A dangerous virus arrived on earth. Many many years after human evolution. Just a virus, without any education, ideology or a long process of evolution. Didn’t discriminate on the basis of anything. It treated everyone equally, regardless of: Country Religion Gender Age Colour Caste Financial status Education Language And kinda ruled our lives for two years.
Meanwhile, all humans came together. Regardless of: Country Religion Gender Age Colour Caste Financial status Education Language They made it weaker together. Finally, it is weaker, maybe.
And now humans are focussing again on what makes them weaker as a species by fighting in the name of: Country Religion Gender Age Colour Caste Financial status Education Language
Weird creatures we are. Very weird. Maybe we affected / infected the virus so much that it started having different prominent variants in different places.
Why do we need a calamity to stand together. Why do we need to fight? Let people be. Let us be EARTH CITIZENS while respecting everyone’s individual beliefs, culture and language preferences.
Slightly faint, but clearly a woman’s shadow was visible outside the window as Rohit and Beth rushed after hearing the wailing sound from Keith’s room.
Surprisingly, Keith was fast asleep and the wailing stopped.
“Save my child please. Beth, only you can save him. The Command is coming for him. I shouldn’t have trusted it. It wants to leave my body and inhabit Keith’s nervous system, where it will influence his behaviour and make him do terrible things. Read all about parasites, you might figure out something. I must leave now,” Quincy had somehow managed to see her son and speak to Beth before disappearing yet again.
Studies have proved that many parasites use more than one host organism and since they cannot survive without a host, they rely on their hosts themselves to facilitate transmission – Rohit discovered this fact after five minutes of using a search engine.
Somehow, they had to figure out how The Command could be stopped from reaching Keith.
Suddenly, Beth remembered that The Voice had told them that the evil power fed on anxiety, fear and sorrow.
“So if Keith stays happy all the time, maybe The Command couldn’t touch him. Let’s ensure that he doesn’t get upset about anything and stays relaxed at all times. Let’s even celebrate his birthday in advance, let him not even sense that there is a problem,” Beth had found a temporary solution.
“Superb idea, let’s all try that. But have you ever come across a kid who is happy about everything all the time? It’s obvious for a child to get disappointed about something that might appear unimportant to us,” A Minute appeared in all her glory with a glowing neon arrow and it was even visible to Rohit.
Soon, The One Minuters arrived even though they were planning to come a couple of days later.
“Seems like we need to rush to the University ground. Twitter is abuzz with tweets about weird vibrations in the local university campus. This time, let’s reach before the damage is done,” Dev was all charged up to stop The Command.
“Stay here Beth, what if The Command comes for Keith while you are away?” Rohit was worried as he understood the gravity of the situation.
“Sixty seconds, we will be back in just sixty seconds. I and The Voice will know if it comes here and we’ll be here in no time,” A Minute sounded confident.
Sadly enough, she had no idea that The Command could now be present at two places at the same time since it had separated Quincy’s shadow from her body and was using both as hosts simultaneously.
The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter S (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 18th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below: A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z
People tend to get so busy with the day-to-day stress in their lives that they ignore their health.
Physical as well as mental health often take the backseat, especially the latter one.
Picking everything over one’s own health might temporarily work for the general population, but superheroes cannot afford to ignore it.
“Part of your training includes ensuring that you have all enough strength and energy to fight a super enemy and recover quickly after the fights. So, while we train you every night, you must promise to include COASTED in your daily diet from now on,” A Minute explained the importance of the superfoods to the One Minuters.
C – Carrots: For bone health, vision, better immune system, blood pressure management and energy
O – Oats: For better heart health and a healthy gut; especially for Tim who would consume almost everything
A – Almonds: For bone health and brain, and relieving anxiety
S – Spinach: For bone health, vision, energy and anti-inflammatory properties
T – Turmeric: For better memory, pain relief and heart health
E – Eggs: For strong muscles, vision, heart health, better memory and energy
D – Dates: For energy and anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-bleeding properties; necessary for the superheroes after fighting the evil superpowers.
Planning everything perfectly was A Minute’s forte and, for relieving stress, she suggested some relaxation techniques, getting proper sleep and Saturday fun sessions; she would have been a successful stand-up comedienne if she was a person.
“Pay us for our efforts in training you by strictly following the relaxation techniques and a COASTED inclusive diet. Those who skip these will bear the brunt of whatever is approaching you. This is not a movie or a comic book, this is real,” The Voice sounded very serious.
