Guest Post – Ways to Identify Cyberbullying in Kids

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October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Click StopBullying.Gov to read more about this. While “traditional” bullying continues to occur on playgrounds and other physical spaces, it is virtual or cyberbullying that is still new territory for parents. Cyberbullying is defined as “the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously” by Merriam-Webster. I shudder to even think about how this might evolve over the years as my kids grow up.

In honor of month long awareness programs that have been held in various capacities around the world, I would like to present a guest post on ‘Ways to Identify Cyberbullying’ by Eric Bridges of KidsFitMatters, a website that provides resources for parents regarding fitness for kids (categorized by age groups), nutrition, recipes, and so on. Do go check it out if you have a few minutes. Over to Eric:

Continue reading “Guest Post – Ways to Identify Cyberbullying in Kids”

Lessons from British Mom Bloggers (BMB)

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I thought I’ll take a break from writing about my kids and instead write a blog post about blogging. About British moms. Of course I am painting all British Mom Bloggers (BMB) with a broad brush stroke but in the months that I have gotten more engaged with my own blog, I have learned quite a few things about and from British moms and wanted to share my lessons/thoughts.

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Lessons Learned at a Pumpkin Patch

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It’s funny how sometimes life’s unprovoked events can teach you lessons that have the potential to make a world of difference in understanding your child.

A few days ago, I took the kids to Ardenwood Historic Farms in Fremont, CA. Since I had never been to this farm’s Pumpkin Patch, I only had a slight idea about what to expect at the visit. Still, in the days leading up to the visit, I build up the excitement for TJ and told him all about the fun things we were going to do there  (I did have some idea) and we did most of them.

Except, someone needed to teach me to let things be as they are and should be and not try to shove “fun” down my two-year-old. Let me explain.

Continue reading “Lessons Learned at a Pumpkin Patch”

Homemade No Cook Almost Organic Play Dough & Cookie Cutter Creativity

I am starting a new series on Toddler Activities from today. Since this is the first post in the series, I am posting it as a regular blog post. Henceforth, posts in this series will be available under my newly created “Toddler Activities” tab accessible from the homepage.


So here’s a confession. I had no idea that Cream of Tartar is different from Tartar Sauce. Given TJ’s new found fascination for play dough, I decided to make some at home. When I set out to look for recipes, every single one of them asked for Cream of Tartar. So the next time we were at our local grocery store, I made sure I asked an employee for that ingredient, except I asked for Tartar Sauce and was duly directed toward where to find it. Smug with happiness, I came home all ready to make some home made play dough whenever we would be stuck at home looking for things to do.

Continue reading “Homemade No Cook Almost Organic Play Dough & Cookie Cutter Creativity”

Does a SAHM’s sickness matter more than the earning partner’s?

That is the question, isn’t it? It is right up there alongside questions like, does it matter who makes more money?

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How I Learned to Tame my Ego and make Music Together with my Son

That I had mixed feelings about taking my kid to Music Together (MT) has been made more than obvious by three previous posts on the matter. In Things No One Tells You About Having a Second Child, I wrote about how annoying I found all the ridiculous “dance” moves and felt like I was getting stupider by the minute sitting there pretending I was having a great time for my child’s sake. In Concerted Cultivation: What Middle-Class Parents do for their Kids, I described how in taking my son to Music Together, I was fostering in him a love and appreciation for music as a stereotypical middle-class mother and finally, in one of my latest posts, A SAHM’s Conflicted Relationship with Music Together, I went into more detail about my internal struggles and external performances as I tried to transition between my personal and professional identities during these classes.

Continue reading “How I Learned to Tame my Ego and make Music Together with my Son”

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! #Thanksgiving #Canada

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Canadian Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holidays for my family. The excitement begins when I start seeing pumpkins everywhere – at grocery stores, at Costco, on school snacks calendars, on print advertisements, on news promoting pumpkin patches and deals on this fruit (yes, fruit) everywhere.Continue reading “Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! #Thanksgiving #Canada”

A SAHM’s Conflicted Relationship with Music Together

The cacophony of sounds and squeals drowns every other sound within a short radius of the room. It nearly bursts my ear drums. I should be used to it by now but I am not. I don’t want to be. There is something wonderfully unpredictable about the type of sound that demands the most attention on any given Monday and I want to be taken by surprise by that sound. I want to notice the peculiar noise that attracts my attention the most. After all, if a child is going at it with that much enthusiasm, the least I can do is somewhat appreciate the loudness of the instrument and the glee of that child.

I started taking TJ to Music Together classes when he was 22 months old. I was almost 8 months pregnant. You should know that even after having become a stay-at-home-mom officially for about 5 months by then, I was yet to come to terms with that identity and quite frankly, I am yet to come to terms with it completely even now, another 9 months later.

As a result of my self-pity and despite the fact that I had enthusiastically signed him up for this, I absolutely hated it.

