Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Summer of 2019!

Hello fellas! Summers can be a mixed bag for parents - on one hand you look forward to taking a break from the usual school routine, going on a vacation, getting together with family, etc. On the other, the very thought of kids being at home all day for so long can get stressful! Plus, in my case, the hubby being away for work for a good 3 weeks during this exact time was not going to help things at all.

As a family we travel a lot and we love it! So travel, by default, was going to be on the cards in summer. Also, it's easy to go overboard with watching TV when at home and I was clear on not letting that happen. As a result, we went completely TV free in our house this summer which I really appreciated (well, kids did have their share occasionally at their friends place but I guess that's okay :) )


I always believe that the better you channelise the kids' energies, the happier ALL are. After a lot of planning, research and what not, here is how we spent our summer!


1. Bengaluru
What are summers without 'galli dost'. Luckily we have super sweet neighbours with kids more or less of the same age as Viaan and Vibha - this helped a lot as they literally used to be together all the time! Eating, playing, doing things, endless hours of lego, paintings and POPSICLES. It was Mango feast all through out; thanks to thanks to my FIL who makes sure we get non stop supply of Alphonso and 'Payri' every summer! Evenings were mostly spent cycling, outdoors, meeting other friends, experimenting in the kitchen.

We went on a Road trip to Mysore with our neighbours, the kids had a galla time throughout the journey and the destination! Visited the zoo, Sukha Vana (Aviary) and Chamundi hills.

I did try summer camp for 2 weeks (practically 10 days, out of which 3 days they declared holiday, duh) - so that I get to hit the gym at the least, but then realised its not really working out for us.

A few other things we did:
  • Visited a Gurudwara and experienced the 'Langar'
  • Took our house help to Lalbagh for a day trip - this was exclusively for her as she had mentioned she never gets to step out of house and has never been on an outing 
  • Made our own bio enzymes and replaced most of the chemical cleansers in the house
  • Visited @giriyas emporium, an indoor play area


Packed our bags and started off to Sakleshpur- all four of us!

2. The Wildside, Sakleshpur
When our friends Jeune and Avin - fellow parents of twins, who are unschooling their children, moved to Sakleshpur, this place was on our cards for a long time. With hubby out for work, I knew this would be just the right place for us to volunteer at and learn new things, with kids enjoying their holidays at the same time.. Just the way they like it - amidst nature..

'The Wildside' is conceptualised and brought to life by Gautham and Venetia (https://svargaonearth.wordpress.com). After I saw her handling her 2 kids and running the show almost exclusively by herself, I was left in awe! Well, I shouldn't be complaining of my daily chores anymore :p And now with Jeune and Avin - the place is all the more lively, vibrant and delicious :) It's always a learning experience being with these folks. 

Food: Simple vegetarian food, cooked using firewood. Ingredients are sourced from around the area as much possible.

We were lucky to taste some unique things here: cocoa fruit, jackfruit seed rotis, avocado shakes, firewood baked bread, variety of dishes made from watermelon rinds- pasta, halwa, salad to name a few.

Stay: Nice, unique container cabinets and mud houses. A small library, hammocks, herb garden,vegetable garden. a nice mud pool for you to take a dip; dogs, duck, hens to give you some company and a vast beautiful meadow! You get up and go down with the sun. Waking up listening to the peacock calls and boosters cook-a-doodle-do was a bliss! Note that the place is a plastic free zone and toilets are composting toilets. That's how you live 'off the grid' - with no access to electricity, internet and fancy gizmos.

Travel: We went driving and returned by train and both the experiences were pleasant. We also visited local markets and Manjarabad Fort.

All in all it was a great experience and learning for us. Right from collecting firewood, watering vegetable garden, walks in the wild, clearing out weeds, making DIY hangers we did many things which we never imagined we could! It also was the first time for kids to stay with other kids and pets and I am sure it was an immense learning experience for them too!














3.  Next stop - Pune!
Pune is a city I totally love and so do my kids.. The rickshaw rides, cousins, parks, street food, and the company of grandparents. We also visited a few interesting places in our week long stay apart from our usual Tulshibaug visit and street shopping.

