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Thoughts, Ideas, Recipes, Tips….

Jungle theme party for Avi June 3, 2013

For Avishi’s 3rd Birthday party I had decided to call all her play-school friends and make it a fun-filled day for her. It was fun planning her birthday party this year, because she understood the concept of birthdays and also how a party would mean getting many many gifts 🙂

So for her 3rd year party, I decided to do a jungle safari theme. I started planning the party almost a month in advance (hehe I know that early, 😛 can’t help it!! I like being organized :D).  I’m writing this blog to help people know the 4 key factors for a successful party.

  1. THE BIRTHDAY CAKE
  2. THE DÉCOR
  3. THE FOOD
  4. ENTERTAINMENT

THE BIRTHDAY CAKE

Firstly, I needed a jungle theme cake and I wanted to bake it myself (which I usually do). I am no professional in baking, but I do a pretty decent job in baking cakes. But this time, I also wanted to ice the cake and have a jungle theme running all over it. Thanks to my sis Varsh, I had some sugar wild animals by culpit in my closet. Although they are meant to decorate cupcakes, I used them to ice the main cake. Since the theme was jungle, I decided to bake a marble cake (u know tiger prints or giraffe prints). I figured it would suit the theme. Here is a pic of the cake before the frosting and after the frosting (I know its imperfect!!)

Avi's bday

THE DÉCOR

Now for the décor, I ordered some animal cutouts, jungle theme glasses and paper plates online from mybabykart.com. The remaining décor I made at home. I bought some green crepe paper, some green and brown construction paper, and some brown paper. I made a tree with the construction paper. I used the brown paper to make some vines. I used the green crepe paper to cover the backdrop of the center table. Here are some pics.

Avi's bday2

THE FOOD

Since the party was at 5 in the evening, we served an assortment of snacks that the kids would love. I served:-

  • Hippo pops – Popcorn ( I made these cups with the plain white styrofoam cups, stuck purple construction paper and googley eyes to make it look like hippos)
  • Safari pizza – mini pizzas
  • Junglee pasta – tri-color pasta made in white sauce
  • Zebra Bites – Oreos
  • Giraffe nibbles – potato wafers
  • Monkey smiles – smileys
  • Corn and cheese nuggets
  • Cupcakes (in shades of the LION)

Since most kids were in the age group of 3-4, I was expecting parents to linger around. So I also made some puris with potato sabzi and idli with chutney.

I created labels for all the animal themed snacks and placed it on the table. Some pics of how the table looked like…

Avi's bday1

Finally the entertainment….

I made some binoculars with the help of Styrofoam cups and cellophane sheets (before hand). In the party, I got the kids to decorate their binoculars with color and an assortment of stickers. This activity was a hit. All the kids thoroughly enjoyed the activity.

Styrofoam binoculars

I made a jungle room. I used my store room for it. I used the green crepe paper to cover the wardrobes. I hid animal cutouts behind the green streamers. I filled the room with green balloons (floor), to give it a green look.  I also made a camp using my dupattas. After we were done with the binoculars, we went to the jungle to find all the animals. The kids were excited to see all the animals through their binoculars. All of them kept shouting out the animal names as and when they spotted. Then all the girls went into their camp and were chit-chatting (I don’t know about what!)

Avi's bday3

After the cake cutting and feeding the kids, I made them dance to boogie-woogie. They then started demanding all the rhymes they know and I was happy to be their dj 😀 (thank god I had all the rhymes on my laptop).

The kids really had a lot of fun. None of them wanted to go back home and few even went away crying. Avishi enjoyed the party to the hilt and oh, she loved the “yellow animal cake”.

For the return gifts, I really found these cute animal bags by chance. I filled them up with toffees and chocolates. Giraffe, lion, tiger, bear, monkey, leopard were some varieties of the goodie bags.

Collages1

 

Mom’s who want to get back to work. September 21, 2012

For a career-oriented woman, having a baby brings their professional life to stand still. Often I meet women who face depression post prenancy. When Avi was born, since she was my first born, I had given up my fulltime job to look after her. But after a while, I found myself anxious all the time. By the time she was 3 months old, I started feeling like a cow :P. One fine day, I just decided to get in touch with the company that I worked fulltime with prior to my pregancy, and I asked them if I could work from home. I was lucky in a way, because they let me. Although I couldn’t enjoy the perks and responsibilities I achieved when I was a fulltime employee, I still enjoyed accomplishing goals everyday. It made me feel a lot useful and happier and I could at the same time look after Avishi, watch her grow and not feel guilty about being away from her.