Preparing for The Command’s inevitable approach was getting more real as Dev realised one thing, “True, all those superhero movies just show action, no one shows any superhero eating or resting, ever!”
“Perhaps, you would want your kid Keith to eat these superfoods as well Beth. These are all, in any case, good for kids. After all, The Command is waiting to try and use him as a host. Keith must be strong both physically and mentally,” A Minute added.
The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter P (I have managed to do the same from the B letter post)! This is my 16th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below: A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z
Milliseconds after telling Beth that The Command was waiting to have Keith under its control, The Voice suddenly disappeared or was rather inaudible.
Morning was just a few hours away, so Tim, Holly and Dev decided to leave while Daphne and Evelyn stayed back at Beth’s place to comfort her.
Much to Daphne’s surprise, Beth did not wish to talk and headed to her room after ensuring that they were comfortable in the guest bedroom.
Memories are mysterious things – one never manages to forget the bad times that keep haunting forever, but when a life is at risk, the good memories gently arrive making one feel that life isn’t that bad.
Much of Beth’s night was spent reminiscing about the happy moments with Grace, Keith and Rohit.
Meeting Rohit, her ex-husband, five years ago was one of her fondest memories as they couldn’t take eyes off each other at a common friend’s wedding.
“My God Cassie, he is the most amazing single dad! You should have seen how he takes care of his one-year-old baby Keith. You will see, I will marry him someday,” Beth had told her best friend the day she met Rohit; they married only after a few months.
Maternal instincts had kicked in the moment Beth had held Keith in her arms for the first time and they had bonded instantly.
“Mom, I love you,” Keith used to tell her daily until Grace was born.
“Mom, I love my baby sister the most. I love you and dad also… a little bit,” he was the most loving and caring brother to Grace.
Maybe if she and Rohit had not separated she could have spent more time with Keith, Beth thought as she regretted managing to meet him only on weekends.
“Married or not, we will always try to spend weekends with both the kids and be the best parents ever,” it was Rohit’s idea who still was her 2 a.m. friend.
Misfortune always seemed to find Beth, but this time it was about the safety of her kids and she decided to do everything possible and even impossible to keep them safe.
“Might as well put our superpowers to good use, let’s give our hundred percent when The Voice trains us. I don’t know what exactly my superpower is but I will definitely not let that Command hurt my kid or anyone else’s. Daphne, don’t worry about Evelyn, I will take care of her,” Beth surprisingly sounded positive during the breakfast, much to Daphne and Evelyn’s relief.
“Meet me at the Andheri stadium at 11.59 pm tonight, you will have no trouble entering,” both Beth and Evelyn heard The Voice speak into their ears.
“Man, what is with The Voice and number 59? He always makes me count till 59!” Evelyn said.
“Me too,” Beth replied and continued to narrate the turbulent plane incident; it was about time the superheroes knew more about each other.
The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of this chapter of the story with the letter M (I have managed to do the same from B to L posts)! This is my 13th post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts to read the entire story. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below: A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z
Eager to get answers, Beth agreed to give her hair sample for DNA analysis to a complete stranger.
Email IDs were exchanged, Daphne promised to stay in touch and soon the final boarding announcement was made.
Even though Beth loved window seats, she had a lot to think about and for the first time ever, instead of gazing at the clouds, she closed her eyes and thought about her conversation with Daphne.
Evelyn, Daphne’s eighteen-year-old daughter, had experienced the same pain in the arm for the first time almost two years ago, incidentally at the same restaurant where Beth had experienced the sting.
“Easy girl,” Chef Jean had said to her, “there’s no scorpion here, it’s all in your mind!”
Embarrassed about her screaming as the entire restaurant noticed and her friends mocked her, she told about the sting to her mom.
Either she is being dramatic or she just wants my attention, Daphne had thought earlier; however, her world shook later as she witnessed a few weird incidents.
Everything what Daphne told Beth felt like a fantasy movie script to her, she sensed exaggeration but somewhere deep inside she believed her.
Exactly half an hour after taking off, Beth’s plane ran into severe turbulance – a significant rattling noise was heard in the fuselage and the passengers were told to fasten their seat belts.
Even after ten minutes, the plane was shaking terribly and people started panicking and praying while the kids started crying.
“End it Beth, you can end it now!” a voice commanded her like a loud sound from headphones, but she wasn’t wearing any.
