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Finding ‘Inner Piece’

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Each morning when I leave for work, clutching my boi who is to be dropped to playschool — I make sure that have a good look (almost appreciative) at my living room, clean wooden floors and empty table tops. “Your space is clean, Momma,” I tell myself as I exit.

Every evening, when I turn the key on my door, I know what will greet me — visibly tired looking grandparents lounging on the sofa, sipping their evening tea, a-fresh-from-nap-and-thus-a-very-active toddler who has strewn his blocks (all shapes and sizes), books and some wooden alphabets all across the living room. I can barely see the floor somedays. I get the creeps. As I scoop my boi up and do my routine kissy-huggy, all that my eyes capture and transmit to brain is ‘this cleanup will be a killer.

So each night, before I tuck myself and boi in bed, sorting the wooden blocks, magnetic ones, odd pages of boi’s favorite picture books, scooping missing pieces from under the sofa/TV cabinet have now become part of my daily ritual. I can’t go to bed when my living room or boi’s room is not organised to it’s original state. In fact, if I had my way then I would eliminate all these darned blocks from my home but sadly, they are an integral part of growing up (and a steady route to turn mommy into a mumbling hag). Arts & crafts, and construction/building play  — I’m told — are ways for children to express their creativity, encourages focus and concentration, and develops fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It is said to allow children feel proud of themselves and gain a sense of mastery after they have created something. Perhaps flinging the blocks too has some deep psychological impact — only positive I hope.

Call me crazy but everytime I see my child throwing his stuff around, I fast forward the scene to envision an adult version of my child living with his partner, and throwing his stuff about with no regards about cleaning it up. It is cringeworthy. I want to raise a happy thoughtful boi who will grow into caring and considerate man.

“If a child is old enough to get out a toy to play, she/he is old enough to put it away.”

Now this sounds logical on paper but believe me it doesn’t always work. I have tried singing songs to have my boi join me in cleaning up, tried to cajole him with “fun stuff we would do” post-cleanup, and even tried scolding. It does not work. Finding those inner pieces sitting under the sofa or cupboards is going to be my nemesis.

UPDATE: I ordered big covered stowaway bins from Groupon and they have arrived! I am taking the easier way out, hereon. Stashing the toys in one bin, favourite books in another and current favourite blocks in third one. Boi will be given one bin at a time, without overwhelming him with too many things to play at once while encouraging his creative play.

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Mommy in Kitchen: No Bake Oreo Chewies

Mommy in Kitchen: No Bake Oreo Chewies

#nobake Oreo Chewies with nuts and Raisins. I followed no single recipe and simply pulverised Oreos, with nuts and raisins and a little melted dark chico chips. Later on second thoughts added condensed milk to make it chewy …

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Can be eaten hot or cold. I am cooling them but could not resist tucking in a couple while making them.

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This Is What Happens When You Blow Soap Bubbles at -9°C

I came across this lovely images while surfing and I just had to share. And how I wish Singapore had one season of snow. You can visit mommy Angela Kelly, if you want more.

When the weather forecast announced about the unexpected cold from -9°C to -12°C last week, Washington-based photographer Angela Kelly decided to take an advantage of it in one truly creative way. Together with her 7-year-old son, Kelly combined the home-based remedies – dish soap, karo syrup, and water – and went out to blow bubbles and take pictures as they freeze and melt.

Soon the two adventurers found themselves in awe while watching the frost create magical patterns in the freezing bubbles. The smaller ones would freeze momentarily, simply mid-air, and then they would fall down and scatter like thin glass chips. The bigger ones would manage to freeze more slowly on the surface, giving the photographer a chance to catch the artworks of the frost on camera.

“We noted how they would freeze completely before the sun rose but that once the sun was in view they would defrost along the tops or cease freezing altogether.“ recalls Kelly to the KOMO News. “We also noted how they would begin to deflate and implode in on themselves making them look like alien shapes or in some cases shatter completely leaving them to look like a cracked egg.”

The process and the results of the photoshoot were highly rewarding for the photographer and her little one. “Are we ever too old to play with bubbles?” Kelly asks rhetoricaly. “I really think that this is the most fun, unique and beautiful series I’ve done yet!”

This Is What Happens When You Blow Soap Bubbles at -9°C (15,8°F) | Bored Panda.

