The Soap Story!!

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Image: pixabay

Like all small children, I was fascinated with TV commercials. During the 80s, the TV telecast was for a limited time, and TV commercials were fewer, and that’s the reason they were all the more precious. I remember oohing and aahing green with envy at the flawless skin of then reigning star, Sri Devi in the Lux soap commercial. It was a pink Lux. I asked my mum to buy a pink Lux the next time she ordered at the baniya. She got me one. But in spite of rubbing it all over, I was sorry to admit, my skin didn’t turn pearl-like ‘comme’ Sri Devi. Disenchanted, I stumbled over the ad of Moti Sandal Soap. I loved the idea of bathing with a round soap, when all that my mum ever bought were flat rectangular ones. I wanted it. Unfortunately, it was not available in Ahmedabad at the time. So my mum promised she would buy it the next time we visited Delhi, my grandfather’s place. And, she did bought one. But Moti Sandal Soap was like the pink Lux, it didn’t do much for my skin. It didn’t get me the glow it promised. ☹

From Hamam to Lyril and Mysore Sandal Soap, I pestered my mum to get each one of them. But, to no good! And then came into my radar, the cutest ad where a little girl (about my age) aspired to be like her mum. She wanted a as soft as her mum’s. The ad was different, and struck a chord with mothers and their daughters alike. All girls want to be like their mother, and mothers in a very long time found something that made them feel special. No wonder it was an instant hit! And what’s more, it was a see through soap and made of glycerine (the first of its kind)… an absolute must have!

And this was the first soap, I didn’t need to ask my mum to get. It found its way to my home without much ado! The first time I took a bath with it, I remember putting the bar of soap against my eye and trying to see my mum through it, just as they showed in the commercial. We loved the soap so much that it became a part of our hygiene ritual. In summers, we would use Lux (pink, green, white, lavender or whatever new colour they came in) and in winters, it was invariably the brown Pears.

Now, a few days ago, I visited a supermarket with my 5-year old. As I was browsing through the soap aisle, she suddenly came to me with a pack of blue Pears. I raised an eyebrow. She had till date never expressed any desire in soaps. But, then she said, “Mama, I saw it on Disney Junior. It is good for little girls too!”

Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it? And, girls don’t change much. Brown or blue, soaps have a way of finding their way into the heart of little girls.

Do you have a story of soaps in your home?

Mommy, why can’t I play with my iPad?

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It’s an incident that happened a few days ago when I was visiting my parents’ home. My 5-year old nephew was watching some cartoons on the iPad. In spite of umpteen warnings by my mother, he was still glued to the screen. A couple of hours later, my sister in law returned home. She saw his son still with the iPad. So, without warning, she just snatched the iPad from his hands. What followed next was totally unbelievable.

My nephew was first stunned. And then in the next second, he lied down on the floor, and started banging his fists and head in a full blown tantrum. Seriously, who throws a tantrum, that too over a tablet?

A few days ago, a similar thing happened with my daughter. As she is more vocal, she chose to express her feelings rather than throw a tantrum. She was playing Temple Run on my phone, when I told her to give my phone back. She first made a face, but then when she saw I was serious, she gave the phone back to me.

But not without throwing this loaded question at me – “Now what do I do?”

It made me realize that I took away an important thing from her. But, in return I was offering her nothing.

Also, threatening them with “age-old TV, phone or tablet is not good for your eyes” cuts little ice. They have heard this a million times if not more, and they don’t care. They have friends who wear cool blue, pink or yellow framed glasses and don’t think having weak eyes hampers their lifestyle even a bit.

Kids until they turn 7-8 years, unlike adults cannot stare into space or daydream for hours. They need an activity to keep them busy. And, more often than not, the onus falls on us, the parents.

I often look back upon my childhood and try to recall what I did when I was my daughter’s age. It was simple. We didn’t have TV then (except a couple of hours in the evening which at that point of time didn’t interest me much) and there were no electronic gadgets. But, I had siblings. So getting bored was never an option. There was always someone or the other to play with. I don’t ever recall my mother playing with us. She had enough on her plate with 3 children. But, today, our kids are alone. Many of them don’t have siblings. And with working parents, no one to play silly games with.

So before we snatch that iPad or phone or switch off the TV, we need to think of interesting options for our kids. It’s not right to just yell at them – Go in your room and play! No, that doesn’t work.

They need clear clues. Suggest – how about you do a bit of drawing or colouring. Get more lucid if you have to – “Would you like to draw a flower, mountains or your favourite friends?”

They need more options. You snatched their favourite toy even if you don’t think of it as one. So they are sulking. That means whatever you suggest won’t go down very well initially. Remember, how we behave when we are upset with things. We just can’t think straight or realize what is right for us. Hence, keep a multitude of options handy. Running out of them is not an option. Drawing colouring, making puzzles, playing with dolls or kitchen set, etc.

