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How to visit a museum with a toddler

November 7

We love visiting museums. Every country we have travelled to, there has been at least one museum visit on the itinerary. And we keep the tradition alive at home! If there is a new exhibit which interests us, history or science museum; you name it and we have either been there or there is a rainy day marked on my calendar specifically for it.

One would think that museum visits become difficult with a toddler in tow. Yes, it comes with some challenges and it is a lot for them to take in a short amount of time but trust me, they enjoy it as much as we do. Agree you would not get to stand in front of an exhibit and read the details from beginning to end, but you see things from their perspective and explain them new things. In my opinion, it is a rewarding experience for both the parties.

And with some smart ‘strategies’, you can spend as much time as you want and come out of a museum ‘alive’! Here are some of my pointers…

Choose the right museum for right age

If your child is of the age when they are comfortable sleeping/sitting in a stroller, choose a museum which has exhibits that are not meant to be touched by tiny hands. For example, an art museum. For kids that like to run around to let out that never ending energy, go to a museum which is interactive in some areas or there is lots to see ‘behind’ the glasses. We took our then 19 month toddler to Museum of Flight over summers, and he had a great time pointing to things, being fascinated by planes, putting headphones on and listening to an exhibit.

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Be mindful of your kid’s temperament

You know your child best. If your kid is someone who likes familiar objects more and is not an explorer; maybe start with a ‘smallish’ museum. Let them take in few things at a time. We visited MOHAI when our baby was just an year old and not that interested in touching things. He was happy to be in stroller and baby carrier taking everything in. He enjoyed sitting in my lap and playing with legos more than the actual museum.

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Time it properly

If it is in your control, time the museum tour according to your child’s eating and napping schedule. We used the morning chunk of time to see all the exhibits in the main building of Museum of Flight. Took a lunch break in cafe (which FYI doesn’t even has a decent coffee bar and food is below par. I suggest you pack your own snacks), tried to make baby nap (which didn’t happen) and then we did the other building which has the space gallery. So, we spaced it out for our tiny human to take it all in at his own pace.

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Learn to go with the flow

If it doesn’t work out as expected, be prepared to ‘abort the mission’. If there is no way you can keep your kid inside, take them out for some fresh air, try again! Still if they would rather be out, so be it. Try going in the gift shop, come back to museum again. At around 5 in the evening and without an afternoon nap, when our kid was getting ready to go home, we took a second break for some snacks and milk. And, we let him run free within safe limits. Just 10 minutes of such activity, and we were back looking inside the airplanes!

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Remember to have a good time

Whether you are able to see an exhibit you were so excited about, or you spent all your time and energy running after your toddler, remember you are together as a family, enjoying each other’s company and having a few laughs in between. Let that be your guide and just have a good time!

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I would love to hear which is your favorite museum and why? I need to add to my list! 🙂

I tricked him!

September 12

So, my son is kinda obsessed with yoghurt. Sometimes it becomes flavored yoghurt. Particularly this kind. More specifically, their marionberry flavor. Now, I am not saying Ellenos is bad in any way. I have become their new fan! But here I am making my own yoghurt at home since last four years maybe; it was time I took it a notch higher and make the jelly on top also at home!

I recently got this cookbook after hearing rave reviews about it. I am yet to go past first 10 pages but I wanted to give something a try as quickly as I could. And with a pint of blueberries calling my name, I gave this a try and happy to report the kiddo totally demolished it!

Ellenos inspired yogurt

To make the topping you will need :

  • Approximately 2 handfuls of blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (more or less depending on how sour your berries are)
  • 2 big sprinkles of cinnamon
  • Juice of 1/4 lemon

Put everything in a saucepan on medium to low heat. Keep stirring occasionally until you get to jam like consistency. You can break some blueberries after they soften with a spatula to aid in this jam formation.

Top it on your yogurt and done! Greek yogurt will work well too if you do not have homemade yogurt. On that note, let me know if you would like to know how I make yogurt at home!?

