Tag Archives: School

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.

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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

 

Eid Mubarak with Nafisa’s Shir Korma

9 Aug

How infinitely true is it when you think about friendships and realize that the friends you have had in school were the best sort. They all come with no conditions apply policy. And as you grow older through college and then work, all the friendship become more conditional. As children in school we have no expectations when we get into a friendship. Wish I could say the same about all the friendships through the rest of the course of my life.

Ofcourse, there are exceptions to this all the time. I have a fair share of such unconditional friendships even now. Touchwood.

Well this is a special Eid post inspired purely because one of closest school friends happened to share an awesome Shir Korma (vermicelli milk pudding) recipe with me.

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Nafisa and I go a long way from school to now being whatsapp buddies. The thing with her is that there is never any awkwardness even if there were long periods of being out of touch. As a matter of fact, we were 5 friends, – Sunita, Nafisa, Kavita, Poorna and me. Whenever I think of one, memories of all the others come on automatically. There was never anything that we did not do together.  Sunita was the prankster, Nafisa the level headed one, Kavita was everybody’s agony aunt, Poorna was quirky and funny while I was the nerd. We made such a fantastic team together and never tired of having fun all the time.

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Nafisa and I also played basketball together for many years. That is where we got extremely close. We could discuss anything and everything under the sun – teenage crushes, gossip, everything.

IMG-20130809-WA003We parted ways after school and during college we couldn’t keep in touch as much as we would have loved to. Life took over and then here we are living our busy lives with our babies and husbands. She is a proud mother of a 2-year-old (nearly)  beautiful Naisha. Thank God for technology and here we are chatting up on whatsapp whenever time permits; discussing motherhood woes and joys.

Eid was a special time while growing up with Nafisa. I remember Nafisa and her sisters wearing splendid shararas / ghararas and looking so beautiful. They invited us to their homes where we were served delicious Shir Korma and other delicacies.

S1Nafisa’s mother is such an excellent cook and so is Nafisa.  So during one of our whatsapp rants I asked her to share her Shir Korma recipe. Shir Korma is a milk based pudding with vermicelli, nuts and raisins. This is usually made during Eid celebrations.   I have tried to replicate it with the best of my efforts just to capture the essence of the Eid celebrations with Nafisa’s family 20-25 years back. Nafisa is sad that she wouldn’t able to spend this Eid with her mother due to some special circumstances. Perhaps this post will rehash all her Eid memories and make her spirit a little lighter.

Thanks so much Nafisa for this wonderful recipe and taking me back in time.

Nafisa, here’s wishing you and your beautiful family all the happiness and prosperity on this Eid.

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Mimi’s Graduation Day Performance & Graduation Day Cherry Cupcakes

30 Jun

24th of June was my daughter’s graduation day.

She’s only 2. 5 years old!!

I mean, when I got the note from her class teacher that these tiny tots would have a graduation day celebration, marking their term end  and progress from pre kindergarten to reception (LKG), I was surprised. It is a recent phenomenon where they have graduation day celebration even for these toddlers. Nevertheless, it was an exciting thought which was accentuated by the fact that there was going to be a performance by these kids on some rhymes. This was a day I wasn’t going to miss at any cost. I informed my manager at work that I wouldn’t be available for a certain time slot to attend any meetings on the 24th of June. Mimi had been singing ‘ Incy Wincy Spider’  all the time and I realized this was definitely the song that they were going to perform. I made her practice the song with actions and Mimi was most co-operative. On the d-day, I was pretty confident that Mimi will definitely do well. My only concern was, if she were to spot me in the audience, she would run to me for sure. So I also decided to be somewhere in the back row where she wouldn’t see me.

On the 24th, my husband and I, we made it on time to be a part of this spectacular, memorable baby graduation day event. All the tiny tots were led into the Assembly Hall by their respective class teachers. I could see Mimi looking for us in the crowd, probably because the teacher might have hinted that the Mummies and Papas are going to be around for the performance.

Incy Wincy Spider being performed

The first song performed was ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ with action. It was heartening to see all the tiny hands go up in the air and down in near-unison. The tiny fingers making a spider climb up the water-spout and the rain pouring down. It was a surreal moment and I am sure it was for all the parents who stood there on the verge of shedding a tear or two. I couldn’t believe my child has grown up so much that she understands and comprehends everything so beautifully. Mimi was clearly having a lot of fun with the whole exercise because we could see her jumping about her place while doing her action-song. I also observed all the teachers also beaming with pride to see their class perform so well.

