Tag Archives: child

Parenthood and other things + Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

19 Feb

Being a parent is the most fortunate thing to happen to anyone –  seems like an overstatement but I think it’s absolutely true. When Mimi was born, it took me a while to step out from the state of awe. Tiny and vulnerable, my new-born looked like the most exquisite thing I had ever laid my eyes on. Unfortunately, unlike most of you, I didn’t take to motherhood naturally. It took me a great while to figure her out. I was too scared to trust my instincts or for that matter even my husband’s as far as Mimi affairs were concerned. Be it her colicky experience, her natural tendency to run before she started walking, her difficulty in pronouncing ” Y” and “Th” words ( words like yellow were pronounced as Lello and Bath was Baff).  Rather than trusting my own instincts, I would look up the internet or talk to my mother who I thought is the authority in raising a child since she managed to make something out  of me! But over a period of time, I have understood Mimi and my instincts are better positioned to work and deliver.

photo (8)

Despite having four solid years of experience of raising a child, both my husband and I still struggle when it comes to trusting our instincts as parents. It becomes increasingly difficult especially when a credible source like school and especially your child’s teacher tells you certain things about your child that you find difficult to refute. It was when Mimi joined nursery that I went back to work. It was  a trying time for both of us because we spent nearly 3.5 glorious years together before this abrupt separation happened. ( including the pregnancy months when I took a sabbatical from work)

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The first year passed incident-free but the second year onward we received a steady stream of complaints from school regarding her behaviour. Mimi suddenly resorted to displaying sudden bursts of temper and several cases of disobedience. These complaints did not cease even after several attempts of intervention with Mimi. We, as parents, were at our wits end. The teacher and school started to label her as someone with ADHD and that increased our anxiety levels beyond imagination. Every single day was spent trying to make Mimi understand about good behaviour but none seem to work. Somehow we resigned to believe that maybe Mimi did have ADHD and perhaps as the teacher suggested would need medical attention and therapy.  We spoke to several counselors, Psychotherapists and child psychiatrists and each one of them strongly recommended that we should wait it out because at 3  years it was too early to diagnose anything. It was the most grueling time for us as parents and midst all of this confusion, the school gave us a hard time questioning our parenting skills.

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Finally, after months of sleepless nights, we decided to trust our instincts and take her off the school especially when certain stray incidents of discrimination came to my knowledge. It was as if the school did not want her too. Truce was declared and Mimi spent  several months at home doing what she liked – painting, writing, watching her favourite shows, eating wonderful food and chilling out. What surprised me was that she was  a completely different person at home as compared to how the teachers projected her – A devil child.

For a parent, there no bigger grief trust me.

Once she was off school, there was collective sigh of relief and life went on.  Towards the beginning of a new year, I went up to one of the smaller nurseries in town and requested them to take Mimi. The new school gladly took her and Mimi began a new life with new classmates, new teachers and a brand new atmosphere. By the grace of God, she took to this new school rather easily and the positive environment did a good deal of good. Her beautiful character sparkled through and she started to enjoy the new tryst. There were never any complaints from school and we thanked our lucky stars that she found a loving environment that cherishes her for what and who she is.

We are so happy that we trusted our instincts and got her off the previous school without falling for the teacher’s random observations of Mimi having ADHD. These days ADHD has become the easiest label given to a child who is slightly naughty. I feel it is utterly unfair when schools and their ‘qualified’ teachers assume this easy way of relinquishing all responsibility when it comes to handling children with different capacities and energy levels by pronouncing them as either developmentally slow or suffering from ADHD.

Hence a lesson to learn from our bitter experience would be always, ALWAYS trust your own instincts in matters relating to your child.

Only yesterday we got to know that Mimi got accepted at the “Big School” after a thorough interview process and fantastic recommendation from her current school. We are so proud of her and how she has transformed in the last 6-8 months with the new school. It is a big milestone for us as parents and a beautiful opportunity for Mimi. This joyous moment called out for something sweet and beautiful and the chocolate pistachio fudge was the right choice – instinctively. 🙂

It asks for very few basic ingredients and very little prep. It is fudgy and full of chocolate goodness. You would be surprised how quickly these vanish – these little bites of heaven. Enjoy these one at a time with your children and treasure every moment spent with them because time’s flying away. Wishing you all a terrific mid-week!