———- The story continues tomorrow in the next post. Did you notice that I managed to start each sentence of the story with E, the letter of the day (I have managed to do the same from B to D posts)! This is my fifth post for this year’s A to Z Challenge (#atozchallenge). Head to my previous posts that start with the letters A & B (B is when this story begins), C and D (list below).
I’ll be posting daily except Sundays all through the month. Stay tuned. Read all my posts for the challenge in the A to Z links below:
A ➡ B ➡ C ➡ D ➡ E ➡ F ➡ G ➡ H ➡ I ➡ J ➡ K ➡ L ➡ M ➡ N ➡ O ➡ P ➡ Q ➡ R ➡ S ➡ T ➡ U ➡ V ➡ W ➡ X ➡ Y ➡ Z
This post is second in the series of our conversation with Aparna Nayak, mom to a teenage daughter with special needs . If you missed the first part, please read it here.
Continuing with our questions in this second part of the interview:
How do you help yourself stay strong?
Well, that’s a difficult one to answer. I am a human too. Sometimes like all others I too have breakdowns. I too have my mood swings and panic attacks but otherwise, I take inspiration from many moms and people whom I know and are having much more difficult time than me, and I say ‘If they can so can I’. But yes, it is ok to break down sometimes and let go. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to take a break once in a while. It is ok to allow someone else to take care of your child for some time. You can’t be a one-man army.
Most of the time I am told, you are very strong, we look up to you or God gives special needs children to strong moms or people who are gifted and strong, which sometimes makes me angry. We are not born strong or we are not that gifted or blessed. It’s our child and each and every mother does go beyond the limit for her offspring. No mother in the universe would want to see her child suffer. I am sure many mothers hide their tears when they see their little one suffering as we have to put up with our ‘brave face’. Stop putting us on a pedestal. We are also humans who have emotions just like others; it’s just that we hide our tears and fears from people. Only our pillows or bathrooms or journals know what we go through day in and day out. Don’t judge us with our smiles and happy face.
After Prerna was born, I gave up most of my hobbies, painting and reading. But a few years back, I started my blogs, which connected me to various authors and I started reviewing. Last year, during lockdown I took up painting after nearly two decades and trust me it is therapeutic. I had never ever gone out without my parents/husband and kid but in first week of September I took my life’s first 2-day solo trip and trust me it rejuvenated me. I was asked “What’s the need?” But I told “I just need to be with me”. Trust me take up a hobby, listen to music, join a dance class or gym, do what you want to just de-stress and unwind. It goes a long way to maintain one’s sanity.
What would you like to tell parents in the same boat?
First of all, ACCEPTANCE (as I mentioned in previous question); trust me it goes a long way. Once you accept your child’s condition it clears your mind and allows you to receive and process information easily. Secondly, it is ok to ask for help, to coordinate and delegate things. Don’t take every blame and responsibility on yourself. Take a vacation once in a while for yourself, take a breather, it is necessary for you to function properly and take care of your child, and DON’T, I mean DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. If you don’t function properly, then how you are going to take care of your child and house. So take a few minutes out only for yourself, to gather your thoughts, and calm yourself and then straighten your back and take on the day ahead. Meet moms of other kids, form a bond, share with them your problems, your success because you never know what might help you and them too.
How do you deal with unsolicited advice by those around you?
Ha, haha…. What can I say? Sometimes, if I am in a good mood, I just nod my head while switching off my brains and ears and giving them an impression that I am grateful for their advice. But on days when I am really in a bad mood, I just walk away from that person. That is very rare though as most of the time I opt for the former reaction even if I am in a bad mood. My advice, just smile. Because they are ignorant and believe me they won’t last even for one hour in our shoes.
Your voice: Tell us whatever you feel like sharing
Well, there is a lot but all I want to say is don’t trust anything and anyone blindly. THERE IS NOTHING CALLED MIRACLE CURE FOR OUR KIDS. Do your research and trust your gut. Once a very senior doctor told me, “Though we are doctors and we are looked upon for advice but I feel you moms are the best to decide what’s good for your child. All we can do is guide you but the final decision has to be yours as you spend most of the day with your child and you know what’s best for them.”
