It comes as a shock to many parents when they first learn that their toddler has been hitting others. Most times, toddlers start displaying aggressive behaviour when they are exposed to a new environment (read: playschools). This is a common problem and parents need not stress over it.
Your toddler is still struggling with his linguistic skills and cannot properly communicate what he wishes to. This is also the stage when your little one is learning to be independent and begins making decisions of his own. All of this combines with the impulse to try and control the others make children of this age get physical. A little hitting and biting is completely normal for a toddler, but parents should not ignore this behaviour. Parents should let their toddler know that aggressive behaviour is unacceptable through different ways.
Apoorva came to us with the same problem, recently her 2.7 year old tot has developed the habit of hitting his peers at his school and she is looking out for help. Our SOS Moms gave their two cents to Apoorva on this issue.
Deepti Pathak advices Apoorva to simply stay calm, “Wait for another six months. Your problem is very common”, whereas Rekha Meena observes, “I just can’t understand why today kids develop the habit of hitting others. I’m a mother of 2 kids and both of them are very disciplined. When they misbehave initially, stop them immediately so they come to know what is wrong and right. Mother is the first teacher.”
Harsha Rajiv on the other hand has a logic we parents often overlook, “Usually when a kid gets hurt, elders in the house to console the kid say ‘Wait I’ll hit this thing that hurt you’ and thinking the kid will stop crying. This is really bad. Do divert the attention of kid saying something else, I tell my kid to stop crying so the magical fairy can come. I think problem is if the kid doesn’t like something he hits, even if it is a person. You have to convey a message to the kid with the support of teacher saying that hitting hurts. You have to keep trying to make him understand, don’t give up.”
Bhuvaneshwari Narayanan says, “It may be a reflection of what your kid sees around him. Home environment, wordy duels between parents, cartoons exhibiting hitting behaviours or may be he is hit by either of the parents or elders at home when he troubles you. We have to start talking to the kid who exhibits such rude behaviour. Even if you shout at him or punish him, it is not going to help. Don’t hit him back, instead take time to spend more time with him. Whenever he is cranky give him something to eat. Again don’t feed him with foods loaded with sugar. Give him homemade food. Take him to a park, play area and indulge in physical playing. This will calm him down. Especially swinging him in a swing for 20 minutes minimum daily would definitely calm his aggression.”
Toddlers can be a handful to their parents. With all the energy and enthusiasm toddlers possess, it can be difficult to deal with them. But no parent should take their kid’s aggressive behaviour lightly, parents should explain to their children the consequences of hitting immediately. Sending quality time and a few measures can solve this problem once and for all.
We thank all the moms who came to Apoorva’s rescue:
Bhuvaneshwari Narayanan, Harsha Rajiv, Deepti Pathak, Rekha Meena, Robe Samarth Gaonkar and Rajnideep Sandhu.
Constipation is a very common concern among the moms of toddlers. Some of the common causes of constipation in toddlers are toilet anxiety, dehydration and diet. Swati’s two and half your old child has the problem and she came to SOS moms for their advice on the same. Let’s take a look at what our SOS moms have to say to Swati.
Moms Noopur Agarwal, Sowjanaya Kumar, Tanuja Karunakar, Anita Rankar, Shaveta Rahajan, Ritu Mishra Tripathi Sahrvani Aneel, Leena Parikh, Ameena Sayeed, Deepshikha Das, Sakshi Batra, Tanushree Ganguli and Sayonee Mishra all agree that Swati’s little one should be given ripe bananas and papaya in different forms to ease his problem. Both banana and papaya are rich in fibre and can help with constipation. These two fruits can also be given in the form of milk shakes, juice and any other form to make them seem less boring to your active bub.
Also moms like Tanushree Ganguli, Jyoti Kapil, Mridula Shirwali, agree that spinach and greens will help Swati’s child to a great extent.
Moms Sneha Satam, Sathya Ramu, Srividya Mushunuru suggest Swati to feed that the child should be fed black raisins soaked in water every morning. Chetana Suvarana Ganatara suggests that a porridge made of oats and prunes (packed with fibre) will help. Shanti Gupta says dried figs soaked in water overnight will also work wonders.
Preeti Khanna and Manasi Joshi suggest that the little one should be given milk with two drops of ghee in it. Milk may cause constipation but milk with ghee has a reverse impact. Sweta Bharadwaj, Sonia Sonu pipe in with their suggestion of feeding the tot with curd regularly.
