What are 6 year olds talking about these days?

bodyshaming

Image Credit: I couldn’t find the photographer, but I still couldn’t resist using it, because of the powerful and unmistakable message it sends out.

On a recent phone call with my friend, I came to know that her daughter who is also my daughter’s friend and classmate, brings home her school tiffin untouched. When my friend probed her daughter, she came to know that a couple of girls in the class told her, “If you eat a lot, you will turn fat!”

That I was shocked beyond words wouldn’t even superficially touch what I felt on hearing that. Seriously, the ‘body shaming monster’ that plagues every girl right from her teenage to the day she dies, is rearing its ugly head and is not even sparing little girls.

6 year olds, what do they know about being fat? No, really, it couldn’t be their words. These words have been implanted in their mind. And by none other than the family and the society. So when they hear their mommy or daddy complaining for the umpteenth time about “how she needs to diet because she has put on weight” or “he needs to eat sparingly to cut down that flab”, they create their own perception without really understanding the whole picture. What they listen and understand is “eating makes one fat!”

Things like this are the reason little girls develop eating disorders and start hating their body.

Yes, India ranks third in child obesity in the world, and yes, we need to take extreme measures to rein it in. Yes, obesity leads to many lifestyle diseases like thyroid, diabetes, PCOS…but, that doesn’t mean, children should stop eating. When has dieting or fasting helped anyone, let alone children?

Eating a lot is not good; not for anyone, irrespective of their waste size. But, more important is the quality of food and its nutrition value. The sad part is when we feed our children processed cheese, we don’t think they are getting fat? When they gulp down an entire bottle of packaged juice or eat biscuits and chips, we don’t complain much. But, when it comes to dal, roti or subzi…we get stressed looking at the quantity.

Here are a few things as a parent you should take care of:

  • Do not perpetually talk about your weight gain or loss in front of kids. They don’t understand the context and more often than not interpret it the wrong way.
  • To an older child (once she turns 6-7 years), you can make them understand that being fat is not bad. But yes, one should eat right (junk should be limited to once a week) and exercise every day.
  • Teach them about the quality of food. Tell them eating 2 rotis are better and healthier than 1 bag of chips. Food is first about quality, and then quantity.
  • Pack tasty but nutritious home made food in your child’s dabba. Fortunately, we are in/come from a country that has hordes of regional nutritious recipes. Plus, Google is always there to expand our recipe repertoire.
  • Body shaming starts at an alarming early age nowadays. Monitor her influences (friends, social media, siblings, etc.). Teach your child to be confident about her body and the way she looks.
  • Don’t glorify thinness or slimness in your home. Instead of fat or thin, focus on being fit. A person can be thin, and yet not be fit.

Let’s not snatch away the innocence from these little kids. They should be talking about dolls, legos and stuff, and not worry about weight gain at their age. What do you think?

 

 

 

What I learnt from my gynecologist that every mother of a daughter should know?

infections

Image: pixabay

A few days ago, my daughter suffered from a vaginal infection. It got cured in a few days, but the whole incident made me realize how my daughter is growing up, and in a few years will hit puberty. So when I visited my gynecologist for a routine check up, I made it a point to ask her a few things for my daughter as well. This is what I learnt from her…