After the song was done,  they started to play ‘Baba Black Sheep’. But Mimi came rushing down to me and sat on one of the empty chairs on the audience’s side of the event. I tried to push her to go back but she wasn’t interested at all. She was content, cheering her classmates and lip syncing with them. ‘Baba Black Sheep’ was followed by ‘Polly put the Kettle on” and an Arab song.  Mimi sat in the audience look at the on going performance as if it was only ‘ Incy Wincy Spider’ that was her mandate. I should have made her practice the other songs as well, then she would have felt the need to stay back with the group to perform the whole thing.

After the Performance, the crowd dispersed and went to their own classes and I followed Mimi to hers to take a few pictures. I congratulated the class teacher and told her it was absolutely phenomenal what they do. To be able to make a set of 2 – 3 years olds stand to together; let alone sing and perform was a feat that would seem impossible. As a parent, I find Mimi to be quite a handful and these kindergarten teachers have to manage 15- 20 such toddlers with different attitudes, cultural backgrounds, languages and natures. Hats off to these teachers, really!!

To mark this awesome occasion, I baked some cherry cupcakes (with mascarpone frosting which isn’t in the photos) which I then took to office and for the Term end party I made Mimi the Oats cookies with chocolates and almonds.

The cherry cupcakes were received well and disappeared in a matter of only 10 minutes. When I told them the reason for celebration, there were congratulations pouring in from everywhere. I was a proud mum. 🙂

These cupcakes are only slightly sweet so if you want you add a little more sugar to increase the sweetness. I was planning to frost it, so consciously put little sugar.  The taste of cherries is very prominent and that is what lifts the flavour of these dainty cup cakes.

Mimi’s new term starts in September and in between that she is going to attend a summer camp. For the next 10 odd days she has a vacation and she absolutely hates being at home. Every morning she wakes up and announces that she is going to school. I have to then tell her that she is having her holidays and she doesn’t need to go to school, but she insists that she would go to school tomorrow. So everyday I have to convince her that she needs to stay home and do all the stuff that she did at school. I have bought her loads of colours, colour books and puzzles to keep her busy.

That is all from me for now. Have a fabulously week ahead!

A Quick Update and some Quick to make Oats Cookies

22 Jun

I haven’t seen this space in a long time. I miss blogging at whim. It is more schedule driven. More of a weekend activity. It is now that I doubly admire all those bloggers who blog inspite of having a full-time job and blog more than many times a week. So much has been happening and I feel life is just whizzing past me. I make desperate attempts to make tiny post-it mental notes every time I observe or feel something interesting but then it slips away.  This post is more to recapitulate all the important stuff that has happened over some time now.

First things first-Mimi

Mimi has started talking so much and I see this difference after she resumed school on a regular basis.  She has a quip to make about everything. She wants to give her expert opinion about how I look, or her Papa looks or how she looks. She can ride her bike now and it is such a pleasure to see her pedaling away. Just the other day I asked her,” Mimi, what did the teacher teach you today?”  Pat came the reply, ” Quiet Mimi! Quiet!”  and yesterday I asked her the same question and she said, ” Don’t shout Mimi” So I take it that the teacher is really having a tough time getting Mimi to do what the class is doing. Recently they even got a class photograph as the term is about end on 28th of June. But I am sending her off to the Summer camp in her school that starts on 8th of July. This Sunday, she has a class performance to which all the parents are invited and they are going to perform, ‘ Incy Wincy Spider’. The entire time, we hear Mimi singing Incy wincy spider and when she’s in the mood, she’d do it with actions. I am excited to attend her first class performance and I pray everything goes well. I know she will enjoy it because she loves to sing.

I am amazed they got her to stand. ahem.. straight!

The Class photo: The caretaker had to hold her so that she didn’t run off

2. Next is this wonderful poetry festival that I had the opportunity to attend last night. Set against the romantic back drop of the Bahrain fort, it was certainly a night to remember. 15 wonderful poets with their marvellous poetry enthralled the audience. The Poetry festival is the first of its kind arranged by the Bahrain Writers’ Circle’s – Poetry arm – The second circle.  The theme was The Colours of Life and the brochure of which you can see below. Though the lights went off in between for some weird reason, it only added to the drama of the whole evening.  It was such a good break for me from my otherwise hectic work life. To listen to soul-full poetry is the best way to usher in a weekend. Some of the participants are good friends and I had rushed from work to support them. It was a delight to see them read their work.

