Thursday, May 21, 2009

Parents, WATCH your kids please!

I was asked by Sandeepa to contribute to a Mothers Day special at Desi Momz Club (love this site with its wonderful contributions). Yes, my previous entry was in a way dedicated to mothers, but I felt I needed to say something else... not just a personal entry on what happened between me and my little one. Well, last night something happened which prompted me to write this...

It was a beautiful, sunny evening and I was preparing dinner, when at around 6 pm, there was banging on the front door and someone ringing the bell frantically. Turned out to be the 14-year-old boy from across the street, clutching his 10-month-old sister (the fifth child of our neighbors) - asking if I had seen his other sister - a beautiful 5-year-old with curly blond hair and greenish blue eyes. She was nowhere to be found, he screamed - could we join the search party please?

Of course, my heart started pounding and I was stunned. We live in a very safe neighborhood in the suburbs of Houston, where people leave their doors open and the children walk or cycle to school on their own. And yes, people do let their kids play unsupervised on the front yard. That was something which always bothered me. The little girl would play everyday all by herself in front of the house - on her bike or walking their poodle. My first thought was "Oh God, someone has snatched this pretty little girl away from her front yard" - not because I am paranoid and never let my little one alone (and that is true - I am with her if she decides to play in the front yard), but because this is a reality which has repeated time and again to so many families across the world. Little ones lost because some creep found it easy to stop, chat and whisk them into cars.

The next 20-25 minutes were a blur - all the neighbors outside, the mother screaming and wailing down the street and banging on every door to ask if their daughter was inside playing, and the older siblings rushing around on bikes searching the jogging trails in the area. My husband joined them, but the first thing he did was to go inside the neighbors house and look through closed cabinets, inside the pantry, inside washing machine and dryer and checked the bayou which ran behind their home. He tried to ask the couple if they had searched every room in the house for he was wondering if she could be hiding somewhere inside. The mother and the father were too upset and hysterical to answer questions. The cops came. And then as suddenly, the little girl was found. She was, indeed, hiding inside the house!!!!!!!! What joy, what relief. And what a jolt to the tranquil suburban lifestyle. I bet her mother will keep an eagle eye on her from now on. I will see if she is allowed to play unsupervised from now onwards.

There are plenty of scary
statistics out there on how many kids get abducted (see National Center for Missing & Exploited Children too). To quote one "In 80% of abductions by strangers, the first contact occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home. In many cases, the abduction does too.- - 1990 U.S. Justice Department". You will get plenty of information on how to keep your child safe and what to do if one does go missing. We should all take the time to read these. And pray that this experience NEVER happens to you, to anyone you know or any other child you don't know. But this is beyond our control. While there are disturbed people with bad intentions, this will continue. Think of Madeleine McCann. Did the parents ever imagine their child would be taken from their bedroom at a resort? No. She's still missing.

I think, as mothers (and I say mothers first because statistically they are higher in numbers than dads who stay at home or take their kids to the park) and fathers, the one thing we can do is keep an eye on our children!! Don't assume they are safe just because they are playing outside your home or with the neighbors kids. Talk to them about safety issues, and pay attention to your kids if they tell you they don’t want to be with someone or go somewhere.

Here are some tips we all can follow.

What are the most important things parents should tell children about safety?
- Always check first with a parent, guardian, or trusted adult before going anywhere, accepting anything, or getting into a car with anyone.
- Do not go out alone. Always take a friend with when going places or playing outside.
- Say no if someone tries to touch you, or treats you in a way that makes you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. Get out of the situation as quickly as possible.
- Tell a parent, guardian, or trusted adult if you feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused.
- There will always be someone to help you, and you have the right to be safe.

I will end now. My thoughts are with all those who are still searching for their missing kids. Good luck and may you have the strength to go through this terrifying situation. And for the others, hope these tips will make us at least more aware of the harsh reality of a world where things can go terribly wrong... in a matter of seconds.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What it takes to be a good mother

My choice of mothers for the Mother's Day event at DMC may be a little unusual, but bear with me...

