7 ways your children can accidently injure you

armor.png

⇒THIS IS ME! 

No, I am not going back to the medieval times nor is this my halloween costume! It is my new mom suit that would keep me safe from any future mom injuries. Believe me; little kids can be dangerous!

As much as you focus on children safety, you need to give some attention to keeping your bodies protected from these mini loaded weapons. I am a tad late to opt for the armored suit, but I have learned a lesson after enduring multiple accidental mom injuries. The sudden movements and head turn of the little ones can result in several accidental parental boo boos. Here is how-

Sleeping with an acrobat

Sleeping with your little one is a double edged sword. You enjoy the snuggles and the cheat days of co-sleeping when you can take in the smell of your baby’s hair like the fragrance of a new car. It is one of the most pleasurable moments but also dangerous one too.

Co-Sleeping

A sleeping child on a bed is always on the move like an acrobat. (Ours were!) While you hold on to the edge of the bed, your little monster overtakes the entire bed. As if this is not enough, one kick to your chin or a belly punch by those moving fists and feet make you want to scream with your guts out. But you do not, for the fear (and bountiful love in your heart) of waking up your sweet angel.

The micro swords

NEVER fail to trim those soft, harmless looking nails of your sweet pea. These nails disguised as micro swords are super dangerous! A scratch from their nails burns like a paper cut and can even harm your eyes. So, disarm your cute ninja’s nail weapon by regular clipping.

The magical hug moment

You adore the commercials wherein a kid runs towards an adult, waiting with an open arms, resulting into a perfect lovable hug. (Awww! Priceless moment!) What you do not know is that this perfect hug or nose to nose kisses requires some choreography moves. If not done right the tiny head of your preschooler might end up feeling like a massive jab underneath your belly, or your nose (whatever comes in their way).

Movie nights

Prepare for the consequences of watching the movies/TV shows like Kung Fu Panda and Ninja Go . The children might feel inspired by these shows, so wear your helmet and safety goggles for few days after watching the flick. Even better keep a shield at an arm’s reach to protect yourself from the moving objects coming at you.

Video Games

Stay 15 feet away from the children playing console video games. KEEP DISTANCE else you will end up getting smacked into your face with the remote they pretend to be using as a sword or boxing fists.

Dangling Distractions

The dangling shiny things are like an open invitation for the kids to grab them into their tight grip that is difficult to let go.  I have been guilty of doing this to my mom when I was a cute little harmless baby or so she thought before I grabbed her sparkling earrings and pulled them towards me. She had to get her ear lobe stitched. (I am sorry mom!)

Hot liquid

Imagine you are enjoying a me moment with a cup of chai and suddenly you are hit by a storm, soaking your dress in the hot liquid. It takes you few moments to realize that the storm was caused by your munchkin’s ball that suddenly came to you with the voice that followed, “Mommy catch!”

That is the moment you realize that your reflexes are not up to par, and you think of enrolling yourselves in one of the martial arts classes (along with your kid) to tune up your reflexes. After all, you need to be ready to dodge, catch and duck at the right times.

Do these injuries hurt? Oh hell yes! But the resilience to get through those painful moments depends considerably on who/what caused the injury. In this case these accidents are caused by your innocent babies so you take them in a stride, and wear them as parental badges of honor. You tend to be quiet about these incidents also because somewhere you are guilty of not taking proper caution to prevent them.

My two cents, get a mommy armor suit and enjoy a safe parenthood!

 

Photo credit: Mark Turnauckas via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: madmrmox via Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit:: Roxana Soare (http://drawforjoy.com/draw-for-you/)

 

Hello woman, are you fair, wheatish or dark?

“Do not wear purple. It makes you look dark,” so they told me.

But today, purple is my favorite color.

The above two lines sum up my journey.

Chocolate, caramel, honey, cinnamon, and wheat! I am not stating the ice-cream flavors, but shades of brown skins that prevail in India.

And I am wheatish or maybe somewhere in between honey and wheatish!

Wheatish, in India, refers to the people who are not fair. The word ‘fair’ is not be confused with righteousness, but fair in this context alludes to the skin tone that is multiple shades lighter than wheatish.