Click to see the enlarged picture of the recipe card

Click to see the enlarged picture of the recipe card

 

Parenthood & A Plum Tart

9 Jul

Just the other day, when my hubby and I were in a middle of a baseless argument about some chores and who should do them, we heard a squeaky little voice ordering us to, ” STOP!!, guys!! Stop it. Don’t shout!!  Shush. Quiet please”

We looked around to see her standing with her tiny hands on her hips and a solemn expression. We smiled at her and proceeded to continue our bickering.

” Guys!! Stop it. Don’t shout!!!” , she nearly shouted at us and didn’t let us continue with our verbal duel. Her assertive ‘stop it’ made us end that argument for good. Next, all I remember is pampering her and tickling her till she was shouting, please stop, please stop, again. Both my hubby and I completely forgot what we were haggling about.

This little, massively cute, being has completely changed our lives. I think our happiness quotient has inched a new notches higher only because of her. But to all that is amazing in our life, I find it more and more difficult, most times, to reach out to my husband. Since both of us work, we have less and less time for ourselves, to find some time to do our thing. Our life clearly revolves around Mimi and Mimi-stuff. All our plans are about the activities that Mimi would like to do or Mimi would enjoy.  The choice of TV shows, movies and weekend outings are all about what Mimi would like to do. Funnily enough even all the conversation is about Mimi and how she went about her day, her school, her friends, her paintings, her bike, her singing, etc. When my parents call or my hubby’s parents call, all they want to know is how Mimi’s doing. So Mimi -mania is far and wide. I put one photograph of Mimi on facebook and there are about 70 odd likes and comments against it in a matter of 3o minutes. It is fun alright and it is so much fun that the rest of the world can blur in the background. With the world, it seems like my partner of 7 years also blurs and I am sure the same happens to him too.

I cannot recall a time where we have a had a carefree, romantic time for ourselves. We did go to London on our own and that was a good opportunity to find ourselves again. But the purpose was different ( read, job search) so we also packed tension and stress in our suitcases to London, along with our clothes. I complain to him about this disconnect that we suffer from sometimes, and he brushes my cares away stating I am only imagining them. I retort back stating he is being lazy and doesn’t want to put in that extra effort.  He is known to simplifying things in life while I am the one who loves complications. So in the lieu of such personality traits, I have no choice but to agree to what he says. After all simplicity is a more preferred trait.

I gave it a lot of thought and tried to even imagine this as the next step in the evolutionary process of Parenting.  Maybe this is how it is supposed to be. I recall my parents always doing stuff for my brother and me. I hardly remember them doing anything that they liked doing. I really need to read up on some parenting literature online that rubbishes this theory of evolution wherein partners only connect with each other through their offspring. But if this theory is true and if these are how things would be from now on, then I should really start making efforts to adapt to this new ‘way of life’. I am sure I am going to find it really hard to settle into this new order of things because I always resist change and it irks me no end to see my hubby happily cozy-ing into this system without batting an eyelid.

I am certain that adapting to this next step in this Parenting evolutionary process is going to be very, very hard but I found out that adapting a recipe for a Frangipane Tart from Masterchef Australia wasn’t that tough. Despite my earlier reservations about:

1. The recipe was as Masterchef Australia recipe which meant it would have multiple steps to do first and then it would all culminate into this classy baked treat

2. It would be time-consuming and would need lots of ingredients

3. I can’t do it because the end result would be far from being spectacular and I think I not that skilled as a baker

I kept procrastinating and finally decided to give it a go. I also made a carrot cake ( post coming up soon) just so that if the tart bombed then atleast I would have a carrot cake as a safe bet to count on and feed people as dessert.

I would really like the pictures to do all the talking and simply end this post by saying, this Almond and Plum Frangipane Tart was beyond delicious. Originally a Fig and Pistachio Crumble Tart, I had to change the ingredients because fresh figs weren’t available in the market. The supermarket shelves were teeming with ripe, plump, and juicy plums and those seemed like the most obvious choice for this tart and safest bet with plums could only be almonds. All photos in this post were clicked by @namit93 (Namit Bhatia) including the styling etc. I think he did a fantastic job.

This tart is as rustic as it is elegant. Wondering if it would be alright to describe this as a one that exudes rustic elegance?  This is my second attempt at trying out a Masterchef recipe. The first being this Black Forest cake I made for my anniversary, which was equally enticing. This tart shall go down in my repertoire as the one which shall be prepared on days when I have to impress guests.

