No 26 : Blog about my list

2016 is coming to an end soon. And I am looking forward to a new year, with a new list!

Last Year was eye opening as I realized, that I need to alarmingly take care of my Health- Physical , Mental and Spiritual.

There were deaths of dear ones, weddings, an endoscopy, trips and travels , lot of reality checks about life, moments of sulking, crying into my pillow, heartfelt prayers and some instances of grace.

Never have I been so significantly worried about my well-being , that I have decided to diligently stay happy and take care of ME , however and whatever that might look to other people.

2016 Take away No 1: Stop trying to please people. Everything you do is going to be NOT ENOUGH and eventually FORGOTTEN. Take care of yourself, Give Zero Fucks! BE FIRM yet FAIR.

2016 Take away No 2: Allow people to talk and make a fool out of themselves. Don't bother to butt in with any of your wisdom. Your ideals are their threats. Be less opinionated.

2016 Take away No 3: If you dont save yourself , noone else will. Be your own Sunshine. Be your own Knight!

Updates from the Turning 30 list
1 & 2 - Havn't overcome my fear of driving and swimming yet. Though I must say I tried and I shall be carrying this one forward.

3, 4 & 5 - Adoption is still under limbo. Creating  a  photo corner will be my project next year for mom's 60th bday and Happiness Jar is again something I shall do when my family is more serious about living their lives in moments!

Although I can easily pen down my highlights of this year!

- I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that I cleared NET ( though I have no freaking clue what to do about it now)
- My first hike in Munnar with besties . That moment when we all hugged each other at the peak so that we wouldnt fly off in the freezing winds . That moment when I sat silently by the Echo point river just soaking in the beauty of  my surroundings. And that moment my when girlfriends squeaked with joy to find a birthday cake ( which we all cut together) at dinner on the last night of our trip.

- Hiking up Jebel Al Jais ( highest mountain in UAE) all by myself . Strangers passing by gave me thumbs up as in found my way down ( That was a great sense of achievement)

- I got pulled in to join a live Kurdish folk dance at Citywalk,Dubai. I have as a kid along with my sister watched these women glide like beautiful swans and awed at the men who fiercely danced on their toes and have always wanted to move like them. May be they found my astonished face very likeable when they grabbed my hand and danced along. It felt like I was in a Movie.

6. 7 &8 -  Successfully turning into a vegetarian in 2017. Have to continue practicing Yoga . It would not do me good to be on and off at that. and Drinking water - Im still at it.

9, 10, &11 - I'm getting much better at journaling and shaking my bad habit of throwing my opinions in everywhere. There's still lot more room for improvement though. And there not even an inch progress with learning a new language.

12, 13, 14 & 15 - I still have many business ideas. I still don't know where to start. I finished one year of Masters and now Im on my second year. Im still getting better at taking pictures. I am still highly dependent on my phone and Instagram. Crocheting has just gotten lost in a muck of other things. I would love to do it again.

16 , 17, & 18 - Im still seeing all of Dubai, but its been a good year for No 16 because every weekend I have actually tried to go and see a new place in UAE . Oh believe me, theres so much yet to see. We did an all girls trip to Munnar. We started in Srilanka, tried to bring it down to Coorg and ended up in Munnar. And this was my best 3 days of this year. No extreme adventure knocked off though. ( I hiked up Jebel Al Jais, all by myself though)

19 - No I still dont have that money .

20, 21, 22 -  The book reading goal is pathetic , but whatever I read I really love so far. Hopefully next year's challenge will be better. To get Inked - that seems like a faraway dream now. And I am learning to solve the cube.

23 & 24- Donating blood hasn't happened yet and I havent found out what to check off from my parents list yet. ( Although I cleared NET, it was their wish, but it eventually will help me not them, so that doesnt count)

25 & 26 - This might be the only category that I checked off.

27 , 28, 29 & 30 - Fridge magnets are slowly growing ... I like my small yet valuable collection for now. Baking has slowed down .. but Im more and more confident about baking just about anything now. Travel journal and a Food journal are in scope for next year. And I succesfully learnt to Hula hoop.

This year was stressful health wise  and but I have learned a lot. I hope Im growing and transforming for the better

Flying with your Baby : Lessons Learnt

Here is my 6th post for

Traveling Tips and Tricks with a toddler is never something that I  had thought was important enough to research about. But this trip down to Kerala with my soon-to-turn-two year old put me in place.

So here goes the link or read it below.

