Aren’t sons and daughters equal?

Once again read somewhere this line and again I cringed, “My daughters are like my sons.” Let the daughters be like daughters. It depends on how you raise them! If you give them the independence, education, and freedom of career choice like sons, they will do what the sons have been doing so far traditionally; taking care of the parents and being strong to take on the world. This statement somehow makes me feel that such parents are trying to say that the daughters are as good as or equal to sons. But aren’t they born equal naturally?


Let’s talk and not hush..

So, what were me and my teen son discussing today? Banning of the condom ads in the primetime! Guess what, the discussion was initiated by my son. He was reading an article on his WhatsApp and that’s were we both started having this discussion. He discussed how as a country we were hypocrites where the population explosion was a reality, where sexually transmitted diseases was a reality, where unwanted pregnancies was a reality, yet we don’t want to discuss sex or contraception.
I told him that discussing all this was still a taboo in our country! Parents feel that discussing about contraception or sex will pollute the young minds, people believe it will ruin our “culture”! Parents cannot watch such ads with their children as it embarrasses them, even grown-up married children can’t! Sex is still considered “dirty”!
My son was totally exasperated and hoped that my generation of parents will bring the change. I was happy that a country where the adults are still prudish about watching or talking about condoms and contraception, my teen son viewed it from a totally different angle. May be we can tone down the ads, but again pretending as if sex or procreation doesn’t exist and that these ads will have adverse affects still reeks of hypocrisy..

She’s still a child..

Another chapter of parenting starts now, preparing my growing-up daughter to handle the stares of random men out there. Today my 10-year-old daughter came home from school and stated how an auto driver was staring at her and giving her a “strange” smile. She felt weird. My daughter is tall for her age and has started showing slight changes in her body, yet she is still a child. I had to tell her very frankly that this is just the beginning for a girl, that she will have to face many such stares, touches in the future, and that she needs to be strong. She needs to tell us always. She needs to fight it, yet sometimes ignore as one never knows what kind of antisocial element that man can be!
Asking my daughter to be fearless, cautious, and learn to live with the fact that these stares and “strange” smiles are going to be a part of her life from hereon now was not a nice feeling at all, yet I know that this is the truth which is inevitable.

Growth of a child

There is nothing more joyous than a mom watching her child grow everyday.  Since the time he/she is conceived, everyday the mother feels her child growing and with that the eternal journey of motherhood begins.  The bump, the kicks, the movements connects more to her child and the love grows each day.

After the child is born, each milestone of the child is cherished.  The first smile, first turn, first reaction, first words, everything.  The first step taken by the child is like a celebration, the first time the child blabbers Maammaa or Baabba the parents are teary eyed.  When a mother sees the child successfully write the first alphabet or write the numbers correctly its a major accomplishment for her.
Over the years, the growing up pattern and issues change.  As the child grows, the mother sees him/her dealing with the real world, the bullies, the competition, the peer pressure.  The mother sees her child fall, get hurt and rise again to face all odds with head held high.  That growth of the child makes the mother proud and reassured.
When the son gets a thin line of moustache, his voice breaks, he grows taller than the mother, is worldly wise..that growth amuses as well as gives an immense happiness.  When a daughter becomes a friend, a confidante, a pretty wise lady, a strong individual..the mom is happy and proud.
The happiness of a mom seeing her children grow into strong individuals and happy in their life is immeasurable…

Traveling with kids..make it easy!

Often people believe life comes to a standstill after the arrival of a baby. They can’t go out, can’t travel, can’t have fun anymore! That’s not true! Of course, after the arrival of a child all programs or outings need to be accommodated and planned according to the child.

Me and my husband love traveling. Since my husband loves driving, we have taken many car trips too. These trips have included our kids as young as 7 months old!

When to take out a baby for travel is totally each parent’s choice. There are no hard and fast rules for parenting as every parent is different.

What I am sharing is my experience of traveling with kids at various stages and how to make the traveling fun and easy. These are just general tips and parents can modify according to their parenting styles and preferences:

