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Little time saving tricks

With managing toddlers, every 10 mins saved count. Here are my tips & tricks that I have learnt in my last 4 years of mommyhood.

  1. Travelling- Every time you return home, re-stock the diaper bag with everything you have used in this travel. Wet wipes, diapers, wash cloth, anything at all. Chances are when you are going out next, you would be glad you have saved 10 mins in not having to pack the diaper bag afresh. Buy smaller packs of biscuits/ juices/ chips/ cremes/ wipes etc. This way you can discard when free & don’t have to refill after every travel.
  2. Change/ diaper caddy- Children have accidents (throw up milk while crying or coughing up, bed wetting, drop water/ milk on themselves) which requires a change of clothes. Searching for a fresh set, in the middle of the night when you are groggy & bone tired, can be a task. What I have practised with both my kids is to make a small overnight wicker basket for night which has a diaper, wet wipes, 1 set of clothes & under clothes which I take to the bedroom each night. If I end up using anything from it, I just replenish it for the next day. This also gives an opportunity for my husband to change the kids in the night if need be. And isn’t that awesome 😉
  3. Organise things- Have a small basket for all toiletries which you carry to the place/room where the kids get ready from a bath. This means I take out all required things – talc/ mosturiser, comb & hair brush/ diaper rash cream, hair oil- (all the works) in one go & return them at one go, when I am done.
  4. Sorting- You may be surprised like me  since I learnt this by chance, when I saw my 2 yr. old daughter practise this. Girls are naturally attracted towards sorting, and you can keep a kid busy sorting same colour crayons, blocks, beads, (the smaller the better as they take more time picking it up 😉 but only if the child can play with it safely without putting it in her mouth). This activity can easily buy you 10 minutes before your child gets bored or figures out your trick 😀
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10 values with which to raise children

We are a sum total of our upbringing, our environment and our choices. I have realised the magnitude of the effect all these ingredients have on me, only when I became a parent myself.

Here are some 10 things I have consciously done in the hope & belief that it will give my kids a good environment.

 

1. Don’t pre-empt everything for her or let her experience new surroundings, new textures, new everything. How many times do you say ‘No, this is not good for you’, ‘No, you’ll hurt yourself’, within the limits of sensibility, (you have to be dense if you let your toddler to injure herself with a knife to learn its sharp), how many times do we let our kids foray on their own. I am guilty of this, and have starting checking myself before I stop my child every time. She’s a child, and she WILL NOT be as sensible as someone 10 times her age, so why do I want her to have my wisdom? She’s a child. Let her learn by finding out. Trust me, kids are in no rush to grow up, we are.

2. Let her fall. Don’t rush to catch her to avoid a fall. A grazed knee is a small price to pay for the loads of confidence and experience that she will gain from falling. By letting her fall, and letting her pick herself up, you are giving her & yourself (very important) the confidence that she is capable of navigating & taking in her stride the challenges she is encountering. After falling once & hurting herself, you will be surprised at how careful she becomes. You don’t have to hover around her all the time with worry. As a parent I know I can’t & won’t be around her all the time protecting her. So I want her to at least learn these basics in my presence.

3. Encourage curiosity- Show pleasure when they ask a question while reading a book or watching the TV, or anything that catches their fancy. This single trait will take them far, when they are writing entrance exams and are judged on their thinking-out-of-the-box capability.

4. Teach them to question authority, in a respectful manner. I know that’s walking a thin line, but don’t we want to raise kids who are confident and not afraid to call a spade a spade. But this is a tricky one, since a child who has been raise to be fearless & righteous, will keep everyone around her to follow the same values that she has been asked to live with 🙂 . Very often my daughter reminds my husband mid-sentence that he is not doing something right, or, objects if she is talking to someone & I interject, reminding me that its rude to interrupt when two people are talking 🙂  .

5. Let them participate in decision making- Small decisions like whether she would prefer to watch TV, or do craft, or help me in the kitchen (that’s what she calls it 🙂 ) let them know the meaning of choices & slowly help them connect the dots that with a decision comes the responsibility of actions & repercussions. Let her make a decision and teach her the value of choices, and the fact that you trust her.

6. Ask questions & see how they open up. They have a valid explanation for everything they observe, and you will be amazed at their creativity.

7. Don’t limit her. Make her believe she is the best. Stop before you say she can’t do it, she’s too small. Instead tell her that it requires her to be a little taller/ little stronger…… Don’t ever tell her she can’t be something. Children are born confident, we rob them off it, a little each time we tell them they can’t do something. Didn’t we all start out wanting to be fighter pilots, racing car drivers & wildlife photographer before we succumbed to the conventional career choices 🙂 .

8. Don’t pass on your prejudices to her. I have built my likes & dislikes over these years, and for some reason. Lizards & creepy crawly insects make me uncomfortable. But other than the basic of what’s dangerous & hazardous, I want my kids to decide what they like & what they don’t independent of me. May it be cuisine, career choices, sports & everything.

