Sparkle and Molly

Sparkle the sparrow was upset. 

She had just had a fight with her best friend Molly the mole. 

Molly wanted to play in her burrow but Sparkle wanted to fly.

“I cannot go down into the burrow with you!” cried Sparkle.

“And I cannot fly, I have no wings!” exclaimed Molly.

Sparkle went back to her nest and was brooding in her corner. Mother Sparrow called out to little Sparkle.

“Is something the matter, my dear?”

source: illpop.com
source: illpop.com

“Yes mother, Molly won’t play with me and that makes me very sad.”

Mother Sparrow listened carefully while Sparkle told her the whole story.

“Have you forgotten all the good times you shared with Molly?” Mother Sparrow asked.

“Like when?”

“Do you remember Gary the goose’s birthday party?”

“Yes, what fun we had! We splashed together in the pool!” began Sparkle.

“And Mother, do you know? When the other birds were mean to me at school, Molly wiped away my tears and made me smile.”

“You see Sparkle? Both of you can have fun together if you stop thinking only of yourselves.”

“Yes mother, you are right. I will go and say sorry to Molly right away!” cried Sparkle.

When Sparkle opened the door, she was very much surprised. For there in the doorway, stood her best friend Molly.

via clipartlord.com
via clipartlord.com

“I am sorry Sparkle,” said Molly.

“Oh, I am sorry too Molly, you are my best friend!” said Sparkle.

Mother Sparrow who was listening to the two friends from the kitchen, smiled and said, “Have fun, my dears. I will make porridge for the two of you when you are back.”

Sparkle and Molly hugged each other, and laughed and went out to play.

They were best friends again.

 

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How I weaned my girl to drink from a cup

Anyone who knows my second daughter Sayalee, knows what a spirited child she is. She loves passionately and lives passionately. By that, I mean that she is extremely stubborn and has a capacity to throw mighty tantrums at the slightest provocation. Which means we are almost always treading on eggshells trying not to get her started.

But she is very intelligent and has a sharp mind which processes information really fast. That she may not emotionally accept something very soon is another thing. But she understands.

It is something I have seen in most stubborn children. They are very sharp and they know what they want. It becomes necessary therefore to find ways, creative ways to get them to do what you want them to do. That they should feel that it was their decision to do so. And trust me, by the age of one and half, they are quite capable of taking that decision on their own.

weaning

Spirited kids need to take charge of their own life. And no, they are not going to change their personalities. It is better to accept this fact and move on. Children like these need more understanding and acceptance than angelic kids like my older daughter. They need more assurance of your love for them. Which is why getting angry or losing temper NEVER helps.

When you get angry, not only are you setting a bad example, it sets something off in them. You are bound to get a major meltdown and things go from bad to worse. No I am not preaching. Been there, done that sweetie!

Believe me you, a meltdown is something you don’t want from this child.

So how did I finally get my daughter to give up her sipper? (How I weaned her from bottle to sipper is another story. Suffice it to say my girl gets attached pretty soon.)

I told her a story. That the crow (her favorite bird in the world, go figure!) has kids and they were hungry and they want milk. So we filled her sipper a little with milk, and she took it to the window and threw it outside for the crow to take it away.

I then hid the sipper from her view when she was not looking  The crow took it away, apparently.

She has since demanded for her sipper about twice or thrice. But each time when I tell her that, “Don’t you remember sweetie? You gave it away to the crow.” She remembers and it takes but two minutes to get her to drink from her cup.

Happy to report that not only has she begun drinking from a cup, she has begun sleeping through the night!

Magical, I say!

Photo credit: @SJA Photography via Flickr
Photo credit: @SJA Photography via Flickr

Agreed, she can get messy. Sometimes she spills some, and yesterday she purposefully emptied one on our sofa when I was not looking. Damn. Oh well. 

It does not mean that the same story will apply to your kid. Indeed, every child is different.

What I hope to do here, with my story, is to make you understand that children often respond best to a creative solution than to an angry retort, or reprimanding and yelling.

And if you must yell, at least give creative solutions a shot.