 

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Mommy & son grow up

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I have to admit that when I came to Singapore, with a 3-month old baby in Feb 2013, nothing about living in this fast-laned country looked appealing to me. I had no immediate family (grandparents, friends and the handy helpers that one has access to in India) and honestly, I was scared terrified of being alone with a baby all day long. What if I could not understand what he was crying for? What will I do if my husband’s phone is unreachable in the event of an emergency? What if I slip in the bathroom, crack bones and baby left unattended?

Get the picture?

I was a stay-at-home-mom then and it can be a super hard life with unwarranted levels of stress on days. Housework, stocking grocery, laundry, get the cooking underway, eat healthy to be able to feed baby, ensure baby is cleaned-diapered-entertained etc. The list of what needed to be done in a house in insanely endless. And mind you keeping a few month old baby entertained is no joke.

My escape was taking walks with my baby tucked in his pram. One evening while strolling at my neighbourhood, United Square mall, it suddenly hit me why I saw so many moms with kids in tow in malls at any single day. Because everyone was like me! They were looking to keep their babies bewitched with mall, lights, bustling crowds, and get some exercise (walk walk walk) as they covered the length and breadth of the precinct. It’s all free AC, cheap food in foodcourts, some good shopping options and clean baby rooms for a quick diaper change. Win-Win all around. It is also a huge stress-buster for moms to be in adult surroundings.

This was complete opposite of how things were in India. With most neighborhoods in India comprising of crowded markets & encroached footpaths, there’s hardly a decent space to push the pram. Not to mention the blaring horns from all around that will in all likelihood scare the baby. Trying (and failing) to soothe a wailing baby, on road with everyone looking at you questioningly can make one feel most lubberly. Thus it is a rare sight in India to see new moms with babies in public places. Perhaps, the trend is changing in metros or a few posh neighbourhoods, but bulk of Indian babies have restricted exposure to outside world in early months.

It is not just the malls in Singapore where moms and babies are welcome. It’s a liberating feeling to be able to get out of house, onto the pavement with a pram and start walking. There are rarely any blaring horns, you won’t have cars or bikers jumping lanes and coming dangerously close to pedestrian areas, traffic signals are followed, pavements will never be blocked with wrongly parked vehicles, and most importantly the roads are designed to be wheelchair/pram friendly.

Most public places (malls, metros stations, bus interchanges even neighbourhood shopping centres) have dedicated spaces for kids & babies, complete with some swings in a corner. There are clean baby rooms in most malls that are terrific spaces for moms who want to breastfeed, or just quieten down a fussy child.

Even more amazing is the fact that Singapore, in its current political state, has only been around for 50 years. Yet, it has been able to think and plan its infrastructure for the 21st century and ahead. It leads the world in education, banking, shipping and has created a everyday existence of unrivaled cleanliness, safety and stability. In Singapore even petty theft is uncommon. I know it sounds like a rehearsed version of Singapore but for I come from a country which is still struggling to get its basic infrastructure in place and so it’s hard to ignore the built-in conveniences of this country.

If you are raising a child in Singapore or any such metropolis you would have probably used each of the facilities I have listed here, which we all often taken for granted, but mind you urban infrastructure is a blessing we fail to rightly acknowledge.

PS: Here’s one of my favourite guides to Singapore for parents. Via Sassy Mama

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Four brain games to help your baby’s development

Internet is becoming scarily intuitive. Just last night, I was talking to my friend on WhatsApp on what kind of games I should play with my 14-month old boi. And today morning when I Googled for news, this is what came on side bar as ‘targeted ad.’

Four brain games to help your baby’s development on Parent Exchange tells me that I am doing a fabulous job as a mommy when I am singing and playing peekaboo with my boi.

Set up a safe environment with pillows, chairs and blankets to encourage your infant to explore their surrounding environment by crawling, rolling, sitting or walking.

I do that almost regularly. While he’s at this exploration, we play a quick round of peekaboo too. And the squeals of joy that I get are the biggest gratification.

In fact, playing is considered such an important part of development that it’s been recognised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as a right of every child.

Play is a significant contributor to cognitive, physical, emotional and social development and is how children learn rules such as cause and effect, risk-taking, processes and the power of the imagination.

The best plaything a child can have is a parent.

In short, I’m a certified ‘plaything’.