  1. Don’t panic before your travel starts. Just go with the flow.
  2. Be flexible with the child’s food and food timings. One of the most common fears when traveling is not able to give the child his food on time or the regular food that he eats. Just relax. Your child will be absolutely okay if for a few days the timings go a bit haywire or if he has his milk twice instead of thrice. I believe that kids are pretty flexible that way.
  3. Carry extra clothes, diaper, bottle, nappy rash cream, wipes, few over-the-counter medicines for stomach issues handy in a bag when traveling with a baby. Just change the diaper every few hours. You can feed him at your will.
  4. Carry water, snacks, chocolates, etc. when traveling with slightly older kids. Don’t bother about the “junk” during holidays. After all holidays are meant to be break from the usual routine.
  5. When traveling in a car make halts at frequent intervals so that the kids can run around for some time, eat some meals, and enjoy the trip!
  6. Once my kids turned a year old, I never carried any food with me when traveling. They had the regular rice, dal, veggies, eggs, chicken, etc. that was available in the hotel. Of course, they wouldn’t eat too spicy things. They would even at the dhabas!
  7. Always book hotels which have kid-friendly activities. Kids have the best fun in the swimming pools. Most hotels have activities for the kids too depending on their age. Explore the surroundings too.
  8. Set yourself and your kids free once you travel! Let your kids also explore the new place. Don’t worry about when they wake up or when they sleep! We all follow a set routine throughout the year; vacations are meant to be “life without rules.”
  9. Always carry medicines for nausea and vomiting, headache, fever, antiseptic for injuries, chewing gums, Band-Aids. Keep a pair of clothes, a jacket handy for the children.
  10. Carry few board games when going for a long journey. Also for that time give some leeway to the gadget time.
  11. Tell them about the significance of the place that you are traveling. Also, talk to them and know about their perspective about the travel and the place.

Traveling is a lot of fun with kids, of course not without some crankiness or vomiting at times! But these are the memories that the kids do cherish for a lifetime.

Maa, only you can do it!

Last month my dad suffered a massive heart attack.  Post angioplasty he developed lung and kidney complications and was in the ICU for 20 long days.  We all were worried about his health and condition, but the most affected person was my mom.  Though she tried hard to conceal her fear and anxiety, it was not hidden from us.  After all, her spouse of 45 years was in a critical state.

Thankfully, my dad recovered and is back home.  The doctors have given strict diet instructions, medicine and diet chart, and instructed a lot of rest for my dad.  Me and my siblings keep a tab of everything yet it is my mother who has the entire responsibility of handling my dad’s recovery as well as other nitty-gritty like handling the bank, finances, regular chores, and many such big and small stuff.  She also has to handle people!

My mom strictly follows the timings and diet chart come what may.  The wall clock might be late but not my mom.  She diligently makes food as per the doctor’s instructions for my dad, feeds him patiently.  She keeps an eye on the nurse who is helping her in taking care of my dad.  She takes him for regular check-ups and handles everything so well!

In the last few years my mom herself has undergone major surgeries including a knee replacement 2 years ago.  She herself is in her mid 60s, has health issues, but not once has she complained about her health or fatigue.  I know how her knee and back get stiff and how tired she gets, but she leaves no stone unturned in taking care of my dad.

I asked my my mom, “Maa, how do you do all this? ”  She smiled and said, “When such a situation arises, I believe we all get the strength to do it.”  I don’t know whether I will have the stamina, patience, or diligence like her.  It’s not easy, no its not.  But as my mom says circumstances make a person strong and then he/she has to do it.

But I would say again, “Maa, only you can do it!”


No option but to stay strong

When I see, read and hear parents worrying to the extent of getting paranoid about their kids’ safety, I am reminded of how so many times I have, as a mother, kept my composure and stayed strong leaving everything to the hands of destiny and the Almighty.  I know many might find this unbelievable given the circumstances.

My son started with his education in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.  He was 2 years old when he started with a playschool there.  The playschool was a nice one and my son spent good 3 hours there with very loving teachers and friends.  He got to play and learn a few things too.  My son used to go by a van and it took 15-20 minutes from our home to the playschool in the van.  Being a hilly place, the way to his school had many steep and curvy roads.  One particular road had a very steep U curve, which if not maneuvered properly by the driver could lead to fatal accident.

One morning after we woke up, we got to know that a fatal accident had occurred on that U curve road.  A bus full of tourists from Gujarat had fallen in the cliff from that road and all tourists succumbed to that deathly fall. My little son went to his playschool from the very same route that day and all the other days to come.  I couldn’t stop his playschool because of this accident, could I?

As parents both me and my husband always used to worry, we still worry, but we also know that we cannot stop living or let our kids to stop living normally.  I have sent my kids for picnics and outings since the time they were in playgroup.  I would remain worried till the time they reached home safely.  I am still restless till the time my kids are back from school or my older child is back from his friend’s home or tuition or outing.

I know the world is not a safe place for kids.  So, what do we do?  Don’t we all wish that our kids would never be out of our sight, but is it really possible, is it really normal?  I may be a little less paranoid than many, may be a tad too practical, but I cannot let my fear make my kids paranoid or stop them from enjoying a normal life.  I cannot confine them to home.