Railway museum: Located in Kothrud, this miniature exhibit is worth experiencing- variety of models, attention to detail, a treat for eyes for sure


Parvati: This was the first time i took kids to Parvati and oh boy! they climbed it without breaking sweat - non stop without complaints! (and i had people warning me against babywearing fearing they will always cling on :p)


Musical fountain: Musical fountain show at Aba Bagul Udyan is worth visiting if you are in Pune.






4. MUMBAI
We then travelled to Mumbai for 2 days but gosh those 2 days were completely action packed! 'Jeevachi Mumbai' <3 thanks to my Maushi who is a super enthusiast and my mum. Together we make a great 'Bhatku team'. We were super excited to see my cousin Snehal - who newly opened up her own chick cafe - The Pink Sauce!!! If you happen to be in or around Dombivali, you simply cannot miss this one, they offer a variety of dishes, with a yummy twist!

The next day we started off with the local train, took a double decker bus ride sitting right on the top front seats. Enjoyed a walk at the marine drive. Gobbled up 'Aswad' vada pav and returned back- peak time ladies special local - that was quite an experience. I am glad kids easily adapted and had nothing to complain about.

The cherry on the cake was meeting my grandfather who radiates oodles of inspiration - now 94 but independent, enthusiast and still a student, learning Sanskrit (he attempted a written examination this year and cleared with flying colors). He is at the same time tech savvy and comfortably uses watsapp and other gadgets which even my mom stays away from :p





5. Vacation time, Europe! SWITZERLAND AND ITALY

So it was a self designed and planned family trip with the 7 of us together. Instead of bugging you with the travel details let me get back straight to the point - the kids and travel

a. Luggage: Golden rule - travel light! The four of us managed to have our stuff (including snow jackets, spare flip flops) for a 11 day vacay packed into a single large suitcase! I had the suitcase ready and sent it out with my husband - so that I could hop places with kids with ease. I had just a single hand bag - with the last minute 'oh we forgot that' stuff, some colouring books, and small play dough packets (Gave them one by one on need basis) and some handy snacks. We also carried with us necessary medicines for kids and adults for cold, cough, fever, upset tummy, acidity- packet all in zip lock bags and tossed one in each bag to take care of medical emergencies.

b. Commute internally:  In Switzerland we rented a car and two car seats and that was very convenient. Preparing kids mentally in advance wrt walking long distances, modes of transport we would use, climate, food availability helped a lot for them to sync in well.

c. Food: Though we carried some snacks with us like chakali, laddoos, trail mixes and the likes, we enjoyed the fresh, local pasta, eggs, bread, gelato, local fruits and the occasional meat.

d. Tour packages: If you are willing to spend lots of time on research and like to keep things flexible,
making your own bookings and arrangements is the way to go. You may end up saving some money as well. On the other hand, tour packages give you that peace of mind and make sense all the more if you plan on visiting the more popular tourist places. Choose depending on your priorities - we chose the former and it worked out very well for us.

e. Tantrums - How can the sun set without one ;)




In all, we had a summer filled with experiences, travel, amazing food, memories, family time, and most important of all - tons of fun!

Let me know if you have any questions/ comments; I would love to hear back from you <3

How did you guys spend your summer? Let me know in the comments below.




Thursday, 11 April 2019

Pega- Our pigeon story!

No gyan, no information in this post, just sharing a story with you all. I am sure many of you would have encountered a bird's egg in your balcony/ varandha/ terrace- so did I!! And oh God how much analysis went into it... So sharing our cute little story of the pigeon 'Pega' who happy raised her children in our match box sized balcony :)

I am busy accomplishing my role as a temporary single mother as my husband was travelling for a month for work- plenty of things on my plate! I grabbed my cup of tea after sending kids off to school and was sipping it in my balcony- suddenly i spotted  pigeon happily sitting on my grow bag not scared at all by my presence. I took a closer look and there was an egg!! I am not ready for this and I was furious- why my balcony!! I immediately called my husband- he was so damn against it :P


My next stop- google baba.. well nothing much in flavor.. I reached out to a couple of parenting FB groups, and also my Snugbub community. 99% of them have had horrible experiences with the pigeon breeding in their premises. I responses ranging from- they spread asthama, they shit and make the whole place filthy, they don't leave the spot ever and make turn it into their maternity ward, its unlucky to have them in your house and so on. Well I felt sorry for all those who had to go through this. Taking the advice from a few, i carefully placed the egg (without touching) on a newspaper, with some mud around it and some wheat. Kept this whole thing carefully outside my bathroom window.

