Easy Dinner · Expat Moms and Kids · Homemade · Homeschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Islamic parenting · Kitchen tips · Muscat Mom and Kids · Muscat, Oman · Mushrooms · Muslim Mama · Parenting · Pasta · Quick Cooking · Quick pasta · Unschooling · vegetarian

Mushroom and Spinach wholemeal linguine

After a long day of wrestling with letter sounds and refereeing fights, I almost always hurt my neck trying to look out for Papa Bear to finally get home to tag him, hand over the kids and run off to cook dinner. When that gets delayed, all hope is not lost although I cannot promise the same for my temper.

One such evening, IzGirl and NBoy were still bouncing off the walls and number 3, NBaby, surprises us with an early nap but my migraine decided to make an appearance, I decided to let them help and leave the delayed individual to attack the mess. Surprisingly, my children are very much unlike me in the kitchen. They cleaned up after themselves and actually made my job much easier.

Moreover, what better way to teach them life skills than in our own kitchen, with extra loads of love?

The following recipe is very special to us because it is the first dish we cooked together(without me nagging or micro managing them!). We hope you enjoy cooking it and sharing it with your family too!

Mushroom and Spinach wholemeal linguine

  • Servings: 2 tiny tummies
  • Difficulty: Need the help of a responsible adult
  • Print

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Look what we cooked! We ate it with roasted (okay, burnt!) cashewnuts. And how pretty are our Eid decorations?!

Ingredients

  • 6 or 7 fresh mushrooms, washed
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Portion of wholemeal linguine (regular spaghetti would do)
  • 2 Tablespoons of garlic butter(regular butter is fine as well)
  • 1/4 cup of cooking cream (you can add or reduce as you wish)
  • Salt and Pepper

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Directions

  1. Chop the mushrooms into whatever size you like.
  2. Pick the good spinach leaves, wash and drain.
  3. Ask an adult to boil the pasta and drain it.
  4. Heat a pan and add butter.
  5. Add the mushrooms and sauté them with a pinch of salt.
  6. Add the cream and stir well. Once it starts boiling, add the pasta and mix it in, and check salt and pepper.
  7. Leave to cook for a minute or two and then add the spinach and switch off the flame. Stir well.
  8. Enjoy with some yummy toasted bread and help wash up after dinner.

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Parenting · Muslim Mama · Islamic parenting · Expat Moms and Kids · Homeschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Unschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling · Numbers · Teaching Numbers · Kindergarten · Preschool · Mathematics for kids

Learning Numbers: Erase the correct one

This was an improvised game when NBoy wanted a turn at cleaning the whiteboard but was not in the mood to draw. Tired of having to scribble whilst trying to listen to the big sister read words, I wrote numbers from 1-10 on the board and gave him the small eraser and proceeded to call out a number randomly for him to erase.

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Learning Numbers can be fun!

He loved the game and was careful about making sure none of the other numbers got erased too!

This game could work even if the child is not completely familiar with numbers.

Hope you have fun getting your whiteboard cleaned!

Parenting · Freedom · Muslim Mama · Islamic parenting · Islamic values · Islamic society · Expat Moms and Kids · Muscat Mom and Kids · Muscat, Oman · Way of LIfe · Homeschooling · Islamic Homeschooling · Unschooling · Homeschooling whilst Unschooling

To School or Not to School

“What school does she go to?” asks a well-meaning person about my almost 5 year old.

“She doesn’t yet. We are homeschooling at the moment” I reply in weary apprehension, expecting another tirade of shocked expressions and 5 minutes of a lecture on how they know what would be better for my child. You know, because, they have seen her couple of times and have children of their own, they automatically become self-proclaimed experts on my child too…(mini rant over)

To be honest, the above scenario does not happen as often as I claim it to but the after effects of such a confrontation and the willpower it takes for me to not respond in kind, has me agitated for a while, and thus, prone to a lot of dramatics.

Most people are genuinely curious about what homeschooling is all about and their questions are always welcome because they are merely asking without assuming the worst or telling me how “wrong” I am.