Yes, we are sort of entering what most parents dread- ‘The Terrible Two’ – or what Dr. Greene calls the First Adolescence. It’s widely believed that most kids are defiant and unruly around the age of two and that travelling with them is a nightmare. Though I’d like to believe my little one is a Terrific Two, I do get a shocker now and then. My recent experience flying alone with my toddler was one of them. There’s not much you can do when your baby decides to throw a tantrum. But there’s a lot you can do to make traveling a do-able affair.
So I’m listing down a few mistakes I made this time at the airport here so that you don’t make them:
1. Check in Online– Most airlines allow an online check-in . Which means you can print your boarding passes, select and confirm your seats and register your baggage with the airline. So all you have to do at the airport is drop your baggage at the counter and head to the gates. I have never made use of this facility. And this one time I really felt I should have.
2. Be Early– Being late with a toddler would be a disaster. We had on our hands more than enough time for him to lie down and offer his Sashtanga Pranams at every counter and corner. But being earlier would have meant getting ahead of the long lines. It was a trying time going through the immigration with a sleepy and therefore cranky baby. Had I been early enough, I could have made use of the airline lounge, or the play area . And that would have been a better place to help the baby sleep if he is tired , rather than trying to stay put in a long queue.
3. Carry on Luggage– The key to travelling with a baby is to keep your hands free at all times. Unless it’s a Trunki, which is a ride- on suitcase for kids (how awesome is that) , your carry-on luggage is going to be exactly what it is – Baggage. I’d rather carry my baby than that!
4. What To Wear– Black is usually considered ideal for flying. But if you are a Mommy, may be black isn’t too great for you. You never know when your baby might decide to spit some milk on you and let’s not even talk about diaper blow outs. Wear camouflaging prints or stripes or chevron. Oh and POCKETS!! – Wear something with deep pockets to stash away your documents, phone and also a candy if needed.
Flying with a baby
5. Keep talking to your Baby– I placed our sleepy-cranky hero on the security counter and went to fish the laptop and phone out of my bag. And by the time I placed everything onto the belt, and came back to collect him, Baby Boo was in a puddle of tears. Devastated that his li’l Teddy bag was gone, taken away from him by the Blue Auntie ( the lady in the blue uniform). He calmed down as soon as he saw it coming from the other side. But I felt that those tears could’ve been easily avoided, by explaining to him what to expect. So that’s a lesson learnt. Keep talking to your baby constantly so that he is well informed about what’s coming next.
I shall also share with you a few smart ideas that worked for us inside the plane so you could borrow them next time:
Usually our champ falls asleep for at least half the journey. But this time he stayed awake throughout the 4 hour flight and did not even whine once. How?
1. Carry the lovey– Is there a cuddle toy your little one is attached to? Make sure you have it! Or else always ask for something on the plane. Most airlines carry some toys for travelling infants and toddlers. Nothing could get better than receiving a new toy from a pretty lady/ handsome uncle.
2. Finger puppet– This was the very first toy gift that he received and it’s always been a hit. Learn a few finger rhymes to go with your puppets. ( Where is Thumbkin and Daddy finger are his favourites)
Flying with a baby
3. A book– If you can get hold of an activity book, that’s best. But any book with pretty pictures would do. The airline magazine served as our ‘search n find’ book for most of the journey. He was eager to find me the Blue Plane, the Air India Maharaja, and the Namaste Aunty.
4. A magnetic writing pad– These small, easy to carry boards, with magic pens can keep them busy during long flights . And the best part? No ink stains , no messy hands. You could also carry crayons and pencils. But I prefer the magic board. At this age my baby is a bit clumsy when it comes to handling too many pencils and it rolls off easily. And fetching the pencils every time in a plane might not be very pleasant.
5. A bunch of stickers– Life saving ! An empty bottle and these stickers and he drifts off into a world of his own. I even dozed off for a while this time in the flight as he played with them.
6. Snacks– Carry your kid’s favourite snacks. Raisins or candied berries ( you can also buy them at the airport) are perfect. Since its chewy, they finish real slow in their mouth and it’s sweet. It might also help with airplane ears. And if you get the raisins in a small Tupperware container, it will also serve as a toy when the snack is done.
Although none of the above is going to guarantee that you will have a peaceful flying experience; you can always come prepared. I have always believed that much of it depends on your own attitude. So when none of your tricks work, that is when you: 
1. Switch on the Gandhi mode– Find your inner peace and give a hoot about what others might think. I put on my horse blinders, this time, and held my little one tightly, till he got tired of crying. Sometimes that is all you can do.
2. Focus on the Fun- Act excited and happy all the way. That’s what I did when he decided to commando crawl all the way down from the clearance to the gates. I had to pretend play ‘Behind enemy lines’ with him till we reached the target. And I learnt that , when YOU are cool, so are the spectators. They start thinking it’s good fun.
3. Ask for help- People are good and they want to help. For a good long distance in the queue, I did not realize that the young lad behind, was rolling the carry on luggage for me. The family who stood in front of us tried their best to humour my child so that he would stay calm. The gentleman who sat right next to me didn’t mind playing peek-a-boo with my son.
See? It’s not too bad after all. And I’m all ears to receive more tips and advice from other frequently flying Mommies. Tell me your stories, ladies!