9. Older is not always right. Just because I or someone older is saying something doesn’t make it right. Have the grace to accept & apologise when wrong. It will set an example that elders & anyone can make a mistake.

10. Mischief & misbehaving are two different things. Everything is allowed so long as it is mischief and fun, that’s what separates a child from an adult, BUT, bad behaviour should not be tolerated. Personally, I feel, 3-3.5 yrs is the age when a child should be made to understand and respects boundaries. This is the age when their social interactions increases, they get exposed to their peers & many older people at pre-school, and this demarcation is essential. But enforced any earlier, and it affects their self confidence.

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Advice I would have given myself in my first pregnancy

Yeah yeah, aren’t all first time moms given advice by anyone and everybody. In fact I feel that it is a tradition, which unfortunately I am a culprit of having given into. See, I have understood that as first time mom you may hate when people give you advice on everything- how to breastfeed, make the baby sleep, burp, bathe, change, when to start solids, weaning…blah blah. And try hard as you may, you can’t avoid it. So, you have to vent out this baggage you received, by becoming just one of what you didn’t want to, and dish out advice when you see a new first time mom 🙂 . Simple. And thus the tradition continues.

Advice I would have given myself in my first pregnancy

But, jokes apart, if I were to give some sensible advice to myself, this would be it-

1. Rest before delivering- you’ll never have ME time again for the next 5 yrs. It’s so true. Especially if you are planning to have more than one kid. Rest as much as you can before delivering. Just stay in bed & relax, enjoy, do everything which is not a chore or a task on your to-do list, by becoming a parent you’ve signed up for a lifetime of doing that already.

2. Rest after delivering- yup. That’s the natural progression. Get all the pampering, sleep in late, be lazy, get massages, stay in for the convalescing period, let others do the household work, you don’t have to bathe your new born from day one, you’ll have years to do it 🙂

3. Eat without a thought- you’re still nourishing another soul, and lactation is the only time, second to pregnancy, when you can eat as much as you can. You always have a legitimate excuse of an expanded waistline 🙂

4. Become BLIND to the household- everyone else is an adult or not-a-new mom. They can take care of themselves without you wanting to assist/manage everything.

5. Sleep when the baby sleeps- for once listen to what the older women (who are still on the advice giving trip), & don’t use this time to catch up on chores & tasks & bathing & organising. Sleep. Once the world knows you are fit to manage yourself & the baby, all help is withdrawn, and you have to actually manage everything. So savour this time.

6. Get massages done- Yes, the midwives knew what they were talking about. Go get pampered. Those daily massages get your tummy in & your spirits up :). It takes away the weariness from the birthing process, lack of sleep, and gives your body and mind the much needed relaxation.

It took me my second pregnancy to understand & appreciate the deeper meaning of all these sayings & advices, and since I was staunchly not willing to take any advice from others, I wish I could’ve written this post for myself earlier 🙂 .

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Weekend crafts

Craft is what has come to my rescue every time when I have to keep my little one indoors, happy & engrossed, & in a healthy way (read no-TV, no- gadgets).

Unfortunately, for this weekend, it was just what the doctor would have ordered, since my daughter was unwell & had to be rested. So we ended up recreating her latest obsession (dinosaurs!). All we need is some coloured paper, scissors, (gloopy) glue & some imagination.

And viola! A dinosaur zoo is ready 🙂

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Craft ideas to keep a toddler engaged

My 3.5 year old daughter, like kids her age, is interactive, has a short attention span, and is constantly seeking something to keep her busy. As a mom I would rather she does something creative than sit in front of the TV to kill time.

I use craft as a good way to learn skills like handling a pair of scissors, painting, sticking glue, while enjoying ourselves. Small little things like coloured glazed paper, stick on glitter shapes, shimmery glue, basically things you get at any stationary shop, and is under Rs.50/-, can be very entertaining for a child.

Here’s what my daughter & I do to make the best use of time while having a ball-

1. Child proof Paper scissors- (yes they cannot cut skin/ cloth/hair- as per the product description) + non-toxic glues & a newspaper or an old magazine = 1/2 hour of animated cutting & pasting by a 3 yr old. I have tried this & its a very engaging activity. It was me who wanted coloured paper & a plan in place. Kids just want to go chop chop….