What exactly is homeschooling?

It is basically the education of a child at home, primarily by the parents.

Then what in the world is unschooling?

It is a more radical form of homeschooling where conventional school systems and curriculums have no place; the learning is experience based on each child’s preference.

Is it legal?

Yes, depending on the country you live in. Most governments require parents to educate their children but they do not govern what kind of education that would be.

Do you follow a syllabus?

Not at the moment, I pick up on my child’s changing interests and we focus on whatever that maybe.

So, you are unschooling?

No.

Then you are simply being a teacher at home but for one child?

No.

What exactly are you doing?

I am helping my children learn in any way that they want to, without allowing the constraints of a label restrict our learning.

That is what we are doing.

Going against socially expected norms and the “done-thing” is much harder than I thought it would be. The inner turmoil I face at wondering if I am doing right by my children keeps me up most nights. Then I Google. And I panic even more.

It is always scary doing something different, especially when it comes to your children; there is absolutely no way of knowing if you are doing the right thing till it is too late. There have been many days when I have wanted to throw in the towel and do what we are “supposed” to be doing but I always backed out after a frustrated husband finally looked about ready to agree with me.

After many prayers and contemplation, things started coming into better perspective.

Homeschooling was introduced to me accidentally through a video from a lovely site called Rahmah Muslim Homeschool . Intrigued, I started researching on this since providing a wholesome Islamic education was absolutely important for us. After sifting through a whole plethora of information on the net, I was muddled as to what I should be doing. I decided to pick a site, and start off from there. Although I am unable to remember the site, it did have quite an extensive list of homeschooling activities that included teaching sight words. Jumped  right on the sight word train and spent a night cutting and pasting words intended for my then  2+year old little girl to memorise and start reading because a certain list I picked up on another site claimed she should be reading by the time she was 3 years of age.

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This method may work and she was quick to memorise the words. It took even longer time helping her forget them to help her focus on sounds.

Needless to stay, sticking to a rigid schedule whilst trying to tick off everything in my “list” took its toll on us and I felt it was just too tough because I was not a qualified teacher. After audibly questioning my decision to move into finance instead of education after leaving school, I started looking for online education degrees. Long story short, I came to my senses before paying for a full degree programme that I never would have completed.

Then I began to look into local homeschooling families and to my surprise, there was a whole community in Muscat! I began this journey in trepidation with absolutely no support system but meeting this wonderful group helped by reassuring me that we were doing just fine. One mother in particular fascinated me with her attitude towards learning and living, and she helped me finally figure out how to let go of social expectations and focus on what would be best for my family. You can follow her journey on Raggamuslims.

I have been meaning to chronicle our journey but kept putting it off till I read a well thought out piece in Happiness Is Here and realised how our journey could help another family make their decision to create their own path.

Homeschooling for us is now merely a loose label that we use for sake of ease when having to answer a question about school for our children.

Our learning journey at the moment is about listening to their (now 4+ and 2+ year olds!) interests and learning about them with them. However, I am a firm believer in the power of reading and the vast knowledge accessible to one with the ability to read, which meant that I could not adapt the relaxed method of “letting them learn”. Instead I looked into Jolly Phonics method and took their online course in order to teach reading.  We do not focus on traditional mathematical lessons because it simply does not interest them; they learn that through play. I cannot draw to save my life and so, skipped over teaching them how to draw. Instead, I made sure they have easy access to crayons, colour pencils and paper, and now, I am amazed by their creativity. My 4 year old wants to try out school at one point and we would let her if she is sure that is what she wants but for now, we are enjoying the journey  with a lovely unicorn learning her letter sounds and a curly-hair ball of sunshine with an interest in shapes and a love for gluing things.

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The unicorn is doing a Sound Sheet for letter “f” and her brother is doing a gluing activity with shapes, hastily drawn by yours truly

I have stopped worrying about what education should be and I am focusing on letting them decide their learning experience. Shedding all the preconceived notions of education that I was taught all my life is still a work-in-progress but I am slowly but surely coming out of that state of mind.