Old Dubai Tour

I needed an excuse to make this trip. And so when my friends came down last weekend and worked this out.

A walking trip through the old Dubai. Every city almost in the world has this stark divide of Old and New and so does Dubai.

The new Dubai being the Downtown, Marina, and Jumeirah side, whereas the Old Dubai is around the Creek, surrounding the Fort.

Breakfast at Arabian Tea house Cafe

We started the day with a Traditional Arabic breakfast , with a pot of tea at the Arabian Tea House cafe and that still remains to be the highlight of the day! It was delicious, and the place is just beautiful! Those below are the best Falafels I have ever had here in Dubai , but to my disappointment, they don't serve more than three.  And the tea was simply excellent!

Then we walked around the Bastakiya neighbourhood, which was full of pretty sights.

Spice Cart
Souvenir Shop

Then we walked through the BurDubai Old souq and along the creek to reach the House of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum

House of Sheikh Saeed Al Makhtoum

We still weren't hungry after the heavy breakfast, so we decided to take the Abra to the other side of the Creek, Deira. That was very pleasant, and the Abra driver was very funny much to my two year old's delight.

Ride an Abra ( checked off from the list)

Then we reached the most exotic looking place ever- The Spice Souq. It was crowded and smelled spectacular!


Arabian Lamps and Artefacts

Then we reached the reached the Gold Souq and saw the ultimate of CRAZZYYY!!

Then we took the Abra back to Bur Dubai and ended our tour at  the Local House Restaurant with some camel burgers. We were too hungry to click pictures of our meals!

One place I wouldn't want other visitors to miss is the Al Fahidi Fort, which is currently the Dubai Musuem. We didn't have enough time for it, since we had to head to the Global Village.

 Our favourite Pavilion every year has been Africa and this year too it did not disappoint us. ! Colorful, vibrant, and such  warm people in there! See our li\l boy trying his hand at this Xylophone like instrument.

Another breath taking moment we had when we took the Wheel of the world ride and reached at the top exactly at Sunset! And we saw THIS!

Lighting up our minds at the moment
He loved this !

It was such a delight to walk around taste various scrumptious delicacies from around the world. Be it the roasted chestnuts, the Turkish Kunafa , or the Syrian tamarind Tea. They were all simply beautiful!

And at last , we ended our full day trip with Dhow Cruise, which honestly was mediocre! But our spirits were still high !

Ice cream cake

I made an Ice cream cake for my husband's birthday. I also tried fondant icing for the first time!

And now everyone thinks, I should start a business.  So now I have one more in my bucket list- Learn to bake professionally!  And once I'm done I can think of starting a Vegan bakery , also I should find a substitute for flour.

