children from different classes and our approach to each age group is different, of course we need to talk in such a way that we can get across our ideas to the child in front of us. Once the initial idea is established, children and their parents help us in collecting toys. Many parents even take the initiative of calling us to their housing societies and we have our collections there. Sometimes, a parent invites us to their organization and we have a collection at the office.

Debolina Raja Gupta: What after the collections?
Shweta Chari: Gift-wrapping. Our volunteers help us with sorting the toys according to age-group and then gift-wrap it for the children.

Debolina Raja Gupta: How has the experience been after the donations?
Shweta Chari:
We soon realised that the children who were given the toys were impacted much beyond our expectation. They began to recognise that play was one of their core rights. They also began expressing themselves better and were more in tune with their lives and circumstances.

As per a TISS study:


Prior to a ToyBank event:
93% of the children that ToyBank reached out to felt abandoned and hopeless about their future
Post ToyBank activity:
45% of the children were playing with puzzles while 22% were attached to their toy cars.

Prior to a ToyBank event:
The happiness levels of the children and their parents were shockingly low. 80% of the parents complained that their children felt bitter, angry and agitated towards their environment.
Post ToyBank activity:
Clear indicators showed that through the toys they received from Toybank, these little ones became children again, happy just like children should be.

Debolina Raja Gupta: What makes you do what you do?
Shweta Chari: Street children are subject to malnutrition, hunger, health problems, substance abuse, theft, harassment by the city police and railway authorities, physical and sexual abuse. The fact that each day we meet and see so many kids around the slums in Bombay who are either homeless or left on the streets to fend for themselves, these kids that sit on the pavements playing with stones or broken toys or cycle tires, overwhelms us to immediately fill in that need, the need of a proper and a rightful childhood.

Debolina Raja Gupta: Explain to me who and how Toybank is affecting?
Shweta Chari:
1.encouraging rich children to donate and giving back the lost childhood of the poor and underprivileged child.
2.street children get into immoral habits like drugs and alcohol abuse and go wayward at a very impressionable age, mainly due to the lack of attention from parents and society. They feel they are neglected and unworthy of living. Toybank tells them they are normal too and they have rights just like the rest of us.
3.we want everyone to take responsibility of their own actions. Individuals partnering with Toybank realize the importance of giving and their children, in turn, develop habits like caring and sharing for their society and the world as a whole.
4.by simple means of toys, the social mindset that society holds against street children or children of labourers, will be impacted. Both the toy donors, as well as the toy recipient, will understand the significance of respecting one another as human beings.
5.by giving a toy to a child, a child’s mind is free to think beyond its circumstances. The child feels cared for and feels one with the world again.

Its really amazing what ToyBank is doing and how they are touching the lives of so many young hearts out there. We are truly lucky to be on this side of the car window, imagine the life of those little ones out there, abandoned on the streets, alone, or begging and working as a toddler to support one’s family. Toybank has taken the initiative and is doing a lot to make this world a better place. But of course they need more support, your support. Help them in this noble deed by writing them a cheque, by organizing funds for them, by volunteering, by spreading the word. They need you.

Website: www.toybank.org
Contact Shweta Chari at: shweta@toybank.org
mail@toybank.org
bombay@toybank.org
bangalore@toybank.org
pune@toybank.org
delhi@toybank.org
uk@toybank.org
Call: 022-24458235
Read: http://blog.toybank.org/

Go on, be a ToyBanker….and Share A Smile….


*************************************
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

Monday, February 21, 2011

Online Stories For Little Ones


My little one is always asking me for stories - while eating, bedtime, in the car, while drawing, while playing, while on the swing, while going to bed, lately she has even begun asking for stories while brushing!!!!!

Of course I read her favourite stories to her from her books, and sometimes she asks me to tell her a particular story, so those times its really easy, but there are those tough times when she really wants me to tell her 'new' stories, and those tough times, I am afraid, are growing more frequent in number.

So what better way of telling her a new story each day than taking help of some cheating online? Of course, as a parent I really need to be well-read and up-to-date about all things...who said story-telling wasn't a part of the parenting curriculum? So for all you parents and grandparents out there, here are a few online links where you will find stories for your little ones (especially for Indian children). Do have a read and let me know if this was a help.