So I would say trust your gut instinct. Don’t fall prey to miraculous recovery and costly treatments which promise your child will be completely fine. Do what you feel is best but don’t ignore yourself. If your health is affected, remember no one might take care of you and your child. And most importantly – don’t blame yourself for what has happened and also if you are unable to achieve most of it. Most doctors (sadly) stress giving importance to the child and their schedule and therapies and all but they don’t tell us we have to take care of ourselves too. I made the mistake of making Prerna the topmost priority while neglecting myself due to which my health has got affected and now I am suffering from back issues and spondylitis and other ailments related to it like migraine and whatnot. Sometimes the pain is so bad that changing or feeding Prerna her meals itself seems to be a herculean task. On some days even getting up from bed seems to be a chore but then our children are hungry and so are we. So my advice, pay attention to your health, to your posture, ask your therapist about the right way to hold, lift your child. Make sure you don’t strain your back and shoulder. Along with your child concentrate on strengthening your body too.
Also, always take the second opinion. If need be, go for a third opinion as well, especially when it is regarding a major surgery or anything regarding your child’s benefit. And go ahead only if you feel it is right and not because the doctor has said it. They are also humans and not God. Even Gods have committed mistakes so think, don’t take hasty decisions and most importantly there is no miracle cure for our kids.
Tell us something about Aparna before marriage and childbirth?
Sigh! Aparna before marriage was an innocent, gullible young girl with a dream of a perfect marriage, perfect husband, perfect kids, and nothing else. After Prerna was born life took a 180-degree turn. I learned to do multitasking, managing the house, Prerna’s schedule, and many other things single-handedly. I used to be dependent on my father for everything before marriage and on my husband after marriage but Prerna’s birth taught me to be self-reliant and be strong. After all what I have gone through in past two decades, I want to do something for parents and children with special needs. I want to create awareness and do something which will make sure they receive help in time and are not misled by anyone.
How has your life changed now?
Life has changed a lot. In a way, for good, I must say. Being a mother to a special child teaches us a lot. It shows the real facet of people and society. It tests our limits and potential. We discover our hidden strengths of which we are ignorant. I started blogging and writing book reviews a few years back. I have started a home business of baking healthy and sugar-free cakes, cookies, and stuff in 2015. I have published my first e-book Yours Truly in 2019. Recently in lockdown, I rekindled my love for art and creativity and picked up paints and brushes after nearly two decades. I have started doing mandala art therapy for myself. Work is going on for my second book which is based on my life experiences as a mother. I regained my self-confidence which was shattered by gas lighting by some family members and blaming me for being responsible for Prerna’s conditions. Yes, slowly trying to live life to the fullest taking a day as it comes. I used to keep asking “Why me?” but now I don’t. Instead, I offer my gratitude that God has made me what I am today due to Prerna. I have learnt many lessons. Only regret (sometimes) is if I had that knowledge and capacity initially, things would have been bit different perhaps. Maybe! But as of now taking it as it comes with a smile.
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This is a guest post by Aryssa, a family coach who works with parents and kids.
It may not feel like a big deal to you but it’s a big deal for me!
Child: I fell over in school today and hurt myself. Parent: Oh really, these things happen, it’s not a big deal. Now what would you like for dinner?
This may seem like a harmless everyday conversation and you know what, you’re right!
However, for your child it looks a little different.
Here your child is trying to communicate that he or she fell over and they want you to show compassion.
However, your casual response may indicate that their emotions are not valid and that you have more pressing things on your mind like – What to cook for dinner.
In your mind, you probably don’t want to make a “big deal” out of it and move forward.
However, your child may want you to ask more questions so he or she can tell you what they are thinking and feeling.
It could be that your child tripped and everyone started laughing which made them feel embarrassed OR It could be that he or she was pushed which is what caused them to fall.
Who said parenting was easy?
Our role as parents is to be conscious of all of the things our children are saying as well as all the things which they aren’t.
When we move on to talk about something else, they interpret that as “mum doesn’t understand me”, “dad isn’t listening to what I’m saying” or worse “my parents don’t care”! When of course you do!
Imagine you are talking to a friend about something that really upset you and they switch the conversation to talk about something else, how would it make you feel? The same is true of a child; only they are likely to be a lot more sensitive and take actions literally because of their level of understanding.
So, I invite you to be conscious when your child is talking to you and try not to brush them off. The more you connect with them, the closer your bond will be!
About the writer: Aryssa is a family coach who works with parents and children to support them with their daily struggles. Her work is recognised for being fun and thought provoking. She creates a shift in mindset so individuals feel connected and inspired to live with positivity in this ever changing world. You can visit her website www.ryssdom.com and connect with her n Instagram here.