Diana Samuel says, “Try 1/2 tsp honey in 1/2 tsp warm water on empty stomach in the morning. It worked for my child when she had severe constipation. Note: water must be warm not too hot nor cold. Give him lots of warm water throughout the day. Hope it might help.” Harsha Rajiv suggests, “ Water intake should be increased. Fruit juice, fresh fruits in puree form is also effective. Fibrous food like palak and other greens in soup can be given. Also Palak kichdi, carrot soup, carrot milkshake etc work. Do include greens in your baby’s diet at least once a week.
Other SOS moms also agree that Swati’s little one should be given warm water throughout the day in equal intervals. Also the child should be made to sit on his potty seat everyday even if he doesn’t pass stool to build a habit. Constipation can be easily resolved with a few key changes in diet and momma’s care of course!
We thank all the SOS moms who rushed in to aid Swati with her problem:
Tanushree Ganguli, Jyoti Kapil, Mridula Shirwali, Noopur Agarwal, Sowjanaya Kumar, Tanuja Karunakar, Anita Rankar, Shaveta Rahajan, Ritu Mishra Tripathi, Sahrvani Aneel, Leena Parikh, Ameena Sayeed, Deepshikha Das, Sakshi Batra, Tanushree Ganguli and Sayonee Mishra, Sneha Satam, Sathya Ramu, Srividya Mushunuru, Harsha Rajiv, Diana Samuel, Pratibha Gautam, Swati Agarwal, Shama Mittal, Nausheen Sharieff, Amrita Singh, Sarika Singh, Dia Bijlani, Namrata Mandowara, Chetna Ganatara, Bindiya Yadav, Sakshi Batra, Simpy Jalan and Reema Verma.
It is crazy to go back to work after maternity leaves. Like, the last time your coworkers saw you, you had a happy baby bump,but now, you’re all flat out, dark circles and all. We feel you fellow mommas, we know what it is leave your baby and fight off the guilt that is steadily creeping up your throat. One major worrying factor for all new moms returning to work is – How Do I Store my Breast Milk? After all, your little cherub needs it and it is the best gift you can give your child.
Now, the women who want/need to work, take a minute to bless science, because science has given you this wondrous, wow worthy thing called the breast pump. These little gifts from technology lets mothers pump their milk out and store it for their baby’s care takers to feed the little one whenever necessary.
One such new mom Veena is returning to work and she came running to us to ask us how she should store her breast milk and our unfailing SOS moms have come to our rescue.
Anisha Rodrigues Pinto hurried in to help Veena, “Well if you are starting work you can always start combining breast and bottle milk ( i.e. more times breast milks and fewer times bottle milk( supplement). But as you mentioned you want to know about breast milk, which is the best to give your baby. Here is what I know. Well, expressing of breast milk can be done in three ways: 1) hand, 2) using a hand pump (available on firstcry.com), 3) using an electrical pump (available on firstcry.com). If you get heavy milk supply it will be quite easy for you to express by hand specially in the morning. However if you find it difficult ask help from doctor or experienced people to teach you or show you in either of the above 3 ways mentioned. At times expressing by hand can also take a long time in this case the pumps are helpful. You must express your milk in sterilised bottles (available on firstcry.com), which can then be capped and stored in the fridge. Don’t keep it longer than 24 hours. See that it’s frozen as soon as possible. Melt frozen milk and use at once. Never refreeze. You can also keep it in fridge for 5 to 6 hours (in case u get a break and can rush home and get back to work).”
Sonal Maner shared her experience of returning to work when her daughter was just three months old, “Use an electric breast pump to extract milk and store in special sterilised bags in d freezer. Use Medela breast pump and bags, they are the best. You can store milk in the freezer for up to 3 moths after extracting, remove from freezer 45 mins before feed time and keep the bag/bottle in hot water so it can warm up. Do not open d bag/bottle until the baby is ready to be fed. I joined work wen my daughter was just 3 months and used to feed her extracted breast milk until she was 1.5 yrs.” Medela Breast Pumps on FirstCry.com are available here.”
Neha Gaurav puts in her useful tips, “You can use manual breast pump instead of electric one. After extracting milk you can keep it at room temp (27 degrees) for 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator (towards the corner of tray) for 24 hrs in sterilised bottles only. After taking out the milk from refrigerator , keep the bottle in a pan of warm water for few minutes so that it comes to room temp. But make sure u do not bring the milk in direct contact of heat (gas flame)”.