1. Chandamama: The classic Chandamama that we all grew up reading. Now let your child enjoy the Chandamama experience online as well.
http://www.chandamama.com/index.htm

2. Pitara: This site has a huge collection of short stories for children from across the world.
http://www.pitara.com/talespin/story.asp


3. Free Stories For Kids: The site offers a huge collection of short stories for kids in different topics.
http://freestoriesforkids.com/

4. Kidsgen: Teach your child about values and ethics with these moral stories, based on Indian folktales and Indian values.
http://www.kidsgen.com/moral_stories/

5. KindBook: Your children not only learn new stories here, they also learn about different topics they learn in school, like maths, but in a fun way.
http://www.kindbook.com/catalog_en.htm

6. Learn English Kids: An initiative of the British Council, the site lets your child watch and listen to hundreds of interesting stories.
http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/short-stories


You can also check out some amazing children's books by clicking Baby Bestsellers

******************************************
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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mamma I Will Not Go Back To School



We have all faced it….those first few days and weeks, when our little ones leave the nest and head out there, to the first school or playschool ever, when the time first comes for our darlings to leave us for atleast some time, and spend an important part of their day with another, or more people, other than you, and get affected by it.

I, as a mother, have faced the very same experience. And suddenly, after a year of going to school, my daughter now seems terrified all over again of going to school.

It was all fine, the mornings were a rush-hour of cuddling up to little baby to wake her up, to kiss that tilted head of soft tresses lying on that Minnie mouse pillow, to nudge those soft cotton hands and tickle that cute pudgy tummy, telling her it was morning again and time again for her to go to her favourite place – school. Mornings were the time to hurry and run behind her to get her to finish her bowl of breakfast, to make her ready, to tie those cute ponytails with the matching ribbons, getting those tiny feet into the tiny little school shoes…mornings were fun…to take her in my arms and get her seated in the school bus….it was so much fun to see her wave back at me with that smile on her face and to hear her say ‘Mamma don’t be sad, I will come in the afternoon and play with you….’ Mornings were fun….

How did all this change? How did I not see those signs that were bothering her? That grew so big that all these mornings changed?

It started with her gradually telling me she did not want to go to school….now this was something! My daughter had always been the ideal student, even though she is just three-n-half, she always wanted to go to school, even on the weekends….coming from her, this statement of ‘don’t want to go to school’ was quite a shock…

I noticed the clinginess, the stress in that little three-year-old head and heart, that worry that morning would mean going back to school…

Of course as all parents do, we too had done enough of reading and understanding the tricks and tips of parenting…being the editor of a parenting magazine means that I get to interact with and talk about most things related to parenting, but it does not mean that I am a know-all on parenting – being a mum sure does!

I wondered if she was being bullied or, worse still, if she was the bully – whether a victim or a bully is a question that most parents face sometime or the other and trust me, both have the same scare for a parent…

Talking to your child is the key to help them ease their worries, but talking to a three-year-old about their fears can sometimes be really directionless – if these little ones are scared or confused, many times they will not be able to word their concern, and a parent has to constantly work his/her way around different topics and play around with words to know where the problem lies. I talked to my baby about many things – what happened in school, who came to class, who was her friend, who did she like in class, who she did not like in class at all, what did the teacher say, did she cry in school, why did she cry…so many things that were aimed at reaching that one point – to know where her fears lay…and trust me, it was quite difficult.. But yes, we did keep talking and trying, and some key words did spill out…

The worst thing for a parent is to keep a straight face when your child is going to school scared and crying…you cannot let them see the tears, yet they are so difficult to hide. You need to be strong and assure your child that all will be well, that mummy is right here, waiting for baby to be back, that after school is always mummy-time, but keeping yourself calm and in control while your baby is screaming and begging you to not let go is an achievement, something that you absolutely need to become a master of.

Next step was to have a word with the class teacher, to know what was going on there, was someone scaring her, was someone bullying her, or was she the one who was bothering others and losing friends? Appointments were taken and we soon found ourselves seated at the school reception, waiting anxiously to know what the teacher said….
We were told there were tantrums in class, that there was unnatural behaviour, that our baby was crying and hitting out to whoever tried to be near her, pushing away all friends and preferring to be on her own…this was so unlike the baby we knew at home, a loving, playful, cheerful and full-of-life baby, a baby who loves to dance and sing and make friends….the teacher soon confirmed our worst fears, that baby was taking out her scare and confusion on others, that we would all have to keep trying to ease her worries..