Our journey is not about schooling nor is it about not-schooling; it is about learning naturally and developing a lifelong love for learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expat Moms and Kids · Muscat Kids Play Areas · Muscat Mom and Kids · Parenting · Reviews: Kids

Review: Patterpillar, Baushar, Muscat

There are lots of things that bring on the dreaded mommy-guilt and reading lists of expected skills and knowledge a child should master before turning a certain age, never fails to drag me down the bottomless spiral.

Want to know of something that could drag me even lower?

Lists and sublists of activities categorized by age that I should be doing with my children (activities for 4 year olds, 1 year olds, fetuses and etc…).

Those lists cannot be viewed in one screen and the links almost always had links to even more activities. Just about then the dread that had threatened to engulf me at the title, takes over me.

I blacken out at the sight of all the gross and fine motor skills specifically catered for my almost 5 year old that I should have started making her do as soon as she learnt to control her head.

What brings on the heebie-jeebies in double time has always been the messy play activities. It is supposedly very important to allow children to learn through mess and feel different textures; it would also be a good idea for moms to get their hearts checked out in preparation for possible shocks at the aftermath.

I allow the guilt to take over and spend a night getting together supplies to set up a fun messy play session for the kids for the next day and it does start out well. But when I eventually end up cleaning up more than I bargained for (think splattered pantry cupboards!), I tell myself that they have had their quota of required messy play and I could avoid it till the next guilt trip.

An aftermath of a day that began full of learning possibilities; what do they say about mothers and optimism?

Then these purple and green advertisements about a messy play area started popping up on social media. Since they had not mentioned a location but were popping up at events, it fell off my radar.

Figuring out a way to help our little girls spend time together before summer holidays led another mommy and me back to Patterpillar, and we were treated to a messy play session at their unique concept spot, tucked away behind Costa Coffee at Lamar, next to Panorama Mall, Baushar. I say “we” because although the treat was for my IzGirl I am pretty  sure my delight as I entered this outlet trumps her joy at being asked and not forbidden to make a mess!

Allow me to elaborate!

When I saw all the coloured water with little containers to pour and squeeze, the slime like goop, shaving foam and a whole plethora of colourful equipment to move and mush them around, my natural reaction was to call out a list of instructions on how she was not supposed to let the mess move beyond a certain area.

But I stopped myself for a glorious realisation had just settled.

I did not have to clean up the mess.

Another mommy whom I have met couple of times high fived me across the room as I verbalised my glorious realisation. In this relaxed state, I sat back with my hot chocolate that I was too paranoid to drink at the cafe whilst my girl was occupied in a safe space a few metres away, and observed.

Patterpillar Oman at Lamar, Boushar is a unique kids play area that also sells messy play products and sets up activity stations at parties and events. They are the first and only (as far as I am aware) mess based play area in Muscat. They do not just throw some paints and goop at the kids but painstakingly arrange different activities and stations for every single session they host.

On this particular day, there was a water and sand table with several compartments; each one had a different material (goop,coloured water,shaving foam and etc…) with lots of toys to assist. Within a few minutes, the kids managed to mix all the elements and it took great strength to not squirm and allow my inner OCD-like symptoms get the better of me. Despite the newly created concoction, the kids played at this table longer than at any other station.

Behind this area was a row of easy access taps to let them fill their pretty containers or in our kids’ case, wash their sticky or sandy hands before sticking them into other messes (side effects of living with moms who squirm at the thought of slippery bubble liquid bottles in tiny hands).

They had a sand station with sand coloured quicksand or moon sand along with shells and beach toys; this was however not very popular or maybe it was just this session. The kids did enjoy using the long tongs to pick toys from the sand play area and move it to their table of magical liquids.

What I loved the best was the water play area, a winding lazy river like set-up, filled with water and fun toys. Although you are not allowed inside the water, they had enough activities to allow children to make a splash. It also helps settle the guilt at the memory of barking at the child for turning the bathroom into river Nile after every bath.