The poetry festivals’ brochure

3. Apart from that, we were able to watch a movie in the cinema hall, along with Mimi after 2.5 years. We avoid going to the movies because Mimi doesn’t think it is interesting to sit in one place for more than a few seconds. But now that she is a little grown up, we thought it should be easier now. We thought Madagascar-3 was a safe bet and right we were. She sat through 3/4th of the movie and enjoyed it too. This is great progress as far as Mimi is concerned.

4. I have been working out quite regularly and running as well. Hopefully by the year-end when its the marathon season, I should be able to run atleast a few of them like the 11 km one in November and the 17km one in December.

5. I have recently made good friends with a Bahraini girl in my office. She is pretty as a picture but apart from that, she is very special. She loves Hindi Movies. She has watched every Yash Chopra banner movie there is starting from Kuch Kuch Hota hai ( which was the first movie she had seen and by far her favourite movie) to the latest Anjana – Anjani or whichever is running in the cinemas these days. She watches them with English subtitles but follows Hindi quite nicely. We converse in Hindi for fun in office and she does a marvellous job at some difficult pronunciations as well. She is so familiar with our Hindu customs and festivals that sometimes I find it hard to believe she is a Bahraini. She is so moved by Bollywood that in her wedding this winter, she has a Bollywood themed ‘Sangeet” . How cool is that! She is also going to wear Ghaghara-choli ( traditional Indian blouse – skirt) for her Mehendi ceremony. She is such fun company to keep in office and I hope to learn more about the Bahraini culture from her.

6. Last but not the least, I have some great tasting, quick to put together Oats cookie recipe today from the latest issue of the BBC Good Food Magazine. I find myself trying more recipes from the BBC Good Food Magazine more than the other recipe books that I have.

But these cookies are literally child’s play and that is what prompted me make them in the middle of week after coming back from work.

Cherry + Apricots+ Oats

They were such a breeze to put together, and the original recipe did not add any cherries in it, but I did because… I felt like it 🙂

The cherries gave the blonde cookies a pop of colour and the apricots lent the gorgeous texture. Full of oat-y goodness, there isn’t anything that I can say that didn’t work in this cookies favour. I took them to office the following day and they were devoured before I could count 10.

Another reason why they were devoured so quickly was because, the recipe in the magazine was meant to give out only 6 cookies. So I doubled the recipe and managed 15 cookies out of it.  Usually when I take cookies or bakes to office, I ensure I have around 20 + individual pieces. 15 cookies stood no chance at all. I managed to save some for Mimi, who liked them equally. I am going to try them with the usual good stuff such as chocolate chips and more dried fruits.

Photos courtesy : Namit Bhatia

It has been a great few weeks so far. In a few days time,  this part of the world will fold itself into a prayer and fast non stop for 30 days. Life will slow down, offices will close early, super market racks would be empty sooner as people tend to buy more than they need when they are fasting and there will be an atmosphere of prayer and sanctity all around. It is a different kind of experience to be in a Muslim country during Ramadan, albeit a wonderful one because there will tents that come up in the evening with lavish spread of food for everybody who wants to sample it.  I hope to capture the essence of Ramadan in some posts of mine and at the same time try to experiment with some local dish that is typically eaten during Ramadan.

That is all for now!

Only you..

9 Jan

It has been the perfect day today, until, I was caught unwary by a junior (school) on facebook chat. At first, I did not recognize him at all. After a lot of prodding, I faintly remembered him as being the scrawny little kid. He first tactfully compliments on the photographs, congratulates me for having Mimi, getting married and all that. Then he says, “You know, back in school, my friends and I called you ‘Humpty- Dumpty’! Don’t mind though. It was a long time ago.”

I was stumped. Now really, I could put up with a lot of name-calling but ‘Humpty Dumpty’ knocked my socks off. I felt clearly humiliated. Hours passed and I couldn’t shake that thought out of my head.  I mean, did I look like an egg? Was I bald? I mean what was it? Ofcourse, I am not going to ask him,what made them call me that. Continue reading

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