Noopur Agarwal also reminded us to instruct the care taker, “With an automatic breast pump you can extract all the milk in morning before going to office, then store the milk in sterilised baby bottles and refrigerate them. Tell the person who will be feeding the baby to take out the bottle half an hour before feeding the baby”.
Radhika Varun Soni also reiterated the best method to store breast milk, “You can use breast pump of your choice n refrigerate the milk in sterilized bottle and warm the bottle in hot water just minutes before he is to be fed.”
A lot of advice comes in the way of new moms, but the best ones are from peers who have been mothers themselves. Being a working mom can bring whole host of challenges, but it is also a really satisfying role to play.
We would also like to extend our thanks to the moms who came to Veena’s rescue:
Sonal Maner, Noopur Agarwal, Radhika Varun Soni and Neha Gaurav.
Roshini, a worried mom of a 17-month old toddler, says, “My daughter was a thumbsucker since the beginning -literally. Tucked away in my memories book is an ultrasound image of her’s sucking her thumb to glory in the womb. Now, a year and a half later, she’s still not ready to let it go.”
The answer to Roshini’s and other numerous moms’ problem is rather straightforward. Thumb sucking is a very common reflex that kids engage in when they face a stressful situation. They do this to calm down, fall asleep or just to feel good. It makes them feel safe and comfortable. Also, most of the times, sucking thumb is considered harmless in terms of a child’s growth and speech development.
Paediatricians from all over are of the consensus that as the kid crosses the two year age mark, they start developing other coping skills beyond thumb or finger sucking. They also purport that as long as the child stops the thumb sucking habit by the time he develops his permanent teeth, there would be minimal or no impact on his mouth and jaw.”
One of our SOS Moms, Vandana Anand, mom of 2 kids, says, “Help your kid in resolving his thumb sucking problem and leave it to his will. Don’t force! Give enough love and your baby will leave sucking his thumb”.
Another SOS Mom, Rajnideep Sandhu, doubles up with Vandana Anand and says, “The main thing is when children don’t get the proper attention, they develop such habits. So, just check if your child wants to say something to you, it’s usually a big deal for them!”
We also have Meghna Kattimani who puts forth a different perspective to the problem.
She says, “Identify the triggers – If your kid sucks his thumb in response to stress, identify that triggering factor and provide comfort in other ways — such as a hug or reassuring words. You might also try giving your kid a pillow or stuffed animal to squeeze.”
Lastly, Urvashi Patole proposes, “Maybe you can put a little garlic or any bitter tasting edible on your kid’s thumb. Very soon he will stop sucking his thumb. However, adopt this method only when your kid has become a preschooler (3-5 yrs), but still continues to have this problem.”
So you see Roshini, forcing is not the solution! In most cases, the kid automatically gives up the habit as he grows. There’s no urgency to kick the habit this early, i.e. Before the child turns three.
The couple has three kids – a 15 year old boy, Aryan, a 13 year old girl Suhana and a one year old boy, AbRam, born through a surrogate.
Their marriage was incidentally inspired by his film, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ of the 1990’s. Shah Rukh himself believes that he is a better father than an actor. This celeb couple balances each other out when it comes to parenting. In the words of Gauri, she is Shahrukh’s alter ego.
The couple isn’t stringent about what their kids are going to become. However, it is said that Aryan likes to play football while his sister, Suhana, is into writing. He wants the best education for both and this is also the reason that he sent Aryan to the United Kingdom.
Both believe that education should be the primary focus of every parent and they intend to offer their kids the best. Shahrukh says that he doesn’t have many friends and it is the kids that are his closest allies – his best friends.
Both parents try to share all their moments with the kids. This father of three learnt to do this from his own father who used to call him ‘Yaara’, meaning friends and they shared a good rapport. He wants to continue this tradition, as he believes that there couldn’t be a better way of being brought up and being a closely bonded family.
While the couple wants to spend the maximum time with their kids, they are also sometimes disappointed in not being able to do enough. The kids too understand and are grown up enough to know the right thing to do.
Shahrukh and Gauri feel that both their kids are well mannered, courteous and sorted. Shahrukh is however more protective of Suhana, but also believes that she has grown mature enough to handle all situations. The star couple wants the children to grow up independent and make their own decisions.
While there is still time to say whether they would be able to continue the Khan legacy of becoming actors, Aryan is certainly on the right track. He is tall, handsome and, just like his dad, is popular among peers. Many look up to the way these kids are being brought up and the family has often been in the news for the best of reasons.