Through a small doorway in a cottage set up is the painting station where you can paint the walls of the “cottage”. However, the girls did not want to spend long inside because they claimed it stank, which I assume was the smell of paint and poor ventilation.

Tucked away behind all this and shelves of goodies that we could purchase if we were ever struck with the insane idea of setting up a messy play day at home(slime is not actually a bad idea), is a small area with a screen, tables and chairs. A few kids were having their snacks and I assume they use it when hosting birthday parties at the outlet.

Their strategic location made cleaning up the kids so much easier since the washrooms were right next door; you can dress the kids in old comfortable clothes or swimwear. They may wear their own crocs(the surface gets slippery) or borrow a pair available at the outlet.

Whilst the kids run around whisking shaving foam mocktails on padded surfaces their guardians/care takers can pretend to be giants in the land of Lilliput, perched on colourful, tiny but sturdy chairs placed all around the play area.

The assistants are present throughout the session but a care taker is required to remain to supervise or join in the fun.

They charge OMR 5 per session and provide sibling discounts and also have a membership package with unlimited visits per month.

Each session lasts 2 hours (they have 2 sessions per day)and their timing and rates can be double checked through the following links:

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/patterpillar/ or

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/patterpillar_om/

When I mention the price to anyone I was gushing about this to, I was met with mixed responses; it is quite high when comparing with most play areas but well worth it as an occasional treat.

Incidentally, I came across a gift coupon/voucher sticker for a free session at Patterpillar that my Izzybug got at a contest held by Muscat Mom N Kids (https://www.instagram.com/muscatmomnkids/) at the Muscat Grand Mall; hurray!

They regularly update their social media pages with recent additions and are quick to respond to your queries. We are certainly looking forward to trying the new activity stations very soon.

I think I speak for all the messy-play-avoiding guilt wrecked mommies in Muscat when I say, Patterpillar is on to a winning concept. Armed with a solution to the painting area (my kids dearly love to paint but I dearly love my sanity), I can see this becoming a regular play-date option.

 

For more reviews: Reviews: All about the Kids 

Cheeky giggles does not get monetary compensation to review all products.  On occasion, companies will send a sample product for review on the site. I pick and choose what products appear and will never recommend something I would not use on/for myself or my own family. Receiving product samples does not influence the review; I say it as it is. There is no guarantee with my reviews and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item/experience and you are dissatisfied with it; my product reviews are simply my opinions.

Eid · Equality · Humanity · Islamic parenting · Islamic society · Islamic values · Muslim Mama · Parenting · Ramadan · Rights of the young · Role of Masjids · Sunnah

How our Ummah is being failed by the beautiful Masjids

Picture this scenario.

You are 4 years old and day after day and night after night, you listen to stories of the bounties of Jannah. You yearn for Jannah and learn of all that could take you there. You learn that prayer is on top of the list and make sure to watch people in prayer at every possible opportunity. You practise praying in your very own prayer mat. You can’t even reach the handle of the door but you squeal in delight at the thought of praying in the Masjid only to be told the beautiful Masjid does not want you there. You pray outside by your mother on a worn and dusty carpet, and wonder if you had been “naughty” and that’s why they didn’t let you in.

Or picture this.

You are 5 years old. It’s Eid! You wake up at the crack of dawn and rub your sleepy eyes with your tiny hands. Bathed and dressed in matching Abayas, you go to the Masjid as a family for prayers. But alas, you can’t enter the prayer room at all. So you sit on a straw mat outside the carpeted prayer hall, squashed by similar peers and wonder why they wouldn’t just let you pray inside. 

Now picture this.