NO. NO. NO. NO. Is this the current favourite word of your toddler? Especially, when it comes to meals! My toddler is 2 years and 9 months old (at the time of this post) and she uses this two-letter power word the most from her decent vocabulary.
Ah, how happy I was when I got that booster seat to encourage baby led weaning when she started sitting and eating well. She started eating by herself for a while and if you have a one-and-half-year-old kid, you know the joy. Ah, the dreams that finally she and I will enjoy the mealtime joy of eating together instead of one big person spoon feeding a little one first! Welcome to reality… It’s not happening anymore yet.
So if all those beautiful Instagram posts by moms whose kids are eating by themselves are making you feel the pressure, relax. People tend to post more about achievements than otherwise. If your kid is being a picky or fussy eater, what is the probability that you will post that all over social media? See what I mean? Some kids, especially in the 2-3 years age group, are exploring the power of the word NO and using it effectively… Lol. So yes, all little toddlers who start self-feeding, might take a little/big break at this stage. Don’t stress it out too much. If you notice, they will mostly eat fries, chips, chocolates and cakes using their hands without any effort from us. So they are capable of eating without help. They are just not keen on having the daily routine healthy food 😜
I am not going to bore you with how you should keep trying different types of foods, different plating and presentation, creativity, new place to eat, gaps between meals, etc. If you have read until this point of this post, it means you might have already tried it all, right? So all I want to say is relax. It’s stressful, I know, I have anxiety issues and I have been really bothered by the recent fussiness. But I realised today that this will not be the case forever. She will eventually eat without me hovering around her head, reminding her constantly to eat / chew or feeding her those unending morsels. It is, in all probability, a phase… a boring, irritating but this-too-shall-pass kind of phase.
So, well, join me in relaxing a bit. It’s okay of we are still feeding our toddlers with our hands while other kids of same age are all eating independently. Let’s not compare for our own peace of mind. Few years from now, we will simply remember how our toddlers took a little while to reach this milestone. There’s no point losing sleep over this by worrying too much. This is the stage when kids explore power struggle (and maybe we too!). So keep trying at intervals and this too shall pass. Enjoy feeding your kids when necessary for now, as we all know that they grow up so fast! Savour the moment instead of giving into peer pressure and stress.
And if you managed to pass this stage, let us know after how long and how exactly did it happen! Let’s be honest, we all need some useful, tried and tested tips!
The judgement by those who are not on social media, or active out here, can be frustrating. Often, the people who comment, “Oh you are always on Instagram / Facebook,” are the ones with active social life, lots of loved ones in their life, lots of people to talk to and vice versa, absolutely busy people mostly with full time jobs, people with a huge family, people who are simply not interested in social media and then some more.
For me, social media is a community I connect with. It gets really lonely when you can count on one hand the number of people who you can always talk to. This was not always the case with me. As much as I can remember, I had the most number of friends in college and when I used to work full-time. Both my weekdays and weekends used to be busy. I was a chatterbox, a fun-loving person, healthy and very active with loads of energy. Until around 15 years ago, there were some Sundays when I would watch two movies in a theatre with different set of friends. I would dine out with friends from school, college or work at least twice a week. I would travel by train to work daily, work until late, even workout, meet so many people and what not. There was a decade in my life when I didn’t feel sick or lonely. Birthdays were days when my phone would not stop ringing. The next day would be spent returning calls I couldn’t answer (this year, I received 4 birthday phone calls other than my immediate family)! Ah, those were the days!
In 2009-10, everything changed. I got sick and my life changed in a span of one year. Fibromyalgia and depression hit me bad, real bad. Recently, I was also diagnosed with anxiety disorder which was not actually surprising for me. I was (still am) in excruciating pain all the time. By all the time, I mean 24×7. And around 10+ other symptoms that you can check on my Fibromyalgia Awareness blog. Gradually, I couldn’t travel to work much or work full-time. It even affected my finances terribly. I started working part-time and it was tough as my successful career really took a back seat. I couldn’t travel to meet people like before and gradually started losing touch. Friends, family, colleagues… everyone eventually gets busy.
When you are suffering with a chronic and invisible medical condition, it is but natural to talk about it. It slowly starts consuming you however you avoid, in the beginning at least. Especially, if your illness is not (sad to say this) a ‘popular’ one and when people do not believe that you are really sick. This is 2021 and it is so unfortunate that depression and fibromyalgia are not taken seriously. So you end up either not talking about it at all or talk about you being in pain and unable to do so many things, at least once, when you talk to people. Later, you realise that people do not like to hear about your sorrow or suffering. They liked the older you – the one who could make them laugh all the time, the one who could rush to them whenever they needed you. I used to be a very funny, active, energetic and dependable person. Then I became someone else consumed by never-ending pain and depression. I felt utterly lonely, still do, at most times.
