Less toys more memories !

top view photography of toddler playing with toy
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Toys have a way of taking over.

It starts innocently enough. We love our kids. We want to make them happy. But before we know it, we find our-self standing ​knee-deep in discarded toy cars and superhero masks. The kids are bored; the house is a mess, and no one is happy.
Sound familiar? Isn’t it ? You’re not alone. Every new parent have the same story
Have you ever noticed that kids are easily overwhelmed with choice, and a child who is unsure of what to play with often ends up playing with nothing at all. No doubt kids remain amused by their toys… but that amusement last for few seconds.Then it’s back to the toy box, or more aptly, the floor.

My childhood?

When I think about my childhood, the memories that immediately flashes are: riding cycles with my sisters, playing outside until it got dark and mommy shouts, being excited to buy kulfi from Matka kulfi Wala, seeing the thriller horror show for the first time and being afraid to sleep, school functions, skinning my knees because I was trying new stunt on my cycle, watching fireworks with my family, playing antakshari for hours, winning all of my sister’s toys, her crying, me having to give them all back…

These are the experiences I remember which always brings smile on my face… My memories aren’t filled with the “things” from my childhood because when it comes to the things, my mind is a little foggy. I do remember getting a parrot shaped teddy on my birthday, a beautiful doll named Dimple that belonged to my eldest sister and a cute little teddy Lallu that was(still is) my elder sister’s love . I never had boxes full of similar toys, cars and dolls as we never required it.

My point is, the memories of my experiences flood back faster than the memories of the “things.”

Memories are more precious

When it comes to making your children happy, consider creating bonding rituals and traditions for children to look back on and cherish instead of automatically heading to the store to buy another toy or gadget. Have a monthly or weekly movie date or game filled evening, a cookie bake-in, or make a ritual of preparing a weekend meal together. These rituals will make a lasting memories and not the number of toys they have.

But now, when you already have cluttered your kids room with toys, there are few ways which i think will help you in making space in the room for pictures and memories..

1. Time to let go
Start by digging out and boxing up any toys that your kids have outgrown. If your child is already reading, it may be time to pass those alphabet and phonics toys on to someone else. Still holding on to those rattles and teethers? Time to let go.
Multiples are another obvious offender. If you have three versions of Memory featuring three different characters, pick a favorite and move on.
Finally, toss the junk. Broken toys, puzzles and games with missing pieces, Happy Meal prizes, party favors—just trash it!
Its time to think what they actually like. Kids tend to play with same toys regularly. they may pick up other toys as well but they will always come back to their favorites. Find out the favorites.

hand playing childhood game
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2. Toys on Display
When kids can’t see their toys, they don’t play with them. Sick of your kids pulling out every last toy just to leave them lying all over the floor? Why not leave them out in the first place.
Instead of stuffing toys into baskets and bins, try organizing your little one’s things into several themed play stations where toys remain largely on display. For instance, you might have a parking lot for all the cars and trucks. Set up a table with art supplies and building toys and a reading corner with a comfy chair and some books.
Your child will have a much easier time deciding what to play with, and you’ll find it much easier to keep up with the mess.

3. Toy Rotation
Playing with the same toys over and over again can get tiring after a while. Wondering how to keep your kiddos engaged? Try mixing things up a little. A well-organized toy rotation helps to eliminate clutter while allowing children to play with a wider selection of toys. Since the available toys change on a regular basis, there is always something new and exciting to play with, ensuring your child will never get bored.

4. Make Books Interesting and Accessible
Bookshelves are often difficult for little ones to access on their own, and with so many books to choose from, it’s hard to know what to pick. If you want to encourage your kids to read, try trading traditional bookshelves for a few easy-to-access book rails. Book rails hold fewer books and display their covers better, making them more attractive to kids.
Make sure your child can see and reach the books, and change the titles often to continually peak their interest.

5. Buy Fewer Toys
The best way to keep toys under control is to not buy so many in the first place! You are in no way loving your child less by buying them few toys.