At first I had imagined it to be something where the kids get to engage with music in whatever form the teacher taught it while accompanying parents get to take a backseat, sit by the walls of the room and relax while keeping a watchful eye on their kids. I was unpleasantly surprised that I actually had to participate in the shenanigans.

Sitting with my child on my lap or by my side, with a pregnant belly that had swelled to a good size by then, and with all the identity conflicts going on inside of me, I found my professional identity getting crushed little by little with every lyric, rhyme, and note.

It was excruciating to walk, hop, jump, skip, or run around the room with only a half-interested TJ, pretending I was enjoying what was going on for his sake while a little bit of me kept dying on the inside.

I couldn’t help but think what a huge waste of time and money my getting a doctorate had been if all I was meant to do was participate in useless “dance” movements and repeat paa pa pa-pa-pa-pa after the instructor. All my education, publications, presentations in classrooms and conferences, working to make a difference in the classroom and in the communities in which I lived, my entire professional being was worthless sitting in that room with other moms and kids humming and forcing awkward contortions out of TJ and myself as steps to the songs. Talk about a massive ego!

To be clear, I wasn’t hating on the other people in the room or the Music Together program itself. I was just angry at the situation that had now come to become mine and that despite my own initiative to enroll my son, I found mind-numbing and even partly humiliating.

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To add to the aggravation, TJ was at the stage of his life where he loved hoarding. No matter what the instrument, whether they were the music shaker eggs, drumsticks, scarves, or what have you, I would have a tough time separating them from TJ’s hands once we were done. The instructor was incredible though. She never yanked it out of his hand or make me do it. She, better than me, understood that it was a developmental thing and that when he was ready, he would give it up. Eventually, I would trick him out of whatever he was holding on to and return it to her baskets. Still, it was sometimes embarrassing to be a hoarder’s mother.

Furthermore, as I got bigger and bigger (I kept going until the 39th week of pregnancy after which TJ’s grandparents took him to his last two weeks of class before the session concluded), it was increasingly difficult to participate. I could no longer jump or run around much although I tried to do everything I possibly could just so TJ wouldn’t feel left out of the fun that the other kids seem to be having.

Eventually, as I began to see a distinct musical awareness in TJ, I did learn to enjoy and appreciate these classes (more on this in a future post).

Last month, I enrolled TJ again. The classes are held every Monday this session. Also, thank my luck stars, TJ is now at an age where he no longer hoards his instruments. Once we are done with it, he returns the “toys” as he calls them back into the instructor’s basket.

The added perk this time is that Baby E gets to tag along for free as siblings under 1 year of age are allowed to come in and hang out too. Two for the price of one! Can’t beat that :).

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Although Baby E has always been a part of this Music Together experience since being in the womb and all, she now gets to enjoy and hopefully appreciate it in person. Meanwhile, I get to watch TJ as he goes over to the baskets of musical instruments and grab three of everything, one for each one of us, including his sister. I get to see him randomly kiss his sister on her fingers and toes, oblivious to being in a public place and only innocently aware of being with his special buddy for life – his sister, and the love he has for her.

Of course, I also get to watch Baby E put everything in her mouth – and then I get to see TJ take the extra loved instruments and put them in a separate basket to be cleaned later. I get to see a toddler who now totally and completely participates and engages with the music.

I have seen tremendous growth in TJ since we started Music Together. This is not only because he is almost 10 months older than when we first started these classes and he simply is developmentally able to process socialization and community behavior skills better but also because he truly enjoys music and now, he especially loves having his sister join him too.

What is your most disliked activity as a mother, stay-at-home or otherwise?


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6 Reasons Kids should go to Farmers’ Markets

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Although farmers’ markets are nothing new to those who grew up in India, they still hold their fascination for me. Having lived in the US for the last 16 years and across 5 states, three of which saw some really bitter winters, farmers’ markets were a novel occurrence. In fact, my very first one was in Chicago nearly 12 years after I moved to the U.S.

Now that we live in California,Continue reading “6 Reasons Kids should go to Farmers’ Markets”

An Inner Monologue with my Jogging Playlist

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I went for a run in preparation for my upcoming 5k race yesterday. I call it a run because that is common parlance. In reality, what I do is more of a jog or if you ask my husband, a “slow jog”, so slow in fact, that he considers it akin to his “fast walk”. Continue reading “An Inner Monologue with my Jogging Playlist”

Untitled: Gathering the Pieces of Failure

failureMy most recent pledge to not yell at my son was an epic failure on day 2. Everything was going smoothly until it was time to strap the kids in that monstrosity of a double stroller to take them for a walk. TJ wanted to get out but I really needed that walk because I need to lose weight and because I need to get back into the jogging/walking/running mode for a 5K race next weekend.

I have many triggers. Sometimes I recognize them. Most times I ignore them.

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