Now just as this tart that initially seemed so intimidating turned out quite easy to tackle, I wish to be able to handle new pressures of  parenthood that seem so daunting right now. While doing that, I also wish and hope to rekindle a new kind of equation with my husband.

Are you listening, hubby dear?

I am sending this plum tart to Priya Kumar’s – Best Tart Event posted here (http://priyaskitchendiary.blogspot.in/2012/08/best-tart-event-announcement-and.html

 

A Mother’s Intuition

17 Jul

I never thought I would write about this but I was compelled to. It has happened too many times to ignore it. When somebody starts about mother-child bond, I always found it too bollywood-ish to deal with (this was before I had Mimi). Usually I am kind and listen to it all but passively. The other times, I simply have no patience for such cock and bull stories. I recall the times when my mum strictly warned me about doing something and I would never listen to her. It always ended badly. I attributed that ability of hers, to her experience in life and all that concerns it. Ofcourse, I know that she always has my best interests in mind and perhaps at that moment it may not look like it. Away from home as a student and then as a working professional, I began to really see that her ability had transcended geographies. There were times when she called me in the middle of the night to know how am doing and that used to be time when I was terribly sick. It used to freak me out since I would have deliberately kept this from her since I would not have liked her getting upset. But how in the world did she manage to do it? It comforted and shocked me at the same time. I kept reasoning it as being a lucky guess. She claims that she just knows since I am her child.

Fast forward and now I am a mum. I feel like a novice even after 22 months of handling my child. I feel like everyday she throws something new at me that catches me off guard. I am not a natural at it like my mum or many of you, I must confess. But things have happened where I have started to feel that a mother-child bond is more than just about experience. Sure, I know Mimi better than I knew her 10 or 12 months back. I know her general pattern of behaviour but she is growing every second in every possible way. That makes it important for me to unlearn and then relearn all over again. To cut the chase, I am writing this post merely to solicit advice and comfort out of knowing that it does happen to others also. I have to know and its important to me and that is the reason why am writing this post at 5 am in the morning inspite of having slept only at 2 a.m.

Mimi has this habit of sleeping only at the edge of the bed. Yes, she still sleeps with us in our bed. She has a cot of her own, but she wouldn’t prefer sleeping there. Sometimes I feel, it is more for my comfort that I let her do so. Usually she is fine. Well almost always she fine. But today, early morning at 4:30 a.m I dreamt that she was about to fall. In a matter of seconds I leaned down at the foot of our bed, to pick her up even before she touched the ground. I still hadn’t opened my eyes when I held her close to ease my racing heart. She got miffed by the little disturbance but soon fell asleep. I couldn’t get a wink after that. So I decided to do this post. This has happened so many times before and I kept attributing this to reflex but don’t you have to be awake for your reflexes to be active? I usually get these sights about her when I am asleep and see it very clearly even before it has happened. My nerves refuse to rest after that. These dreams/sights are usually concerning her safety and overall well-being.

This morning, I decided to google about this and found numerous stories and certain grave  ones too- ones that became a matter of life and death. A mother’s intuition saving her children’s lives. Extraordinary indeed!! Research suggests that a mother’s top 5 anxieties are all children-related and these dreams stem from these anxieties. I have also come to believe that Mothers have an incredible radar when it comes to her children. Even in those rare occasions that I am away from her I am constantly thinking about her. I begin to feel disturbed if something unpleasant has happened when I am away.

So that’s my story about my bond with my daughter. I would want to know stories about similar experiences, if you may care to share.

For CSAawareness- Coping and Moving On

25 Apr

This post is a part of  the Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month initiative started by some fantastic souls I met on Twitter.  I have to extend my heart-felt appreciation to the CSA team who have relentlessly advocated this noble cause with unmatched passion and zeal. Through CSA team’s effort, I have realized and understood so much about my own behavioural aspects as a result of some untoward incidents that occurred when I was younger.

I read through numerous stories on  CSA blog  that each survivor has so bravely managed to convey. Each such story strikes a chord and somewhere I relive my unsure and unhappy moments with them.  When I was asked to submit a post for this cause, I went through many a sleepless nights. However hard I tried, I couldn’t remove the thought from my head and it kept coming back to me. I kept questioning, if only writing about it and talking about it would do any good?  That’s when my daughter came prancing around on her ballet toes and I decided to do this post.