All this now i realise was mainly to make me feel less guilty :P Net day morning, I peeped out to check the status- expecting 11. either Pega to be there or the whole ensemble disappeared.. But to my surprise, the egg alone had survived the cold night! There was no trace of the newspaper, mud or the wheat grains. And that was it, guilt gripped me.. I reversed the whole thing and got back the egg (without touching) to another pot which was on the railing (wanting the business to not happen in the middle of my balcony), again added some wheat.. But nope, Pega was associating the egg with the place- the grow bag where she had laid it, and was frantically looking for it.


I analysed- what are the major issues in having the eggs- restricted area assess for us, and bird poop being the major issue. I thought of an idea. I got the grow bag to one corner of my balcony, put newspapers around the bag and created a small little maternity ward for Pega. Kept the egg there- and wohoo she recognised it!! and happily started hatching.. I covered the space with an old curtain- which will enable kids to observe the birds and at the same time restrict them from going too close. I explained my strategy, very proudly to my husband, he did say okay for this arrangement but was not happy with it though.

Wow, a big burden was off my head, I excitedly went down to get my kids from school to tell them the whole thing, to show them the egg and Pega. We came and saw- 'Pega had laid another egg!!' Awww I thought isn't it a miracle- an egg surviving a cold night and another popping up totally unexpected- and we decided to name the babies- Miracle and Magic! (Though till they hatched I had doubt if Miracle would hatch).


2 weeks Pega and her partner Pego, took turns in diligently hatching the eggs-man it takes a lot of patience just sitting at one place! A significant point to note here is- neither Pego nor Pega ever littered the place in this time period. My husband returned on 7th May and exactly the same day the eggs hatched- and two super tiny creatures came out- yes Magic and Miracle! Very fragile, and not at all relatable to a pigeon in terms of their look and form.

Now is when the littering began, but it was mainly in the grow bag itself. As days passed by Magic and Miracle slowly started greying and started moving around a bit.. It was a ritual for kids to meet them in the morning, keep conversing with them during the day, show them to their friends, involve them in their stories and so on.. Now even my husband had a connect with them! Pega in the meantime, was now not so frequent visitor and was seen once in a while to feed them and unlike earlier she was now so shy and used to fly away on noticing us!

Exactly a month later on 8 April Magic and Miracle took their first flight and went out in the open! Without being too sentimental, I got the place cleared and mopped- and there it was clean and clear! As a future plan, considering my husband being allergic to dust and having kids around, we had two options- either to put a pigeon net or a grill. Luckily I found an interesting product on Amazon- Bird Spikes- very reasonably priced and easy to use. This makes it difficult (well impossible) to land them on the railing. Since they have left, we have not spotted any pigeon in our balcony so far.

So my takeaway from the experience-
If you do not wish to have the eggs in your space-
You can give the eggs to someone who consumes them (I read that they are good for people with heart problems) and fix a bird net or bird spikes

If you wish to have them-
1.Its a 1.5 month affair roughly but a nice experience for you to observe closely. Different behavioural aspects you get to learn is awesome!
2. Find a spot thats easy to maintain- place some sheets/ newspapers to make the space easy to clean later
3. Try to create a vertical wall/ barrier to create a room sort of structure
4. In the last week or so, the litter will start smelling. Keep agarbattis handy and use them frequently, placing them near the space
5. During this period none of us fell sick or experienced any sort of breathing issues etc

Hope this helps you take an informed decision as well! Chirp Chirp :)



Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Babywearing FAQ

Babywearing is a very powerful tool where babies feel secure and happy and is equally comfortable for the wearers! So if you are a new parent/ expecting parents, you will surely have your doubts cleared on the basics of babywearing. As a babywearing couple, while we are out and about involving our babies in the things we do, we have seen different reactions from the people around! Some are curious, some feel bad, some get really excited, some approach us to know more!
As a babywearing educator, here are my responses to the ten most commonly asked questions about modern babywearing-  
1. Which is the best type of carrier available in the market?
There is no such 'óne best carrier''. Each carrier type has its own set of pros and cons. Like you have soft structured carriers, meh dai, wraps, ring sling, onbuhimo etc. Each type has certain unique features; some offer quick ups and downs, some offer quick nursing, some offer a nice high back carry and so on. A lot also depends on personal preference, with respect to fabric, fit, comfort and feel.


