Nanny, Daughter and Me

The other day, my daughter’s nanny a 20-year old girl came to me, and told me, “Aanya wants to have cauliflower-peas subzi for lunch!”

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I was surprised. I had asked my daughter a few minutes ago, what she wanted for lunch, and she didn’t reply. This was the second time this had happened. My daughter felt more at ease talking about these things to her nanny, than she did to me.

Earlier, if the truth be told, it hurt me. Why she couldn’t share these things with me? I am her mommy after all. But, then with time I realized, that the nanny was like an adopted elder sister for my daughter. How we share certain things with our siblings, which we wouldn’t do with our parents? Not because they are wrong, but because we feel more comfortable talking about them with our siblings.

I see my daughter playing silly games with her nanny. This is the girl who has been with us for the past 2 years. She has fed my daughter, bathed her and even cleaned her. My daughter sleeps with her on her mat, and sometimes eats off the same plate. My daughter plays teacher-student with her, where she becomes the teacher and the nanny her student. She has taught her alphabets and how to write her name in English. And, sometimes also reads her stories (I am not sure how much our Nanny who doesn’t understand English understands it though) from her story books.

They are not related by blood, but there is a special bond between the two. And, hence, it’s to her, my daughter tells her who is the bully of the class, who she will marry when she grows up, who are her favourite friends in the classroom and so on.

Now, I have come to accept that there will be things that she will share exclusively with her nanny. And, that’s alright. We all have different people in our life with whom we share different kind of information. If the nanny is one such kind in my daughter’s life, then let it be.

Nursery Rhymes Made More Fun For Your Toddler With Chu Chu TV

I started playing nursery rhymes for my daughter very early. I might have started as soon as she was born. I had read somewhere that music is the best way to connect with kids. So, apart from singing lullabies and songs to her, I also sang nursery rhymes to her. And, she loved it. When she was 6 months old and started sitting on her, I showed her nursery rhymes while I engaged myself in various household chores. I remember I showed her a video of 30 minutes and she sat through it the entire time. She loved it. It was the same video that I played for her every day, till she got bored of it. Luckily, I found another video that had more rhymes, and she lapped it up too.

Today, the choices are many, and one better than the other. In a gamut of nursery rhymes that you find online, I recently came across nursery rhymes by Chu Chu TV. When I clicked on one of its videos on YouTube – a popular rhyme ‘Head shoulders knees and toes” – I discovered it was a traditional rhyme that we have grown up listening to, with different animations, of course.

However, immediately, I came across another rhyme by the same name. I clicked on it and found the song was done differently – though the words were the same, the music and the animation were different.

On listening to more videos, I discovered that there were rhymes that were done in their traditional avtaar, and were also given a slight twist by changing the lyrics. For instance, go through this rhyme “Johny Johny, Yes Papa” done brilliantly in two different versions and you will understand what I am saying.

The traditional way –

The Chu Chu TV way –

And, I must say, both are equally good and appealing. I showed it to my neighbour’s daughter who is 2 years old, and she enjoyed both the versions (and now knows them by heart). She loved the videos so much that she started visiting my house every day in the evening and urged me to start rhymes for her, until one day her mommy found out about Chu Chu TV from me and started playing them for her. Needless to say, she is a big fan of all the videos on Chu Chu TV.

The team has smartly picked up the most peppy numbers that are loved by little kids all over the world, and worked on them to create beautiful videos. Not only these videos educate, but also entertain and engage toddlers who watch them.

I found the animation of nursery rhymes on Chu Chu TV quite unique. No two videos in the 100 odd rhymes are same. They also have a series of educational videos, that teaches kids about colours, opposites, shapes, etc.

I am sure your child will love it, as my neighbour’s toddler did.

Chu Chu TV also has a mobile app for both IOS and Android users.

Crafty Afternoons With Jumboo Hand Puppets Wild!

I am a mother who is not very inclined towards craft activities. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing crafts, but not possessing a creative streak, I usually source my inspiration from Google. On the other hand, my daughter loves craft activities. And so, more often than not, I end up doing crafts with her, though the results are not always satisfactory.😉

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Super happy with crocodile and giraffe hand puppets!