You can buy these scissors here 

Craft cat

2. Finger painting- Ditch the paintbrush & the hassle of dipping in water. Non-toxic paints (they come for Rs.20/-) + an apron + a vivid imagination = 1/2 hour of amazing fun. And you can frame these paintings too :). Or you can get the whole kit which comes complete with colours, sponges of various shapes (starts, circles & teddy bear etc.) and pre –printed designs on paper. So convenient. You can buy these here 

 

Craft hand painted squid

3. I am an e-com junkie & have loads of parcels delivered to me. Instead of throwing away the cartons, why not make a house for your daughter. 2-3 empty cartons + scotch tape + accessories = real life doll house. I know it’s an amateur’s work, but my daughter loved her studio apartment & moved in with her favourite toys & books J

4. Old diya (earthen pots) + squishy shimmery glue = one happy toddler + nice diwali giveaways

5. Loads of stick-on shimmer + glue stick = 1/2 hour of animated engagement

Craft decorated pen stand

 

 

 

Craft lollipop

These are all tricks/activities I have tried numerous times & they have worked. It makes for a fun evening spent with my daughter while teaching her motor skills & appreciation for art. So that’s my win-win momma tip. I have enclosed some photos of the craft work done by my daughter & me. I wish I had some of the studio apartment we made together :).

My daughter & I are mighty proud of our handi-work :-). What do you think? Will you be trying these?

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How having 2 kids changed me

Pregnancy is cherished & made a lot about. Which is right, it is a huge turning point in your marriage, career & life. But it’s only a 9 month event. What ensues is a life long journey called parenthood, but I feel it is not given its due. Raising a child is more risky, tough, challenging, rewarding, fulfilling and life altering. What an individual becomes as an adult, is a sum total of his external environment & the upbringing his parents gave him. The same is true of the parent also.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightfalling/2261753548/">~PhotograTree~</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: ~PhotograTree~ via photopin cc

And imagine the impact of raising two kids have on a parent! I have felt so many changes in me ever since I became a parent of two.

  1. I became more confident- Because I chose to have 2 kids when I know so many couples who have openly said that they don’t have the energy/ will to do it, I felt brave and empowered at the same time.
  2. I became more aggressive- I was assertive till I had just 1 kid, but now I have to stand up for 2 kids with the same limited energy that I have, so I optimise by becoming aggressive & cutting to the chase.
  3. I became a preserver- I have started saving. Because 1 kid is fashionable, 2 kids are a responsibility. In my first pregnancy, the novelty was so high that I wanted to buy everything new, right from clothes, to nursery items to toys. But for my second pregnancy, I had already carefully sterilised & stored a lot of stuff from my daughter’s time. I was also less stuck-up & was open to borrowing stuff from my sister/ friend who had kids.
  4. I started planning for the future- I have never had a plan for life and have just gone with the flow. But, now, with two kids, I have started for planning for tomorrow. How long do I intend to stay in a full time job? What will I do post that? When would the kids need my complete attention?
  5. I became stronger- Now when I look back, I realise as a first time parent I would get very defensive/ hurt when someone gave an opinion or advice on parenting methods or pregnancy, or life in general. Second time round I figured out that everyone has a right to their opinion & I have a right to take it or ignore it. So without making it all about myself, I chose to process this information they way that suits me.
  6.  I was less judgmental of myself & others- First time round I wanted to do everything right the first time. And because I had set up such high standards for myself, I would measure others by the same yardstick. Oh… this mother doesn’t spend enough time playing with her kid, or lets the maid feed the kid, or some such thing…. Second time round I realised that every mother loves her child as much as I love mine, and like every child, every mother and her ways are also unique. Who am I to judge her?
  7.  I was relaxed- Don’t let that trick you :). I am twice as tired, twice as short of time, twice at lack of personal time & exercise, twice of everything when I had just one kid. BUT, I am relaxed. I have done ok as a mother of one, I will do more than ok this time too :-D.
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Unexpected essentials of a successful marriage

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kwerfeldein/2234720298/">Martin Gommel</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: Martin Gommel via photopin cc

We all know (at least the theory of it, else we would be publishing best seller books on Amazon & living off our old age on its royalty…sigh) of what it takes to make a marriage successful. But, as a mother, facing the same set of challenges and situations like all moms before and with me, I discovered 2 requisites for a marriage to flourish-

  1. Girlfriends– They may nod their head, agreeing to all your rants and frustrations, but if they are your best friends, they will make you see the real picture, put you in your right place, and net-net make little of the situation you are dealing with. What this leads to? Well, in married life, and especially in the ones with kids in it, there are many things that you face as a couple which you don’t know how to deal with. It’s difficult to reach out to siblings & parents for fear of being judged/ lack of understanding etc. But, girlfriends (best-friends) can experience your situation with you & yet see if from an outsider’s perspective, which is all it takes to solve the problem.
  2. Kids– Having a child teaches you selflessness to a degree you never imagined. Why is this important? Because kids teach you that they have to be loved, come what may. They may be right or wrong, well-behaved or obstinate, unreasonable or angry- whatever the emotion they throw at you- you have to never forget that they are kids and need to be loved. This underlined emotion doesn’t waver. We may treat the behaviour or situation as is fit, but, our emotions and loyalty to that little human being remains intact. Doesn’t a marriage require just that :)?