Parallel Play

All children love to play. They also tend to outgrow their toys very easily and quickly. So when my son goes to his friends’ houses (or vice versa), he enjoys the new (meaning different from his) toys that he gets to play with. And then at this young age of 2 & 3 years, kids aren’t great social beings. In the attempt to teach our kids sharing, we (my friends and I) try to get our kids to play together as much as possible. And it mostly works much to us moms’ relief! 🙂 Occassionally, there’s some screaming and snatching too – am sure all moms agree. 😉

This time my friend and I decided to leave our sons in the play room, on their own. We just carried on with our chit-chat and waited for that inevitable scream. But guess what? About half an hour passed and we had heard no such noise from the room and went to check on them. And what did we see? Our sons were playing quietly by themselves without bothering the other. Na na, not playing with each other. They were playing alone but knew what the other was doing.

Every couple of minutes, one would turn around and see if the other was in the room and then continue with his own game. If one of them left the room, the other would follow a minute later check out what’s happening and then come back to his toy in the room.

It was so nice to see them this way. Parallel play at its best and we mothers felt so good to see them like this. 🙂 Now we’ve decided, we shall get our kids together in a room full of toys and just let them be – they’ll figure out a way to make their time better and maybe, eventually, they’ll start playing with each other. A parent can only hope! 🙂


Fun Dough with Kids

My nearly 2 year old loves to make things with Play Dough. This is wonderful, yes, and it also helps bring out my son’s creative abilities. At the same time, I am also (no, was) worried that he would eat the dough and all such things. Was because, I discovered this lovely recipe to make my very own edible (not for eating per se but not to worry if it does reach your child’s throat) fun dough for my son. And he helps me make it too! 🙂

So let me share this one with you – believe me, it is as good as the one we get outside, non-toxic with various edible colours and cheap as well! All this with our regular kitchen ingredients – some plain flour, cooking oil, salt, cream of tartar and of course water, so here goes:

Take 2 cups of plain flour without any rising agents, 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, ½ cup of salt and 1 tablespoon cream of tartar. Mix well with a wooden spoon and then slowly add 2 cups of water into the mixture avoiding lumps. Heat a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water on medium heat, add the mixture into the pan and stir it until it thickens. You will know it is ready when it is no longer sticky.

The prepared dough will be colourless but you can add various ingredients (a pinch or few drops) to the water you mix when making the dough and get different colours! Like; a pinch of turmeric will give you yellow, adding smooth spinach paste will give you green, saffron will give orange, soya sauce will give a black colour, barbecue sauce will give a brown shade and then you can just experiment – as long as you don’t put red chilli powder for a red colour! 😉 Various food colours are edible and can give a large variety of colours to the dough.

Let the prepared dough cool and then watch your child get creative! 🙂 Just remember, the dough dries faster than the readymade one so store it in an airtight box in the fridge. If it gets dry you can add a few drops of warm water to soften the dough.

My son loves this dough as his mom is not trying to stop him from putting it in the dough. It also cleans off faster from the surfaces. So a win-win all the way! Enjoy!! 🙂 🙂

Changing Era of Play

Memories are still crystal clear when I was surrounded with wooden toys, some with wooden hoops and some making hilarious noise while running. Yes, I am talking about my childhood, an era which was not equipped with modern toys, they were not electronically operated nor had flashing lights or remote to control/run them.  However, they still helped me play, learn, grow and understand the world around me. I would rather say, they helped me discover emotional, relational, intellectual and spiritual senses and grow strong, mentally and physically both.

During my childhood, toys were selected by my parents to engage & keep me busy but today, parent are more cautious and select toys for their kids keeping holistic development in mind. Technology has added advantage to that and have replaced everything including toys – Games like Angry birds, electronic books, DVDs, transformers, dinosaurs and electronic toys etc.

However, whatever form toys have taken, their purpose and love remains the same!

This Summer – Me & My Son

As the summer vacations are approaching, the nervousness among the todlders’d mothers are getting higher and higher. Few of us have already planned to visit the grandparents and most of us started to enquire about the summer camp classes or some other activity classes to keep their kids engaged.

As our kids get older we want them to get engage in something or the other and when we get old and our children will not be able to give us much time we will be blaming the generation or the their busy life style.
This summer I have decided that I should not put my son for any classes rather I should spend my time with him and should pass on the best out of me. All other 190 days of the year we spend for their daily routine- morning breakfast, school, lunch, evening play, dinner but when did we really spend quality time with them to give best out of us?

So, this summer- me & my son only! What about you?

Flu and You

Feels awful to have stayed away from this space for so long. But I am back, with a bag of stories!

Seasonal changes are not just about rising or falling temperatures in your city. Along with cool showers come a new strain of virus to make life miserable for us and our tots. I have dealt with some very difficult times with flu and the various versions associated with it. We as a family always fall sick together with a change in season. [That way we are pretty thick, doing things together :-)]. But this time I nearly lost my mind, with my girl and I down for weeks together with no respite. Turns out we are allergic to pollen.

A lot of you parents grapple with sickness, and it can be very harrowing. Even a simple cold can give you sleepless nights. We invest a lot of time in doctor visits and in fretting over thermometer readings. We try our best to make our child better with whatever it takes,  but we often forget that simple things help heal faster. You know, little things like a shift in focus.  Let me share a little experience. In all probability you’ve experienced this already.

