Sunday, 25 December 2016

Electronic Heroin- They aptly call it

When Agu was 2 months old, a family came to visit us with their 6 year old son, from the time they entered the house till the time they left the kid was busy playing games on his dad's phone and the proud parents say "he doesn't bother about anything else as long as he has his favorite game going on the phone". I found it a bit disturbing.
When Agu was 18 months old, another family came over and their 5 year old son had his head dropped on to his mom's mobile phone screen busy playing games. Again the proud parents say "it is better he has the phone in hand, or else it gets difficult to handle him". I was deeply upset.
When Agu was 22 months old, I heard a proud mother of a 20 month old say they got her daughter an iPad and got it insured so it was ok if she dropped it on the floor. I was scared, scared because of the fact that how oblivious we are of the long term effects this might have on our kids.
How many of us have seen those little kids with heads buried deep inside their tablet or phone at the mall, at the hospital waiting for an appointment, at the restaurant, completely aloof from the world around them? I have always found this scene highly disturbing. At a very young age, when they are supposed to be running around and exploring things, there they are sitting and swiping the screens of electronic devices and once they are grown up and can't keep their hands off those devices we label and blame them "gadget addicts".
We as parents have always dreaded this addiction and have tried a lot to keep our son away from this so called fancy gadgets and here are a few lessons learnt:

Try to say NO when it is easier to say YES:
It is very easy to soothe a cranky kid with your mobile phone. When they are rolling on the floor crying for something our basic instinct will be to give them what they ask for, but then try putting in that effort to let them know there are things they can't get by throwing a tantrum. Ignore the tantrum first and talk to them once they are slightly calm. Trust me this will be really difficult at first but practice it a few times and you will be amazed by the outcome.

Make them feel like it is just another thing in the house:
The more we try to keep them away from something, the more they would feel it's something very special and they are missing out on that special thing by staying away from it. So treat the gadgets like how you treat other things in the house so that your kid would eventually get over the excitement of getting hold of a phone or tablet.

Screen lock your phone:
In case your kid gets the phone in hand he will try tapping on it a few times and finds that nothing is happening and moves over to something else. This will save us from freaking out and yelling and snatching the phone from them.

Meal time=Meal time:
Recently I saw a video where a mom is feeding her 8 month old baby with a phone strapped on to her head and video playing in it. When many others found it funny I found it very annoying as this is what we are preaching a baby as small as 8 months and later when the kid can't eat without watching a video we blame them. So right from the time they start eating solids, get a high chair, let them explore the food, let them know that meal time is for eating and it has nothing to do with watching video.

Many a times we forget the fact that habits are made by us. A toddler doesn't know what's in a phone or tablet, they don't know that they can eat chocolate whenever they ask for, they don't know about many basic things untill we  introduce them to it. So all we have to do is get over those short term fixes and try to give them a healthy behavioral foundation so that we won't have to blame them, or yourself, for those little actions that speak aloud later on.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

What a month with Toddler and without Husband Taught Me!

We came to know about my husband's travel plan just a week before the travel date and there were a million questions running in my head because I had no clue how I would manage our darling toddler all by myself 😁 Those evenings when he's back from office was the time I would cherish, as finally I hand over Agu to him and get some time to think a bit about myself. Initially I thought I will travel to my native but somewhere I wanted to see how the independence works too. So after a lot of thought I decided to stay back and confront the battle. It's been a month now and here are a few lessons learnt 😁

Shower Time:
After I make sure that he is comfortable doing something he likes, I sneak into the bathroom for a shower. There are two scenarios here because of which I have learnt to hop out of the bathroom in less than 5 minutes.
Scenario 1: 2 seconds after I step inside the bathroom Agu comes and starts banging on the door "Mamaaaa shut the dooooor"(by which he means open the door).
Scenario 2: I don't hear him after about 2 mins into the shower and I get all creepy scenes come into my mind, "Is he chewing on a live wire?? Did he throw husband's PS3 down the balcony?? Did he manage to switch on the gas stove??" So there I am hopping out in no time.

My Punching Bag:
I realise how much easier life is to have that calm better half around to neutralize my anxiety, anger and all my roller-coaster of emotions. Now that he is not around, the only option I'm left with is to master the art of controlling my emotions. So here I am, missing him especially when it's his turn to change agu's diaper 😄

Keeping Calm is the Solution:
So as we all know toddlers try and find reasons to throw a tantrum, like he rolls on the floor when his banana gets broken into half while peeling it, hides under the bed when I say it's naptime, yells when I don't play his favorite song by Rihanna "What's my name" while driving. It was difficult to deal with tantrums alone and I realised it is really easy to yell back at them or give them a whack (I'm really against physical punishment and strongly believe it is only a way of letting out our anger and is never ever going to make your child a better human being). So I started walking out of the scene, I just walk away to another room or just sit and count till 10 and trust me that's all it takes. Those few seconds let us calm down and it really helps us deal with the tantrum with much more ease.

Feel like a Magnet:
As he is grown up enough to understand that Papa has gone somewhere and isn't returning any time soon he was very clingy to me probably because of the fear that I might also travel leaving him home all alone (Ohh I wish 😁). So it's like the moment I step out of the bed, he wakes up, depriving me of even his naptime me-time. Duh!

Thanked Online Grocery Shopping:
Believe me we have tried taking Agu with us everywhere possible, be it the vegetable shop, super market or even fish market and he really enjoys it. As I didn't have the patience or rather strength to stand in ATM queue carrying Agu to draw cash, online grocery shopping came as a boon.

So the most important lesson learnt is that we are capable of doing things when there is a necessity and those things we have always dreaded to do wasn't that tough after all. So all mommies out there, one month and I am still alive which means we all are indeed super humans without a visible cape.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Toddler Recipe: Cheesy Spinach Pasta

Agu loves pasta and it always comes as a savior whenever I want to feed him veggies. I puree the veggies and add it to the sauce. So here's a very very easy recipe that he loved.

What you need:

Boiled pasta: 1 cup
Garlic: 4-5 cloves
Butter: 1 tbsp
Spinach: 10-15 leaves
Grated cheese: 3 tbsp
Milk: 1/4 cup
Salt: a pinch

Method:

1. Saute the palak leaves in a little butter, cool and grind to a smooth paste along with milk.
2. Melt butter in a pan and saute garlic for a few seconds.
3. Add the palak- milk mixture to it, add the grated cheese and boil until it reduces to thick and creamy.
4. Taste and add salt if required.
5. Add the boiled pasta to this sauce and saute until the sauce completely coats the pasta.