Image source: emirates247
How the celeb pair, Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) manage life with 6 kids have always been a topic of interest for celeb news followers across the globe.
They have been happy together (not a common occurrence with all Hollywood couples) since 2005, even with 6 rambunctious kids.
The celeb pair admits that their kids are like nomads – they move around with their parents and there is nothing like a strict ‘home’ for them. “Home is wherever we are,” Jolie said in a newspaper interview. A chaotic life is everything that Angelina ever wanted, says Brad Pitt, and for him, if it has to be a family, why not make it big!
Angelina has stated that when you’re moving around the globe, there could probably no better way to raise kids, there are so many things to explore, so many fun activities to do, and never have their kids been bored or irritated them with their demands.
Sources state that while moving around for shoots and programs, Angelina tries to find fun activities for the kids. These kids have visited aquariums in London, jumped into spa pools in Budapest, tasted crickets in Cambodia and even rode the waves in Cancun.
Though a celeb family, the Brangelina family is just like any other normal family, but it is just that the kids are more privileged. The children have always been seen to run around, play, jump and share quality time with each other. Sources say that these kids share a special bond among themselves and the couple works hard to keep it that way.
Sources have said that the Brangelina kids have matured enough to go anywhere all alone and without any confusion! For Viv and Knox, the youngest of the bunch, life is already an adventure and they are ready for anything. They have already been helping their family move between cities. Like the older kids, Knox and Viv help pack one bag each with their travel musts.
The celeb couple ensures that every kid’s birthday is a special occasion. When it comes to to presents and toys, both mom and dad stick to the basics like stuffed teddies and the kids rarely demand big ticket splurges. They are even reportedly all forced to share the same iPad. The little ones love trying their hand at paint-your-own-pottery, and laugh over board games, costumes and nerf guns!
However, it is outdoors that the Brangelina bunch really finds their spot in the sun, with water slides, pools, beaches, adventure treks and long rides. They make a great family and as the kids are getting older they have learned to calm down and make things work smoothly.
“As any mother knows, you have to plan everything for the kids first, then you organize your day,” Jolie said. She and Pitt make sure the kids burn off energy, so they are tired enough to nap without a fuss. All families have their issues and their ups and downs, but the groundedness of the Jolie-Pitt bunch is a real inspiration for normal folks.
Image source ramblingriot.wordpress.com
Mums, it’s almost here…..Father’s Day! So it’s on the 16th of June this 2013.
There’s a lot of options out there that you can pick up at the stores, but what’s more fun is creating something for dad along with your little one. We loved these ideas online!
Trust us, these handmade DIY things are what daddy will cherish most.
Here are the top 10 DIY ideas we loved….. Continue reading →
So moms and dads,
Here are a few more cherished pics of some big international names along with their kids….
Seeing her you wouldn’t believe she is a mum. Slim, sweet and full of life, 33-year-old Vidhi Panjwani is working in the highly busy and stressful position of a full-time mom, being around 24*7 for her 6-year-old son Mahaksh.
But bringing in her darling little one to this world wasn’t easy. “There were spottings and I was on bed rest for 4 months. Those 4 months were some of the toughest months of my life. Forget getting up and walking, I was not even allowed to sit up for the first 4 months! And the only companions I had the whole day was the ceiling or the TV, of which I had soon tired. But what that period of bed-rest also did was to show me the immense care and love my husband has for me. Throughout those difficult months my husband was always by my side. So much so that even when I had hunger pangs in the middle of the night, he would go to the kitchen with my mother-in-law and help make aaloo paranthas for me. Tell me, what more could I have asked for?”
Every mother has a special relationship with her little one and Vidhi is no different. Though each day is as precious as the previous, the one thing she will always remember each day of her life is the feeling she had on seeing her baby for the first time.
“I am a very sleep-happy person, I can sleep anywhere and anytime. But surprisingly, after my son was born, I felt as if all the sleep has gone from my eyes forever. I was so excited and so happy that the only feeling I had was being too full of energy and wanting to be with my son all the time. My husband and all my relatives too were surprised at the sudden change in me, but somehow, as if by miracle, all the exhaustion and the tiredness of the delivery had gone, and instead, all that was there was the beautiful face of my son and my love flowing for him. I wanted to hold him in my arms and be like that forever. It is the most amazing experience of my life, something that I can’t describe in words.”