6. Make a Better Choice
Toys are meant to be tools, not entertainment centers. Instead of buying your kids flashy plastic junk, look for toys that encourage creative thinking, teamwork, and imaginative play. Bricks, blocks and other building toys are excellent creative fodder for growing minds, and games are perfect for teaching children teamwork and good sportsmanship.

7. Toy bank
If in India, there is a Toy bank https://toybank.in/ who are doing a marvelous job by collecting toys and distributing it to kids who need it and those who cant afford it. You can always call them and donate your toys to bring smile on yet another kids.

So, don’t let those little plastic flashy thing take over you… gift your child with memories to cherish forever (like we do).

Watch “Flying alone with kid/Mommy and kid on the wings/traveling with a 2 year old/traveling with kid” on YouTube

Are you planning to fly alone with your kid?

Scary?

Don’t be…

Honestly… It’s not that hard. I mean YES – kids will poop, tears will flow, flights might be missed…but IT’S NOT THAT DIFFERENT FROM YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE… The ultimate goal shold be have patience and enjoy…

Check out my recent vlog…
Do like,share and subscribe to my channel
#travelingwithkid #mommynkid #travelingwith2yearold #spicejetairlines #DelhitoAhmedabad

Lovingly Me !

woman standing on flower field and raising her both hands
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“On the way of life i met you as a stranger… but your warmth and affection has touched my heart so deeply that you have become an inseparable part of my life… you are the one with whom i am free to share all my joy and sorrow… with you i am my true self… ”

–these were the lines on a greeting card i read long back when i was in school (some 18 years back)… these lines touched my heart so deeply that i read and read it again… till i engraved it in my mind… and from then i started looking for someone perfect to say these words…

Never realizing, that someone may be within me… it took me 18-20 long years to finally realize that these lines where meant for me… i am the inseparable part of me… my true self is within me…

Well, coming to the point. I have finally found the self love… I have found that, Life is a voyage of self discovery. To me, to be enlightened is to go within and to know who and what we really are, and to know what ability we have to change for the better by loving and taking care of ourselves.

unfortunately, i always kept a condition before loving myself, like, i will love myself the day i will look beautiful, the day i will loose weight, the day i will get a good job, the day i will get the raise, as silly as the day i will cook good… but believe me “the Day” never came…

Finally, i started loving myself the way i am. I may not be good for everyone, i may not be very soft spoken, my straight forwardness might hurt people, some may not like my cooking, some may hate my figure and my look, some may dislike my professional genre… some may even dislike my way of writing but WHO CARES!!! When i have myself to love me, to admire me.

person doing thumbs up
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Be selfish in loving you!
Despite all the things that you think may be terribly wrong with you, love yourself. Love yourself. Tattoo it on your brain. And not just in the superficial sense of self-love, like exercising regularly and watching less TV. It is time to really, fully and wholly love yourself top to bottom, inside and out. This is what i am doing today.

Choice is yours–
Every day, we are choosing. We may not choose our circumstances, but we choose how we react. In fact, the only thing truly within our control is ourselves and our choices. that’s all we have.

So even when other people hurt us, when our pain is the direct result of someone else’s choices, the choice is still ours whether we let that pain suffocate us, or if we let it go. Move on. Forgive.

For far too long, I felt the pain and emotional bruising from distant moments. Just for instance, i was a kid cricket player and every time i was kept as extra in team, every time i was sent with water for players, i get embarrassed… i felt hurt. Never realizing then that my day will also come.

I grew up, faced my such moment and gradually became pessimist. For far too long, I held onto resentment, blaming others for my choices. I should have long-since forgiven as sharply as if they had just happened yesterday.

10 year challenge–
Take a challenge today: Take a picture of your face and remember that in 10 years time you will be amazed at how gorgeous you were… So be amazed now… do not wait for future.

wood light creative space
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Be good to yourself, do things that inspires you–
Make a list. Grab your notepad or even your mobile phone and make a list of things you can do today to make you feel good. Keep adding to the list. Forgive yourself if you skip a couple and love yourself no matter how long or short the list is and how much you accomplish on it.

You will not be graded or tested on this list!