We decided to give her all our time, not that we were not giving her our full attention earlier, but now it would really be ALL our time…we had always prided ourselves on being full-time parents, of course we are both working, but I make it a point to keep a balance between work and home. When I have my meetings, I try and do most of them while she is in school, so that I can pick her up and then spend the rest of the day with her, while she plays and draws, I do my writing and working. But this would have to change. So out went the work hours while she was home, the laptop was now only a creature of the dark, surfacing only when little baby was fast asleep in mamma’s embrace, when mamma had tucked that little doll under the sheets and kissed that sleeping head goodnight, the laptop came out only then, set to welcome the dawn…I realised I would not be taking away any more of her baby-mamma time with my work, so this was a conscious effort on my part.

I began accompanying her to school, to help her ease the fear a bit
, to make her understand that mamma would be there for her right outside school, that she would be safe and with her best friend – her mamma. Of course it is difficult, especially if you are a working mother, to drop and pick up your child each day from school, but some things are really more important than anything else in the world – isn’t it? And we as parents are smart enough to manage our hours in ways that will not really affect the work. It’s okay if you cannot personally do this each day, I know I am lucky to be able to do this personally. If you really don’t have that option, why not take the help of a family member or a close friend who baby is comfortable with? A few days of dropping at school and picking up from school can ease the worries a lot….

Some ‘self-proclaimed’ ‘I-know-it-all’ people have told me they know the perfect solution to our predicament – have a second baby…For all you parents and people out there, this is THE WORST and most stinking piece of advice you can ever get or give! And please, no matter how convincing or sure they may sound, please do not listen to them if you really wish to be fair to your baby. Having a second child at a time when your first-born is already insecure will only add up to your baby’s worries. You need to first make your baby be confident and know that you are always there for baby, that your attention and time is undivided…Imagine, bringing home another baby when your already scared baby is pining for you all the time! There is nothing worse you could do to both the children…..

I know it sounds harsh, but sometimes, we really need to be firm with our babies. I know it’s difficult when you see those two eyes grow wide and fill up with tears, but a little firmness in your voice will let baby know that sometimes, they really need to listen to mamma papa about certain things. Don’t scold or shout, talk to them gently but firmly, tell them they have to go to school to grow big like mamma papa, and then they can go to office, just the way they want (I think ALL babies want to go to office). Talk about all the positive things about going to school.

In the initial scare-stage, when baby is absolutely refusing to go to school, plan a few surprises…’don’t cry at school, be a good girl, and we will go for a movie’, ‘you have been a good girl at school this whole week, so I want to take you out for a treat for your favourite food’, ‘see, you have been such a grown up baby, did not cry in school at all, so here is a big mommy bag for you’……it’s really okay to once-in-a-while bribe your child for going to school and not crying the whole day. Once they start settling in, they will begin to enjoy their day..the key is to convince them to be in school.

Of course keep an eye on the school, know your child’s teachers and make it a point to interact with them, who your baby interacts with on a daily basis, keep an eye on the driver and conductor of the bus in which your baby travels, talk to them, talk to other parents and see if they have faced the same situations.

Sometimes, a parent may do everything and baby may still not agree to go back…think about talking to your child’s school counselor. Almost all schools have a school counselor these days, so it is really best to have a session with your child and the counselor. I know you may have a lot of apprehensions in your mind, many people think of too much baggage with the term ‘counsellor’, but trust me, sometimes, a counselor may just talk the very same things with your baby that you did; its just that, sometimes, babies tend to tell others a completely different version of things than they may have told you….that could be the first key to bringing back your baby’s smile and to ease those fears…..
Trust me, sometimes, its really required for you to go ALL THE WAY to help baby. You may fear that people will talk when they hear a three-year-old was required to go to a counselor, forget about all that, what others may think is the last thing that should come to your mind while trying to help your baby…

We are still working on it…..It will take time, that is for sure, but don’t lose hope, don’t give up, and most important, DON’T LOSE YOUR COOL…REMAIN PATIENT…your baby will gradually ease out of this fear, and trust me, that lovely smile will be back, waving at you and heading to a great day at school.