Encourage to play alone. Do not pity. Playing alone is neither a catastrophe, nor a punishment. Today’s kids have ample toys and games. It won’t hurt them to indulge in some alone time with their treasure.

Offer to play. Kids can play alone but not for long. And, you can’t have their friends over all the time. So, sometimes it’s advisable to offer to play with them. Unfortunately, I have realized I cannot play with dolls or tea parties with her. It’s just not in me. However, I can do activities with her – like I read to her, make puzzles, take her for a walk, play Frozen UNO cards, narrate stories or play board games with her. Find your niche and indulge in that activity with your child.

Don’t back down. Once you have decided to take the gadget away, stick to your decision. If you surrender now, you won’t get the same level of attention or respect the next time you choose to do it. So, however hard it may be for you, just stick to it.

At the end of the day, just remember, snatching away a gadget is not enough, even if it’s for a higher good, you need to replace it with something worthwhile (in your kids’ eyes).

The Curious Case Of Being A Woman!

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So I had a small surgery last Monday – it was a small procedure, well actually 2 procedures done together – Polypectomy Hysteroscopy with Cervical Cauterization. Big names! And btw, I am fine. Recovering, little weak and easily exhausted, but better!

So it actually started 3.5 years ago, when I started strength training at the gym. I would bleed a little outside my menstruation cycle. As it happened only on the gymming days, I put it down to lifting heavy weights. It happened on and off, but I never paid much attention. As I said, I noticed it on the days when I visited the gym. Also, since I turned 33, I would get an annual health check up done which included complete Thyroid profile, CBC, Lipid profile, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12, Fasting Sugar and Post Lunch Blood Sugar, Bone Density, etc. And, they were all under control, which gave me little reason to worry about a thing as small as infrequent bleeding (as I thought).

Curiously 5-6 months ago, I realized that the bleeding happened even on days when I didn’t go to the gym. That worried me. Time to visit the gynec. The doctor checked via an ultrasound and showed me a mushroom-like structure having taken up residence in my uterus. In medical terms it’s called Endometrial Polyp. She told me it was big and would only keep getting bigger and acquiring blood vessels, which in turn would burst and bleed. It happens to pre and post menstrual women. It is a cause for worry in post menstrual women who have never had it before as the growth may be cancerous. There is no reason why it happens. Our body works in mysterious ways, I realized that day!

She suggested me to remove it within 6 months to a year, because with the polyp growing, it could pose embarrassing situation for me. So without delay, I got the procedure done. There was no pain before or after the surgery. No stitches either. But it was a procedure that involved many risks to the life if went awry.

Long story short – if I had seen the doctor 3 years ago when I first saw the bleeding, I might have been saved this surgery. There was a chance the polyp could have been melted with medicines.

It’s not only me, there are many women like me who have this easy going attitude when it comes to their health. At the first sneeze of our children we rush to the doctors, while we can bleed to death, we are least concerned. Women’s Day and Mother’s Day come twice a year – the days when all women and mothers suddenly become extremely precious; but the rest of the year, we still need to manage on our own, we still need to fight our own battles, whether they are mental or physical.

My polyp was a small thing; I got away with a simple surgery. But the next time, things may not be that simple or curable. I have to take the reins of my well being in my hands. And, thus I urge you my friends to be more aware of your health too. You make the world (at least your household) work; so don’t take things lightly. Age has got nothing to do with diseases. They can come anytime.

If you are unsure about the slightest thing, get a health check up done, rush to the doctor and get things sorted. Take Care!! Hugs!!

Fathers, We Could Not Have Done It Without You!!

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In the parenting world, it’s not uncommon to see most fathers take a backseat. However, it does not mean their contribution is less significant. Along with mothers, they are also the ones who have witnessed the joy of birth of a tiny human being, have held her, burped her, cleaned and changed her, been urinated and shat upon, lullabied the little one to sleep, bandaged the wound, taken her to parks or the malls, driven her to school on the days when she missed the school bus, and many more such things. However, their contribution never comes to the fore.

I remember my mother saying that it was my father who looked after me during the first year of my birth; he would bottlefeed me, clean me and burp me. So this Father’s Day, I want to list all the wonderful things that my father did for me and my siblings, that only he could do.

Telling me stories: Every night before going to sleep, I insisted that he narrated me a story. And he did that, without a single complaint. All the stories that I know, of Indian mythology, Alibaba and 40 thieves, Aladdin and the magic lamp, cap seller and the foolish monkeys, I have heard from him. Long before I started reading, he was my storyteller, and what a wonderful job he did.