So now you are 10 and suddenly you are not shooed away like scum. You reluctantly wrap your shawl on and apprehensively enter the prayer room. It’s the soft carpet you always wanted to touch and feel. You are now bathed in the glow of the twinkling lights you once sneaked a peek at before being told to move away. You pray dutifully but your heart is heavy. Your mind is filled with the rejection of the yesteryears and you feel watched. Your heart throbs in fear and shame at the thought  being told to leave again. Finish your prayer and return home and slowly start giving excuses to not go there again. You worry about your prayer there because you just could not focus with all your thoughts. You stop going to the Masjid altogether because you are tired of feeling like you did something wrong.

At school your friends talk about their Sunday at church and you listen in surprise to how they pray together. You are surprised to learn that children attend their prayers and hear their stories of fond memories through the years. What a nice God they had, you think to yourself, ashamed to say it out aloud.

The rest, I leave to your imagination. 

Your mind and tongue can wag a million reasons on why children should be banned in Masjids but all I ask you to remember is that no problem exists but with a solution already devised for it by Allah swt. 

Noise? Have a separate room for moms and kids instead of pointing them towards mats thrown outside in haste.

You want to maintain the carpets because that trumps inculcating love of prayer in children in priorities? FINE. Hang a sign that forbids any food and drinks in the prayer hall and have the person who is stationed to shoo away the children to monitor the prayer hall and remind people violating that rule. Have a spot to change diapers in the washrooms and strictly forbid it in the prayer hall; the children shooer can monitor that too.

For almost all of the “reasons” children are heartlessly banned from prayer halls, there are solutions. The simplest one is to remember that children are people and feel all the emotions too.

There are a handful of Masjids that still welcome children and we have been blessed to have them around. This rule that blatantly ignores the example of our beloved Prophet (PBUH)’S love for children is generally found in the new and beautiful structures.

What most people fail to realise is that banning children is essentially, banning the mothers too. 

Why would a mother, who can pray in peace in the comfort of her own home knowing her children are by her side, want to hand over her children to a complete stranger along with many other children to pray with a heavy heart and fear(for the children’s safety) in a Masjid?

Naturally, the mother stops going to the Masjid too. Disheartened by the rejection from a place she thought would help her raise her children, she would look elsewhere for the support and open her family to being misguided.

I write this with a heavy heart after I had to once again console my little ones who did not understand why yet again they had to only look inside the beautiful prayer hall from outside when we stopped for prayers after a fun day out. Telling them it is because they were little made me feel as if I was telling them that being little was wrong.

Instead, I looked at my little girl’s face and said, “Love, you need to make duaa everyday for Allah to help you build a Masjid that welcomes children too”.

Nodding her little head, she ran off to focus on something else, like children usually do but brought it up again without fail at bedtime, proving she felt deeper than she let on.

How are we going to shake out of the state where it has become normal to prioritise the maintenance of a creation over developing the faith of the Ummah?

May Allah swt guide us through these scary times!



Disclaimer: I do not intend to pinpoint at any particular place nor do I assume to be more informed than those of higher authority. I am simply a heartbroken mother, wondering how to explain to her children on why they are not allowed into a prayer space to pray to the One who loves them more than I ever could. 

baby prodcut review · Bath essentials · Muscat Mom and Kids · Parenting · Reviews: Kids · TummyTub

Baby product review: Tummy Tub

If the thought of correctly holding a fragile newborn seems a daunting prospect, think again about the process of bathing/washing such a tiny bundle.

Quest to quell my fear of the unknown led me to sign up for a prenatal class when expecting my first child, where they succeeded in further confusing me with labelled buckets and several steps.

While researching more on safer bathing equipments geared towards mothers looking for closer to nature options and requiring minimum assistance, stumbled upon the TummyTub, a product that I have never regretted spending good money on.

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TummyTub is essentially a deep tub that could easily be confused for a mop bucket due to it’s deceptively regular looking exterior. In fact, it is far from being ordinary as the tub is molded to resemble the shape of the womb and provide comfort of the familiar first home for the little beings. It comes highly recommended by midwives and encourages mothers to independently care for their babies.
The transparent tub that comes in few colours indicates the maximum level of water to be filled before the baby is lifted into a foetal like sitting position that they practised for 9+ months. As for any other bath tub, constant vigilant supervision is required but all you need to do is hold the little one under the chin to prevent the head from slipping in and the baby will do the rest.