Shadeism or colorism, whatever name you give to this prejudice, it does not matter. The important fact is India’s obsession with fairness though not new is still quite prevalent. Parents and relatives of the girls with dark complexion are often consumed with the anxiety of finding a suitable groom, and inadvertently transfer their insecurities to the child.  The girl gets humiliated every time the society favors the light skinned.

No one deserves to get hurt for their color. No one! Period.
The big companies feed off these deep-rooted insecurities and blatantly promote their skin whitening products. They even rope in big celebrities who endorse the idea that becoming light skinned brings success in life!

We all know how superficial these claims are? Granted that because of the deep ingrained fundamental that ‘fair is beautiful,’ the light skinned people are favored by the unintelligent, but promoting the concept that fair skin alone can get you success is preposterous.

Get over it people!

The Matrimonial advertisements in the Indian newspapers further aggrandize the fair color. A typical ad for ‘brides wanted’ reads, ‘Wanted a fair, slim, beautiful and convent educated girl for our son.’ Any sane person would know that for a marriage to be successful you need a connection at the emotional level and not at the skin gradient level.

Bollywood Cinema that prefers to star milky white complexion women does little to abate this unfair bias towards white complexion.

I do see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, with movements like ‘Dark is beautiful’ (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/india-obsessed-white-skin-actress-article-1.1498783). There is a gradual shift in the mentality, and the new generations are not deeply prejudiced by the skin color driven beauty meter. But something that has been part of the society for decades would take years to change, and cliché as it may sound, ‘the change begins with us.’

This month of March is especial!  Women’s history month, Woman’s day all fall in March. What better way to celebrate than to appreciate the beauty in each one of us-

' I am beautiful NOT like YOU... I am beautiful like ME.'

(This was posted by one of my friends on social media, and it strikes a perfect chord with this article.)

Photo credit: Sidpicky via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: Rajesh_India via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

 

12 Things that kids can teach you

“Say Thank you!”

“Say Sorry!”

These are the sentences I have often used in hope to teach my kids gratitude and kindness. But, a recent incident changed my theory-

My younger son got a playdough for his older brother using his weekly school stars.“Awwww, so sweet!” My heart melted, and I was touched by his thoughtfulness. I said to my older son, “ Say thank you!” To my chagrin, he ignored my humble request and went on doing his daily routine.  An odd feeling consumed me that I did not do a good job of teaching my kid to be grateful, and also his disobedience hurt my ego.

But something happened the very next morning that changed my heart. I saw my little munchkin playing with his big brother’s rubric cube. (This was the toy that my older son earned in his school for his good behavior. The star rewards in his grade are much harder to earn than my younger kids weekly treasure chest system.) I am giving this detailed background, because, my older child gave away the rubric cube to his little brother.….just like that.

I felt proud! This was the ‘his tiny heart could hold so much of gratitude’ moment.

I  was reminded that gratitude does not always need words to be expressed. It is much profound in action.

This was the ‘I learn from my kids’ moment and also an inspiration to write this post. If we look intently into our everyday lives, we will find numerous such moments of learnings from children. Some I’ve summarized below-

1.) Gratitude is genuine

Kids are genuine! Their ear to ear smile and their loving gaze are gratitude enough.xsgapcvboju-dmitry-ratushny

By adulthood, we become trained and attuned to saying and receiving the formal ‘thank you,’ so much so, that we tend to get dismissive of the signs of real gratitude.

2.) To be a philosopher

Children look at the world with amazing curiosity. That is why they constantly ask questions (which at some point gets annoying but I am sure you get the drift.)Their minds are free of preconceived notions, thus naturally more fertile to learn and absorb things as they exist, rather than, how the things ought to be.

3.) When life gives you people, do not judge

Take kids to a park or birthday party, they play with other children irrespective of their appearances, language or background. They interact without any discrimination and prejudice.

_h_wega3ego-abigail-keenanAs we grow up, we let our pre-determined script guide all our interactions with the outside world. We can learn not to be judgmental in our behavior and see situations with fresh eyes.

4.)Dream fearlessly

Kids have all kinds of dreams (lofty or not) which are unscathed by worldly advice. That is why they want to be astronauts, build time machines, be a superhero, a teacher, fireman, pilot, and so forth.