Many years ago, on a shivering cold, rainy monsoon day, a cat landed up at our drawing room window. At the time we stayed in a government bungalow which had deeply recessed windows at an almost 2 foot depth, so it sheltered the cat very well from the rain and she gave birth to two kittens. One of them died that very night, sadly, but the other one lived and graciously allowed us to look after him whenever his Royal Majesty pleased.

We observed after some time that our cat, Sphinx, was always highly alert on Saturday mornings, at about 10:00 am. I don't know if he could tell time, but we could have told it by his behaviour. Bang at 10 am, every saturday morning, Sphinx would clamour to be out in the garden, and would sit there, every muscle focused, whiskers quivering with excitement. And every Saturday morning, without fail, dropping all her other commitments, his mom would come, on the dot of 10 am.

The two of them would have a gala time, running and chasing each other by turns, jumping through the tall grass in our somewhat overgrown garden, leaping up at flowers, playing roll-me-over, giving in to the irrepressible joy of meeting again in the most physical way possible. And then, the two of them, tired out from the hullabaloo, would curl up in the shade of the peach tree, all snarled up so you couldn't tell where the mother cat ended and the baby cat began, and take a peaceful nap, before momma had to get back to her usual job.

It was amazing to see with what regularity this happened, and to feel the joy of the two cats. All too often, one hears that cats are unemotional, practicalt creatures, more conscious of their own creature comforts than anything else. But this instance was almost an object lesson, about creating quality time for your child, and letting nothing - no deadline, no dead mouse - come in the way.

Years later, our servant had kept a Spitz as a pet but once it got pregnant, he realised that he didn't want to spend the money on getting her proper treatment through the process so my sister took on the job. We had to rush her to a vet all the way out in NOIDA, a good 1 hour's drive away from our then home, not to mention feed her motion sickness pills and later give her lots of vitamins and supplements to replace those she didn't get as a young puppy. She had 8 puppies, two male and 6 female, though one of the males died soon after birth.

We put out a cardboard box lined with an old, soft, cotton sari for the puppies, and the mother took amazing care of them. She was barely a year old herself at the time, much too young to have kids. She used to sit with them for the first couple of weeks, and then, as they grew up a little, she loved walking around the huge lawns of the house. Every time she came anywhere near the pups, all 7 would start mewling at her in the most plaintive way and she'd have to lie there and feed them for hours. As they became older and stronger, we could tell that she was getting really irritated with the whole feeding process, not to mention tired out, but apart from a few teeth-baring incidents, she did her job as a mom. This actually carried on till we took her to the vet for a postnatal check and found out that since she hadn't been given the right supplements when a baby, her feeding the pups was actually weakening her own bones.

Watching her in action with the pups was incredible. One may say whatever one wants about animal instinct, but she, at her young age, was so giving of herself, literally and figuratively. It was a great lesson about what it takes to be a mom - dedication and the ability to put someone else's welfare ahead of one's own.


We wound up adopting her and her son, since the servant didn't have the means to take proper care of them. We're grateful we still have this mother around, a matriarch now at 14 ( 98 dog years), and only hope she stays on with us a little longer. And though since then she's gone on to bite almost everyone in the family at least once, except Dad, we still rate her one of the best moms ever!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mothers Talk related to Kids Social skill

From CNN,

Mothers often get blamed for the way their children turn out, and a new study gives additional weight to that accusation.

Research from the United Kingdom shows that the way mothers talk to their children at a young age influences their social skills later in childhood.

It also says,

But social understanding does not guarantee good behavior, the authors said. Children who showed the most sophisticated social skills in this study also behaved the most negatively toward their mothers in the team task of steering a model car around a race track. This suggests that social understanding isn't everything and must be used in beneficial ways, Yuill said.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Looking for a Nanny???

This is just a random post, nothing to do with Mothers Day or anything.

It is some information about Nannies that I wanted to share especially for people living in the Tri-State area. Some of these nannies are willing to re-locate within the US too.

If you are looking for Indian Nannies, try putting an ad in Indian news papers from NYC like India Abroad etc.

There is this Bangladeshi newspaper called "Thikana". You can fax them your ad and pay $25-$35 for an ad run for a week. Most Bangladeshi and Indian nannies in NYC peruse this newspaper for job openings and chances are your phone will be ringing non-stop

There is an agency in NYC whose name I don't know but the Ph. # is 718-205-9870. They are a good point-of-contact for Indian nannies too.

I have no ties, links, sponsorship from any of the above sources and I do not vouch for them either. Hire someone at your own discretion

Before you hire someone though, do a thorough background check, get several referrals, check out the family they have worked for before, spend a week or two with the nanny & your baby at your home after hiring, keep random checks by popping up un-announced and go with your instinct.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It washes, It rinses, It even dries the clothes.....

Remember that jingle from yesteryear?

It washes, it rinses,
It even dries the clothes....
In just a few minutes....
Videocon washing machiiiiiiiiine!


It tells how one machine does everything.... I know a mom who does that.

She willingly gave up her career since her husband has a very busy job and stayed home to raise kids. She was/is there every time they need her. She cooks the most delicious things from India and all over the world, making it seem like a breeze to make. She imparts family values and gives the kids a great grand chance to know the Indian culture but also let them enjoy the culture of the country she calls home, now. She manages the family finances; She plans vacations; She disciplines gently; She also enjoys her hobbies of reading and gardening... and shows her kids how to take time out for themselves and to take vacations to unwind. She lets the kids be themselves and to find their own identity. She gives them the wings to follow their dreams. And she's very organized with her time. She also blogs all her culinary adventures for her kids might need all her recipes some day, and graciously shares it with everybody. And to top it off, she has love plenty enough to share with everybody who leaves comments on her blog.

Dear Asha, someday soon..... I hope to be a mom like you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mothers Day Event @ DMC




Its that time of the year again. Though I agree Mothers Day is a Hallmark event and I am not too much into it, I secretly like it.

At DMC though I wanted Mothers Day to be a bit different. This Mothers Day lets raise a taste to "Another MOM", lets appreciate, admire and write about a Mom outside our own closed sphere.

So, a member writes about not herself or her own Mom but a Mother she knows and admires. This could be your fellow Blogger Mom or a Mom you know in real life. Gives us a chance to appreciate Moms outside our own sphere.

Please do participate with your entries in the month of May only. When posting choose Label "Mothers Day 09". If you are not a member but want to participate, mail your entries to desimomz.blog@gmail.com before May 31st.

And guess what one lucky winner gets a $10 Amazon Gift card as a Mother Day Gift from DMC. The lucky winner will be randomly picked from all contributors.

Happy Mothers Day !!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Two ordinary moms...

Two ladies come to mind from my childhood when I think about enterprising and hard-working single moms who just kept at it and made their lives better, especially for their children.

I was about six or seven years old when my mom, a superb cook and multi-tasker, told us that Saraswathi maami* would come in every evening, make chapathis and dal and such for us, and watch me for a bit till my mom can come home. Now, I did not like this arrangement much. I was not happy about somebody else in my mom's kitchen. However, with gentle demeanor and lots of Rosemilk, Saraswathi maami patiently won my trust so much so that I would long for her relaxing ritual of oiling my long hair and braiding it every evening while she told me stories from mythology. I would venture by her side and watch closely as she puffed up the chapathis over kerosine stove flame. I would get cross with her when she admonished me for not behaving ladylike at times. I didn't know much about her, except that she was widowed, with a few kids of various school-going ages. Not old enough to fathom her tragedy or her struggle, I went about my young life, slightly mad at my mother. Little did I know that she welcomed the income from making us chapathis to help raise her family. One fine day she stopped making chapathis for us, we moved, and that was that.