2. How soon can I wear my baby?
You can safely wear from your baby Day 1. Of course for wearing newborn babies, preemies, low birth weight babies, it is strongly recommended to seek help from a babywearing educator. They will help you with what type would suit you the best, baby-wearing techniques and some dos and don'ts. Ring sling and wraps are generally very comfortable right from the newborn stage. Wearing newborn babies helps in soothing them, makes them feel secure, makes you more mobile and handsfree, nursing is possible.


3. Till what weight/ age are the carriers useful?
Typically the carriers are safety tested for a weight bearing capacity ranging from 15-25 kg, depending on the brand/ type of carrier. However practically, a lot depends on the height and growth of the baby and also on the child's urge to be carried! A standard size carrier can easily serve till the baby turns 2 - 2.5 years.

4.Does babywearing necessarily involve the purchase of a carrier?
No. Babywearing has been practised in various cultures for centuries. Modern babywearing is definitely possible using a 'dupatta', 'saree', or a long piece of cloth even. YouTube is a good source to check out videos for basic wrapping in a saree.
5.Does babywearing makes the babies clingy?
Not at all. Babies have very basic needs - 'feed me, 'hold me' and 'show me the world'. Babies demand to be held, irrespective of whether you wear them or not, especially when the baby is hungry, sleepy, just up from a nap or bored!  So its mainly about being patient. Babywearing helps a lot in fighting the stranger anxiety in babies as well.

6. Dos and Don'ts while babywearing
Since ergonomic babywearing mimics the way a baby is held in arms, you can do all regular activities from cleaning, ironing, walking, dancing, gardening and so on with the baby wrapped around you. Babywearing thus becomes a very effective medium for attachment parenting as well! And since the baby's weight is well distributed on the wearer's body, t makes the whole experience joyful and stress-free. Having said that, it is not advisable to babywear and ride a vehicle or cooking with the baby closer to the flame.
7. What are the safety aspects to be taken care of while babywearing?
The few aspects that define a safe and secure carry are listed below, they are commonly referred to as 'TICKS'
T: Tight, the fabric should wrap the baby in such a way that there is no slack and the baby is not slumping. 
I: In view all the times. This makes it possible to monitor the baby closely and follow the cues
C: Close enough to kiss. The carrier base should be placed in a position where after placing the baby, you can kiss baby's forehead by simply bending down
K: Keep chin off chest. This is particularly important in case you are wearing a new born baby
S: Supported back: The position of the baby should mimic the way we hold the baby in our arms, which is commonly known as a 'M' posture where the baby's knees are slightly higher than the bum.

8. What are the different ways in which a baby can be positioned in ergonomic carriers?
a. Facing the wearer: Babies can be held in this position right from birth onward. All the types of ergonomic carriers support this position.
b. Front facing out: The baby can be faced outward once it has good neck and torso control, typically around 4-6 month. Front face out carrying is possible in wraps, meh dai, ring sling and a few soft structured carriers.
c. Hip carry: You can carry your baby on the hip, somewhere around 7-8 months when you naturally start holding the baby that way. A hip carry is possible in wraps, ring sling, meh dai and a few soft structured carriers
d.Back carryBaby can be back carried once he starts sitting anytime between 7-9 months. Babies and toddlers really enjoy this carry as it becomes easier for them to communicate. Back carry is possible in wraps (not in stretchy wraps), meh dai, soft structured carriers, onbuhimo, ring sling (advanced skill)
9. When worn, baby chews on the carrier, does it mean the baby is hungry or not liking it?
Absolutely not true! Chewing is one thing all babies love to do especially once they start teething. It is their way of comforting, soothing themselves and having some fun ;) You could buy drool pads/ babywearing teethers that can be attached on the carriers for the babies to chew on. If the baby is hungry or restless, the baby will cry :Again its very easy to nurse in ergonomic carriers which is very liberating for the mothers!
10. Where to get some help?
There are different sources where new parents keen to learn babywearing can seek help
1. Many cities have certified babywearing educators who provide one on one help to parents and handhold them in the journey of babywearing.
2. Attend a babywearing meetup happening in your city
3. Many educators provide audio/ video consultations for people who cannot travel in person or are staying in a different city
6. Rent a carrier from a library- try and buy!
The above overview of common questions will surely help you take that first step towards beautiful bonding moments that babywearing offers!