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This is the positon the baby will be in the tub; can be used from infancy till toddler stage.

Along with the obvious advantages of easy handling and usage, what won me over was the pure contentment and the blissful smiles of my babies as they floated in their natural habitat of the yester months.

It was a lifesaver especially during those cranky evenings of growth spurt stages or being annoyed at me, the milk-lady forgetting to change a dirty diaper; strip the angry squealing being down to the birthday outfit and lower into the tub and lo behold! calm as a cucumber. Or as calm as the few minutes of silence before they detect I am about to sip a hot drink.

The other feature that would appeal to most mothers would be that it does not require any heavy lifting or an opportunity for the man of the house to flex his muscles. You can use a stable platform or purchase the stool that is specifically meant for this and fill it up in few minutes. It scores more points for not using up a lot of water.

If nitpicking for drawbacks, it would be the price of the product coupled with the delivery charges and the fact that it is quite difficult to wash the hair.

The latter was not an issue in our case since the TummyTub was almost always for the evening wash; hair gets washed only in the mornings at our home although an occasional wash was required on the nights when the tiny individual decides to headbutt the bowl of mushy bananas. Not very sure about how long the product can be used but we used it for more than 8 months and despite appearances, the tub can hold a chunky baby quite comfortably too. We packed up the tub only when it got difficult to prevent the giggling attempts at escaping from the tub.

With every baby comes new joys and ridiculously expensive products that do not see the light of day after a couple of uses; for us, the TummyTub was thankfully not one of those products.

It would not be ideal if one prefers a more regular bath routine or prefers to wash the hair at night but it would be worth including it in the list of essentials if you have a history of having to deal with the dreaded colic.

Ideally, I would credit the place I first saw the TummyTub but that would mean having to admit to stalking a profile for several weeks to scrutinise the use of the new contraption; will allow my good intentions to rest for the timebeing.

 
Cheeky giggles does not get monetary compensation to review all products.  On occasion, companies will send a sample product for review on the site. I pick and choose what products appear and will never recommend something I would not use on/for myself or my own family. Receiving product samples does not influence the review. There is no guarantee with my reviews and I will not be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it; my product reviews are simply my opinions. 

 

 

 

 

Muslim Mama · Parenting · Uncategorized · Women

8 ways to ask a sancti-mommy to take a hike

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I do not own nor hold any intellectual rights over this picture and it has been used under the impression that it is a free image; if otherwise, a quick message would suffice to discontinue use.
  1. Forgive me for failing to congratulate you on getting your medical license since I was too busy keeping my child underweight and malnourished.
  2. Actually, I plan on renting the room right by the toilets at my children’s future universities to be there to change their diapers but thank you for the book on toilet-training-boot-camp.
  3. I took lessons in wrapping my baby wearing shawl to hold my 16 year old for her school-drop offs since my wearing her as an infant would have clearly spoilt her for the act of walking.
  4. Yes, the only reason I cover when nursing is because I am ashamed of my body and using it for the purpose it was created for. It is also because I am a coward and do not want people to judge me.
  5. No, I do not cover when nursing because I have no morals or respect for the discomfort it causes for other adults in the vicinity.
  6. The only reason I bottle feed is because I was not smart enough to have tried all the options you just stated, not to mention me being lazy to nurse.
  7. I know I run the risk of raising a narcissistic attention seeking monster by running to my child at every cry but I just cannot curb the urges of my selfish maternal instincts.
  8. One day, I will be filled with regret at causing strife in my child’s marriage because of his/her need to have me next door to rock and sing him/her to sleep since I did not pay heed to your instructions of letting him/her cry it out as an infant.

*This is intended as light reading and not to be tested out in actual situations; I shall not be liable for any damaged property, noses or relationships.

** I appreciate and highly value advice from all those with a genuine concern and goodwill towards my family; please do not worry yourself into thinking that your help annoyed me in anyway.