“I was always very career-oriented and wanted to give my profession my best” says Shweta, who is on a busy schedule in her work in the marketing field. “I wanted to do well in life on my own” she says with a proud smile. “But nothing could come even close to the joy that I experienced once my son was born” she adds with a smile.
“Since I am working, I have to leave the house by 09:00 each morning and only come home after 07:00 in the evening. So the whole day my son is with the nanny and also his dadi (paternal grandmother). But the moment I reach home you should see his expression. Its a million-dollar expression” she says with a touch of emotion. “He gets so excited to see me that he wants to laugh, to cry, to play, all at the same time. I feel really touched when I see that my little bachcha understands his mother is working, so he wants to do everything with his mamma whenever she is home.”
Shweta wants to spend every possible time with her little one, but there are many other things that also need her attention. Thankfully, with the support of an understanding partner and a supportive family, she is at least assured of the fact that while she is at work, there is someone who is making sure her little boy is looked after. And when she is back home, all her time is exclusively for her little one.
Meet Jyosna Kanal Tandaan, a self-confessed party animal, a lady who knows how to entertain friends, at the same time playing loving wife and caring mommy to her super-charged sons.
A high-flier and a party animal, not the traits you would really associate with a mommy. “Becoming a mother has changed everything. My lifestyle, my behaviour, my attitude towards life, all have undergone a drastic change. Earlier I would head out to party at every given opportunity. My friends were my world. I was bursting with too much energy, always hyper, a little immature and irresponsible at times. Being a mother has changed all that, and only for the better. Now my life revolves around my sons, all else is secondary. Whatever I do, I first think how my sons will react to it. All my decisions and choices are now governed by what suits my sons best. I have become much more mature and calm as a person and can handle situations in a much more level-headed way than before.”
Jyosna gave up her lucrative career and decided to be a stay-at-home mom. And the one image that will always remain in her heart is the image of her little one when she was just three months into her pregnancy. “The doctor had advised me a sonography. Till that time I was very unsure of how things would be, my full maternal instincts had not developed yet. The entire process was still very overwhelming for me.” But when she saw the image of her little one, nestled inside her, growing slowly each day, with each passing moment, it was too much for this emotional girl. “I knew right then that I was looking at my world” she says, emotions clouding her words.
We found this on the web:
The ten-year-old was diagnosed with the condition after coming back from a Girl Guide weekend with a wheezing chest. At first Bethany — a ‘happy-go-lucky and healthy child’ — didn’t seem bothered by her symptoms, says Debbie.
The doctor said it was asthma and prescribed an inhaler and medication — she also sent the family to a specialist for Bethany’s breathing to be checked. ‘But the doctors said her breathing was fine, so we went home. ‘I thought “job done”,’ recalls Debbie, a 43-year-old mother of three.
But two days later, with no sign of the wheezing subsiding, Debbie took her daughter back to the doctors. This time, there was less of a welcome. ‘None of the doctors actually said I was a paranoid, over-anxious mother but that was what their faces were saying. They told me stress was causing the asthma to persist. ‘The implication was that if we all just calmed down, Bethany would recover.’
The following day, she watched her daughter as she moved about, her breath rasping loudly. ‘Suddenly the alarm bells were ringing,’ says Debbie. ‘I just knew there was something wrong. Bethany would walk to the bathroom and could hardly breathe. And the difficulty she had was in breathing out — not breathing in, as normally happens with asthma. Sometimes she simply couldn’t empty her lungs.’
It was a crucial observation.
Bethany had a two-centimetre tumour lodged in her windpipe that was periodically blocking her airways as she breathed out.
Debbie believes her instinct as a mother kicked in at that point.
Two weeks after her first symptoms Bethany was finally admitted to hospital for observation as doctors reluctantly agreed the breathing was not typical of asthma. But it was too late. That evening, Bethany suffered respiratory failure, causing her to fall down in the hospital shower. She was taken back to bed in a wheelchair and left to sleep that night. But by the next morning, the doctors started treating her as a medical emergency. It soon became clear the child’s lungs were filling up with carbon dioxide that could not be expelled.
‘She died in an ambulance ten minutes into a journey to another hospital where the plan was to pump out her lungs,’ Debbie recalls quietly. ‘But she didn’t have a chance.’ The movement of being shifted about disturbed the tumour, causing a fatal cardiac arrest.
‘I was holding her hand and the last thing she asked was if she was going to die.’
Whether her life could have been saved is difficult to say.