People started misunderstanding me, a lot. And started distancing themselves from me. I also learnt some hard facts about life. The moment I stopped being useful to some people, I was not of any importance to them. Yeah, you get used to it eventually and so I did. But I am a people person, I need to be around people, have friends, have someone to talk to. And yes, when I meet people now, I do not talk about my illness at all. If asked casually, my answer is consiously limited to 3-4 words… I have trained myself to do so. It might not appear by this long post though, but then the reason of my being on social media is around that part of my life.
I joined Instagram pretty late and became active months after becoming a mom. I am glad to connect with so many moms and amazing women, who may or may not know that they have kind of become my support system. These are people from across the world and such amazing ones. So now I don’t care when people judge me for being online. These are the ones who are and will never be there for me.
Facebook and other places are more about people mostly sharing how successful they are, their achievements, and of course some fun and serious stuff. But I find Instagram a little more better. People share about their life, often unfiltered and real life. It’s relatable, believable and you come across more people you don’t know already.
10 reasons why I spend time on Instagram: 1. I meet amazing people from across the world 2. It is nice to talk to moms with kids of the same age group as yours 3. Once you meet a few people here, you continue believing that kindness and goodness still exist 4. I get to learn and share so many things – activity ideas for kids, recipes, photography, painting… 5. Since this is a image based media, I end up clicking lots of pics with my daughter 6. I reconnected with a few old acquaintances and it feels so good 7. I started writing regularly again 8. I get inspired so much 9. I started reading books when I saw so many people promoting their work 10. I don’t feel lonely or depressed as long as I am here
Are you active on social media? What are your reasons? How do you deal with judgements?
Follow momandideas on Instagram for my motherhood journey (mostly no Fibromyalgia and depression talk there!)
Our toddler activity of the day was SHAPE FRIENDS. It is fun and useful for identifying and colouring shapes.
This was an impromptu activity as I sat to teach her the concept of “after” in numbers but she got bored after a while. So the shapes here are mostly doodles.
This was a revision of the shapes she knows, but this time she actually filled in / scribbled colours inside the shapes thus paying more attention to the number of edges, corners and angles of each shape.
I then went ahead with shading and then making some shape friends that she loved.
How to go about it:
1. Draw shapes with different crayons while explaining it all to the toddler. If your kid is big enough to draw shapes, then let the kid draw in colours and sizes of his/her choice.
2. Let them pick the same colour of the shape and fill the colours.
3. Then take the colours and show them how they can fill in the gaps.
4. Draw some caps and faces, and make #shape friends. Have lots of fun making stories with shape friends!
Eighteen Moons (by Andi Webb) is a truly inspiring and interesting book. I am so glad I picked it for my first read after a three-year gap from reading. Surprisingly, I finished it in three days (even though I am a very slow reader) reading late nights as I just couldn’t put it down!
The book (available here) is the true story of a gay couple, Andi and John from the UK, determined to have a family complete with kids. The book takes you through their extraordinary journey of becoming parents to five wonderful kids through surrogacy. How they go through an unbelievable amount of struggle but stay strong and determined in the face of adversity is commendable and inspiring. Whatever problems you are facing today, not just related to surrogacy, the perseverance that the couple shows will make you want to never give up, come what may!
Read this amazing book that will take you on a surrogacy journey to three countries – India, Nepal and Thailand. With every trip, there’s a lot of doubt whether or not the couple would be able to bring their surrogate newborns home. Andi stays in foreign countries for several months, away from his beloved and very supportive partner John, manages newborns, and struggles to find the right nannies and places to stay. Meanwhile, John struggles in his own country to be able to meet and bring home his newborns. Seeing them being the victims of bureaucracy amid changing laws related to surrogacy makes you feel the helplessness the couple goes through. At times you wonder if they would give up, but wow they are so patient and determined!
Such is the excellent writing of the author, that you wish if only you could have known them then and done something to help. The couple stays apart for a long time as one of them doesn’t get the right Visa with the system being, as we all know, far from perfect. And as if the changing laws, cheats and a blackmailing surrogate mother are not enough, there’s an earthquake and a possible jail time. There are tears and fears, smiles and hopes, and both the good and the bad sides of humanity playing their parts.