Already the kids now know about murder, rape, molestation from a very young age.  They are taught to trust no one right from the time they can barely speak.  They already lose their innocence thanks to the way they are raised.

We have to stay strong, we have no other option.

Make the teens stronger..

Every generation kids get rebuked, scolded, alienated, made fun of, bullied, body shamed, gets depressed over academic performance, has heartbreaks, and other challenges. Today parents are friendlier than before, teachers are not allowed to hit or even give punishment to the children, yet there is something wrong because everyday we get to read teenagers or youngsters committing suicide over either of the above reasons. Yes..teenage is a tender age where the mind and body are vulnerable; the kids feel nobody understands them but the kids need to be emotionally stronger.
I am myself dealing with a teen and now with all these incidents sometimes nag my son trying to “talk it out” about Blue Whale game, not to worry about 10th exam marks, not to take heartbreak too seriously, etc., etc. As always, I firmly believe communication plays a key role. The kids should be able to talk about their fears with the parents. Kids should be taught that failure is part of life, it is inevitable but suicide is no option.
As such with the gadgets, games, exposure parenting has become tougher and to add to the woes daily news of teen suicides..tension never ends!

Is your child a bully?

There is no child who has been spared by a bully.  Right from the time a toddler starts being social, starts going to the park, playschool, neighbors, he/she definitely faces another child who loves to bully; loves to hit, push, throw toys, snatch toys, can’t take NO for an answer, loves it when the other kids cry.  Why is it that some children love to bully others?  What is it that makes them a bully right from their childhood?  Is it just their fault or somewhere the parents are at folly too?  What gives him the “authority” to tease, hit, push, irritate others?  There is a difference in being naughty and being a bully.  As the child starts growing and if he is not controlled the bullying tendency spirals.  The parents have a big role to play here.

Imagine a scenario where a cute little kid goes to the park with his parent and is waiting for his turn in the slide.  Suddenly the child standing behind him pushes him and with a glee slides breaking the queue and also hurting the other child!!  Sounds familiar?  Just think, is that bully your child?  You might be in denial.  You might say that my child is naughty like any other child of his age, but just sit down and think isn’t there a difference in being naughty and being a bully?

Who is a bully?  A bully is someone who uses power to intimidate others, hurt others, tries to thrust superiority upon others.  Such kids are used to having their way at home, who cannot take NO for an answer, who are used to throwing tantrums.  Are you the kind of a parent who gives in to the child’s tantrums always?  Do you laugh or go gaga when your child hits you or others, throws things, shouts or yells at other kids?  Do you believe that this is a sign of smartness?

Parents are the first teachers of a kid, they lay the foundation of the child’s behavior.  We all love our children and love to watch their new antics every day.  But hey, do learn to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.   Correcting a faulty behavior, learning to discipline or saying No might sound difficult but it is really not.  Often as parents you might think that the child is too young to understand what we explain but the age-appropriate channel of communication should be started pretty early.  Children also emulate the parents a lot.  So, just keep an eye on your own behavior.   As parents, as citizens keep a track of your own behavior.

If your child is a bully, you will tend to get complaints from other children and their parents.  Don’t become defiant (just as your child).  Listen to the others patiently; just do not dismiss their complaints.  Also, don’t start scolding your child then and there itself.  Talk to your child when he and you both are calm.

Parenting is a big challenge in every step.  Don’t ignore or panic if your child is a bully.  Take charge, after all you are the parent.  Help your child to shape up into a better individual.  He will learn to be considerate, compassionate, make more friends.  If he continues to bully, he will be left alone.  Other children will fear him, ignore him, hate him, and he might remain friendless.  Socially the parents will boycott your child.  He will become more resentful.

As a parent, learn to say NO, give him rewards and time-outs as and when necessary.  Keep on talking to him.  Tell him being bully is “not cool”.

Help your child to attain a healthy and happy childhood where he should be social, not anti-social (bully)!


The young feminist..

Interpretation of a 20th Century 1980s song by a 21st Century girl.

Yesterday while surfing channels I stopped at a music channel which was playing 80s songs. It was playing the song “Ye tera ghar ye mera ghar” from the film Saath-saath where a couple happily sings about their new abode. My daughter was watching that song with me and after a while she remarked, “Why is it that the woman is doing all the household chores like washing utensils or cooking while the man is smiling and standing? Then why is he singing Ye tera ghar ye mera ghar when he isn’t sharing the chores?” While growing up I could never imagine that someday this song will be interpreted like this!