*Published first on http://www.kidsstoppress.com/article-individual/15119

Thursday, 10 August 2017

If you can't leave them behind, take them along!


What changes immensely after being a mother is independence- we, mothers, think multiple times even before stepping out to the grocery store/ vegetable vendor/medical store with the kids and we start looking out for easier options- home delivery/ ask a friend to pick up what you need/ online shopping and so on. While these are great options for mothers, today I will share with you how these tasks can be turned interesting and how these can be fun learning experiences for you toddlers! Especially if you are a mother with limited/ no help, I am sure you will find this useful..

As a new mother of twins, and being in a nuclear set up, I started feeling trapped, as the whole day (read it as day and night) would be spent in feeding, changing, bathing my twins, taking them out and putting them to sleep. That is when I decided to cut out dependencies, stop feeling helpless and grow stronger et happier..

What did I do: 
To start with, I decided to step out of the house at least once a week with the babies and as my confidence started building up, I slowly increased the frequency. Now, at 2.5 years, I take them out at least thrice a week alone and we are enjoying this totally. Weekends I get complete support from my husband and I get some 'me' time' too :) Its all about taking those baby steps and gearing up to be independent and empowered!

Choosing the place:

  • the place should not be heavily crowded at the same time should not be deserted
  • the place should be within a certain radius from your house, so that its easy and quick to commute with the baby. I usually limit my span to 10 km.
  • ensure the place has good connectivity in case you are using public transport/ cabs
  • ensure the place is kid friendly
Prepare and plan in advance:
  • Start with short span trips of say 1 hour and as you get comfortable increase the duration
  • Choose a time to step out when the baby is generally in a happy and playful mood (I usually step out around 11 am and get back before 2 pm)
  • Schedule your outing such that you can be in before the baby's sleep time, so that you get some rest too
  • Keep a bag packed for these trips, this will save a lot of time. But please keep it light
  • What goes in my bag?- couple of diapers (pants post they were potty trained), water bottle, one snack box with some easy to eat healthy options, couple of toys, a ring sling and a soft structured carrier to keep my hands free when they are in mo mood to walk, my wallet.
  • Let your partner know when and where you would be going and your mode of travel too

Places we usually visit: These are places apart from the play areas/ parks/ gardens/ zoo which parents anyways take their kids to. No matter how 'routine'/ 'boring' these may sound to others, taking my kids alone to these places and spending time itself gives me a great sense of accomplishment and a feeling of independence that 'I can do it' and 'I am not dependent on anyone for my basic needs'! You can easily spend upto 2/3 hours at these places suggested including commute:

1. Grocery Store: I note down my weekly grocery needs, select the items and ask them to deliver it at time convenient to me. I place my kids in the shopping trolley at times when they get tired. Kids learn alot in terms of associating things with their names, utility, basic classification techniques.  A word of caution: Toddlers start demanding their favourite stuff and will start throwing tantrums- you need to be geared up to handle this. I usually tell them you will get any one item of your choice and it will be opened once we reach home and let them pick it - all happy!

2. Vegetable store: Again, I plan my weekly needs and we walk down to the shop nearby. Let kids pick, touch, feel and help you at the store, its a great experience for them too. They learn to associate names with the respective fruits/ vegetables. After selecting the items, I ask them to deliver it to my house.

3. Fire Station: My son is very fond of vehicles, luckily we have a fire station closeby. I take my kids occasionally to the fire station and the joy on their face on seeing the shiny fire trucks is beyond words! 