My list involves a lot of laughing. My “Feel Good” list also has: my Kathak practice, field reporting from terrorist camps 😛 , a long leisurely dinner with my other half (wont write better half!), staying up all night reading a book I cannot put down, playing with my little bundle of joy whole day long, leisure trip to Goa with my husband with nothing to do than just sitting on the beach, sleeping on my mommies lap the whole night, discussing all nonsense with my best buddy, buying everything and anything for my little love, having a tea on any high-way dhaba, long trip with whole and extended family (everyone in jolly mood) and the list goes on. The list might be hilarious but these is the feel good factor for me.

girl riding bike in the middle of the road during day
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Do something every single day that makes you feel good, whether it is changing your thought patterns or taking a bath for hours. Maybe it’s getting an extra hour of sleep or staying up late and watching Shahrukh movie for the 50th time. Just do it.

Am i in love with me?
That’s not to say that life is fine and dandy as a result or that I don’t still experience deep pain. I endure bouts of crushing self-doubt very often. I torment myself with “what ifs” that have no right to take up head space.

I am still on the path to loving myself and to knowing and living my truth. I can say in all honesty that I love myself now more than ever, and I know I will come to love myself more deeply in the future.

What’s most important, however, is to remember “i am not perfect but i am enough”

note *You may not like my writing but that’s your choice, i am loving it entirely.

Getting Ready with the Hospital Bag for the D-Day

Now when you are nearing your 10th month or have almost completed your 35th week, it is the time to think about the D-Day. This is the time, when you need to do the final check about planning your delivery – the choice of hospital, how to reach hospital, emergency contact numbers, and so many other things.

One of the most important To-Do in the third trimester or the final month is deciding what to pack in your hospital bag, which sounds like an unimportant thing but is critical. When my sister-in-law talked about the hospital bag, my inherent reaction was “To prepare a bag for delivery? I am not going on a holiday, I am going to hospital to deliver a baby. Why will I need a bag?”, I wondered. But after understanding the objectives of the hospital bag, I understood its importance and figured out that it is going to be the lifeline for you, your partner and the baby for the days to be spent before, during and after the delivery in the hospital.

So where to start?

You don’t want to leave out any essentials, but there’s also no reason to overdo things. As soon I entered my third trimester, Ovia App (one of the App I installed and followed during pregnancy and still following it post pregnancy) suggested me to start gathering things for my hospital bag. There are many things which you can order online (Flipkart, Amazon, FirstCry, MeeMee etc.) and hence may need time up to a week for delivery, thus starting early is not a bad idea. But after doing some rather lot of research on the internet and consulting my mom, sisters and sister-in-laws, I finally made a long list of things which are essential for my days in hospital. Contents of the hospital bag depends on the view of the Gynecologist about your condition (whether it is going to be a normal or a cesarean/C-section as the days of stay in hospital is contingent to that).

When should you pack your hospital bag?

My first question to everyone was when to pack the bag? Since, I was continuing with my job till start of 10th month, the routine was quite hectic. So, to save time and be prepared for any emergency, I packed my bags when I was still in my penultimate month. It was also my excitement that soon after completing the 9th month, I started working on my packing list.  Moreover, in my view once you complete your 35th week of pregnancy, it is a good time to pack your hospital bag. Though there is still about 4-5 week in your delivery but better be prepared than in a mess (I assure you, you will count days and would not be able to control your excitement beyond this week).

How and what to pack?

My hospital bag had everything which I may need and informed about it to everyone in my family to not forget this lifeline in hurry. Believe me, the thrill and the detailing while packing a pregnancy bag was more fun than packing a bag for any holiday. But make sure not to stuff unnecessary things in your bag.

The thumb rule is to prepare a check list prior to your packing. This is easy as you can prepare the list on your mobile phone while commuting or you can even make the list in your office computer in the leisure time you get (I suggest the Notes App in your mobile phone). The reason for preparing a list in advance is that you still have time to add items and arrange the items which are not available readily. As i said earlier, you may need to order few things online. Make sure to call hospital after preparing your long list and before buying/ordering anything to ensure what all things they may provide to the mother and the baby. As in my case, hospital provided us with baby’s clothes and basic essentials items for the new born (though I did not used it much). If you are going for normal delivery, you will need to stay in hospital for a day or two. In a cesarean or C-Section delivery you might have to stay up to 5 days or more, depending on your status of post delivery recovery.