***This is based on commonly fought-over mommy-issues and do not indicate any personal experience.

Craft · DIY · Parenting · Recipes

Homemade Play dough(Basic)

Mothers are creatures with strange fetishes; they creep across the dark dungeons of “expected milestones” and do the dark deeds of comparing them with their progeny. If they exceed expectation, all’s well. If they do not, they immediately swerve down the guilt-wrecked road till the milestone has been hit.

The cycle continues with every popular infant-based newsletter that ends up in their inbox.

Picture an agitated, wild haired mother surrounded by different brands of play dough, coaxing a very reluctant 9 month old to dabble in the complex art of play dough model creation. The mother fears the day she would have to make something more sophisticated than a ball (and tiny balls) or hastily rolled out geometric shapes as she never stepped into the said realm and was actually clueless about how such magical creations came about.

When the child refuses to do anything but throw the lump of (kind of expensive) dough, the hassled brain of the mother immediately points towards sensory issues.

Could my child have a sensory problem?

Or could it be something more sinister?

Was this what the anti-vaccination squad warned me of?

Or maybe she hurt her fingers when I held them too tight by accident?

This must be my fault.

Was this because of the cold mocha I gulped down the day before she was born, despite the refusal of the sweet barista to serve coffee to a pregnant woman (this was the one and only cup of caffeine I had in my entire pregnancy!)?

After many sleepless nights coupled with weary mornings filled with some subtle and downright tricky methods of getting the child to play with play dough (failed methods, obviously), the mother eventually gives up.

Pauses

Then one afternoon, after receiving THE handbook on being a domestic goddess from the best aunt in the world, the mother decides to make bread. Being too lazy to set up the Kitchen Aid (also belongs to said aunt; some may call it stealing but she calls it safe-keeping), sleeves were rolled up and the kneading began. Since this was before the era of 2 under 3 years, the level of anxiety when attempting some actual cooking was quite low. As the mother’s height prevented her from using the kitchen counter to knead, she decided to sit on the floor with a bowl of flour.

The patter of tiny footsteps later, a tiny fist bumps a piece of dough. With bated breath, the mother hands the child a ball of dough. The child squashes it. Eureka!

The child just did not like the texture of store-bought play dough!

The joy was short lived due to a failed and extremely oily attempt at making play dough. After sifting through a dozen or so recipes and reading up on the science behind it, the mother came up with the following fool-proof recipe meant for mothers with short-lived patience and extra-large ambitions.

This play dough lasts up to 3 months if stored well in airtight containers; it also survives uncovered nights behind the couch and sometimes, under the pillow of the mother. It does develop a salty crust once in awhile; a good kneading is all it requires.

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Homemade Play dough

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup all purpose flour
  3. 1 tbsp oil
  4. 1 tbsp cream of tartar
  5. ½ cup salt
  6. 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  7. Food colouring

 

Use a whisk to combine all the dry ingredients in a heavy-bottom pan. Add the water, oil and cook on medium heat. Stir constantly till the mix resembles mashed potatoes. Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla. Give it a good stir. Do not be alarmed and start the cussing if the dough is still quite sticky.

Tip the contents on to a clean counter space, add in the colouring and knead till cool. You could split the dough into portions and colour each one differently too.

You would be kneading quite warm dough and it would be best not to let the kids get involved in the making process. My asbestos hands do not mind the heat but do be careful.

Once the yummy scented play dough is cool, you can pop it into airtight containers or use large zip lock bags like I did; just make sure to get all the air out before sealing.

 

Enjoy and do comment with results, if you do try it!

 

 

Parenting

10 reasons why I am the best mother in the world

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1. Only I know exactly what temperature my little girl needs her bath water to be.
2. Only I can nourish my nursing little boy when he is hungry or is feeling miserable.
3.Only the beat of my heart against her ears can send away the monsters from my little girl when she wakes up in fear.
4. Only my arms can comfort my little boy after yet another fall.
5. Only I know the exact ratio of peanut butter to raspberry jam in her sandwich.
6. Only I know the right consistency of his favourite oatmeal.
7. Only I can predict her gentle moments and the moments she needs to cuddle.
8. Only my kisses can ease their Ouches and cries.
9. Only my love can soothe their little beings as they veer dangerously towards a dreaded tantrum.
10. Only I can be the best mother in the world, for my children are my world.