On Mommywars

I wrote another post for Parentous. This time on Mommywars.
Find the link here 

Before becoming a mother, I had never come across this term – Mommy Wars. We have Leslie Morgan Steiner to thank for coining it. As she defines the term, Mommy Wars are the struggles mothers go through to come to terms with the choices they make as parents against society’s standards.
Which means, just when you are dealing with all the guilt that inevitably comes along with being a mother, blows in a cartload of judgmental ‘advice’ and ‘in-my-opinions’ from your so called well-wishers.
Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely want to know and do what’s best for my child. And I’m open to every view and suggestion. But I reckon it’s only fair if I eventually get to decide what is right for me and my baby. And I also understand how easy it is to fall into these conflicts when you are a new mom. You’re naive, clueless about mommy life, and you might be too quick to pass judgment on another mom, while you’re still figuring out how to handle your own little one.
Mommy wars may have been only about stay-at-home and working moms initially. But now it has extended to every single aspect of parenting.
– Natural birth vs. induced/epidural/C-section birth
– Breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding
– Cry it out vs. attachment parenting
– Disposable diapers vs. cloth diapers
– Co-sleeping vs. sleeping in their own bed
– Strictly organic foods vs. fast foods
– Strollers vs. Baby wearing
– Spanking vs. not spanking
– Television time vs. books only
The list never ends.
mommy wars
Blame it on the information explosion – social media, blogs, websites and what not; we mommies tend to get all sanctimonious about OUR way of parenting. And this discord exists not just between mums and their other mommy friends, but also with grandparents, relatives, and caretakers.
From grandmas who insisted on cloth diapering and aunts who couldn’t stand baby mittens, from relatives who swore by hammocks to friends who found natural birth extremely risky, I’ve seen them all. And men also fervidly contribute to the debate, sometimes even on birthing preferences, and I find myself quoting Rachel Green from ‘Friends’, “Hey! No Uterus, No Opinion!”
As Steiner herself would say, these mommy wars do nothing to promote self acceptance or balance in individual lives. Then why have them?
So here’s how I pull myself out of it. I constantly remind myself with these pointers:
a. To each her own – This phrase helps me remember not to jump to judgment of another mommy. As it loudly plays in my mind, I immediately fall back from shoving my opinion out there.
b. Her side is my side – I always decide to take the side of the mother. That’s the team I’m always on. Her opinion or style can differ from mine, and I compliment her anyways. She’s a mom and that’s reason enough to earn my respect.
c. If you are already in the middle of a strife, always ask yourself – is it worth risking the relationship you have with your friend or relative.
d. It’s not a race or competition, it’s your life with your baby. Enjoy your time!
e. Stay away from offending remarks – If I ever do come across such statements, I tell myself not to take it personally. Most of the time they are just trying to propitiate themselves and might be sincerely unaware of the hurt they are inflicting.
So dear mommies, can’t we all just get along? Don’t we already have too many battles lined up in life, and do we really need another one? On a personal note, I have always found meeting new moms very helpful. It has made me flexible and accommodating. I really hope motherhood becomes that factor which brings us all together and inspires us to support and encourage each other. So from one mommy to another, let’s promise to keep it always positive and uplifting among us. You are all wonderful! And you are all doing a terrific job! Love you all!

P. S : I chose this pic with my Cousin Brother's wife. 'Cause, whatever very little I know of her, I adore . I think shes really cool! 

PLAY-ing for Patience

This post I wrote for Parentous , I really like.

I had a feeling that I was being original this time.

So read the or below.

I’m in a very tricky parenting phase right now. My little boy is discovering new territories to explore, where he insists on cooking his own meals and wants to try on every other shoe in the cupboard or simply loves slapping our faces; thereby managing to challenge my limits of patience every single day.
Now, the very parents who brought me up by not sparing the rod lest they spoil the child, cannot bear it if I ever even once raise my voice at my baby. (Make no mistake, that’s exactly how grandparents work). And you on the other hand are constantly left feeling guilty ( Make no mistake, that’s exactly how motherhood also works)
Making his own meal
Since the day he was born I have been consistently trying to fix myself and get my act together as a parent. Raising my bar of tolerance has been the hardest of it all only next to being sleep deprived, of course. I hate being ‘disrespected’ and to make someone who is not even two years old understand this, is not child’s play ( for the lack of a better word).
I have had a few “well done, mommy” moments, but then there is also the burden of the ‘Mom-ster’ moments where you lose your cool with your child, who was just being himself and was only doing what is perhaps very significant and fascinating to his tiny world – like peeing into his own hands to see it splash off in another tangent. Now you see, why I tend to lose it?
mischiefmanaged 2
I have referred to almost every blog and article on respectful parenting, and how to be more careful NOT to explode?
And they all asked me to:
Lower my tone ( Yeah right! Like that’s going to work when he’s pissing on your dining table. A loud HEY! is definitely going to come out of me as a reflex)
Pick my battles ( I really don’t get this! Some days it just doesn’t work. Some days I don’t mind him spitting an entire meal on me. And some days you can find me threatening him for squashing a tiny cockroach. I’m a bad chooser, I guess)