Unsavoury events in the past have probably done a lot to turn me into the person that I am today. But it is only today that we discuss these issues more openly, with reason and empathy. When I was a child, I believe it was a taboo to discuss “such” things. As a consequence, inspite of a very supportive family it wasn’t possible to come forth to discuss, or atleast I believed so. Now when I sit back and think, as a child an unkind word, a rude gesture or a mal-intentioned touch were all slotted in the same category. It is difficult to distinguish one bad feeling from the other. While, as a child, I didn’t run to complain to my parents when my classmate pushed me to the ground for no fault of mine, I couldn’t or didn’t feel the need to rush and tell them about any other kind of issues I faced within the school or outside, even if it was sexual or intimidating in nature. It was much easier to either fight my battle OR  submit at times and then try to forget about it.

Over a period of time, as I grew up into a teenager, it was made evidently clear from discussions with friends, parents and teachers that it was completely fine to come up and discuss your grievances. During one such unsavoury incident, I understood a vital truth that even if you bravely went and spoke about your infliction, people ( read teachers and others) were more interested in the voyeuristic listening pleasure of details of the incident. When this revelation came to me, I immediately closed doors and decided to not let ANYONE have the pleasure of listening to my woes and convert it into a sensational gossip to discuss in their free time. As a result of this treatment, I quickly changed tracks and became the reserved person that I am.  People who think that they know me may laugh when I say this because, I might the one who sang the loudest at the back benches of the class, the one who participated in every competition, debates alike. But inside, I knew a constant turmoil that rendered it impossible to let my emotions out easily.

Because these incidents left an indelible imprint on my mind really early on, I was always on high alert, constantly gauging my environment and those within it. Nobody needed to teach me the proper way to sit, stand or behave as I was already conscious about my body and had a specific idea about how I needed to project myself.  As a young adult, I learnt to cope with these feelings of guilt and confusion by diving deep into creative projects. I played competitive sports, took dance lessons, exercised till there was no energy to carry on. This vigorous physical exertion made sure my mind was far from all the negative feelings that tried to creep up on me. But sometimes during the lowest points of my life, I have struggled to see the bright side of life and felt the demons rise again. I grappled and fought them till they were quelled again. In my own experience, there is actually no closure ever because memory seeks to find it from the deepest recesses in our most vulnerable moments. Even if  you confront your abuser it may or may not lead to any kind of closure inside your heart.

But I can confidently say, it is possible to slay these demons by always being CREATIVE- trying to learn something new, being true to yourself, and being optimistic about life in general. When I found it extremely difficult to handle my emotions I sought refuge in courses such as Art of Living and reading inspirational books. I also indulged in activities like baking, painting and martial arts such as krav maga. PHYSICAL EXERTION or building physical endurance made sure I felt confident about myself and able to come out of my body image issues. BLOGGING or expression via the written word has helped me de-clutter and de-stress the most. I never thought I would be able to vent out my emotions so easily post after post. But that I can, validates that all those who have problems with expressing their feelings would find it very therapeutic. This form of expression I discovered only recently and boy! am I glad that I found it.

This positive outlook has helped me cope with my feelings of anger towards my perpetrators.

Many times I have wondered why I took the decision to take a break from work and be at home with my daughter. The obvious reasons are that I want to see her grow and be around to be a witness to each of her accomplishments. I am eager to get back to work, but in my heart I know, I am not giving my best to the cause. Lot of thought and I realize somewhere I am scared to leave my daughter with strangers, when I go to work. I have to be around to protect her and her interests. Subconscious makes sure you do what you got to do.

But it is a  fallacy because I am not going to be around her all the time. All I can do is to equip my daughter with the right tools for life and to trust her instinct. To be able to stand up for herself and say no. To have the confidence to seek help in case the situation becomes difficult to handle. I for a fact, would always keep an open channel of communication with her right from the start. I would be around her as much as possible to keep her safe. After I read through most of the posts on the CSA blog, I have learnt so much about how important it is to earn my daughter’s trust and not take it for granted that she would turn to me when faced by a situation.

On a final note, it would have been easy for me to blame my bitter experiences on my guardians and feel resigned for the rest of my life. It was easier  an option to blame them but I know for a fact that they stood up for me whenever  they could whether it was about confronting an abuser  or reprimanding an eve teaser. It was still up to me to find my inner strength and move on. I wish and hope that each one of us who had the misfortune of being abused finds something  worthwhile that we can hold on to, get up, and move on.

This is my 100th post and I wanted it to be special. I am glad that it was for this important cause. Thank you CSA team for letting me contribute.

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