This ability to dream fearlessly is so crucial to moving forward in life. As we grow, we lose this ability as our dreams get tainted by the practicalities, the societal views, and our perceived self-worth.

5.)Pause when you need to

Kids have the ability to rest when they are exhausted, before returning to their usual hullabaloo.

As an adult, our daily grind consumes us such that we often forget to take out time for ourselves; The time to pause and reflect on our everyday lives is essential to reinvigorate our souls.

6.)Demand with all your might

Have you seen children pestering their parents for something? Kids try very hard and deploy various tactics- from saying ‘please’ to the howling drama until they eventually figure out what works best to get the desired outcome.

Some of us lose this ability to go after our goals with all our might. So, next time when you see a kid lying down on the floor in a mall, screaming for candies/toy, consider it as a reminder.

7.)Ability to Trust

When the parent throws the child in the air, the kid laughs out loud and does not shrink in fear. S/he knows that these are the hands that would not let h/him fall. This ultimate trust is called surrender.wr3hgvx_rsm-thiago-cerqueira

Kids teach us that it is okay to trust each other to live a fulfilling life. And also to surrender to the love of higher power.

8.)Resilience

Kids fall and get hurt multiple times. But they get up, (demand their favorite band-aid) and join the fun again.

They remind us that as long as you are having fun, the falls cannot stop you from enjoying.

9.)Get the weeds out 

“You are not my friend.” If someone is mean to the child, s/he is not afraid to stop talking or say the needful.

3766009204_8721a00dde_mHow many of us have the audacity to unfriend people around us? We covertly do it on social media but to say it directly is the deed reserved for the brave hearts.

10.)Emotions are not to be suppressed

Kids do not suppress their emotions. They cry, scream, laugh out loud and keep living their life.

Repressing your emotions consumes a lot of energy and makes us less functional. We need to realize that it is alright to vent to stay healthy and happy.

11.)To forgive and forget

Have you seen children fight? They fight one moment and then they are best of buddies again. They do not brood over a situation for hours or days, filling the environment with negativity like we grown-ups do.

4k2lip0zc_k-ben-whiteI am immensely thankful for their short memory that makes them forget about the times I raised my voiced at them. (my bad parenting moments that I feel super ashamed!)

12.)Love thyself

Children are not critical of themselves.  It is the society in general that contributes to their changing self-image over time.  We can learn from them to be comfortable in our own skins and indulge a little in self-love.

While we are busy teaching children about life, children teach us what life is all about. I am sure there are much more things to learn from kids than the ones mentioned here. Readers, share your moments of learning from children.

 

 

The day I found a genie in the bottle…

As a teen I enjoyed watching the comedy TV series, ‘I Dream of Jeannie.’ in which an astronaut finds a genie in the bottle. The genie granted him wishes. Golly! I was amazed at all the things the genie could do in a blink of an eye.


And with most of my days filled with the busy parenting routine, I’ve often wished to have my very own genie,  and then one bright, chirpy Phoenix morning it happened—

Amongst the lather and the dirty dishes,

In my sink, I found a genie in the bottle.

Kazoom! I opened the stopper to release

the tiny bewitched thing.

The genie bowed and said, “My master, I reckon,

you need to rest. Please allow me to do my best.”

In disbelief, I rubbed my eyes,

but there she was, right in front of me!

I sat before the fireplace, curled up with a cup of tea.

And, took out a dusty thin book that begged me to read,

and don’t know when, but I fell asleep.

When I woke up the house was sparkling clean,

the dishes were done, so was the laun-dary

nicely folded and kept in the dresser,

all within my arms reach.

The dinner was on the stove, just the way I like it

curry and basmati rice, and the naan on the side,

salad beautifully arranged, and a big glass of red wine.

Genie said she would do my pedicure too

as my toes possess a yellow hue.

I asked, “Dear, can I keep you, forever?”

I believe I might have begged,

for I had added

“Please and pretty please,” too.

Genie said,“Master, allow me to leave.

I have to serve others who

await a sigh of relief."

I thought of the mothers, sisters, wives and daughters

fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and

grandparents too,

all who desire a little respite

from their daily grind of might.

“Genie," I said, "You have a big job to do,"

"So, I let you free."

With those words, the bewitched thing

that awesome, helpful thing

faded into the air.