Are there any recipes you tried recently that you just had to share!? Send them this way!

I am calling it a diaper bag

September 5

After searching high and low for a perfect diaper bag, I finally settled on this one. And it’s perfect!…Umm, so far!

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Before the baby was born, I went the traditional route after seeing this brand of bags everywhere from baby registries to baby shops to fellow mom’s instagram accounts. And it served well in the beginning when baby was primarily in the infant car seat and you had to just attach it to a stroller. That way the stroller did the heavy lifting for you. After a point it became ridiculous with the amount of stuff I would just keep dumping in it and I bet there are many small toys and snacks that basically have their graves at the bottom of the said diaper bag.

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After few months, when baby started being in arms more when out and about, I started lugging the bag across body. Mind you I was also carrying a separate handbag for my essentials at that time. Why is that you ask? Because before this point, the diaper bag was essentially on the stroller. So, imagine I had to step into a different store while baby was in stroller with his dad, so having a separate made sense. So, at one point in time, I looked like a ridiculous fool with diaper bag and my bag criss crossing across me. Add to that a scarf or a puffy jacket or both. I will spare you the torture and not share that picture here. But believe me, it was not a pleasant sight!

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Add to that the fact that diaper bag is not ‘glamorous’. I tried to find many, but there was always something lacking in terms of functionality, looks or practicality. For example, when you have baby in your arms and you need to take out car keys at a parking lot, you can’t put the baby down on the floor and open the bag and search for keys. All of this needs to happen in a swift movement and as quickly as possible. Hence, the outside multiple pockets that are accessible by one hand only! Also, they are roomy enough that one of the zipper compartments serves as my ‘personal’ bag so there is no need to lug two around.

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Word count : 376 already? Time to wrap up! Give this bag a try if you are in the market for a new diaper bag or you are just someone who likes to take their world with them and want something lightweight!

I will see you next week! Till then, let me know if something other than traditional diaper bags worked for you in the past.

5 types of moms you meet at the playground

August 15

As a mom of a toddler, I spend more than 50% of my time in one playground or another. So much so that I have to quickly drive past a park on way to grocery shop to prevent a major meltdown from happening. Like everywhere else, you will find different types of moms at a playground. Now, I am not saying there are only 5 of those, but let’s start somewhere. Shall we?

1. Hovercraft Mom 

For all practical purposes, assume there is only a foot of gap between this mom and her kid. She follows her kid all through the playground, not with her eyes but her feet! Rest assured her kid would never have tasted dirt or felt a wood chip in its hand. And, I do not see a bruised knee in its future. It’s ‘kind of difficult’ to make eye contact with this mom and have a conversation. But, by all means, try your luck! FYI, she is likely the one to approach in case you need a band aid or an emergency supply of cheddar bunnies!

2. Know-it-all mom 

Approach this mom with a pen and paper in hand because she is the one who will give details about all the cool classes happening around you. Be it swimming, arts, gym, anything and everything! She remembers timings of story time at all of the libraries. She would even suggest classes based on your kid’s age. Because of course, she calculates your kid’s age based on what you told her 2 months back. And here you are struggling with your own kid’s age when someone asks! Umm.. 12+8 = 20 months! Please note all this conversation happens while she is gracefully pushing her kid on a swing and there you are trying to keep your balance while your hyperactive toddler pulls you in four different directions all at once!!! You get my point.

3. Freestyle mom

Kind of opposite of hovercraft mom, kind of not. Imagine this scenario. A mom sitting in the farthest bench/rock she could find. Eyes not on her kid or any other kid for that matter. Zen like expression on her face. Kid eats dirt. Oh ok. Kids hits other kid. Oh ok. Kid gets wet and trips over. Oh ok. Kid comes back crying. Murmur something which you can’t make out because of course she is so far away. Kid comes flying back to the playground! Basically, you are baby sitting her kid while watching your own. Reason to envy her? That grande coffee cup in her hand, be it 9 in the morning or 6 in the evening. Another reason to envy her? You may never know if its even coffee in that cup!