Now when you are ready with your list, here is the list things that I packed in my bag—

  1. Linen: Hospitals usually provide essential linen to the mother and baby, but it is advisable to include one or two essential bedding items in the bag, for yourself, baby and attendant.
  2. Toiletries: This includes toothbrush, hand wash, hand sanitizer, face wash, body wash, cream or moisturizer, towel, comb and last but not the least sanitary pads. Most hospital do provide sanitary pads but it is always better to stick to the one you are already using and comfortable with (the pads provided by the hospitals are conventional cotton ones and I do not find them comfortable to use).
  3. Clothes: Though you will get a standard clothes from the hospital which they provide to the admission holders but a pair of cloth is needed in which you will return home with the new family member (take a loose fit dress, ironically, the one you wore in your 8th or 9th month will still be ok!!!). Pack few pair of clothes for the attendant too including one for night change.
  4. Medicines: Only if you are on a regular dose. Although, it is advisable not to take any medicine without your Gynecologist’s consultation. Also, do not forget to keep medicine of your partner/attendant (if any).
  5. Socks: Keep at least two pairs of socks (cushioned), as your body will be weak and exhausted after labor pain and you might feel cold (in hospitals, there is generally centralized Air Conditioning and it is difficult to turn it off). Socks was my savior post delivery.
  6. Footwear: I don’t think you need an additional pair of slippers. Go to hospital in a comfortable slippers, one that can be used in the toilets as well.
  7. Maternity wear: This includes a good nursing bra (a size higher than the usual), feeding gowns and comfortable underwear. A good nursing bra and feeding gown eases your nursing time in hospital and even after you come back home.
  8. Feeding cover: Initially feeding is the most tiresome job. For the first time mommies and the new born, this is the most difficult thing to get used to during the initial days. Post-delivery, when you are surrounded by friends and relatives, you need a feeding cover (the baby is to be breast fed every hour or may be shorter than that). Initially you feel awkward to feed in front of anyone but gradually you will become a pro in feeding the baby in public, without letting anyone know ;). So, feeding cover can be of a great help.
  9. Breast Pump and Infant Feeding Bottle– Though the requirement may vary from case to case, but if your or baby’s condition is not well post delivery, the milk for the baby can be pumped and stored in refrigerators. Babies do catch Jaundice post delivery and is common. In my case, the baby was required to be kept in ICCU for few days and the breast pump and feeding bottle was must for me. Post delivery too, the breast pump will be helpful for you to store the milk.
  10. Snacks: Keep some biscuits or other baked quick bites in the bag (popcorn, makhana, almonds etc.). The hospital food sometime is not enough for you and you may feel hungry especially during night time (the initial few days, you have to spend sleepless nights to feed and to pacify the baby).
  11. Health card/ Insurance paper: Do not forget to make a file folder containing all your medical records and reports and take a photocopy of all the documents needed for the purpose of insurance.
  12. Wallet/ cash/ ATM: Generally, you are not in a position (health wise) to takes care of the payments at the hospital, but if you feel then you should also keep your wallet with some emergency cash/ATM and a photocopy of your ID proof.
  13. Mobile and chargers: Please free up your mobile phone memory space and don’t forget to keep the charger (the numbers of call you are going to receive during that time will drain the batteries within few hours). You need mobile to spread the good news and now a days to capture the rare moments too.
  14. Baby Clothes: Keep some comfortable light cotton clothes which is washed many a times in mild detergent (you can also use an old cloth of sibling or a cousin). Please keep a soft and warm baby wrap/blanket to wrap and to cover the infant. Mittens, socks, 3-4 pair of clothing (rompers meant for infants), soft baby towels, nappies, diapers/cloth nappies, and a cotton cap to cover the baby’s head (generally, hospital provides baby essentials).

My words

Last but not the least, the most important thing to pack in your hospital bag is confidence and positivity. Do not forget to keep smile, faith and love handy, for any emergency!!!