Friends, be on a lookout for the enchanted beings in the form of neighbors, friends, relatives who come into your lives at the most difficult times to give you respite and help to refill your everyday life cups.

 

Why to play ‘The Game of Life’ with your children? And the dialogue with my inner voice

Last weekend, I played ‘The game of Life’, one of the oldest American board games, with my children and their friends. It was my first time playing this game, so my eight years old taught me the rules of Life. It was a sweet moment wherein my child was teaching me the ropes of life.:-)

He said-

The winner of the Life is the person who has the maximum money in the end.

What! Hell no! How can riches alone be the yardstick to decide the winner or the loser of life! My kids need to learn better.

Overpowered by thoughts and the parent instinct to share my 2 cents on life, I stated—

“This is all wrong!”

My inside voice warned me, “Spoiler Alert! This is just a game”, but at that moment I chose to ignore it. After all, kids develop their perspectives through games and observation. So I had to do the right thing by sharing my wisdom.

Continuing with my lecture, I said, “In reality, money is necessary to live a comfortable life, but it cannot be a measure of a successful life. The true measure is happiness, and the relationships built along the way. It is easier to keep a score of money than to count your blessings, so the reason this game uses money as the winning goal.”

Giving advise took some weight off my chest, and we started the game.

I was impressed the way this game mapped the entire life on a linear coarse.The players take turns spinning the wheel, and they move ahead the number of spaces indicated on the wheel. In the start of the game, the players have to select between the college path or the career path. I was satisfied to know that my kid had already discovered that choosing the college path meant delaying the payday rewards for later in life. Pretty cool and mature, I thought! But, my satisfaction was short lived! Despite his understanding, he chose the ‘Career path.’ The voice inside me said, “Studies comes first! Do not bypass college. Choose college <pretty please!>, and career will follow, kiddo!” This time, I pinched myself on time to not let these words out of my mouth, and we continued the game…in peace.

img_3810
The  ‘stop’ sign where the life changing events happen. This one says ‘Get married’, and the player adds one more peg to their car.

 

Throughout the game I was charmed to see the little kids make choices based on their personalities, and their rationale.

My six-year-old stopped in the space to buy a house. He had a choice between a luxury apartment or the beach hut. My son chose the luxury apartment. He said, “Beach hut would be messy.”

Later my kiddo had to choose between two career cards, Doctor or a Teacher. He chose the profession of Teacher. His reason, “It pays more to be a Doctor.”

img_3811
Career Cards

My inside voice started talking again, Son, Ask yourself twice before deciding. Is this the profession you want to embrace? Will it inspire you enough to wake up every morning and start your day?

“Shut up, will you!” I calmed my inner voice. “Keep your thoughts to yourself as this is just a game.”

Coming back to the game, the play also introduced kids to the business of lawsuit. My son got a card—Sue someone for squashing your tomatoes, and receive 50K!

img_3808He asked, “What does lawsuit mean?”. Once I explained, he was hesitant to sue any player. Then he said, “Mommy, can I please sue you?”’

“This is an outrage,” I thought. I teach my children to be kind and forgiving, while this game lets them sue. I signaled my thoughts to take a back seat.

The game ended when all the players reached the goal of retirement. Two of the children decided to retire in a  millionaire mansion, and the other two selected the countryside acres. And the reasons for the selections-

“I chose countryside because I like trees and mountains.”

“I need rooms for my whole family, so I will retire in millionaire mansion.”

“I want to be with my friend because I like him. I will go wherever he goes.”

This  board game took couple hours to finish, and introduced the children to real life events such as paying taxes, college debt, getting laid off from work, paying bank loans and collecting salaries on paydays. You may argue that all these events relate to some form of monetary exchanges, and also the real life does not follow the linear path this game follows, but what cannot be contested is the engrossment of the young minds, and the willingness to play by the rules even when life seems unfair.

Where I am concerned, the game lent me plenty of opportunities to have constructive dialogues with children, and also a sneak peek into their young minds. As a bonus, it taught me to keep my wisdom to myself, and patiently wait for the opportune time to share life lessons with my children. And most importantly, the board game gave me priceless moments with friends and family.

Readers, do you have a favorite board game that you like to play with your children?