Debbie is not angered by the failure to spot the rare cancer, however. For her the doctors’ mistake lies in their refusal to take her anxiety seriously and therefore investigate further. ‘I’ve been racked with guilt that I didn’t do more to keep Bethy alive. Perhaps I should have screamed and shouted or got myself arrested — anything to get them to listen to the one person in the world who knows the child inside out and back to front, and knew that something was seriously wrong,’ she says.
‘We firmly believe parents know their children best and if they are unsatisfied with the service, they should seek a second opinion,’ said one of the officers handling the case. What little research there is suggests mothers do indeed know best.
‘Many mothers of very sick babies or children seem to have a sixth sense of danger often without even knowing why they are so worried,’ says Dr Cynthia McVey, a psychologist specialising in child health at Glasgow Caledonian University. ‘Evidence shows very clearly these feelings may be based on subtle, almost imperceptible, changes in the way the child is crying or holding its body or indeed breathing, something that may seem quite trivial or unobservable by the doctor,’ she says.
As seen on the web:
He said, “Please excuse me too.’ We went on our way saying good-bye.
Later that day, cooking the evening meal, my son stood beside me very still.
As I turned, I nearly knocked him down. “Move out of the way,” I said with a frown.
He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.
I looked on the kitchen floor, and found some flowers there by the door.
My heart said – Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.
He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise, and you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.
By this time, I felt very small, and now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by his bed, “Wake up, little one, wake up,” I said.
“Are these the flowers you picked for me?”
He smiled, “I found ’em, out by the tree.
I picked ’em because they’re pretty like you. I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.”
I said, “Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today; I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”
He said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay. I love you anyway.”
I said, “Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.”
We found this story of courage, support and positive thinking on the web:
Mom Amanda Egan (who is also a writer) and husband chose a school in South London for their son that was known for its caring environment. Her son Ben, who was then 11, seemed a little anxious on his first day, but the parents didn’t think it was anything abnormal. But next week when she walked with her son to his class, a practice that is allowed internationally to help children get used to a big school, her son was struck with panic.
‘I can’t do it,’ he said, the fear on his face. The mother assured him that everything would be fine, nudged him into class, waved and turned away. ‘It wasn’t until I reached my car that he caught up with me. Tears were streaming down his face and he was gasping for breath. I had never seen him like that. ‘I can’t stay there,’ he shouted. ‘I just can’t!’ recalls the mother.
The teacher, who was very understanding, and Ben’s mother both tried to calm him, but as he started complaining of headache and sickness, she decided to take him home. ‘My husband, who is very laid-back and quite the reverse of me, assured me it was nothing to worry about,’ says Amanda.
But the next morning, the same panic happened, and the next and the next, and soon Amanda was worried. Both the parents tried talking to Ben, but nothing was helping. Says Amanda – ‘As any parent who has ever dealt with this condition knows, when it first hits you have absolutely no idea what you’re dealing with. In fact, you think the very things that others have asked. Is he playing up? Am I spoiling him? And you try everything – from confiscating his PlayStation to bribing him with new games or breaking down in tears yourself. After two weeks, we were referred to the school counsellor. I saw the counsellor on my own at first and straight away she mentioned the words ‘school phobia’.
‘Once he was diagnosed, it was a question of encouraging him to take baby steps: enter the form room, sit through a full lesson, stay for a half-day, then a full day. Meanwhile, I remained in the background – for the first term this meant sitting outside his classroom reading. From then on, I could sit in the car outside.’ Mom Amanda carried on her dog-minding business from there, booking pets in with various minders on the phone. She managed not only to be a full-on mom to her son, but also kept her working schedule on, with help and support from her husband.
Progress was slow and there were many setbacks. Sometimes Ben would curl into a ball and cry for an hour before even daring to walk through the school gates. I can’t tell you how helpless you feel witnessing something like this. For his entire first year, Ben only ever attended school for half the day – during which time he would visit me after every lesson. At lunch, I would drive him home, where I insisted he continue reading or working until the end of the school day. Sometimes other mums knocked on the car window: ‘Why don’t you just tell him you’re going home and he has to stay here.’ If only it was that easy!’
Of course there were times when I blamed myself – was this a result of my parenting skills? I hoped the problem would evaporate over the summer holiday, but the day before his second year began, Ben burst into tears again. This is when I started staying in the car for the entire school day – Ben no longer returned home at lunch but continued to come and see me after every single lesson. I developed a routine, bringing a packed lunch and chick-lit. I got through a book a day. The school allowed me to use the staff loos.