Or two.

It’s worth it.

Happy Parenting!

DIY School Book Labels

First of all, I’d like all of you to take a look at Poornima’s awesome Craft Kit.

I got her crafty kit some time back with all the instructions about the various craft things I could make with it or help my kid make it. We made some, and we still had lots left over. But the thing about crafts is that without a proper showcase, they usually at some time or later find their way into the dustbin, which is a shame. That is why I was thinking of things I could make with this kit, that would last well for a long time.

It isn’t as if school book labels are uninteresting or a time-saver. They are indeed. But there is something about DIY that makes the value of everything go a notch higher. Ever since I began my first blog Roz Ka Khana, I have become obsessed with DIY. Not just in food, but also in other stuff such as this.

DIY SBL 1

What you will need:

  • Chart paper
  • Metal Ruler
  • Pencils
  • Sketch pens
  • Buttons
  • Googly eyes
  • Craft punch
  • Foam sheets
  • Glitter foam sheets
  • glue
  • any other things you can think of that are left over in your home like ribbons, thread, cottonwool etc. The possibilities are endless

Step 1

I made one label for each of her textbook. I first cut out equal rectangles of the chart paper and kept them aside.

Step 2

This is what I did, you can do it in whichever way you like. I picked a theme from the textbook. Even the name of the textbook provided some good clues, like a chick for Little Chick Chick, or a stack of books for Oxford Reading Circle.

If you have your own ideas proceed with it. I usually need a visual guide to complete such projects. So I googled clip art for the theme, and picked a cute image. Then with a pencil I drew the shapes on the foam sheets, or craft papers.

DIY SBL 2

Step 3

Cut out along the guidelines. With foam, you have to be careful while cutting. The hardest is the alphabets. The easiest was the round sun shape.

Step 4

Arrange everything in the order you want to see them and glue them on. Add the final touches with markers, colors, glitter glues etc.

Step 5

With a good handwriting, write NAME, STD, DIV, SCHOOL in box letters one under the other. Using a ruler and a marker, draw even straight lines in front of each option. You can now write your child’s name and particulars in these spaces.

DIY SBL 3

There, your awesome DIY School Book Labels are now ready! If your kid is older, you can have them make their own labels in this way. Unleash their creativity!

 

For Poornima’s Craft Kit, you can contact her here.

Corn fingers – Kid friendly recipes

When I say my kid is a fussy eater, I mean that she hates eating. If she must eat food, she has to love it, or out it gets thrown. It is a headache when we take her out to weddings or to someone else’s home for dinner, because I am worried all the time about the food she will eat.

In my quest to get her to eat even the most common veggies, I have stumbled upon a few recipes, adapted them and made them my own. These corn fingers are one such recipe.

corn fingersIngredients:

  • 1/4th cup corn
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1/4th cup grated cheese
  • ½ cup bread crumbs, or 1/4th cup maida
  • 3 tbsp dairy whitener (milk powder)
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • small piece of ginger
  • 2 tsp amchur powder
  • salt to taste
  • oil for deep frying

Make a paste of coriander, mint leaves, chillies, garlic and ginger without adding water.

Boil the potatoes, peel and mash them.

Boil the corn and squeeze out the water from them a bit. Now make a coarse paste of the corn in the blender without adding any water.

Add the above pastes to the mashed potatoes, add amchur powder, milk powder, bread crumbs/maida, and salt to taste.

Mix well.

Don’t worry if it is still a bit sticky.

Heat the oil in a kadhai (wok). Use two spoons to make an elongated shape of the mixture, kind of like a finger. Drop them in the hot oil.

Fry till they are golden brown.

Serve with ketchup.

 

TIPS:

  1. The milk powder in the recipe can cause the corn fingers to get burnt easily. Do not fry in very hot oil or for a very long time. Just enough to brown the outsides.
  2. Insert a toothpick at one end to make an interesting variation. Such things interest the kids more than regular food.