Recently, I chanced upon this fun and colourful craft kid from Hand Puppet Wild. It was from Jumboo brand, which was unknown to me till I saw it in the toy store. On further inquiry, the toy store owner assured me that it was quite a hit with young kids and he had sold it to many mothers who came back to him with positive reviews. Keeping my skepticism aside, I decided to give the brand a chance and bought it.

The same afternoon, after my daughter came back from school and had her lunch, I showed her the activity kid. She saw the packaging box and was quite excited to see the animals on it. I told her it was a hand puppet making craft. She loves puppets and immediately opened the box.

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Out came 4 different packets containing material for 4 animals, glue and a step-by-step instruction guide. My earlier apprehensions about this brand quickly dissipated as I went through the contents.

What I loved about the packaging was that –

  • The kit contained all the material I needed to make 4 different hand puppets.
  • All the materials were cut to precision, hence it was a scissor-free activity.
  • The material for each puppet was neatly packed in individual plastic envelopes.
  • The small parts, i.e. eyes, teeth, tongue, nose, ears, etc. were packed in smaller separate packets inside the main plastic envelopes.
  • It contained Fevicol, hence I didn’t have to worry about the quality of the glue.
  • It gave a step by step instruction guide which was easy to understand and follow.

With the above materials and knowledge, our puppet making activity rolled out smoothly. Although the package box recommends it for 5 years and up, my recently turned 5 year old found folding the parts a tad difficult. However, an older child of 6 might be able to do it effortlessly. My daughter loved putting glue and sticking things. While I folded the parts, she glued ears, eyes, teeth and the smaller parts.

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Though initially we looked at the instruction manual, we soon got the hang of it, and didn’t even require it for the third and fourth puppet. Every afternoon for four consecutive days, my daughter and I made one hand puppet daily. We had a fun time making them and enacting a little act with them once the puppets were made. It was great fun!

At the end of the day, I felt good (and not guilty) that I could spend some ‘crafty’ time with my child, and also that my daughter’s time was spent in a creative way rather than getting wasted watching the numerous shows on TV.

I have very good intentions to go to the toy store and give my positive feedback on the toy, and see if I can get similar creative toys of Jumboo brand. Or else, will buy it online. I checked Jumboo brand’s website and found quite a few interesting toys there. They seem to be quite reasonably priced too!

Hope you enjoy many creative, crafty afternoons with your child as I did with mine!

My daughter has taken over my birthday!! And, I love it!!

It was my birthday last week on 21st August. It was my daughter’s birthday last week on 21st August. As well. Nope. It’s not a typo. We share the same birthdate. And it wasn’t planned either. She just decided to pop out on my birthday. My due date was 25th August and she had a variety of dates to choose from – Independence Day, Raksha Bandhan, Janmashtami. But she chose my birthday.

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Frozen theme birthday cake!!!

I was ecstatic. I had (in the past) always been very enthusiastic about my birthday. I counted days till my birthday. And as soon as the birthday was over, I’d start counting all over again. Yes, you could call me crazy. So having my daughter on my birthday was naturally the best birthday gift ever; I even forgave her for the painful labour. I thought I had got someone to share my birthday with. We would both share our passion for the same birthday. Mama-daughter!

Her first birthday came. People called, my family, my friends. They called me on my phone and asked for the little one. They wished her, though at one she was totally clueless about the hullabaloo. Then they kept the phone down. What about wishing me? It was my birthday too. So rude!

Next birthday she was still not ecstatic about it. As for me, I wanted her to grow up a little so that we could throw a joint birthday party. Third year, and I threw her a little house party calling a few very close friends. She was excited, not for her birthday, but on seeing her friends and sooooo many gifts.

By the fourth birthday came, she knew her mind. She wanted to invite all her friends and wanted a Ben and Holly cake. And, that’s what she got!

I realized that somehow from my birthday or our birthday it has become her birthday. I have poured the enthusiasm of my birthday into hers. So, when the fifth birthday arrived, I was adamant, no big party this time. I wanted to take over my special day. And, so we went off to Goa to bring in our birthdays. Though she cribbed for a while to not have met her friends and received a large number of gifts, she forgot it all as the magic of Goa worked on her. It was a great birthday (a quiet one too), away from noise, gifts and paraphernalia.