I stayed in position outside the school throughout his third year, but in his fourth, in 2009, the counsellor drew up a plan to gradually move him towards independence. For the first few weeks, Ben visited me only at morning break-time. Then we limited it to only once or twice in the afternoon. And, in January 2010, Ben spent his first day at school without me there. We kept in contact by text.
There were times, I must admit, when I felt a bit sorry for myself. Particularly when rain pelted down on the roof or when it was so hot even winding down the windows didn’t help. This is what happens when you spend three years cooped up in a car from 8.30am until 4pm each day. And six years on, it has paid dividends: not only is Ben now a committed student, but I used all that spare time to write a novel. Of course, I’ve grown used to people’s ridicule over the years. ‘Any child would want to be diagnosed with school phobia!’ is a common response. And there were those who accused me of making it worse by indulging his fears. But school phobia is scary and crippling and very real, as only those who have had panic attacks can tell you. And it strikes without warning. It sounds extreme, but I kept my side of the bargain because, well, that’s what mothers do, isn’t it?
Ben, now 17, has put those dark days behind him. Despite his limited time in class, he is now studying for A-levels in French, graphic design and business studies. He’s also a member of a band and performs in school assemblies and fairs – something we never could have imagined a couple of years ago. He jokingly refers to his phobia as his ‘mad phase’.
Ben, now 17, with mum Amanda Egan.
(story courtesy Daily Mail UK)
It’s winters….that time of the year when our little ones are again so prone to those bouts of cough and cold and as parents you are running around with that dreaded thermometer in hand, calling up the doc, fixing an appointment, and trying desperately to make the poor little ones drink the medicines….
Sometimes, winters approach so suddenly that we dont really get the chance to keep our woolens in the sun. Of course we all are quite restrained on time these days. What with office and home and many more added responsibilities, it is not always possible to take out time and remember to do each and every chore. If you did not really get the chance to sun-out your woolens before use this winter, try and send it to a good dry-cleaner. Sometimes, children develop allergies, especially rashes and cough and cold from these same woolens that have been in storage for most of the past year.
This winter, let honey be your child’s best friend (not for infants though, and if your baby has had any prior allergies or reaction to honey, make sure you check with the doctor first). A little honey in milk, instead of sugar, will help your child stay away from the regular cough and cold. Also, why not add just the tiniest pinch of ground turmeric in your baby’s milk? Or even jaggery? Not only are these rich sources of nutrition for your little one, they will also help your baby fight the virus.
Green leafy vegetables are back with the season..so let your child enjoy these…of course make sure that you clean them properly before feeding your child. Clean and boil these greens in salt water and then mash it (if your child is too small) or cut into fine pieces and mix in the flour you use for your daily roti and parantha. Use the boiled water of the leaves to make dals or curries. The best part about these leaves are that, if you dont have the time to do this each day, just boil them and keep them in the fridge…once boiled, they can be easily stored for a week to ten days.
Also, make ample use of the lovely vegetables in the market, carrot, beetroot and so many other nourishing foods. Make vegetable soups/stews at home, make vegetable porridge, make custard with fruits….so many natural things for our little ones just waiting for us to bring back home.
Of course it is not always possible to keep cough and cold at bay. But lets try and go a little more natural this season….
You have loved him too much to spend the rest of your life with him. You have shared fun moments, you have had your pillow fights, you have shared the best experience of your life together – becoming a parent……
At FirstCry, we want to give a ALL you amazing mums a chance to nominate your spouse as the Best Daddy….you know he is the best partner you could have asked for…now tell us why you think he is THE BEST Daddy Ever!!!
Mum Joanna Biggs from England (who has now moved to New Delhi) tells us why she feels her hubby Maghin, is the BEST DADDY EVER….
After a first, unhappy dip in the cold water off the coast of England, what better than to run to daddy for comfort and a cuddle?
Mum to 16-month-old Carys”
What a lovely picture….check out Baby Carys’s look, the calm on being caressed by daddy, resting her head on her papa’s shoulder and knowing that all will be fine… Hats off to Maghin, the daddy nominated as the BEST DADDY by loving wife Joanna…
Here’s wishing the lovely family all the very best in life forever….