Visiting doctors: Whenever I was sick, and I was quite often when I was small, it was he who took me to the doctors and the pathology labs. He held my hands or legs when I took a syringe; and it was a big thing because I screamed, screamed and screamed and made the whole clinic come to a standstill. He wiped my tears and gave me the prescribed dose of the medicines.

Teaching maths: I was not good at maths, but he was. And, he taught me this godforsaken subject; how to solve complex problems and learnt geometry!

Teaching life lessons: Maths and history apart; he taught me something far more valuable. How to live life, work for your self-esteem and not to take shit from anyone!

I may be close to 40 now, but for him I am still his little girl, for whom he cares and worries all the time. He may not talk to me every single day, but I just have to call him, and he picks up on the very first ring.

Well, my husband too has been a wonderful father. Apart from the usual diaper changing and giving her a shower, there are times when he attends her PTA, makes her ready for school, prepares her breakfast, takes her out for dinner, and looks after her when I step out. I have realized that he is a more calm and collected person when he engages with our daughter. And, my daughter listens to him better!

A mother and child’s relationship is unique, but that doesn’t undermine or overshadow the relationship a father and child share. For every father out there – you may think your kids prefer their mother over you or you may feel your kids don’t understand the hard work you put in in raising them up, just relax – they will realize that one day! Fathers are equally important! Believe me when I say, we could not have done it without you!

So let’s raise a toast to the awesome fathers of this world – Have a wonderful father’s day!

Is it Safe to Exercise during Pregnancy?

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In most cases, some exercises during pregnancy are safe. It is very important to stay fit and have a healthy lifestyle when you are pregnant. Doing some pregnancy exercises will help you maintain weight and prepare for childbirth. Moreover, if you were physically fit and active before pregnancy, it might be safe to stay physically active during pregnancy too. Exercising will also help you overcome mood-swings and sleep well. Here are the answers to some common exercise-related questions running through the minds of most pregnant women.

Will exercising harm my baby?

Contrary to the popular belief, exercising will neither harm your baby nor cause miscarriage. Although heavy exercise will not harm your baby, you will be quickly exhausted. This is because the amount of blood in your body increases by about 50 percent when you are pregnant, and your heart works harder to circulate blood all around, including to the placenta. Therefore the pressure on your heart will be 50 percent higher for the same exercise that you used to do before pregnancy.

What exercises should I avoid during pregnancy?

Not all exercises for pregnant women are safe. Some of the exercises and activities you should avoid during pregnancy are as follows:
• Activities in which you’re likely to fall, such as skiing
• Holding your breath during any activity
• Exercising in humid or hot weather
• Full sit-ups, deep knee bends, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches
• Twisting your waist while standing
• Playing sports, such as football, basketball, and volleyball.
• Any exercise that may lead to abdominal trauma, including activities that require speedy changes in direction
• Activities that involve extensive hopping, jumping, skipping, running, or bouncing
• Bouncing while stretching
• Heavy exercise followed by long duration of no activity

What are the advantages of exercising?

Here are the benefits of exercising during pregnancy.
• Better sleep. Know more about best sleeping positions during pregnancy
• Lower the risk of some complications related to pregnancy
• Reduced discomfort
• Boost in energy and reduced stress
• Improved self-image
• Prepares you for childbirth
• Helps you quickly get in shape after delivery

You would be pleased to know that there are some pregnancy exercises for normal delivery. However, consult your doctor to know which exercise best suits your body.

When should I stop exercising during pregnancy?

It is advisable to stop exercising and consult your doctor if you go through the following symptoms while exercising:
• Abdominal cramping
• Severe nausea
• Vaginal bleeding
• Light-headedness
• Extreme headaches

From yoga to Pilates to swimming during pregnancy, exercising enhances your spirits and prepares you for labour. Pregnancy isn’t the time to your limits, and it’s important to be cautious while working out. Pampers India will be your best friend during and after pregnancy. Read through the expert tips and get answers to all your queries from Pampers India.

10 Essential Items for Diapering your Baby On-The-Go

Travelling with your baby needs a lot of preparation. Diapering your baby while on the move can be quite a tedious task. You need to ensure that you pack your diaper bag with all the necessary items.

Are you worried that you may forget something important? Keep the following checklist handy, and let go of all your packing woes:

1. Disposable diapers
The most important item in your bag is, quite obviously, the diapers! You will be required to change your baby’s nappies every few hours. Carry disposable diapers in sufficient quantities, depending on the duration you will remain out of the house.

2. Disposable bags
Carry separate disposable bags to dump used diapers. These bags will ensure that the soiled diapers do not create any mess or foul smell in your diaper bag.

3. Reusable diapers
If you are on a long trip, and think that reusing diapers is easier than carrying a bulk of disposable ones, then go for reusable diapers. These diapers will help make your bag light.