 

 

How to perform Heimlich Maneuvre on a choking kid

Choking is life threatening. A child can choke on any number of things like hard candy, lollipop or even toys. As a parent, it is a vital skill to know how to perform the Heimlich Maneuvre on a choking kid. Let us pray to God that you may never need it. But in case you ever do, you should be armed with knowledge about what you can do to help your kid before professional help arrives.

HM

Step.1: Stay Calm

It is no help to your kid if you are panicking. A calm parent with assuring posture is more helpful to a child than a panicky one. And that applies to all situations of life. Stay calm, so that your mind is clear about the steps you need to take.

Call for help. Have someone call an ambulance, a rickshaw, a car ride, anything that can immediately take your child to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

Step 2: Check if your child is choking.

If your child is indeed choking, he/she will use the universal sign of choking which comes naturally to everyone i.e. holding their throat with their hands.

Step 3: Coughing

If your child is coughing forcefully, it is a sign that he/she can still breathe. Encourage the child to cough forcefully.

Step 4: Back thrust

If your child is unable to cough it means that he/she is unable to breathe because the object is now lodged in the airway. Have the child bend forwards and lean on your left hand. Always support the child this way. With the heel of your palm, thrust sharply on the back for five counts.

Step 5: Abdominal thrust

If the object is still lodged in, after five counts, have the child standing straight. Kneel behind your child, and put your left finger on the navel. Just above that finger, place your right hand, fisted. Now hold that hand with the left hand and pull towards yourself and upwards, sharply for five counts.

Repeat step 4 and 5 till help arrives or till the object is dislodged. If your child appears to be getting unconscious, have the child lie down on his/her back.

Step 6: Abdominal thrust while lying down.

Straddle the child with one leg on each side. With both hands, apply thrust on the lower abdomen, till the object is dislodged.

 

Practice the Heimlich Manuevre without force on your spouse. This will ensure that you know what to do, if ever the need arises.

Here’s a video demonstration of the same.

 

Please share this post with as many parents as you know.

Baby Menu Weekly Planner Free Printable

When both my kids were babies, I had a tough time tracking their allergies, introducing a new food each week, making sure that I included most food groups appropriate at baby’s age. I maintained a journal, but what can be better than a printable weekly menu planner? It is cute, it is handy, and you can simply carry the last week’s page to the pediatrician in case it is required.

©Gauri Kekre and Parent Avenue
©Gauri Kekre and Parent Avenue

 

There is a space for notes in the lower right hand corner. Here you can write about which new food was introduced this week, allergies if noted, and plans for the next week, or baby’s likes and dislikes. Once you are done with the week, simply punch holes along the side, and file it in your baby’s diet file. As easy as that.

Tracking baby’s menu was never this easy and cute 🙂

You can download the pdf version here:

Baby menu weekly planner

Please do not use the above printable for any except personal reasons. Feel free to share the link, but do not use it for commercial purposes.

Baby Skin Care During Summer

February hasn’t even begun, and my little ones have already begun kicking the covers off. While we have an air conditioner at home, we prefer to use it only sparingly and only on extremely hot nights. But this cover-kicking is a sure heralding sign that summer is just around the corner and we have to gear up to face it.

Summer means havoc on our skin and hair. But while we as grown ups know and take measures to prevent sun damage, so must we take care of our little ones. Their skin and hair are especially sensitive to the harsh direct sun that scorches just about everything in the summer.

via www.givinglifeonline.com
via http://www.givinglifeonline.com

Here are some pointers to keep your baby and kids cool this summer.

1. Keep them in light cotton clothes

Synthetic clothes tend to trap sweat, rather than absorb it, leading to itching, and prickly rashes on their sensitive skin. Light cotton clothes are your best bet. I remember this time, when we had to go for a wedding. It was a hot May afternoon, and one of my family members insisted that my daughter should be dressed in her best party suit. But before we reached the venue, my poor baby was itchy and extremely uncomfortable. I bought a pack of prickly heat powder right away. That and the air conditioned venue meant that my daughter stayed comfortable thereafter. But that was a lesson learnt.