But, could I really escape from the birthday mania? Once we came back, a few of her close friends decided to show up with her favourite Elsa and Anna cake and the (unavoidable) gifts! Well, my daughter was ecstatic, she got the best of both worlds.🙂

Does anyone here share her birthday with their child’s? How do you feel about sharing your birthdays?

Dr. Fixit – It Fixed My Home and Saved My Daughter’s Health!

Three years ago, we had got our house renovated…new bathrooms, POP ceilings, lighting, paint and furniture. We even got our daughter’s (then 1 year old) room redone in a pretty pink colour with functional pink furniture and a theme glow in the night wall paint. It’s an adorable room, and she loves to play in it with her doll houses and numerous toys and games. When her friends visit her, even they prefer to go to her room and play.

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Dampness on the pink wall

 

About this time, last year, after a few days of incessant rains in Mumbai, we saw something in her bedroom that shook us. There were ungainly wet patches on one wall and one portion of the ceiling. It was a shocking discovery for us, as we had spent quite a lot of time and money on her bedroom renovation, and we had not expected it to start deteriorating in such a short time. We called our contractor immediately. He made a thorough inspection of the dampness and gave us his opinion. The dampness of the wall and ceiling were completely unrelated and were from two different sources. The external wall of our building had developed cracks, and hence the rain water was seeping in through those cracks. However, the patch on the bedroom ceiling was due to the water leaking from the bathroom of our neighbours who stay above us.

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Plaster peeling off on the bedroom ceiling

Our contractor told us that these leakages should be repaired as quickly as possible as they can spread to other areas also within no time, and will result in peeling of paint and mould developing on it. I gave an involuntary shudder at the mere mental image of it. However, the horrible repercussions were far from over. He also said that this dampness could lead to the growth of molds, and the inhalation of these mold spores could lead to respiratory problems, and set off an allergic reaction such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, skin rash and eczema (my daughter already suffers from a mild case of eczema that she has inherited from me).

It was a nightmarish problem. But what about the solution? The external wall could still be fixed, but what about the neighbours’ bathroom. It was not right to suggest they get their bathroom renovated to fix their leaking pipes. No one would agree to this inconvenience and expenditure. I could buy a dehumidifier and use it daily in my child’s room to get rid of the dampness, but that was not a permanent solution.

As our contractor registered the surprise and disappointment on my husband and my faces, he quickly assured us that there was a solution, that didn’t involve breaking the bathroom, changing the pipe fixtures and sanitary ware, tiling and painting. The leakage could be fixed at a very nominal cost (that we could bear) and with no inconvenience to our neighbours.

He suggested us – Dr. Fixit and his two revolutionary products that could take care of both the types of leakages.

For the wall leakage – Dr. Fixit Raincoat – a high performance acrylic elastomeric coating for external walls that formed a layer on the external walls and protected it again rainwall and humidity.

For the ceiling leakage – Dr. Fixit Bathseal Kit, a combination of products like Pidicrete URP, tape, mesh, grout and WPC provides a complete waterproofing solution for bathrooms.

We talked to our Building Committee, and they agreed readily. But, we were dreading talking to our neighbours – what if they didn’t agree?. But when we assured them that the solution would be quick, convenient, hassle free and guarantee no damage to their bathroom’s structure and aesthetic; and at the most their bathroom would be out of bound for 3-4 hours or till the solution on their tile joints completely dried up, they agreed to it.

Thus, we came out of this problem happy and satisfied, and all because of Dr. Fixit’s no-structure breaking/defacing and completely affordable leakage fixing solutions. It’s been more than a year since we got the leakages fixed. The wet patches are long gone and dried up. Once this monsoon gets over (we wanted to wait for one monsoon to see if the problem resurfaced and thankfully, it hasn’t), we are getting the patches retouched, and our little doll’s bedroom would be as pretty as ever and our home a healthy happy home again. Touch wood!!