4. Wipes
Wipes are necessary while diapering your baby. They will keep your hands and your child clean and dry.

5. Sanitizer
A hand sanitizer will help you maintain proper hygiene after diapering your baby. It is a must as you may not get a chance to wash your hands every time you change your baby’s diapers.

6. Cream
Keep a travel-sized tube cream in your bag. You will need it for your baby every time you change the diaper.

7. Air freshener
Travelling with poop smell will be very unpleasant. Use an air freshener so that you and your co-passengers may have a stink-free journey.

8. Napkin
There’s no such thing as too many napkins. You will always require more napkins than you think. You will need one every time you feed the baby or when you need to clean dripping saliva or an accidental spill. Napkins are your best friends, and you’ll find plenty of uses for them.

9. Baby clothes
Always keep an extra pair of baby clothes ready. Spits, spills, or diaper leakages may be severe enough to require a change of clothes, so you had better have some on hand.

10. Bottle
Breastfeeding while travelling will be difficult. Keep your baby’s milk bottle ready, and ensure that you carry warm milk during all your journeys.

Be prepared for anything while you’re travelling with your little one. Carry these items while keeping your bag as light as possible.

For the right tips on pregnancy and early parenting, check the Pampers India website. Pampers also provides expert tips on newborn baby diapers, easing pregnancy and post-pregnancy symptoms too.

7 Observations I Have Made In Five Years Of Motherhood

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In the last 5 years, as I have fed, cleaned and nurtured my baby, I have made quite a few observations which can be useful for all mommies! Let’s see them one by one.

My tummy is not a bin for leftovers

I had seen my mother doing it. Initially, I did too. I would eat my meal and then eat the leftover from my daughter’s plate. Of course, because we are taught right from the beginning, there are many kids in India and Africa who don’t get two square meals a day, and so it is not fair that you throw away precious food.

I don’t want to joke about it, but what kind of a rationale is that? How stuffing my stomach is going to help any kid, let alone the kids of Africa? On the contrary, over eating was only helping my waist line increase.

The wisdom is in serving smaller portions to your child, rather than stuffing yourself with leftovers.

I need to put myself first

Again, something I tried to do after my mother. She would feed her kids first, then her husband, and lastly she would eat. That’s the Indian tradition. But, the tradition doesn’t understand hunger pangs.

Thankfully, with time, I understood that I was not the cog in the wheel, but the wheel itself that was important to the smooth functioning of my house. If I fall sick, the whole house will fall apart. Hence, I made a promise to myself that I would put myself first. So, if I am hungry, I do not wait for anyone, I eat. I take out time to exercise, read and socialize. It keeps me happy. If you are happy, your household is happy too. Try it out!

Slow down, there is no need to hurry

My daughter was just 2 or 3 days old, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had a sudden attack of anxiety. “She is so small, when will she learn all these things – to sit, eat, go to toilet, walk, speak”. The journey seemed long. But, as my daughter started covering all her milestones one by one, I have realized that she will learn. Yes, with time, she will learn all she needs to learn. And, the road doesn’t seem as ominous. So quit worrying or pushing things.

Kids don’t demand much

I have heard this hundreds of times if not more. Kids are an expensive affair. Well, in 5 years, I have come to know, that it’s really not. Kids don’t demand much, we give them. They don’t ask you for expensive toys, education, tuition, clothes, birthday parties or supplies. They are happy with cheap ones. So if you believe in buying them a Polo or a Burberry, blame it on yourself, not the kids.

Smile and touch are the best therapy

If someone asks me what works the best with your child, I’d say my smile and my touch. My smile makes her smile and my touch comforts her. When I go to pick her up after her school, my smile makes her light up. When she is upset and I kiss her, I know her world becomes alright again.

Self control is very difficult

You can pride yourself in being extremely self controlled, but when it comes to your child, your self control is tested to the core. When you are weaning your baby off her nightly feed and she is crying, or when you want her to sleep in her own room, but she comes knocking at yours or when she is standing at the edge of the swimming pool refusing to enter the water and pleading with you to make her quit her swimming coaching, it takes a heart harder than the rock to not give in, but stay impervious. Yes, it is a mother’s heart that can melt at the slightest smile of your baby, but also stays firm when it needs to be.

Lying is not such a bad thing

With time, all mothers become accomplished liars. At least, I have become one. So when your daughter catches you popping M&Ms into your mouth which you don’t want her to have, you say you are taking your medicine. When you need to go out leaving your toddler behind, you don’t tell her you are going for the movies, but that you are going to see the doctor.

In Bhagvad Gita it is said, “If you are lying for a higher purpose, that lie is not considered a sin.” I remember this line everytime I lie to my daughter and hope it will absolve me from the sin. And hope she doesn’t read this post of mine! 😉

I am sure you might have made some observations of yours along your motherhood journey, which are different to mine. Care to share with me?