From home to hospital, to labor, to labor pain, to delivering baby is not everyone cup of tea. Your positivity and confidence will definitely make this journey much easier.

 

What to expect when you are expecting?

For us and I guess for every couple, expecting first child is undoubtedly the happiest thing. But generally, they remain perplexed on how to react and how to show their emotions. The truth is, in the beginning I hardly felt any change. Apart from restrictions from eating few things there was hardly any change. I have always heard of so many pregnancy tantrums, mood swings, taste change, vomiting and don’t know what, but in my case, nothing happened. It was frustrating at times because I waited for the pampering after mood swings and prega-tantrums but nothing like that happened. I guess that depends completely on individual. So, all you expecting mommies, do not feel bad if you don’t get any such mood swing and prega-tantrums (as you must have heard of) or my suggestion is even if you don’t get any such feeling, just pretend to be in the mood-swing zone. Moreover, who don’t love to get pampered during pregnancy!!!

Well, getting to the exact situation then, I was literally waiting for the change in my body but it took me as long as six and half months for the baby tummy to show. Until then everything was as it used to be (managing kitchen, family, going to office, field reporting, live news telecast and everything). Only the near and dear ones knew that I was on my family way.

But, it is said “Intezar ka phal hamesha meetha hota hai” … Similarly, the long wait was undoubtedly the best wait for me. The moment i got the baby tummy showing and the moment I felt that slight kick, I was the happiest person on earth. I remember, me and my better half waited for hours with our hands on my tummy to feel our little bundle of joy. It may sound silly but the would-be dad uses to put his ears on my tummy to listen to baby. I guess he was waiting for the baby to say ‘Love you Papa’!!! Those days were wonderful. Twinkle-Twinkle little star was my babies favourite rhyme and baby kicked every time he listened the rhyme.

The Chinese calendar

If you walk with your left foot first you will have baby girl!! If you like eating Sweets during pregnancy you will have baby boy!! There are numerous myths that you will listen when carrying a baby. These predictions are age long. And undoubtedly elders have experience and expertise in predicting your baby gender!! Though I scarcely believe in all these prediction and myths but at times even i was persuadedaawith the prediction. One such instance was when I was suggested to check the gender of my baby in Chinese calendar. Yes I was all excited to predict if I will have a beautiful daughter or a handsome son. I searched it on google. Filled all those parameters and dates. Me and my husband were waiting patiently, when the result came and it was a baby girl…We were happy and more excited now. I called my mom and ran to my mom-in-law and told them the result. And to melt my excitement, both the mommies had another prediction and they said ‘ye to galat hai’. Now we were in dilemma whom to believe. The much talked about Chinese calendar or the words of experience. We finally decided to forget about it and enjoy the phase. Though on 8thof July, mommies experienced prediction won over Chinese calendar.

First visit to doctor

Your doctor will become your best friend during those days (though this was not so in my case). As she will be the one who will know you inside-out. First visit to doctor, is a huge excitement initially but it won’t give you much to feel excited about. My first interaction with doctor resulted in zero excitement. I was one of the fifty would-be mommies she(doctor) was meeting that day and she saw my report and told me to eat Iron calcium and not to exert much during first three months. My first visit to doctor lasted for 5mins. That’s it!!

The First Dub-Dub sound

I still remember my third visit to doctor, when we heard our baby. Yes! You read it right. We heard baby’s heart beat for the first time. Baby’s heart starts to beat at around 6th week and the dub-dub sound of hear will give you goose-bumps, believe me. Doctor made us hear that wonderful sound in her clinic and we were out of the world. I remember me and my husband did not have a word after that till we reached home. Both of kept mum throughout the way back home. As we wanted to preserve that sound in our ears and heart for as long as possible. “The best music I ever heard was the heartbeat of my baby”

The First look

People generally ask, how can you love someone without seeing them even once. But ask any parents, they are the one who love their kid from the inception, from the time baby is just a cluster of few cells. And gradually there comes a day when you look at your baby for the first time. When you witness the life growing inside you. I remember I had tears in my eyes when I saw the little heart beating inside me. The image that has captured my mind forever. First USG is generally done in 11-12th week. Though you won’t be able to see a clear image but that little cluster of cells with beating heart will give your life a new meaning.