4. A cosy cafe/ restaurant: Choose a quite little cafe where you can enjoy some french fries/ waffles or your favourite food together (i will write on eating out with kids in a separate post) Take along a drawing book and colours, draw the food items and ask them to identify, you can also let them scribble if you wish to enjoy that coffee in peace :)

5. Shopping malls: No I don't really shop here ;) I usually just take them around, may be grab an ice cream/ have some chicken popcorn at KFC take them on the escalators and so on..

6. Temple: I am not a very religious person, but I do take kids to the temple. Its mainly the environment I love- peaceful, serene, clean and holy. Kids enjoy the 'Aarti' and the prasad too ;)

7. Bus ride: Is your kid crazy for 'Wheels on the bus go round and round'? Then you have to do this! Select a route which is not so crowded when you plan to travel. Chalk out a short route of say 5 stops. And rest assured the kids would love the ride!


Early Learning: Kids are excellent observers and they grasp very fast. Till the time they are not speaking, they try to soak in as much possible and once they start talking you will be surprised how well they can relate to the things and places you have been taking them to! Few suggestions to make these trips more fruitful in terms of early learning:
1. Expose your kids to lot of baby books
2. Carry a relevant book when you are stepping out- for example when going to the mall we carry with us 'Naisha goes to the Mall' book from the Naisha series (you can order your set from Jasmine Bheda)
3. If you are visiting a place that has any animals around- carry those small toy animals
4.You can carry play dough to the cafes and ask kids to shape it like a burger/ plate and so on
5. Carry the relevant toy vehicles. For example hand over a small toy bus to your kid if you are planning for a bus ride
6. Talk about the place you would be visiting a day or two in advance- describe it, importance of the place, what can they see there, what would you do there etc

Hope this was helpful! On this note, if you are in a nuclear set up, new mother, moms who work from home, stay at home mothers, have limited or no help or rather anyone who feels you have lost your independence after becoming a mother, please don't feel confined and step out of the house, not because you don't have other easy options- but to feel good, to boost your confidence, to expose kids to different places, to help them learn faster! You can also invite other moms from your locality and plan such trips together! Do share your experiences and what makes you feel good and independent! Happy parenting :)

The above suggestions/ external references are not influenced in any way and are completely based on my personal experiences/ liking 




Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Healthy meal for your toddler - OPOS way

Who wouldn't agree- A mom who spends minimum time in the kitchen yet has a plate full of healthy and tasty food cooked is the one who is really efficient and smart! To be frank I used to get totally freaked out when it came to cooking for kids, or cooking those 'traditional and authentic' dishes, but not anymore!

Ever since I have adopted the OPOS way of cooking (One pot one shot) I look forward to cook different dishes, as I don't really sweat or stress in the kitchen and cooking is fun! Today Ill share with you the three recipes which were an instant hit with my kids. All these are OPOS recipes and I am sure you will enjoy cooking these :) Are you ready to experience the OPOS magic ;)

 Today's menu consists of a soup, a main course and a dessert. What to expect after cooking these: a tummy full happy kid :)
1. Caramelised Carrot Soup
2. Mac n Cheese
3. Beetroot Halwa (Beetroot fudge)

You will need the below equipments:
1. 2 Litre Pressure Cooker
2. Measuring cups
3. Measuring spoons
4. Blender
5. Others: Peeler, Grater, Knife, Laddle

Heat Source: Before you proceed ensure you get a loud and clear whistle between 1 to 2 min with 1/4 cup water in the pressure cooker 
(This process is termed as standardisation. Basically all the recipes that are OPOS validated will work well only if you use a standardised heat source.)

1. Caramelised Carrot Soup


After blending!
Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups chopped carrots
  • water
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
Procedure:

On opening the lid..
Load your cooker in the below order
  • 2 Tbs water
  • Butter
  • ginger + cumin seeds
  • Chopped carrots
  • Milk

Cook on high for 7 minutes (ignore the number of whistles). Release pressure, add some milk and blend. Serve hot!
Substitutes:
Coconut milk with milk to arrive at the desired consistency


2. Mac n Cheese
This surely is the fastest pasta I have ever cooked! So easy and flavourful! Once you are confident making this, you can cook up several versions of this by including veggies/ eggs/ meat etc!

You can see my 2 year old kids relishing it!