The pace of the book is awesome and the uncertainty involved keeps you hooked from the beginning to the last page hoping that maybe things will work out on the next page. And the kids are so cute, you can picture them as the author describes them with so much love. Read the book Eighteen Moons by Andi Webb to find out how they navigate through all the struggles. I absolutely recommend this book.
The book is available on Amazon UK here. For all other locations, just search Andi Webb on your Amazon browser.
I made these yummy beetroot cutlets / burger patties just now! I didn’t expect that I’ll be able to do it but I managed to completely eliminate the raw flavour of beetroot. Yay! Experimented with a unique combination of spices and achieved the best flavour ever.
Here’s the Beetroot Cutlet / Patty Recipe ❤️ Save for future reference! Do share if you like it.
Ingredients: 2 large grated and boiled beetroots 2 large boiled potatoes 2 bread slices broken into fine pieces / coarsely powdered based on the texture you like Salt to taste 1 pinch turmeric powder 1/2 tsp jeera powder 1 tsp coriander powder 1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves (I forgot adding) 1/2 tsp chat masala 1/2 tsp oregano (that’s the twist, but you can skip) 1/2 tsp chilli powder / sliced green chillies (I don’t use as Mishika doesn’t eat spicy food
Method: 1. Remove excess water from boiled beetroots. Save it to add in anything else later or for food colouring / to colour any homemade play dough for kids. 2. Mix and mash beetroots and potatoes. 3. Mix well all the other ingredients. 4. Taste at this stage and adjust the flavours as per your liking. 5. Shape the cutlets / patties. 6. Coat them with semolina or bread crumbs. 7. Shallow fry on medium flame till the surface becomes a little brownish and crisp. 8. Remove on absorbent paper / kitchen roll to remove excess oil. 9. Alternatively, bake it!
PS Use any combination of spices available at your location but the bread and oregano does the trick!
Enjoy with ketchup / chutney / dips of your choice!
Looking for the best apple cinnamon muffins / cupcakes recipe using wholewheat flour? You have come to the right place!
I have experimented with many recipes but this one turned out to be the best as the aroma of the freshly baked cupcakes filled the entire house and they were really very delicious. The texture was just perfect, neither too moist not too dry. And my two-and-a-half-year-old absolutely relished it. So did I 🙂
Now, before I proceed, please let me tell you that my oven overheats and I bake at a lower temperature. So If your oven works just perfect, just use the temperature setting for a regular muffin recipe. I baked at 170° C instead of 190° C and it turned out to be perfect!
Apple Cinnamon Whole Wheat MuffinsRecipe
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup (minus two teaspoons) whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 pinch salt 1/2 cup grated apples 1/4 cup butter (I used regular salted Amul butter) 1/2 cup sugar / powdered jaggery (1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar give best results) 1 egg 2 tablespoons milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (lesser if you have a stronger extract)
INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 190° C / 375° F. 2. Prepare muffin moulds / tins / cupcake liners by gently coating with butter or oil. Skip this step if you have non-stick / silicon moulds / tins. 3. Beat an egg. Add to it butter, sugar, milk, vanilla extract and grated apples. Mix well. 4. Preferably in a separate bowl, mix whole wheat flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. 5. Add the wet mix (point 3 above) to the dry mixture (point 4 above) and gently fold all the ingredients together. DO NOT OVERMIX at this stage at all. It is okay to have a few lumps. 6. Scoop the mixture into the muffin cups (filling about 2/3.) 7. Bake for 10 minutes and keep an eye for them to turn slightly golden brown. It might take a couple of minutes more depending on your oven. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean. 8. Carefully remove the muffin moulds from the oven and let them cool a bit.
Enjoy warm or cold.
COATING: You can coat them with a Butter and 1:1 Cinnamon + Sugar mixture but I couldn’t wait to eat 🙂
Let me know if you try and like this Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins Recipe. Happy baking!
Are you a tired and overworked mom? Welcome to the club! The desperation to feel relaxed, even temporarily, makes us spend whatever little time we get to research advice everywhere possible. You can Google all the possible solutions shared by many mothers and parenting experts online. Some of those ideas really work. But, let’s be real. Not all of us have that liberty to follow all those tips (I will share a few later in this post) to relax as a mom. Some of us are single moms, some are without family support, some are juggling jobs and home, some have more than one kid, some have elders to take care of, some have chronic illnesses and relatively lower energy levels and some are really really very tired regardless of whatever our Instagram pictures show the world.