You are not a patient!

Many women believe they need to remain in complete rest and not do anything during pregnancy but this is generally not the case, unless there is any complication. In my pregnancy, i remained busy throughout the 9 months. I do not remember a single day of rest. I remember I cooked yummiest chicken curry a night before my baby was born! Yes, at times I felt lethargic, weak and felt like spending the whole day on my bed but never did so. And I guess if you remain busy throughout 9 months, you will have a happy mind, away from all the negativity which might have cropped otherwise.

My generous words

Pregnancy is a beautiful phase of life, enjoy it. Do what you love to do. Ignore all the negativity around. If u feel you are healthy and fine, you actually are. So, listen to your heart. Cherish the changes in your body. Feel the Dub-Dub sound. Capture the first sight. Time will fly with a blink so love every bit of those 9 months.

Also, do not google everything. During my days, we use to google everything. That resulted in nothing but confusion. For instance, we found videos on YouTube that showed baby foot and palm impression clearly visible on tummy wall. We waited for that moment eagerly but never got to see those impressions. Also, none of my known have visualized any such impression.

So, enjoy your moment. Cherish every day. Enjoy those lovely kicks as you will miss those kicks once baby is in your arm.

And do not forget to go on Babymoon (as I went to Darjeeling, queen of hills)

Stay tuned for more of mommy-baby experience and a lot more.

Mommy to-be or not-to-be

“It is like pumping blood to the little heart inside you. It is like passing air to the little lungs. It is like loving the unknown with all your heart and soul. This is what being mommy is.”

In country like India and family like mine (upper middle class) parents tend to take all tension for their daughter’s marriage and as soon as the vermilion appears on her head, parents tension deviates from marriage to the grandchildren. I got married at the age of 29, in a perfect arranged marriage scenario. And by the time I learnt to put a perfect straight line of vermilion on my head, I was expected to give the good news!!

I am a Journalist, professionally and mentally. So, prior to marriage i remained busy in political news coverage, war reporting and so many other things and whenever i get leisure time, I use to spend it sleeping. Sleeping for hours. But after marriage the scenario changed completely, my priority shifted from Career-Work-News to Family-Work-Family. Being an ideal Indian Bahu, became my new KRA. But achieving this KRA is not an easy task. Life after marriage is not a cake walk, trust me. Similarly, for me, it was difficult rather very difficult to get accustomed with all the changes. Mentality, routine, habits, thinking, the way I dress up (!!!) and lot more things. I took months to get settled in my new family. But Yes, I did it.

The Dilemma

Once I got settled in my new world, began the never-ending discussion of family planning. Like every other couple we were in Dilemma to plan a baby now or later. Several questioned cropped in our mind, what is the right time? What about my Journalism career if I plan a baby right away? What about our saving for the new addition in family? Is my body ready for all the changes? If not now then when? We spend many nights discussing ‘now or later’ and finally decided to plan it now(!). Why? Because our heart told us to plan it right away! (4 months after marriage). We decide to have baby as we thought baby will add more color

to our relationship. Baby will strengthen our bond. And believe me IT DID. You will not realize it initially but once u will get your bundle of joy, u will experience that your relationship has reached a new level.

The good news!

Ironically rather fortunately, the aashirvad of ‘Doodho nahao puto Phalo’, worked perfectly in me and my husband’s case and soon we were all set on our family way. I remember it was the month of November when the cool morning breeze and the two lines on the Prega-stripe made us the happiest couple. Few initial blood tests and we were sure that we are on our family way. We shared the good news with both the families. The news was like the best thing ever happened to them. Everyone was on cloud 9. Though we were happy as well but I guess our happiness was still few steps behind than that of our parents.

adult affection baby belly
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My words

Now or later, you will have to plan it. You will have to take a break from everything. And trust me, the feeling of being mommy is worth sacrificing your work for a while. Its worth taking a break from everything. Moreover, If you have the will and passion you can always resume your career.

Then came my first trimester… first visit to doctor… first USG… first look of the life inside me…the Chinese calendar… and a lot more in my next blog. Stay tuned!!!