Here are some links that share more information about this game-

http://boardgames.lovetoknow.com/The_Game_of_Life_Instructions

http://theweek.com/articles/446078/what-game-life-teach-about-success

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Period.

The modern society has designated blue color for boys and pink for girls.Period.

Little did I realize before having children that these colors go beyond the dresses; They manifest themselves as body images, personalities, mannerisms and the entire outlook for the life.

I grapple with this color issue in everyday life while raising my boys. For one, I want them to be part of the society where they can go freely and select ‘pink’ if this is the hue they desire without the fear of, ‘What others will think?’, But we are not there yet.

Stories untold

I had overheard several examples when children teased the kid for selection of another gender color; this is mostly true for boys because-

'Girls can wear blue, but boys cannot wear pink.'

The above is the statement quoted by a salesman when I and my hubby were crib shopping for our first child.

That was years ago, but in a recent discussion with one of my mom friends, she mentioned that her son came home from school in a bad mood. He said,”Kids laughed at me for using pink scissors in the class!”

These children will build our future society based on the concepts they learned in their childhood. If they learn that it is alright to mock at their friends, then imagine the future that we have created.

Kudos to our society, that has succeeded in creation of immense stress where these kids cannot openly express for the gender prejudice that inhabits their little peers, which indeed is not a sign of a healthy society.

What has the world come to?

I would say the girls have more freedom than boys regarding colors, toys, and general entertainment. Boys do not have liberty to wear pink, play with dolls or even watch the TV series of their choice without being ridiculed.

As an adult, our mentality is superfluous than the children we raise. Adults can quickly discern a toy or TV series as a boy or girl specific; whereas children if left on their own, choose based on the functionality and the story that keeps them engaged.

http://www.creighton.edu/publicrelations/newscenter/news/2015/november2015/november172015/toysandgendernr111715/

We live in a world of double standards. Most woman would want a man who could watch a chick flick with her. But as parents, we do not encourage that idea for the little boys as we steer our kids to conform to the set masculine standards for this gender.

The fashion industry has evolved to include pink and purple for men. There are countless pink shirts, t-shirts, suits and tie for men in shades of pink.

http://www.fashionbeans.com/2013/mens-ss13-key-colour-pink/

http://mensfashion.about.com/od/theoffice/a/weddingattire.htm

But then why is there a pink taboo in the little people’s world?

Who are the Influencers?

As you enter the retail stores, there is segregation of the toys by gender. So, even if the little girl wants to play with dinosaurs or trucks, she might not have the courage to cross the gender boundary and go to other section with her parents for that toy. OR even worse, she might not be exposed to such a play at all for she would never visit those aisles.

The media-TV commercials, books further solidify the conventional beliefs of boys versus girls.

But the most important influencers are still the parents, as the children see and interact with them in these roles at home.

And, who benefits from this?

Retailers realized that the more they could gendersize their merchandise the better they can sell. So, we have not only clothes but the whole gamut of things related to the boy and the girl stuff- cribs, accessories, decor, toys, TV shows, movies and so on.

Our society’s progress is skewed– on the one hand; we are moving towards gender equality, equal pay, and job opportunities while on the other hand, we allow the consumerism to mold our children’s mind to the stereotypical concepts that would stay with them for the lifetime.

What can we do?

As a parent and an adult, it is our responsibility to educate children about the actual reasons behind the color segregation, which is consumerism. Gender separation of the colors, toys, books, clothing, entertainment is not an identity, but a mere means to earn more money by the retailers. If children themselves are aligned to specific interests then it is agreeable, but being forced by these outside factors is not acceptable.

Education at home itself would not suffice. The child can understand this concept but not have the dare devil courage to defy the color rule publicly in fear of being bullied. There has to be a mass awareness, at the level of schools and other public and media sources.

Similar to colors, that run deeper than the clothes, masculinity is not about wearing blue or playing with trucks and swords or even about watching Star Wars; and being Feminine is not about wearing pink, being submissive, to cook, sew or waiting to be rescued by a Prince. It is about taking charge of your life, and respecting and being kind to the people on the other side.

If I can teach this to my children, I have done my job as a parent.

Readers, what are your thoughts? Do you have any untold stories to share?

Photo credit: AquaOwl via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND