Showing posts with label Theme for April 2008. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theme for April 2008. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sibling memories: Artichokes!

My sister and brother can get away with a lot...mostly because I remember my first cooking experiment and how they took it. I must have been ten, enamoured by my mother's glossy Life-Time recipe books, and insistent that I cook myself. After a long afternoon's work cooking up an artichoke, I served it to my siblings, who dutifully ate them. Then I tried...and realized I'd really not cooked the tartar sauce properly. Yeuck!! Full points to S&D for chomping away and not complaining at all! It's amazing how siblings can surprise you. These were the same big brother and sister who would chase me around to tickle me till I cried!!

Thought I'd share a new recipe I tried out with artichokes. May be a little off the beaten track for the blog, but fun if you have a moment to try something gun. This artichoke effort came about because my son K read a Pinky Dinky Doo book that featured the interesting-looking veggie and decided he needed to try it. Poor hubby got sent out last night to find a couple (he tried three stores) and I scoured around for recipes. Serendipitously, friend Aparna mailed me an Italian recipe book that gave me a couple of ideas and the following was the result.

Two medium sized artichokes
Olive oil
One egg

Half pound minced turkey
Two tomatoes
One onion
One egg
Pinch of turmeric,
Garam masala and chilli powder

One onion
Two teaspoons diced garlic
Pasta sauce (one medium bottle)
  • I prepped the stuffing as I normally would, i.e., with an Indian twist.... I started by frying diced onions till golden, mixing in the diced tomato, and when it all starts simmering, mix in the minced turkey and cook till the mix is dry
  • Cool the mix, then mix in one egg so the stuffing hangs together
  • Start prepping the artichoke. This means the following:- Slice the stem off, being careful not to cut into the artichoke flower- Pull off the outer bracts (the "petals" as the kids called them) till you get to the softer bracts- Chop the top of the floweret, so it has a stright edge on the top. Nip off the tips of the bracts that still have tips- Open out the flowerette, till you get to the central core. Gauge the tenderness of the central bracts, but I found that the center has to go. It's pretty sharp and hard- Having effectively created a cup for the stuffing, it's best to run water through the flowerettes, then squeeze lemon juice over them - this prevents discoloration
  • Put in the stuffing into the artichoke "cups", patting it down nicely so it's packed in well (the kids loved doing this)
  • Beat the extra egg, and dip the top of the stuffing and the encircling edges of the artichoke bracts in it. Then dip it in the bread crumbs (dad loved doing this!)
  • In a large pan, heat oil, then put the srtichokes face-down (stuffing side down) in the oil so it fries nicely. Once the tops are brown, take them off and cool
  • Start the sauce: fry the garlic and onion and pour in the pasta sauce, and bring to a simmer
  • Put the two artichokes in a pot, pour the sauce around them and cook on a medium flame for about 40 minutes (that's right!!)
  • This was a complex job, but tactile and hence lots of fun for the kids. The unique look and feel also made this an interesting eating experience for the kiddies. They loved the stuffing, and liked the bite and pull technique needed to get the flesh off the bracts. It reminded them of the Muringa (also called drum-sticks in India) that I use in my sambars!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sibling Rivalry - how we tried to keep it at bay

[This post is by mummyjaan of Apya and Bubbu. It took forever to write because I got sidetracked by lots of other things, including a few trips around the country, and this past week the baby shower was just too exciting to miss :), so I apologize for posting almost near the end of the month.]

When I had my second child, my older one was a few months shy of 3 years old. She had been used to being the centre of attention, and I had several worries on my mind, but the most important concern was: how would I make sure she wouldn't feel left out? and how would I make sure that if she harboured any resentment, she wouldn't take it out on the baby?

Looking back at those early months, I think we weathered those days pretty well. Not to make this post long, but these were some of the ideas we tried and found useful, and some memories that I would like to share with you try not to get bored now :

1. A gift for the big sister close to the time of the birth. This was advice given by many friends; my opinion: it worked, in so far as it made her happy. (My husband got her a small toy kitchen - it was perfect at her age - she loved it and spent many happy hours cooking and serving us).

Our friends suggested telling her it was a gift 'from the baby', but that would have meant a blizzard of questions from my inquisitive chatterbox, so we preferred 'a gift for you on the occasion of the new baby'. This was accepted happily without question.

2. We brought Apya to the hospital often to see the baby and spend time with her. She absolutely loved it. ("Let's take her home, Mummy, why don't we go home now?" on Day 1). She was totally fascinated by Bubbu's tininess and loved to look at her, hold her, talk to her, and cuddle her. She wanted to do everything: feed her, change her nappy, etc. so it was a bit difficult to 'control' her, in a way.