The whole arrangement just suited me very well, and after doing that for over 2 yrs, I decided to get back to work fulltime. I felt Avishi, was old enough to be away from me for a couple of hours. Since she anyways started going to pre-school, for 3 hrs everyday and was actually enjoying it thoroughly, I thought I could stretch it for a couple of more hours and get back to work. So after settling down with a fulltime job, I looked for a preschool and a daycare (that had both in the same premises). Also chose one that is just a 2 min walk from my workplace.

Our routine nowadays – I drop her to school, go to work while she has fun in her preschool, eats her healthy meals (Her school is just great), sleeps for a couple of hours, plays and Voila! mommy is back to collect her from school. This arrangement has been working out for us quite well, while avi is making new friends and having a gala time with them, I get to achieve my goals at work. 🙂

Image

Just a pointer for moms who want to get back to work-

  • You will need to be with your child during the early years. They depend on you for everything. So look for a work from home option, or flexi- work (like work on sat & sun). You can look up http://fleximoms.in/  for convenient job oppurtunities.
  • If you have a hobby, then pursue that. This lets you be sane and happy and avoids any kind of guilt factor.
  • You can also consider becoming an entreuprener. Maybe you could convert your hobby into a career!!
  • Once your child is over 2 yrs, you can consider taking up a fulltime job. But keep in mind to choose a good daycare, preferably in the same premises of the preschool and also a place that is close to your office.
  • Initially you might face seperation anxiety, (I did too), but trust me the child will be alright. We (mothers) are the ones who get more anxious, they actually enjoy being in the company of other children.
  • Once at work, try to ensure you leave on time and not stretch it! You have to maintain a work-life balance. If the company you work for doesn’t offer flexibility, quit!! Choose an employer who understands your situation and offers you flexibility. If you have to take a paycut, do so!

If you are in Gurgaon, and are looking out for a pre-school/daycare, consider choosing Intellitots. It is a great place for your child for their overall development and they really look after your child.

 

Childproofing your home in India September 30, 2011

In India, safety measures are something that is unheard of. People are quite reckless or ignorant about basic safety standards. But most importantly, when you have a child at home, it is essential that you childproof your home. It is better to be safe than sorry. Time and again, I come across parents who have a story to tell about how their child, broke their crockery, or got hurt by the coffee table or threw everything out from the refrigerator or got locked inside a room or how they meddled with the potty seat in the bathroom. There is a solution to all these…

I do not know if it is ignorance or the unwillingness to invest in some child safety products, but I find people in India raising children without following any child safety measures. Moreover, you will hardly find retailers selling child safety products here. So here I will try and put down some tips to childproof your home, tell you why is it important and where can you buy these products.

The danger begins when your baby becomes a toddler. They are so curious and want to meddle with everything that is within their reach. But sometimes it isn’t good for them.

Electrical outlet covers

Children love to stick their tiny fingers into the holes of electrical outlets in the house. It can cause burns or electric shocks and could be very dangerous. There use electrical outlet covers to protect them from any danger.

Door slam stoppers

Sometimes your child may accidently shut the door and lock himself up. Or maybe while shutting the door, might pinch their fingers. So you need to use a door slam stopper which will prevent the door from slamming.

Safety Gates

If your home has staircases or an open kitchen then it makes sense to install safety gates to prevent any accidents.

Safety latches

These latches can be used for drawers, cupboards, cabinets and your refrigerator. They come in different variety; just select one that suits you best. Sometimes our cupboards contain potentially harmful items, such as chemicals, cleaning products, knives, glass items, perfume bottles etc. You can also use this type of latch for the potty seat in the bathroom. All these can be dangerous for your child and hence it is important to safeguard your precious little one from these dangers.

Cushion corners

If you have furniture with sharp edges you can install these cushion corners to ensure the safety of your child.

Where to purchase Child Safety Products in India?

You can find these products in all mother care stores in India. Shoppers stop has a mother care section in most of the cosmopolitan cities.

Also you can purchase these products on “firstcry” for a very reasonable price.