If you must go for a wedding, have your baby dressed in suitable party clothes made in cotton or light turkish cotton, to keep him/her comfortable.

via www.jamesgirone.com
via http://www.jamesgirone.com

2. Do not step out in the afternoons

Unless it is an emergency, do not step out in the sun with your baby. If you must, make sure that his skin is well protected with a sunscreen approved by your pediatrician. Carry a baby hat with you with wide enough brim to cover their head comfortably.

©Saoirse and Declan via Flickr
©Saoirse and Declan via Flickr

3. Have your baby drink water

If your baby is more than six months old, give them frequent sips of previously boiled and cooled water from a sipper. Resist giving too cold water. If your baby is less than six months old, and breastfeeding, feed him frequently. The fore milk contains more water and is sufficient for your baby as long as you keep drinking plenty of water.

If your baby is less than six months old, and you are formula feeding, then you may need to supplement the baby’s intake with a little previously boiled and cooled water.

 

4. Bathe the baby carefully

Use a good moisturizing soap instead of using massage oils. Massage oils left behind can be a source of great discomfort for the baby. If your baby is older, just a moisturizing soap is enough. If you have massaged the baby with oil, make sure to get rid of all the oil residue.

©ryanmcginnisphoto via flickr
©ryanmcginnisphoto via flickr

5. Prickly heat care

Despite our best efforts, babies usually end up getting heat rashes in the neck, nape of the neck and nappy areas. Do not use prickly heat powders on babies less than two years old. And for those more than two years old, use them only with their pediatrician’s approval.

If rashes do appear, make sure to wipe them with cool water frequently to keep these areas bacteria-free. Apply calamine lotion to soothe the baby’s skin.

6. Wash baby’s hair every alternate day.

Washing your baby’s hair too frequently can strip it of its natural oils, leaving them limp and lifeless. However use an ultra mild shampoo and wash their hair on alternate days to prevent sweat build up.

via www.howtocutchildrenshair.com
via http://www.howtocutchildrenshair.com

 

7. Do not go overboard with talcum powder.

While talcum powder may feel refreshing, do not go overboard with it. Use it in small quantity. Using too much powder can cause it to clump in their skin folds, after getting mixed with their sweat, and can cause raw areas. If you must use talcum powder choose the one with cornstarch, as it is known to prevent prickly heat.

While applying talcum powder, be sure to keep your hands away from the baby’s face. Take a very small quantity in your hands. Apply gently onto the baby’s skin in a thin layer. Make sure that the baby doesn’t inhale the talcum powder.

 

I wish you and your baby a happy and healthy summer season. 🙂

Gum Drops Recipe

When I wrote this post about 10 Fun Valentine’s Day recipes, I knew what I wanted to make. You know those jelly sweets that you get in Lonavla? The soft squishy, colorful, and orange, lemon and strawberry flavored, sugar coated sweets that sell like hotcakes? Did you know you could easily make these at home? I didn’t know either. Until I wrote that post, and I knew right away I was making this for my daughter to give to her friends on Valentine’s day.

But I didn’t want to make them at last minute, afraid that it may fall flat in my face. It has happened to me before. Which is why I wanted to try the recipe first before I made the final thing. I am glad, I did. I learnt a few things, but I also loved the taste. And glad to say, even the kids loved it! This time I set them in ice box, so they turned out quite large. The next time I am going to set them in a tray and cut them into pieces because I don’t have a small heart cookie cutter.

Take a look.

gum drops1

 

Ingredients:

  • 20 g clear unflavored gelatin (available at your local grocer’s)
  • 1/4th cup and ½ cup water
  • 1 and ½ cups sugar
  • food color of your choice
  • flavor of your choice (I used Vanilla)

Step 1:

Sprinkle gelatin on 1/4th cup of water and set aside for ten minutes to bloom. When all the water has been soaked up by the gelatin, it puffs up slightly. This is known as blooming.

Step 2:

Mix ½ cup of water with one and half cups of sugar and bring them to a boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for five more minutes.

Step 3:

Pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin carefully while whisking continuously with a whisk. Keep whisking for two to three minutes till all the gelatin is dissolved in the sugar syrup.