During my high school years, my mom introduced Jayanthi* into our kitchen and lives. Jayanthi had a tiny toddler and her husband was diagnosed with a rare heart condition that left him almost bed-ridden at that time. She had joined as a new lab assistant in the school that my mom was teaching at that time. She didn't get a chance to finish college but was quite good with assembling chemicals and preparing the lab for the children's guided experiments. To be honest, Jayanthi was an awful cook. But, she was very sincere about her tasks. Over time, I began to respect her simplicity and guilelessness. She kept at it, quietly working away at school, and our house on and off. Meanwhile, I went away to pursue my own stuff and years rolled by with my mom filling me in about the little toddler getting to be in middle school and finally in high school. And, the last time I visited India, this very same shy young lad was eager to befriend little baby Ana. He is now in college, with help from a lot of people who probably never met him on a daily basis but took that extra effort to find Jayanthi odd-jobs to do so she can raise her child with dignity and strength.

This Mother's Day, I wanted to dedicate a post to these two ordinary moms, who have shown extraordinary strength and courage to get out of the little holes that Life dumped them in and managed to keep their chin up and their spirits high while giving their children all they can, no fuss, no muss. I am glad to have known them.

*Names have been modified, respecting their privacy.

Nancy Elliot Edison, you are my inspiration

When Sandeepa of Desi Momz Club came up with an idea of a Mother’s Day Special on DMC, with the caveat being that one didn’t have to write about oneself or one’s own mother, I was immediately intrigued. I don’t fall to praise easily, and to find another mother worthy of my admiration apart from my own was a tall order.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to think too hard, there was one mother I’ve never known, who has lived centuries before me, and who I admire and who, unknown to her, has given me hope and courage. The mother of Thomas Alva Edison. Everyone knows the man, he has given us some of the most useful inventions, with his life the stuff genius is made of. But did you know that when he was seven, a schoolmaster called him slow and his brains, ‘addled’. His furious mother removed him from school and began homeschooling him herself. She was a teacher. And her faith in him and his abilities were what made him what he eventually went on to become.

Here’s the little I have researched on her:

http://books.google.co.in/books?id=fsMhuXeEtH4C&pg=PA44&dq=Thomas+Alva+Edison,+mother,+influence

Thomas Edison's forebears lived in New Jersey until their loyalty to the British crown during the American Revolution drove them to Nova Scotia, Canada. From there, later generations relocated to Ontario and fought the Americans in the War of 1812. Edison's mother, Nancy Elliott, was originally from New York until her family moved to Vienna, Canada, where she met Sam Edison, Jr., whom she later married. When Sam became involved in an unsuccessful insurrection in Ontario in the 1830s, he was forced to flee to the United States and in 1839 they made their home in Milan, Ohio.
Birth of Thomas Alva Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was born to Sam and Nancy on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. Known as "Al" in his youth, Edison was the youngest of seven children, four of whom survived to adulthood. Edison tended to be in poor health when young.
To seek a better fortune, Sam Edison moved the family to Port Huron, Michigan, in 1854, where he worked in the lumber business.
Addled Brain?
Edison was a poor student. When a schoolmaster called Edison "addled," or slow. his furious mother took him out of the school and proceeded to teach him at home. Edison said many years later, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had some one to live for, some one I must not disappoint."


What can I say? Everytime I struggled with my child and his seeming slowness and reluctance to fit into the mould of learners, everytime I shed bitter tears after PTA meetings when I was told he was far far behind the class and when it was hinted that I should perhaps take him out of school and put him in a special school, I would think of this mom and her determination to refuse to accept a schoolmaster’s definition of her son’s limitations, and her ferocity in educating him herself, giving us some of the most important inventions we have in the modern day world.

I think of her and feel ashamed of myself, for feeling cowed down and hopeless and hovering on the edge of despair. And I pick myself and push my son to prove to his class teachers that he can cope. And he is not slow. He is brilliant. I know it. And I hope one day he proves it to the world. And remembers how his mother fought for him and believed in him too!

Happy Mothers Day to you too!

(posted by karmickids)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Free Mother's Day Book download

I saw this on a newsletter from Mothering.com. I just registered for my free copy. Thought others might want to use it too. I'm not affiliated with Mothering.com, or this website where you can download the book, or with the author in ANY way.


Free Mother’s Day book download

Download a free copy of life balance expert Renee Trudeau’s award winning book The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life from May 8 through May 10 at www.mothersguidetoselfrenewal.com