If you are facing similar problems, adopt this high quality and efficient waterproofing technology, and say those cracks, leakages, and dampness goodbye. Check out this video to learn more about Dr. Fixit’s solutions for your home and office.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIdpxZnD_eA&feature=youtu.be

Note: Next time, if you ever need ideas,tips and suggestions for renovating your home, home décor, home building, do check out The Happy Homes Blog.

How round and fluffy rotis by my 5-year old make me proud?

As a small child when I visited my nani’s house, I loved cooking with her. Though she had a cooking platform, she preferred sitting on the floor and cooking, mostly on ‘angeethi’. I also sat down with her and made rotis. Small ones. And, I would offer them to my mamas, nana, nani and a couple of them I kept for myself.

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I was sixteen years old, and during summer vacation, my mom would ask my younger sister and I to make rotis in the evening. She believed, “A girl needs to learn cooking as it’s a very important aspect of being a good homemaker”. Well, her whole life centered around making her daughters study and teaching them housekeeping. So every evening, my sister ad I went into the kitchen and tried our hands at making round, fluffy rotis. Sadly, we couldn’t. However much we tried, our rotis were never round, neither fluffy. But, my father never complained. He was still proud and ate without a complaint.

My mom, on the other hand, was a tough taskmaster. “When you go to your sasural, your mother in law would say that your mother didn’t even teach you this basic skill of making round rotis,” she would taunt. I don’t remember if her jibes ever hurt, because frankly speaking, at 16, a mother in law seemed like a mythical creature, a veryn distant possibility, something that a teenager’s mind doesn’t want to delve upon.

After my class 12th board exams, I got a 3-month long summer vacation. The first day itself, my mother told me,” Remember, you have to learn to cook now that you have holidays”. I groaned out aloud. She never forgot, this woman.

“Mummy, I deserve this vacation because I studied hard for the whole year, not to cook.” I complained.

But, mom being a mom had the perfect reply. As always.

“So you have your vacation. It’s not like I am asking you to be in the kitchen the whole day. Just help me in the kitchen for two times in the day and learn to cook. That’s it.”

“But, I don’t like cooking.”

“Then, what you will serve to your husband, in laws and kids?” She asked.

“I will become an important person, so I won’t need to cook. I will hire a cook.” I answered defiantly.

“It’s good to study, but you should learn cooking too, so that you are not dependant on someone. Remember, when you don’t know something, even your domestic help cheats you. Even Indira Gandhi knew how to cook.” She ended the conversation.

Back then, there was no Internet, so I couldn’t find out if Indira Gandhi actually knew how to cook. But, that wouldn’t have helped much. My mother would win any argument. Hands down. So I started making rotis in the evening. And they were always shapeless.

Now, one evening, my sister and I were making rotis, which weren’t impressive. Just then I had an idea. I took the lid from one of the steel boxes in the kitchen, put the lid on my roti and when I lifted the lid, I had a perfect round shape. Somehow the rotis came out fluffy too. Soon, our roti box was full of round, fluffy rotis. Both my sister and I were super happy. It was our little secret, so no one could know.

My mother was sitting on the garden swing all this time. Just then one of our neighbours called on us. In Ahmedabad, it was a regular affair to visit one another’s home in the evenings for a chat.

To show her (our guest) our culinary skill, we took two rotis outside. She looked at the roti and was impressed.

“Wow, your girls can make such round rotis,” she exclaimed.

Our mom said nothing. She looked at us and smirked knowingly. Our mom knew. Our secret was out. Moms always know.

20 years later, and my daughter is 5 years old. And, while I am working in the kitchen, she loves to help me. Now, before someone starts accusing me of child labour, she does it voluntarily. She helps me wash the fruits and cut the vegetables. But, of late, she wants to roll out rotis. So, I let her. She makes little rotis…but are they round? Yes..!!! Are they fluffy? Yes..!! Do they make me proud? Yes, Yes, Yes…!!!

What I couldn’t do at 17, she did at 5!!!❤

Now, she more or less makes rotis everyday. And, I am a happy and proud mother.

I realized that I am not so different from my mommy, though my reasons might be different.

I do not want her to impress her husband or in laws with round and fluffy rotis, but every person should know how to cook. And make round fluffy rotis…because they are a pretty sight! And beautiful food indeed makes the mind happy!