Just investing sensibly now can save us from disasters that could happen tomorrow. Our child means everything to us, so take all measures to protect him or her.

 

Mind your manners September 11, 2011

Today was a terrible day for me. My sweet little daughter had to go through 30 minutes of agonizing pain just to get some blood sample collected. She was running with high fever since the last two nights and when we got her examined yesterday, her doctor thought it was a bacterial infection and therefore he put her on antibiotics and paracetemol. But even then her fever wouldn’t subside. So I had to call the doctor early in the morning and he asked me to get a blood test done immediately to rule out the possibility of any endemic diseases.

cover while coughing

While we were waiting at the emergency ward for the doctor, a lady sitting nearby was coughing and sneezing without covering her mouth. That irritated me instantly and I was at the verge to remind her of her manners. Instead I just asked Deepu to get Avishi to a safer place. I couldn’t help but wonder, that why people in India have no basic etiquettes or common sense.

I often find people sneezing and coughing on your face in public places. What seems strange is that educated people also behave in this manner. People are just so indifferent about the repercussions of their actions or should I say stupidity.

It is a norm for people suffering from a viral or the flu to still go to the office. I mean, if you are sick, can’t you just stay at home! It will help you recover and also will save a lot of people from contracting the viral. But no, people here are so hardworking and committed, that if they do not go to work for a couple of days, the company will lose on millions.

I have also noticed that many parents are also reckless in their actions. If their child coughs or sneezes, they have to teach their child to cover their mouth but instead their child will go on coughing on all the other children faces in the park and the mother will just keep watching!!

If your child is infected with a bacteria or virus, just keep him/her at home and avoid sending your child to school or to the park till he/she is not contagious. It will save a lot of children from contracting the same and will save a lot of parents from the misery of seeing their child suffer.

Even adults who are infected should avoid meeting other people and also should completely avoid cuddling other children just to coochie coo.

As educated adults, we should take this responsibility to protect ourselves and our children. Let us all become more conscious of our actions.

 

 

Surma ankhiyon mein (Kajal in baby’s eye) April 6, 2011

Filed under: Baby Care — jkomal @ 12:03 pm

Time and again I meet people who love giving unwanted advices and ideas. Recently, I came across a few of those kinds. Their advise to me was – “why don’t you apply surma or kajal on avishi’s eyes? It will make them look bigger and beautiful and also protect her from nazar”. I politely answered, the doctors have prohibited me from doing so.

But later I was thinking, how can kajal make a child’s eyes look bigger anyways? I always hated this concept of applying kajal in a child’s eyes. I always used to joke around, that, applying kajal in a baby’s eyes only makes them look horrible rather than cute, tho nazar kaisi lagegi gi (how will the baby get nazar).

Jokes apart, but according to pediatricians, application of kajal is a complete no no. This is because application of kajal can cause itchiness, watery eyes and in some babies allergic reaction. Also when your child rubs his/her eyes the kajal can cause infections as well.

Furthermore, the eyes of a baby are very sensitive, applying kajal with our dirty and sharp fingernails can cause damage to the child’s eye and may cause discomfort to the baby.

So why apply kajal to your little one’s eyes just because you think that it looks bigger. To tell you the truth it doesn’t make your baby’s eyes look any bigger than it is and it only makes it look hideous in my opinion. You baby is precious to you and is beautiful however he/she is. Just accept him/her the way he/she is and bestow all your love and blessings on him/her.

But old age tradition defies any logic or reasoning. And if you want to ward your child from the evil eye then put a small tikka of kajal or your child’s forehead (at the hairline) or on the sole of the foot.

 

Fat vs Healthy March 12, 2011

Filed under: Baby Care — jkomal @ 10:57 pm

A couple of days back, a few people commented on Avishi being very thin and weak. And honestly it irritated me. I am Avishi’s mother therefore I am bound to feel bad, but then I was thinking what is healthy to these people! Apparently for them, healthy babies are those babies that look chubby or fat, whether or not they are active or achieving their milestones doesn’t matter. And honestly, Avishi isn’t weak or thin, she seems to be doing fine for her age.

So what if your baby isn’t fat or chubby? Does that mean he/she is unhealthy? No, I wouldn’t say so. Why? As long as your baby is growing in tandem with their weight and height chart and is also achieving the milestones regularly, there is no need to get worried. Trust me it is much better to have an active baby than a fat baby. I have seen babies that seem huge and chubby, but they aren’t active nor are achieving their milestones. It is seen that a fat baby, is slow to learn things.