No doctorate in child psychology or child development will do.

No paediatric qualification will do.

No gazillion years of experience will do.

No advanced age or hierarchical status will do.

Only you will do.

Only you can be the best mother for your children.

Only you can be the best mother in the world because your children are your world. In that beautiful world, you are the Sun.

Shine bright.No.Matter.What.

Happy Mommying!

Parenting

Technological Childhood syndrome

 

Childhood-Quotes-Im-thankful-i-had-a-childhood
Said the edited image from the era of technology

Last month was the month I finally faced a Minion.

Not having watched the movie (I was under the impression the movie would be called Minions) or having any idea what the creature was, I had planned on asking Aunt Google about it, incase I was ever questioned about it. One does need to be prepared and hold the answers to the most popular fads to be included as a primary minion in the elite club,  consisting of my daughter and her friends. Alas, I was ambushed before getting around to it.

The image above caught my eye; held the potential for a well thought out comment that could turn into an argument if I was lucky enough. *claps hands in glee

Yet the more I thought about the words to agree with this post, began to realise how I did not actually agree with it.

Technology may not have been as advanced in the 90’s as it is now, but there were enough era-acceptable technological devices around. Having grown up in a household that believed in not bringing such distractions into the house, I am unable to name even a few.

Whilst remembering rebelling against this rule as a child, I also remember the hours and days spent without the distractions and addictive joy the devices bring. Although being miffed about the television being out of bounds, the solace I received from my prized companions, books, could never be imitated.

A well known Islamic orator, Yasir Qadhi, claims that the duty of the parent is to do all that needs to be done to bring a child up in the right manner; he states that even if the child does go astray, most often in the adolescent stage, he/she would eventually revert to the norm known to him/her.

These words hold an abundance of wisdom as all the vicious promises I made to myself when furious about not being allowed to own the latest gadgets broke,as realisation of the benefits I reaped dawned upon me.

There is absolutely no question about the immense breakthroughs and ease of life with the advent of technology and the devices it provided; it would be illogical to state that technology is the root of today’s evil. Neither do I intend to nor do I claim that technology does not play any role in our lives; as quaint as the Amish principles may seem,even a day without WiFi is quite unimaginable (how would I scare myself with the answers the symptoms I input reveal?!).

I merely do not agree that technology is the reason that most children can no longer be called children, simply because their innocence and naturally joyous nature is snatched and replaced with monosyllable responding, device-addicted creatures.

It is entirely upon the parents to ensure the correct usage of technology to enhance but not replace their childhood. When the parents misuse the ease it provides and unknowingly  begin to use it to substitute for their presence and time, the wheels begin to roll downhill. No child cries without a reason; the child whom you claim does it, cries for attention- a normal part of growing up. When the attention and time children crave from their parents are quelled with tablets and other handheld devices, they learn to accept them and eventually, depend on them.

It it hilarious for a parent to blame a child for a device addiction when it was their slacking that brought about it. In today’s fast paced world, it is sometimes not possible for parents to be present around their growing children all the time, but the time that they do spend is the crucial point. Children rarely do as they are told; they do as they see. If what they see is your glazed over eyes as you stare at the screen and hear your half-hearted responses as you barely acknowledge their presence, that would be what you would see and hear, when you eventually put the phone down.

One could try to eliminate all form of technology and I commend them for it but I believe in taking the middle route; children need balance and need not become social pariahs simply to enjoy a natural childhood.

Intelligent use of technology at the advised ages and stages would do far more good than staying away from it; embrace the good and expel the harm.

I’m so thankful my children have a childhood, even while technology continues to swell around them.