  • Avoid using jet spray on the V-area of your daughter. When the water goes into the vagina, it can lead to vaginal infections. No doubt, vaginal infections have increased in girls today. In our time, a humble mug it was that kept us away from these nasty infections.
  • Do not use a perfumed soap to clean inside her intimate area. It destroys the good bacteria that helps prevent vaginal infections.
  • Keep the area dry; wipe it with a toilet tissue after urination instead of water.
  • After passing stool, clean the anus, and avoid touching the V-area with the same fingers.
  • Make her wear bloomers. With tight panties, the risk of E.coli transferring from her bottom to her vagina increases.
  • Disney print panties look cute, but better invest in a moisture-absorbing cotton panties that lets the area breathe and avoids bacteria or yeast infections.
  • Change her panties at least 2-3 times in a day.
  • School-going girls avoid using the school washrooms and tend to hold on. This can lead to urine infection. Urge her to use the washroom at least once in the school.
  • Girls are hitting puberty at an age as early as 9 years. Poor lifestyle, frequent consumption of junk and lack of physical activity are some of the prominent reasons. Let’s avoid this if possible.
  • Once your daughter hits puberty, do take her for a cervical shot.
  • If your daughter complains of itching around her vagina, wash the area with a diluted solution of potassium permanganate. Take a few crystals of KMNO4 and dilute it with lots of water and pour the water on her vaginal area. Or ask her to sit in a tub of this solution. Alternatively, you can use common salt solution too.
  • Lastly, if you notice mucus in her vagina or if you find your daughter constantly scratching around her vagina or anus, take her to the doctor. It might be due to a pinworm infection.

Hope these tips are useful!

Mumbai taxis and ME! My topsy turvy rides!

taxi ride

Image: pexels.com

Surprisingly, this post is not about me as a parent or I talking about my child. This is me as a Mumbaikar enjoying a slice of my adopted city every day.

For the last 2 months, I have been traveling a lot in app-based taxis. They are expensive, but frankly speaking, being splashed on with mucky water is not my idea of monsoon fun. Anyway, to cut down the cost, I have been opting for “share” and “pool”. Believe me, it’s an eye-opening experience every time I take one.

I have had some memorable moments – some enjoyable, some humorous and some, errr…crazy ones.

The social media addicts

Once when I booked a shared cab, a brand new brown Wagon R stopped in front of me. I saw a couple sitting at the back. So I opened the front passenger door, but what do I see, a huge 4-wheel suitcase on the seat. So, obviously, I sat beside the couple in the back. The couple was newly married, I could see a shiny chuda (wedding bangles) on the girl’s hands. The guy was sitting between his wife and me, and was mighty uncomfortable, as most “sharrif” (decent) North Indian men are. Anyways, a chatterbox, I started talking to them. Oh, by the way, the boot was full too with huge suitcases. On talking with the couple I came to know that they were visiting Mumbai on a fun trip. I gave them a few ideas on what to see, where to eat and shop. On the way, I asked the cab driver (who was a polite guy) to show them Bachchan’s bungalow, given that it is a huge draw for tourists. They were first excited, but when they actually saw it, I could see their faces falling down.

“It’s so small!” They exclaimed.

“It’s big by Mumbai standards”, I replied.

“Hamare Chandigarh mein to har kisi ki itni badi kothi hoti hai, yeh kya khaas hui!” – In Chandigarh, every other bungalow is huge, I don’t see anything exciting.

“But, it’s quite expensive!” I felt I needed to defend my adopted city.

“Ya, but we have expensive houses too in Chandigarh!” came pat the reply. I didn’t feel like replying to it.

It’s Bachchan’s house. The USP is – it is Bachchan’s house. Period.

We dropped them at Taj Mahal Palace and Tower. I just could not contain my curiosity and ended up asking them, “How come you took a shared cab!” People who could afford one of the most expensive hotel stays seriously don’t need to share a small Wagon R with strangers.

“Oh, it was a genuine mistake. It was our first booking on Ola, and we thought ‘share’ option was that it would share our status on Facebook!”

My mouth opened up involuntarily and my eyes kept on staring them incredulously! Later on, of course, I had a good laugh over it with my friends.

Seriously! The social media-addicted youth of India! God only save us!

People who don’t care for others’ time

On a Monday morning, I booked my cab at 7 am. I needed to reach my destination at 8 am. I thought I had ample time and I would reach on time. The driver came bang on time and greeted me ‘good morning’. I thought it was a good morning too. The next second sounded the buzzer to inform there was a second passenger. We took him in. And, then there was a third. His address wasn’t easy to understand. So the cabbie called him up. The person says, “When you reach this particular chemist, take a u-turn and then take a left from the pan-patti.”