After being sick for over a month I gave the whole deal a very serious thought, and tried to understand where we were going wrong.  We were falling sick too often and I usually gave my little one the flu bug instead of the other way round. And this was despite me being home and her at school, where children are more likely to catch bugs of all sorts. We ate right, and did the usual ‘right things to do to stay healthy’. But there was still something we (i) weren’t doing .

I think,  first of all the excessive fear of catching the virus literally invites it home. I am mortified of Spring. Instead of going out and admiring the lovely flowers in full bloom, I am terrified of catching a cold. And that’s exactly what I end up nursing- a terrible cold. 😀

I think one’s state of mind matters a lot in dealing with sickness. And being positive is all that it really takes to bring the spring back in your feet.  No matter how many Apples and Oranges you gobble, if you are not in a positive state of mind, nothing will help. So, while I coughed and wheezed, I watched in amazement my 4 year old jump all over the house and play as normally as she usually does,  despite a very high temperature. Probably because she has little understanding of what ‘fever’ or ‘allergy’ is.  She was busy with her toys and pretend plays, where she build castles and went shopping with her pets and Barbie. On the other hand I was  Googling obsessively about every symptom of Pollen allergy and all the other miseries that go with it.  I looked for sympathy on Facebook and coughed some more. I chose to remain down, my little one chose to smile and be happy and focus her energies on everything, but sickness.  And its not such a big surprise that she bounced back to health much, much before I did.

It is a valuable lesson for adults. To be positive not just about your promotion and salary but also about your health! I recently read in a book by Rhonda Byrne, that the power to good health lies with us. It is just a matter of attracting it.  Cribbing about a running nose will apparently, only make it worse. 🙂 Also, I feel a lot of parents go too far and restrict children with common cold and flu to bed and keep reminding them that they are sick. Instead, its a better idea to remain normal around them. That will help them much more. Besides, your child would much prefer a smiling happy parent than a grumpy, obsessive and nervous one.

So, smile often, love more, stay positive, stay healthy!

Posted by The Ketchup Girl

Make Breakfast fun for kids!

So, my li’l rascal has been behaving. Watching television when I want her to and turning it off accordingly. She comes back from school with ‘stickers’ on her hands for all the ‘help’ she has offered at school. And then, she’s been smothering me with kisses. Means just one thing. It’s time for a treat. So I asked her what she wanted and she said, she’d like to make “Fairy Bread’ . “It’s yummy mum, and I learnt how to make it in school”, she said.

We set to make it for breakfast a few days back. Thought you might like to try this with your little cracker too :).

As instructed I laid whatever she wanted, on the table.

1. Bread cut into triangles.

2. Sprinkles (pink ones please, mumma)

3. Butter (I want it soft, mum)

4. Plates

5. Knife for the butter

6. M n M’s (to be had after breakfast as dessert, please, mumma?)

My 4-year-old takes on from here!

So, mumma’s friends, this is how we make it. Look carefully, please.

1. First spread butter on the triangles. Like this.

2. Then sprinkle the pretty pink sprinkles ALL over the bread. Okay?

It can be messy. So wear an apron like I did.

3. Then look at it in amazement! And say ooooooooooooooo!

4. Take a big bite and enjoyy!!

I hope you enjoyed making Fairy bread with me?

Important Note : All pictures are protected and covered by the Creative Commons License . Please do not re-use, circulate or re-post without permission.

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The Ketchup Girl for Rentoys

Togetherness matters!

Don’t we all think of our childhood vacations,  rather fondly? Probably because those were the times we spent together, as a family.
No matter where we go, the mere fact that we are together, matters  to our children. It is something we owe  them – togetherness. And little outings always reinforces our love for our little ‘unes.
When I was young, my family had means only to fund one annual holiday in summer to our native place. But we always looked forward to it and made the most of it. Even if it meant taking a train in the hot summer months, in second-class sleeper coaches. Those days were cherished the most, simply because I got to see both my parents together for those days, all day long!
We lead accelerated lives, with little and sometimes no time to spare for our tots. That’s why it is even more imperative to manage little getaways to make up for the lost time with them. It doesn’t matter where you go. What matters is that you do it, and do it together. It could even be a little drive away from the city for a day, or maybe even a day-trip,  a picnic, or a dip in the pool.
Who doesn’t like a holiday? But with the mere mention of the word, we start thinking about affordability, leave, nannies, bosses, unfinished pitches, important conference calls and a zillion other things. We think of everything but the holiday itself.  The much discussed ‘holiday’ simply ends  in an arm-chair travel adventure, with you thinking about it wistfully.
Look at it this way- if you can squeeze in that important meeting with your client on a saturday, you can also squeeze in a little holiday with your mini dino-loving kid over the weekend. If you can afford to buy that purple top and red bag  in a spur-of-the-moment, you certainly can  afford to take an unscripted holiday!  Besides, all holidays don’t have to be a visit to the Queen in London, you know. Sometimes,  just a drive down to a destination in the outskirts of your city, can turn out to be an ideal break and ‘ just what all of you needed’.
Mark those long-weekends on your calendar, plan or do an impromptu trip, and  spend some priceless time with your baby perched on your shoulder and your partner, by your side!
Remember, the family that holidays together, stays together!
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