In India, especially, people want fat and chubby children and therefore they will feed food items that will increase fat in the baby’s body. But remember, that your baby needs a healthy and a nutritious diet not a fatty diet. Feeding only fatty foods will eventually lead to obese children and this isn’t right for your child.

So next time if someone comes up to you and say such a thing to you, ask them to mind their own business and please do not worry. Have regular checkups with the pediatrician to check your baby’s overall growth.  If your doc, gives you an OK then you should care a damn about what people say to you with regards to your baby.

Your main goal is to have a healthy baby and not a fat baby. Here is a chart that will help you understand your child’s overall growth and see if he/she is on track.

Remember, that each child is unique and will grow at a different rate. But if your child isn’t achieving the milestones at the right time, then please contact your pediatrician.

 

Bottle Vs Breast Feed February 23, 2011

Filed under: Baby Care — jkomal @ 1:55 pm

You are just out of delivery and you are exhausted and tired. All you want to do is sleep and rest. But you have this little bundle of joy that is completely dependent on you. Your baby needs your milk every 2 hrs or so and this can get really tiring and taxing when you just want to rest.   Sometimes you will get tempted to take the easy path and ask the nurse in the hospital to feed the baby i.e. formula milk. (This happens when the mother has been through a C-section). But your parents, in-laws, doctors, nurses etc. will keep telling you to feed the baby breast milk.  And if you are a new mother you will sometimes wonder, why only breast milk? If you ask your doctor this question they will say feeding top milk is DANGEROUS or “your baby can get Infection” and it is best to feed your baby breast milk. So here I try to solve the riddle and answer some queries that could run through any new mom’s mind.

Which milk is better?

Undoubtedly breast milk is ideal for your baby. It is packed with all the essential nutrients plus antibodies. Formula milk also contains all the essential nutrients minus the antibodies. So if you want your baby to have a good immunity, breast milk is important. However, you must note, breast milk will keep strengthening your baby’s immunity only till he/she is 5-6 months. Thereafter, you will need to provide iron rich foods to build the babies immunity. Breast milk does not provide immunity in the child for a lifetime.

But I am not producing enough milk!

There are some harsh facts that most women face nowadays. Not getting enough milk!! This is the prime reason as to why mothers succumb to feeding their babies formula milk. Not because they have no will to put in the extra effort to feed their child, but apparently most doctors and in-laws think on those lines.

How to Improve Breast milk production?

Breast milk production depends on 2 things primarily, what you eat and how much do you feed your baby. The more you feed the baby the more milk will get produced. If you aren’t producing enough milk then please ask your doctor for some medicines to help boost milk production. People claim that eating fenugreek/methi helps in milk production…so maybe you can give it a try.

Why are bottle-feeds dangerous?

It isn’t dangerous. Your doctor only says that to frighten you so that you give it up completely. The consequence with bottle feeding your baby along with breast feeding is that your baby may develop a preference towards formula milk and may start rejecting your milk and also it could create nipple confusion in some babies. With regards to infection, there is no reason why an infection should occur, if the bottles are washed and sterilized properly.

What about combination feeding?

Personally, Avishi was always on both breast and formula milk. Now she is completely on formula milk. As I said, the consequence with this is your baby will develop a preference or create nipple confusion. The sucking technique on the bottle and breast are very different and some babies will take to bottle because it is easier. That is why it is better to put that extra effort and breast feed your baby. In my case I lost my appetite after my delivery and therefore not enough milk was being produced. Later when I tried it was too late and I was left with no choice but to continue with breast and bottle.

Feed top milk with spoon and not bottle – What should I do?

Seriously when the doctor told me this, I wanted to laugh. How can a small baby drink milk with a spoon? Babies are born with the ability to suck. Feeding with a spoon only poses choking hazards. The reason, why they make this suggestion is that bottle feeding would result in infections. So please wash the bottles and sterilize them properly.

These were some questions and doubts that bothered me in my initial days of motherhood, I only wish if someone could have directed me properly with proper reasoning and logic. Therefore, I have put down these points to help people make a choice. Ultimately it is your call and you should decide on the method of feeding your baby.