How ‘Back to School’ didn’t turn out to be as I had expected?

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My daughter and I returned from a fabulous summer trip to Ahmedabad, just a few days before the school was going to restart. And, our spirits were quite high. That’s usually the case when you come back from your mom’s house, or your nani’s house.

After coming back, it was time to get back things in order for the first day of school – buying a new uniform (as the school had introduced a new pattern), black rainy shoes (though why I bothered, when there were no rains, beats me), and arrange a new school van vendor (the same one that my daughter’s friend takes). So, on Sunday evening, before the big day, we were all ready. My daughter and I laid down her uniform, badge, socks, ‘new’ shoes, comb and a box of millet for the hungry pigeons.

The next morning, my daughter woke up early. All through her summer holidays, she woke up quite late, but that morning she needed no prompting. She was awake much before her scheduled time. I could see the excitement in her face – to meet her friends and teachers after more than a month. So, we were ready and waiting by the gate for the van at the said time. She had already fed the grains to the grey and (one) white pigeons, who trusted her and walked around her boldly. While they flapped away as soon as I came even in the periphery of their vision.

My eyes were on the van. White and yellow school buses came and went…and the private vans too. But, there was no sign of her new van. I was stressed, while she was continuously asking me where was her new van, and her friend. I had to take a hasty decision to drop my daughter to the school, I would call the vendor later to find out the reason for his tardiness. Taking an auto rickshaw, we finally reached the school on time. So, the morning of the first day of the school was a little eventful. She came back in the van (apparently, the van guy had forgotten about the new child, and had apologized) with her friend. She had a big smile on her face.

The same evening, I enrolled her for gymnastics class in preparation for the impending rains, when she would not be able to play in the garden, and would still need to use up her energy.

So far so good. The next morning was uneventful, everything went off smoothly as it was supposed to. In the evening however, while playing in the garden, my daughter fell down from the monkey bar, and landed on her hand. She cried out from pain. There was a swelling on her hand. I rubbed some ice. Her pain subsided a little, and she went off to sleep. The next morning, the swelling hadn’t reduced. I knew that was a bad omen. I rushed to the doctor, got an X-ray done…and came to know she had a hairline fracture near her left wrist. The poor girl got a plaster of 15 days on her hand. A big heavy white plaster. The plaster also meant one thing – No School for fifteen days.

Well, my daughter was happy. As much as you love your school friends and teachers, you love the holidays more. It was a universal truth, and my daughter wasn’t immune to it. So, only the third day of school, and my daughter was already on another vacation, an unexpected one though.

Her class teacher was very supportive, and gave me a brief on the school work she could do at home. She uses her right hand to write, so it is a relief that she can catch up with most of her school assignments. Her friends come to meet her and cheer her up. They draw cute little doodles on her white plaster, and my daughter cherishes them.

I see these fifteen days as an opportunity to spend more time and catch some more bonding moments with my daughter. We wake up late as we did in the summer holidays, and though it’s a task to make her bathe and wash her long hair, we manage it somehow. She uses her time to play with her toys, do her school assignments, and watch TV. In the evening, she goes to the garden, and though she cannot actively participate in the games, she can watch her friends play. Her gymnastic class has been banned though for at least a month, or till the doctor gives her the green signal.

In these ten days of her hand encased in a bulky plaster, I have realized that children are tougher than we give them credit for. Not once has she complained about the situation…and only on one occasion when her hand was really paining, she hasn’t cried or been a bad sport about it – something we, elders seriously need to learn. And the best part is, she is not afraid of going back to the monkey bar.

“Mama, I will climb again, but will take care not to fall down on my hand this time,” she says with a confident smile.

My little strong girl. That’s the spirit of a child. Indomitable.

My husband and I have also not discouraged her from hanging from the monkey bar in the future.

Falling and getting hurt are a part and parcel of growing up. Kids get hurt all the time, and get over it. The main thing is to not let the fear of getting hurt take control of their actions. A happy childhood is when parents teach their children not to feed their fears and to learn to control them. A khuljaaye bachpan is when kids are confident in their decisions, and own up their actions.