Step 4:

Now add the food color and flavor you want. Go easy on the color. A few drops is all that is necessary. Even the essence necessary is just 1/4th of a spoon.

Step 5:

Use an ice tray to begin with. It is a whole lot easier. Grease the ice slots with a little vegetable oil. Pour the mixture into these and put it in the fridge to set overnight.

The next morning, remove them carefully (They are sticky at this point) and roll them in powdered sugar or regular sugar, whichever you prefer.

Set them outside the fridge on the countertop for 24 hours to crystallize, although they taste pretty good even eaten just as they are right now!

 

Tips:

  • Keep your greased tray ready before you start the other procedures
  • You can alternatively spread the mixture on a foil lined tray. Remember to grease the foil also. Once set you can use a knife or pizza cutter to cut pieces, or you can use cookie cutters to cut shapes.

 

10 Things I Wish I Knew about Breastfeeding

Ah! Still basking in the pregnancy glow? Bask away. Soon that baby is going to make a grand appearance and you will have no idea what to do with it. Especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Ever see those brochures, or magazine ads or images where a beautiful woman is breastfeeding an angelic baby? Throw them away. For the first month, it will seem anything but.

bffeature

 

1. Breastfeeding is hard

Breastfeeding comes naturally to like one in hundred women. To those who have even breastfed before, it still takes a long long time to get the “hang” of it. Baby wants to sleep, baby wants to latch. Then baby wants to sleep while latched on. This is the scenario while you are still in the hospital. You are tired, you are achy, you are feeling everything but exuberantly happy, and all you want to do is sleep. Then the baby cries. Baby suckles for five minutes, then drifts off. You unlatch the baby, and put him down, and straighten your back a little… the baby cries again!

via examiner.com
via examiner.com

2. Breastfeeding hurts

You have no idea. The tiny little mouth is capable of packing a great suction. Better than any electric pump. But that’s not it. All the sucking leaves your nipples dry. Cracked. Bleeding. Sore! And still… you have to feed. It takes some time for you to get used to it. Kind of like getting used to a new shoe till it fits comfortably.

3. For the first one and half months, all you seem to be doing is breastfeeding

You have no time to do anything else. Even when you are having a bath, just the sound of a baby crying, any baby, even the neighbor’s baby two flats below yours, will stimulate the let down reflex. And when you see all that milk being wasted, you feel like cursing yourself.

via thestir.cafemom.com
via thestir.cafemom.com

4. Forget bra, you don’t even feel like wearing clothes!

You are breastfeeding so often, it feels like such a waste to wear a bra. Initially you do, having brought the pretty little nursing bras. Eventually you give up. You are just so sore that the touch of fabric is highly irritating to say the least.

5. Baby is always crying for the boobie

Or so it seems.

6. Why can’t husbands breastfeed once in a while?

Is a question you will ask yourself time and time again. You will see him relaxing, sleeping peacefully, scratching his bum. You will want a break too. It is natural.

via community.babycenter.com Yikes!!!
via community.babycenter.com
Yikes!!!

7. Feed in public, or stay home.

You either have to let go of your embarrassment of feeding in public, or forget it and stay at home. At least here you can breastfeed in peace without having total strangers give disgusted looks in your direction!

8. You will be judged

Whether you do, whether you don’t. You will be judged. If you do breastfeed, you will be judged for eating something that gave the baby the colic. If you are breastfeeding, you will be judged about not doing the right things to increase your milk supply. You are starving the baby. You are not doing it right.

9. Everyone you know will have advices for you

Invest in a pair of good earplugs. You are going to need them to field unsolicited advices from everyone around you.

10. People will feel it is their duty to “help” you!

Nurses, female relatives, mothers of friends… will all inspect your feeding relationship closely and tell you, “hold the baby this way, hold the baby that way.” And God forbid, if the baby is still not latching well, they will just grab your boobies and shove them in the baby’s mouth. It happens. No really, it happens.

 

And if you are having twins. Well, God help you!

©Balladier via Flickr.com
©Balladier via Flickr.com

Okay, don’t mind me, they are cute as buttons… 😀