Ingredients:

Measuring raw pasta
  • 1 Cup soaked and drained Raw pasta (soaking is not required in case of local wholewheat pasta eg Bambino)
  • water
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • Grated Cheese 
  • Seasoning of your choice
Procedure:

Load your cooker in the below order
  • Butter
  • Pasta
  • 1 Cup water
Cook on high for 2 whistles, release pressure. Add grated cheese and seasonings of your choice. We usually prefer salt, pepper, oregano and chili flakes!

Substitutes:
You can use milk or stock instead of water. If you are replacing water with milk, don't add salt while cooking to avoid curdling of milk.


3. Beetroot halwa (Fudge)
I was struggling to find out ways to feed my kids beetroot and this one dish was something they enjoyed and kept asking for more!

Ingredients:

Loaded cooker
  • 1 Cup grated beetroot
  • 1/2 cup jaggery (You can vary as per your liking)
  • water
  • 3 Tsp ghee
Procedure:

Load your cooker in the below order
  • 3 Tsp water
  • beetroot
  • jaggery
  • Ready to be served!
  • ghee
Cook on high for 8 minutes (ignore whist;es). Release pressure, mix well and enjoy!

Substitutes: Sugar with jaggery

Optional Flavour enhancers: Nut powder, cardamom powder, milk powder 


Do try out and let me know how you liked it! If you have any questions please comment below I would be happy to answer :) Happy OPOSing! 

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The 6 annoying questions..

Relationships.... well they ain't simple and straightforward! We love our people, we love their company. We know, we acknowledge- deep down under there is only one sentiment of well being and love but many times we encounter statements, questions which cross the boundaries/ go overboard and it  hurts you to the core!

A woman is bombarded with such statements especially after she gets married and after the kids it just is a different story altogether! I have tried to compile top 6 such statements/ questions which most of us as women/ mothers would have come across (at least in India)!

1. Its been a year you guys are married, we are waiting for our grand children!
Well, do we get married only to have children? Marriage is having fun together, enjoying each other's company, exploring places, understanding each other. Is there is a right time to have children? absolutely no, as this decision is no depends on the number of years you guys are in a relationship, but on how well prepared you are, are you financially stable, how good is your support system and so on! So please don't pester and pressurise the couple with such questions, let the couple take an informed decision, be patient guys!



2. The baby seems to be hungry, lets us top feed the baby..
 Possible that people close to you don't have the right information, possible the people close to you didn't have a very good experience with breastfeeding themselves, possible the people close to you have a lot of misconceptions and need to get their myths cleared! Already a new mom is going through a lot, and these advises literally make the mother doubt herself when actually there is no reason to do so! Breastfeeding is a function of demand and supply, a mother's body is beautifully designed to meet the demands of the baby! So new mothers, please don't doubt your capabilities, take informed decisions based on your research and doctor's advice, meet a lactation consultant if need be.



3.  You plan to work after baby too! that's not a very good idea..
Please let the mother decide what she wants to do after baby. And for God's sake don't judge her for her decision, after all she is a mother and she knows how to prioritise and plan things. Let her decide if she wants to work outside the home, work from home, or be a stay at home mom. If you really are concerned, help her out by contributing in some way or the other than criticising her decision!


4. My grandchild looks so lean an petite! Are you not feeding him well?
This is the most annoying one and something that really hurts the mother- these kind of statements fuel the wrong ideas of force feeding/ distraction feeding and so on. If you really do your research around baby nutrition and eating patterns in kids, you will notice, emphasis is always on- let the child decide how much he wants to eat and how frequently. Each living being is gifted with the basic instinct of hunger and related communication and so are the human babies! Our job as caregivers is to provide healthy food options till they feel like eating,  offer frequently if need be! In fact baby led weaning is a beautiful concept built on these lines. Don't get burdened by the comments passed by others, if you baby is happy and healthy, meeting the milestones more or less on time, relax and keep going :) People will always find something to criticise, whether your kid is lean, chubby, tall or short :p



5. You guys are starving, don't you cook fresh meal each time?
No, because unlike your generation, we don't have ten people available at home to help us out. We have to maintain our sanity, take good care of the baby, take care of ourselves and keep the house running well too! That's a lot of work for the four hands available. Don't feel bad if you are cutting on the number of dishes you prepare per meal, if you are having cereal for your breakfast instead of the pre baby sumptuous spread, if you are cooking in bathes and freezing some for subsequent meals, if you are ordering a couple of dishes you are craving for. As long as the food is nutritious, cooked in hygienic conditions enjoy your meals as per your convenience!