If you also want to tell us why you feel your hubby is THE BEST DADDY, visit our FaceBook page and share a picture and write in, or drop in a mail to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We came across these beautiful lines in the book ‘Eat Pray And Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. Its not a parenting book at all, nor in any way is it related to parents or children. But these beautiful lines describe the mother-child relationship really well. Just sharing them here:
“I feel about … the way a new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby – I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to – I just don’t care.”
Having an indisciplined child can be a real problem, one that poses the threat of embarassment for you, while making your child the subject of ridicule and potential rejection by other kids and parents. There may be instances where your child may be conveniently left out of play dates and birthdays, when you see a decrease in the number of friends coming home to play with your child, while instances of your baby being invited to friends’ house goes down visibly. You may reach the stage of almost giving up, of talking sternly to your child, and sometimes, even resorting to means of punishment and hitting. But once you sit down and actually think about it – who is to blame for this situation? Is it really your child, or is it you, the parent, who failed to inculcate the basics of discipline and manners in the little one?
Ensuring your little one turns out into a well-disciplined and well-grounded toddler and child, and later a good human being, is completely the responsibility of the guardian. Disciplining a child is a really simple task, and the basics can begin very early, much before your baby will learn to speak. A child will always emulate an adult, so it is really important that before you set yourself to discipline your child, you implement the same in your own behaviour and routine.
You may ask your little one to follow a certain pattern, to behave a certain way, but if you become an example of the opposite, the same will reflect in your little one’s attitude. As parents, we have the paramount responsibility of being the idol the child will look upto, the person whose behaviour and mannerisms the child will emulate, so our language, our behaviour and all our dealings in everyday life should be such that can provide the ideal example to our baby.
In India, where the concept of joint families is still alive in some households, it is especially difficult to discipline a child, since the safety zone to escape punishment is always close at hand. It is imperative that all adults of the household are tuned to the ways of bringing up a child – if each one has a different perspective and a different method of discipline and behaviour, a child will invariably end up being confused, thus losing out on important learning methods. In such a scenario, it is important that all adults discuss the matter, but make sure the child is not present while such matters are being talked about. In a nuclear family, both the parents need to have a ‘pre-decided’ agreement on how to discipline baby and what is allowed and what is crossing the limit.
Moulding your child into the person you want her/him to be is completely in your hands, so make sure you create the right ambience and the right mix of discipline and love to help your child grow up into a good human being. And remember to keep those hugs and kisses in plentiful – you want to discipline your child, yes, but one message that you always want to give out to your child is, that no matter what, mamma and papa will always love you.
Having a little one in the house is like forever being in an environment of learning and growth. As adults, we tend to take so many things for granted, its not even funny when you actually sit down and think about it.
My little one and I are a team, we talk and chat a lot, we explore things, and this bonding and constant discussion about things around her is not only restricted to me. As parents, both me and my husband have made a conscious effort to spend as much time as possible with her, and to let her develop a sense of curiosity and questioning.
So it’s not surprising for us when she speaks in perfect grammatical formations, or when she uses really big words for her now five years of age (she’s been using words like universe, environment, astronaut, kindness from age 3). But sometimes, it does get quite tough to answer her questions, the millions that keep circling in her tiny head.
I have decided to make a list of all these questions.
Nothing special, just a small notebook with all these questions that she will have over the years, and I will show these to her when she grows up. I hope she will find it amusing and smile at the memories of her when she ‘was’ small. Oh, can’t imagine a day when I will use the ‘small’ word for her in the past tense…that’s just the mommy in me I guess !!
As of now, these are the special questions of hers that I felt deserve a special jotting down in the notebook:
Q1. How many spikes does a hedgehog have?
Q2. Why do all living things feel thirsty?
Q3. Why do owls sleep in the day and not in the night? Why can’t I sleep in the day and play in the night too?
Q4. Why does a witch sit on a broom and fly?
Q5. Why doesn’t the snow fall on my house? Why does it fall only on mountains and hills? If I can see the hill from my window, why can’t the snow come here in my house also?
Q6. Why do I have to wear a uniform to school? Why can’t I wear my favourite frock?
Q7. Why do papas not have long hair? Why do only mammas have long hair?
Q8. The stars don’t get bored living only in the sky all the time?
These are the ‘few’ of her questions that I thought I should share here. Of course if you have already answered these and are aware of the many more that will come up in the list soon, please do send me a comment here with the Q&As!!!!
I’m having quite a time figuring out the answers. And like I said, everyday is a learning phase. While I had taken these things for granted till now, I do have a different way of thinking about things now, thanks to my little one.