We got to the chemist and took a u-turn, but couldn’t for the life of us find this pan-patti. It was 7:25. Which pan shop opens up at this hour.

So we kept on moving in circles. The person was not reachable as he was in the elevator or some godforsaken place out of reach of the call network. So after 15 minutes, we could finally get through him and got a proper address out of him. It was 7:40. And, so it was 8:20 by the time I finally reached my destination (thankfully, mine was the first drop).

The interesting conversations with cabbies

Apart from interesting co-passengers, you get to talk to the cab drivers too. Their was once this driver who ran a small time agency that provided junior artistes in Bollywood movies. But his once thriving business was hit hard by the demonetization, and he opted to be a taxi driver to survive.

Then there was a cabbie who humbly claimed that his track record was so good that Ola gave him maximum rides with women passengers. God bless him!

Then there are ones who are either exalting Modi government or cursing it.

And then, there are times you get some weird ones too! Like one time, there was this young lad who took me on the wrong route. When I pointed out to him, he didn’t reply. Just the day before I had read a disturbing post on someone’s Facebook wall about how a driver had misbehaved with her. I was about to raise an alarm when the taxi stopped and the driver looked back at me. My heart was in my mouth! And then he said apologetically, “Madam, it seems I am lost. Do you by any chance know the correct way!” Oh, and then I let out a sigh of relief!

There was this cabbie who throughout the journey was badmouthing Ola and Uber, and how they were sucking poor cabbies. According to him, all these app-based taxis would shut shop in a few months, as they were doing very badly. This was on the day when the news of Ola raising fresh funds were splashing all over the news.

Well, whatever said and done, I am enjoying these everyday taxi rides and wouldn’t have it any other way! What about you? Do you have some interesting taxi ride stories to share??

Mommies, why do we like to pull each other down?

woman by the water

Image: freestocks.org

I have a neighbour who is a Deputy Director in a reputed womens’ university in Mumbai. Before you roll your eyes and say “what’s the big deal?”, let me tell you something about her. She pursued her doctorate at the age of 45…! She got married early, had two daughter one after another. She concentrated on raising her daughters well. And, when the daughters became independent, she decided it was time she did something for herself.

Well, she decided to work in her 40s. But, not all mothers want to wait till then. There are mothers who prefer to take a shorter break for kids before resuming work. Then there are some some who never take a break even after having a child. And, then we have mothers who don’t work but decide to stay at home to look after their family.

Whether you are a working mother or a stay at home mother, there is nothing wrong. You are a good mother, and don’t let the world tell you otherwise. Mothers are questioned for every action. If you work and leave your children to nannies or in day care, there are people who ‘oh-oh’ it. You are a negligent mother. If you don’t work and look after your children all day, you are looked down upon.

If it only stopped here…

If you are a woman who doesn’t want children – People understand and sympthasize with you if you are unable to bear children. But, tell them once that you are child-less by choice and then see all the hells break loose. Eyes roll and tongues wag. You are too ambitious! And God alone save you if you prefer pets to children.

Let us understand these three things FOREVER:

A woman is a woman first, and then a mother.

A woman is free to make her own choices: whether she wants to work or not, whether she wants to have kids or not.

A woman can be a mother to a human baby, a pet or nature. She is still a mother!

Friends, there is no winning with the world! So let’s stop making the effort! Work for yourself and live for yourself! Let the world do what it does best – bitching!

At least, let’s stop questioning each other. We are, were or could be in the same position as others; let’s sympathize with other women even if we don’t fully endorse their idea.

Let’s not pull each other down – we have others to do it for us 😉 and seriously, it’s NOT FUN!!

The Soap Story!!

soaps.jpg

Image: pixabay

Like all small children, I was fascinated with TV commercials. During the 80s, the TV telecast used to be for a limited time, and TV commercials were fewer, and that’s the reason they were all the more precious. I remember going green with envy at the flawless skin of the 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 grocer’s. She bought 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 buy me 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 to have skin 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 glycerin (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?

ipad

Image: pixabay

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!

woman

Image: pexels.com

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!!