6. Will you be menstruating that time? Oh no please take pills, its an important festival!
No I will not. Because that is an indicator that my body is functioning well, that I am healthy! The ability to have kids is God'd gift and menstruation is a part of the whole function. If you are not comfortable with my menstruating body being present with you for the celebrations, please excuse yourself or let me celebrate my way! While today we see mot of the educated people craving for organic, natural food products, sadly we see some of them treating menstruating women differently! Surprising, sad yet true. Please stand for yourself, and take a decision if YOU believe it to be right and after consulting your doctor.


Cheers to womanhood, cheers to motherhood!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

I still long for the long drives...

Be it midnight hunger pangs, late night ice cream cravings, or just our way of greeting the rains, we used to be always ready for the long drives and long rides (thankfully we both love travelling else  I would have died of boredom :P)!

Well, after having two kids, I did terribly miss all the 'we time' which we hardly get now and it always is a herculean task to strike the right balance between different roles- as a mother, as a wife, as a friend and so on.. 

Now long drives were more of a juggling task for me and an elaborate assignment of 'what if analysis':
  • What if they refuse to sit in the car seat?: Get extra toys, make them sit in the car seat (In India its not mandatory to use a car seat for babies, we have bought one car seat, and the other baby, until 2 years used to be with me)
  • What if they poop?:Carry extra diapers and wipes
  • What if they puke?:Carry a wash cloth and a burp cloth
  • What if they are hungry?: Carry food, water
  • What if they feel cold?: Carry thermals
What if this and what if that and I used to get really worked up and stressed with the whole idea of stepping out! Ah and not to forget baby moods 'I am bored'/ 'I wanna drive the car!'/ 'Open the window'..There was no quality conversation between me and my husband during these long drives, the way it did before! He would be busy driving and I would be busy engaging kids on the back seat. And if at all luckily they both slept together, Conversation? who cares shut the eyes and nap was the first thing I could do :D

However, nothing is permanent, and as kids turned two, I borrowed this idea from a friend! We filled up the leg space on the back seat with cotton mattresses! So the set up now changed to one car seat behind the driver's seat and mattresses levelled up to the height of the back seat. A special mention of the Cookiie Look See Mirror  which I have clipped on my seat belt that helps me check on the kids and also communicate with them easily without turning all the way back! 

This arrangement helps us in many ways:
  1. More space for kids, even to sleep comfortably
  2. Safe, no fear of falling/ bumping
  3. I got my place back- the FRONT seat :) It really brought a smile on my face as I was sitting back on the front seat literally after 2 long years!
And now, the what if answers were much easier than before! 

  • What if they refuse to sit in the car seat?: Sit on the back seat together
  • What if they poop?:Potty trained so not applicable..
  • What if they puke?: Unlikely
  • What if they are hungry?: Keep handy finger food and water bottles in the car pockets for easy access
  • What if they feel cold?: Carry thermals
And that's how we kick started the long drives yet again! Luckily our kids too enjoy the drives now and love to look around, narrate what they see, sing songs, listen to music, and its really a very warm feeling. And this is why I really long for the long drives now:
1. We ACTUALLY get to communicate and exchange some good thoughts and smiles
2. I love to listen to the radio, especially the Red FM and Mirchi 95! Being a music lover and having learnt music for many years, songs, radio, rhythm was always a part of my life.. Somehow during the week, I so get hooked up in the tasks that I don't get time to tune in to music. Now I feel privileged when I listen to the songs during these weekend long drives..
3. I enjoy the peace!! Its THE time during the day, when there is a nice golden silence in the car! I am sure the kids enjoy it too..

Long drives help me unwind and rejuvenate, its our 'we time' sweetened with all the baby talks and songs and laughter of our two little angels! 

Summer of 2019!

Hello fellas! Summers can be a mixed bag for parents - on one hand you look forward to taking a break from the usual school routine, going ...