It’s been 31 months since I became a mother. As some of you following my blog know, I suffer from fibromyalgia and all the symptoms that come with the syndrome. And a few more medical conditions that make even some of the simple motherly tasks extremely difficult for me. I did not give in to my medical condition and have been pushing myself every single day of excruciating endless pain and now severe sleep deprivation. Needless to say I have researched all the tips to relax over the last two and a half years. But frankly speaking, I haven’t been able to implement anything. I could not even manage to do those kegel exercises after a normal delivery (with forcep assistance at the last minute) and well, my bladder has started to really bother me now. That’s a story for a different day.
Last night, I finally hit the bed at 2 am thinking I would be able to sleep then. I co-sleep with my toddler. She was fast asleep and I switched on the night light to have some water. That’s when I gazed at her lovely face. She was sleeping like, well, a baby! It was a magical moment that took me to the time when she was born and what followed was almost meditative. I reminisced those initial weeks of the super hectic new mom life. Remember that time? When you are just learning everything from how to help a baby sleep, feed her non-stop, burp her, change nappies endlessly… you know that phase! But at the end of that super long and tiring day, however drained out we all new moms were, remember that one thing that made us smile late in the nights? Yes, looking at our baby for so long, watching that tiny (often smiling) face, those tiny fingers and toes, and feeling the miracle of motherhood. I remember just watching her for long while she was asleep and somehow that made me feel so happy and relaxed even when I knew she might wake up in two hours for another feed!
So, last night I realised that over the months, I did less of that… watch her sleep at the end of the day and reliving the memory of the day I held her in my arms for the first time. The daily chores and running around make us forget the most beautiful day of our life. That moment has so much power to make us feel happy and relaxed. Trust me, last night felt so special and different as I just watched my toddler sleep, the way I did when she was a newborn. So the next time you are feeling tired and helpless, just look at your sleeping baby and know that you are doing a wonderful job as a mom.
Also, try these tips to relax when you can, if you can (I am keeping Covid lockdown in mind):
Get some me-time, even if it is for 15 minutes in the privacy of your bathroom :). Read a book, browse the internet for non-parenting stuff, watch some show, chat with a friend… something you don’t get to do very often now.
Exercise, meditate or do some yoga. Else play it on the TV and do it with your toddler.
Play some music which is not nursery rhymes 🙂 Dance, even if you have two left feet! Sing, even if you think you are bad at it.
Indulge in some self care if you have been avoiding it since you became a mom
When you spend time with your kid, sometimes do a fun activity that you both can enjoy. Play a game from your childhood, like hopscotch.
Go for a walk.
Talk to a friend or a cousin or a nice relative or neighbour you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Play a game on your phone / gaming console / whatever, but nothing stressful.
Indulge in good food to be in a good mood.
If you can’t step out, just look out of the window and observe whatever you see, sky or streets or people or birds. Try not to think about what all work you need to finish today!
Start writing a diary.
If someone offers help, just take it. Don’t feel guilty about lying down for sometime when someone watches your child.
Schedule your day. It works for some parents but if this stresses you out, don’t do it.
Post covid, well get out and meet people, eat out, watch movies and visit malls and parks and everywhere outdoors!
At the end of the day, don’t forget to watch your sleeping kid for a few minutes and think about all the good memories with your baby!
Most importantly, do not compare yourself with other moms who you think are able to multitask more. And, never get affected if someone judges you. They are not in your shoes and only you know that you are doing your best for your kid.
Hope some of this helps you. Do share what helps you relax as a mom. And remember, you are awesome!
Our toddler activity of the week is the perfect idea for fun learning while focusing on: Fine motor skills + colour sorting + counting (maths) + balancing!
Toddlers get bored of playing with the same toys and doing the same activities. So the other day, I tried this idea and 26-month old Mishika enjoyed the activity a lot. It was a boon that the pipes of our construction toy almost perfectly fit on the Lego base plate! So I gave her a demo with two colours and she continued with the columns with much excitement.
The process involved colour sorting, counting, balancing the lego plate and arranging the pipes at the interval of two green points / pegs / dots each. The pipes are a bit loose on the base plate so they did fell at times and she managed to place them again. The best part was that she carefully lifted and balanced the entire creation
Give it a try and see if any of your other toys or blocks fit the lego base plate and this could create a lot of interesting game ideas! Pls let me know how did you like this innovation by us.