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



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Child Sex Abuse - A Growing Reality


For the past few days, in a shocking incident that rocked all of Mumbai and whoever read or heard about it, a 03-year-old baby has been raped in her own school by the watchman, who, ironically, was hired by the school to guard the children.

While parents, social workers and everyone has been discussing about what to do and not do about the same, there is a whole new set of things that we, as parents, need to be careful about.

Psychiatrists have come out in groups, asking parents to be extremely attentive towards their children. And remember, it is not only the girls who are in danger (though the number of abused girls being reported seems to be more than that of cases involving minor boys) but little boys too are in an equal danger.

As a mother, as a parent, here are the guidelines you absolutely need to take care of to ensure your child is safe out there:

1. Not Just The Strangers: No matter what others may tell you, its a myth that most of such harm is inflicted in children by outsiders or a stranger. Often, the severest harm is done by those your children know. This does not have to be someone in the family or friend circle, it could be the building or school watchman (as in the recent case of the rape of the 03-year-old in a school in Mumbai), the cable guy (remember the Kurla, Mumbai multiple rape cases involving children?) your neighbour, school bus driver or conductor, play-school janitor, local shop vendor, the partner of your nanny or house maid. All these people do not fall in your immediate circle, yet they are a part of your life and most often than not, your children know them. At such a young age, it is really difficult for these little ones to think of these known 'uncles' as strangers. Hence, as a parent, you need to be extremely careful not to let your child interact with them. Never, under any circumstance, should you let your child be alone with them.

2. Avoid Night-Stay Or Sleepover At Any Place Where You Are Not Around: True, we sometimes allow our children to stay the night at a relative's place. But let us be very honest about it - these incidents have often involved family members too. So make sure that your little one does not have a sleepover with anyone else but you. This does not have to mean that you are suspicious about your family members, but when it comes to the security and safety of your child, it is always best to take all possible precautions, rather than go along to please others and ending up harming your child. Let baby sleep with you, and only you (parents).

3. Talk To Your Child: Let your child know that no matter what, you are always there to listen to your child and to understand their fears and pain. Your child should be comfortable talking to you, without the fear of being scolded or reprimanded. Make a conscious effort to sit down with your child each day and talk to them about school and play and friends and about the different people they meet during the day. Also ask if they have met anyone new, or made any new friends.

4. Read Those Signs: Many times, children who have been frightened or are confused about something that has happened to them or to someone close to them, tend to show their fears and apprehensions in their behaviour. Our little ones are too young to always express in words what they feel. So look out for the signals - mood swings, sudden temper, becoming excessively quiet and reserved, afraid of things, not willing to talk or mix with people, wetting the bed, not wanting to go to school (or another place), excessive clinging to parents, tantrums, sleep disturbance, poor attention in class, no interest in studies - these are a few of the signals that will tell you that something is definitely wrong and should warrant your immediate attention and action.

5. Talk To The School: You may think they will get irritated, but many schools appreciate the parent's interest in their child's life. This does not mean that you need to visit or call the school each day. But make sure you keep having an on-off discussion with your child's class teacher and with others parents of the class. Ask them about your child's behaviour in class.

6. Check Your Baby: Make it a habit to check your baby each day at bath time and changing time to check for any signs of wound or scar. You are the best judge to pick up any such sign.

7. Not Baby Talk: Many times we end up dismissing our child's talk as it may sound embarrassing to us, or because we do not agree to it. Do not make your child feel that what they tell you is of no importance. By doing so, you will only shut the doors of free communication between you and your child. Keep your eyes and ears open, understand what they are saying and look into the same.

8. A Counsellor Can Be A Friend: Forget about tabboo and the thought of 'What will people say?". If you feel your child is in any discomfort, or is getting shut off from school, visit a counsellor who works with kids. Most schools these days have counsellors who are friendly and trained to handle child-related cases. Book an appointment immediately.

9. Forget To Be Angry: Remember, no scolding, punishment, or harsh words. What they need is a friend, not a dictator.

10.Show That You Love: Hug your little one, tell them you love them and that they are the most important person in your life. Talk to them, cuddle up with them and constantly assure them of your love.



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
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