My mom was worried about having a 3-year-old close by the baby and would screech and gasp often ("Ohhh, she might hurt the baby" - that sort of thing) whenever Apya got too close to her. I didn't see what the fuss was about, and let her come close as often as she wanted to, after explaining to Apya that she wasn't allowed to push her, hit her or sit on her, but she could pretty much do whatever else she wanted - under my close supervision, of course. My mom found this rather careless and permissive, but if you look at it from my point of view - I trusted my older child - that she would not do anything to harm the baby, and in retrospect, I was glad I had not applied any restrictions on their interaction. It helped her become attached to the baby.

I did have to be more watchful of my older one when she was tired or cranky for some other reason - we dealt with some pulling arms and over-enthusiastic kisses and cuddles which made baby cry and that sort of thing.

3. Long before the baby was due, we had begun talking of her as "our baby", including Big Sister in the 'our'. Very often, we referred to her as "your baby" and "your baby sister", thus trying to reinforce that sisterly bond. I really think this was our most helpful strategy.

With the result, Apya really did think of the Bubbu as 'hers' from an early stage; we, the parents, in her opinion, were rather like caretakers, but it was 'her Baby'. This made her quite as protective of the little one as we were ourselves.

For instance, I would be reminded to pick the baby up if she began crying, or she would let me know that the Baby had woken up and was scratching her face.

She was over-enthusiastic and would insist on changing the baby's nappy or her clothes. When I explained that she was too little, she would become quite downcast. Finally, I reached a compromise by letting her fasten the tab on one side of the nappy or letting her button up the last one or two buttons on the baby's clothes. It made her feel as though she was doing something.

4. Be watchful when the older one is tired. Apya went through a phase when she tried to bite Bubbu. This was when the baby was about 4 months old. I just never left them alone at those times. (After the first warning bite, that is :D, which, fortunately, was a gentle one). Some days, I had to be very vigilant, but that was it. This was probably "the phase" when her jealousy came out, only she didn't know how to express it.

5. As they grow older, I notice that when I lavish too much attention on the Bubbu, Apya's expression changes - when I then shower her with the same attention she brightens up.

6. This point should have gone first, really. Having my parents around for Apya was a tremendous help. I am convinced I would have really struggled without them. While I looked after the baby and myself, my parents looked after my older child (and husband), fed her them ;), played with her, kept her occupied. For the first couple of months after the birth, I did little for my older child except read her a story and put her to bed at night. Hubby took over her bath-times and taking her out to play.

As Trishna mentioned in her post - that she would like to have a little sibling for Aadya - I know I had no. 2 because I really wanted my daughter to have a younger sibling - preferably a little sister. In that respect, we were blessed. It's wonderful to see them play together. I don't even mind seeing them fall out with each other now and then - they make up soon enough.

Certainly, I went through a phase where I thought one child was enough. With one, my yearning to have children was completely satisfied. However, as she turned two, my husband and I both felt that we couldn't always amuse her whims - it became apparent that a child needs another child. Preschool only partially filled the gap. I remembered my own childhood and teenage as an only child and thought, if I can give my children this gift - the affectionate bond of sibling-hood - why shouldn't I?

I am so glad they have each other.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Theme for April 2008: Sibling Love

Theme for April 2008.

Hi, there, Desi Mommies!

Doing well? Good, I hope so.

Momnesia had me in its grip these past 4 days, and I needed a gentle prod from Sandeepa to announce this month's theme :).

Our friend Sogno had her second baby recently, and we know quite a few of the mommies around the desi blogosphere will be welcoming their second children in the coming months.

As we all know, life with a child is one thing, and life with more than one is a different story altogether. Two (just the parents) is company; three (with an energetic bundle between them) is a crowd; four is , perhaps .... a celebration! Or the perfect circle for Ring a ring 'o roses.

I grew up as an only child, and the close relationship between siblings is something I had only seen from a distance. I remember one of my classmates ranting about something her sister did, to end with a sigh, and then, "Brothers and sisters, can't live with them, can't live without them!" I remember being perplexed by it and not quite 'getting it'. Till now, when I see my own little ones prancing about, hand in hand. It has its pleasant moments; it has its challenges.

For me, the arrival of the second one put many thoughts and doubts in my mind - these challenging questions resurface every few days: how will I be able to lavish the same time and attention on the second one as I did on the first? how do I make them feel equally loved? how do I avoid favouritism?

For this month, I'd like the moms who have already had 2 (or more) to share their stories, helpful experiences and tips about life with two (or more) children. How did you welcome your second bundle into your home? How did your first little love take it? How and when did sibling rivalry present itself in your home and how did you tackle it? Or, how did you avoid it and what approach did you find helpful to prevent it?

That would leave out a lot of mommies who are enjoying their first one; I say, post anything related to brothers and sisters. A favourite childhood memory, perhaps. A special anecdote. Anything which celebrates the special bond between sister and sister, brother and sister, and brother and brother. (Or even not; rants welcome too).

So this time at Desi Momz, let's dedicate the month to Sibling Love.

(Please remember to label your post 'Theme for April 2008'.)

[This post is by Mummyjaan of Apya and Bubbu]