Give myself a timeout –
 ( As much as I would looooove to take one, this has only upset my little one more. He would rather take a pinch on his bum than have me locked up in a room) See, I really DO want to BE THE ADULT here at all times, but I found this exercise very trying and it left me exhausted and disappointed. This was for really advanced, highly evolved human beings and honestly, I’m not there yet!
I kept wondering what could be a more relaxing way to let my steam out and eventually I came up with a couple of creative ways that my toddler also approves. So here are a few methods to avoid yelling at your kids that are working for me and maybe it works for you too.
Play London London Statue – Get your toddler to play this game with you. And whenever you catch him at a naughty act say “statue”. That should freeze him and your temper for a good few seconds. I ask mine to fold his hands, and with a reminder every ten seconds, he manages to sit still, while I clear the shards of my coffee mug.
Sing -a- song – Today, most parents know that shouting doesn’t help and that your message gets drowned in your noise. In such situations, I have found it more refreshing to turn my message into a song or his favourite rhyme. Songs turn the moment lighter instantly. So I sing “Down will fall high chair and baby and all” (to the tune of Rock -a-bye-baby), when he climbs on the high chair table to get a better view of the food being served.
Click a picture – This was a miracle find and it worked really well for me. If I’m sure he’s just being naughty and not in a place where he might get harmed, then I remind myself to stop and click a picture of the ‘#mischiefmanaged’ and post it on Instagram. And by the time I’m done, my rush of anger has disappeared. Just like that. It’s more creative than counting to ten, don’t you think?
Some days have been really rewarding and it has helped me be peaceful and him, confident. And I really do hope that with more practice I might get to a place where I can enjoy not just this but every growing phase of parenthood. Do you Mammas have anymore fun and play-along ways that I can try?

And I'm working on it everyday-  on my Patience. I hope my baby grows to appreciate that I'm trying. And bringing all of my best to be a good mother.

Debunking a few Parenting Myths

I wrote this in a hurry for

But I think my friends on Facebook really did enjoy the read.

So here goes the link or read it below.

I have always felt that birthing and parenting were way easier than stomaching some of the advice that came my way after. Most of them were well-meant pieces of advice by close relatives, but some were outright hilarious. Here are a few I got to hear when I started my journey into motherhood.
Pregnant ladies, I am glad to give you a peek into what you might have to endure. Thank me later, Okay?
1. Do not buy any baby stuff before the baby is born, its bad luck.
My baby looked like an inflated balloon the night he was born, in a pair of over sized pyjamas, which only fit him well now, at the age of 20 months.
Truth: Have some faith in God and make sure you have every single thing in the list the hospital gave you, including diapers, baby clothes, and swaddlers.Your luck is not going to change because you bought your baby some essentials. It can instead save you some frantic running to the nearby store on the birth night/ day.
motherhood myths debunked
2. Do not sleep during the day while pregnant; the baby will become lazy.
Whoever formulated this one must have been unable of bearing the sight of a well rested woman.
Truth: Sleep all you want, ladies! You are not going to be getting much of it anywhere in the near future. And also babies are incapable of being lazy. They have to feed, poop, cry and sleep and are very busy acclimatizing to the world out of the womb. The last thing on their mind is being lazy .
3. Babies born in the night will be sleepless.
Born in the night or day , most babies under two months cannot sleep at night. They will wake up frequently for feeds, for a change of diaper or just because they want to be held.
Truth: Do prepare yourself to be sleep deprived. Catch up on every bit of rest you can; unless you want to turn into a Mom-bie!
4. Don’t spoil your baby by picking him up every time. Also crying helps lung development.
NO! It does not! Also, your baby is too young to have such adult motives.They have no other means to communicate with you but cry. And so they shall!
Truth: Any baby below four months of age will have few self soothing strategies. And will seek your help to calm down . Kindly help the baby and do not let it cry it out. I for one am a total believer that babies who are given that sense of security develop into better and confident kids.
5. Baby BOYS shouldn’t be allowed to cry.
Of all the tales I heard , this was by far the most atrocious yet hilarious one. Apparently too much crying in baby boys leads to the shrinking up of their…you know…little thing!??!!
I swear, I searched all over the internet and couldn’t find anything on this.
Truth: Laugh it off, really hard on their face if someone ever says this to you! It’s a baby that needs some attention. Give all the attention it wants and make no difference be it a boy or a girl.
So Mommies, what were some of the funny tales you got to hear? Or are there any more myths that got debunked as you grew into motherhood?

Meanwhile, I have been in a very meditative mood!. Always contemplating , planning, thinking and not doing anything. And in a way to NOT have the pressure to do something is very relaxing and liberating.  I just found a quote on a  random 30day challenge blog , that said " DO LESS, BE MORE" . And that suddenly made a lot of sense ! And I can tell you its helping!. Its less stressful when one cares less!

What was I even thinking all these years!