4. Smartphone mom

Admit it. We have all been there. Our phone cameras are perpetually open to capture even the slightest new thing our kid does. He climbs the stairs to the swing all by himself for the first time. Need to capture that. But let’s take it a notch higher. I am talking about someone whose eyes are 90% on the screen and 10% on the kid. She may very well be heading straight from work and replying to remainder of emails, or maybe silently just shopping for fall boots. Who knows! But that smartphone needs to recharge sometimes!

5. I-am-better-than-you mom 

Think high school for playground. Your kid can count till 10, well, her kid can name all the capitals of the world! Your kid has learnt to skip rope, well, her kid is in training for olympics 2034! You get the idea! You offer a cheese stick to your kid, well, she opens a tupperware with homemade yoghurt. You yell ‘Don’t do that’ to your kid, well, she patiently kneels down and pours loving reprimand all while tucking hair behind their ears. Anything that you say or do, she will show you it can be done better. Just like high school!

Which category do I fall in? Well, come play with us one morning and be my guest! 🙂

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This picture is inserted to add visual appeal to the post. You thought I would bring specimen pictures of all types of moms!? Hah!

 

How to wean your baby in 5 easy steps

August 8

At first, I had an alternative title to this post called ‘How I weaned my 18 month old and lived to tell the tale’. Hah! Before weaning my baby completely off breastmilk, I had nightmares thinking about the amount of ‘trauma’ that was in our future. I had scenarios playing in my mind of how my baby would react (tearing off my shirt in one swift motion); how my body would react (get up in the middle of night in a pool of wetness, which was true to some extent); his relationship with food (turn down all food in protest) and so on.

But here I am on the other side and actually writing this post! And that’s saying a lot! Here are some of my tips…

1. Listen to your baby

I first tried to night wean my baby at the age of 13 months and it did not really go too well. I offered water or whole milk when he got up in the night, but it resulted in 4 hours of constant screaming session. Every night! If my husband held him, he would be wide awake and wanting to play. If I held him, he would just get in nursing position.

At that point we decided to wait a couple more months and let him become more communicative so he could understand us better. By 18 months, he understood the concept and sign language of ‘all done’ and ‘more’. We decided on a day and after that whenever he would want to nurse, our reply was ‘mama milk all done’. It took 2-3 days of getting used to. But I was amazed at how quickly he adjusted to it all. I would offer him whole milk time to time throughout the day in a straw cup to reinforce the fact that this is milk now.

2. Have family support

If its possible for you, time it accordingly. Family support was the biggest factor for me. I had my family visiting during that time and it was easier to distract him while playing with cousins. Also, there were multiple arms to carry him around whole day and to show him that he can fall asleep without his mamma.

3. Extra body contact

To make up for lack of that most precious of a bond between you two, keep an endless supply of hugs and kisses on the ready. Here also family support is the key because they can help you cook and clean so that your attention is solely on the baby. Just keep him close all day. I have held him in my arms for all of his waking hours for weeks!

4. Take care of your body

Your body will go through a lot of changes due to this sudden weaning. There is literature around which suggests weaning gradually to avoid such sudden shock to the system and other medical conditions. But it is not something that cannot be managed with a little ‘pumping and dumping’. Again, family support comes into play. They are there for your baby when you disappear for long periods of time for said pumping and dumping session.

5. Don’t force alternative milk

Please do not assume that your baby would automatically start drinking glassfuls of whole milk the minute you stop weaning. Gradually introduce and increase the amount taking your baby’s cues. If he finishes what you offer, ask if he wants more. If yes, good. If no, next time just fill more in the glass; he would finish it. And don’t force if he doesn’t drink at all. Everything would work out in the end, as it always does!

20160621_135640This is one of my last memories of nursing my baby to sleep, overlooking the Whistler Mountains, sipping hot chocolate on one cold afternoon in June 2016

Disclaimer : I am not a medical expert. These are just my opinions based on experience.