Thursday, May 22, 2014

The C word!

I am not talking about the 174th episode of House or the words our kids are forbidden to say. I am talking about the new C word.. a word that I have been hearing very often for the past year now. It is what the doctors call the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in our body.  Abnormal cells, what are they anyway and quite honestly I don't care. 

I am just tired of the C word occurring in the lives of people I know. It's been an ongoing process for the past year now.. every two months I find out. Good, honest people. People who pay their bills, say their  prayers, work hard, love hard and laugh out loud so often and yet they have to deal with C word called Cancer.   I just don't get it. 

This blogpost is dedicated to all those who are fighting this disease, with two people I know in particular. A cousin and a friend. More than reading this, I want you to keep them and their families in your prayers and I am hoping that with the collective global prayers, the gods of the world will be forced to wave their magic wands and make this disease go away.  

If you are wondering, Yes I do believe Santa Claus. 

To them who are fighting, all I want to say is: 

You are rare and unique
You inspire me daily
You make me laugh with your funny posts and messages
You are full of energy and radiate positivity like no other I know. 

I have no doubt that you will conquer this with your sheer drive
I know for a fact that you will thrive. 

It is a fight I know, but you are strong and your energy is limitless. Cancer cannot touch your soul, it cannot cripple the love around you, it cannot change the friendships you have built and it cannot take away your courage and strength. 

ALWAYS REMEMBER You are going to Live to Win!  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Summer Contest.

Today's blog is a summer essay contest.  

Calling all kids ages 5-12 who love to day dream or think out of the box. You DO NOT need to be an A+ writer to write this eassay. This blog really does not care about how strong your vocabulary is. The only requirement is stick to the theme and have the correct grammar and spellings. 

Before we go further, I do want to clarify that I am not doing this to encourage my kid to write more. In the world of volunteering, I am often faced with the situation where folks think, the effort is so my kids can benefit. It is quite the contrary. If anything, my kids get the tail end of it all. My younger one is too young to write an essay, she might draw. The older one is doing relatively well in writing and he may not be in the top 2% of his age, but is definitely in the top 10% and we are happy to see him thrive.  So this is not for my kids alone. In fact I am not even sure if they will participate. If they do, I promise their entries will be judged by others and not myself. 

Why I am I doing this? The idea came to me last nite as I was chopping cabbage for the salad. Funny how and when ideas creep in. But I fell in love with the thought, ran it by my trusted partner and here I am posting it online. 

The idea took shape last nite, but I think it has been brewing in my head for 7 years now.. ever since I started volunteering in school.  The more I volunteered, the more I realized of the lack of enriching programs for kids who are not exactly what the academic world calls A+ students. All clubs, all contests are geared towards kids who can read, write and add well.  What about those who have brilliant ideas, but don't have the best writing skills or can't add fast enough? Don't get me wrong, I do understand the need for parents wanting their kids to succeed and do as well as the neighbors child and if possible, do better, but in all this, I see a whole population of kids being left out. 

So, this is my two cents to provide an opportunity to kids of all shapes and talents. If you know of a child who has some amazing ideas, creativity but is shy to express it, then encourage them to send in an entry.   The contest is also open to all A+ students too.

The judging is for creativity and out of the box thinking. There are no points for high vocabulary words :)  


1) A child can participate irrespective of how good or not good their writing grades are. 

2) Age limit 5-12.   If he/she is 12+ but not 13 yet.. that's okay too :) If he/she is just finishing up 6th grade and entering 7th.. they can post in the Category 3. 

3) No high vocabularly words necessary. I don't think people should be penalized because they didn't memorize the english dictionary in their schooling years. But yes correct grammar and spelling is needed because in today's world it is as easy as doing a grammar and spell check. 

4) The essay can be handwritten or typed.  If handwritten, please email a clear legible scanned pdf copy.

No poems. I wish I could.. but unfortunately elementary kids are not trained to read or write poems and there are few who have a natural talent. It would so be unfair to others. 

ESSAY PROMPTS:  Please note these are PROMPTS and NOT TOPICS. The child can title their essay as they please.   Choose ONE prompt. 

Submit all entries to:

When submitting an entry,  In addition to your name, a contact email, please state the grade and essay prompt in the top right corner.  

I) The world through my eyes. 

II) If I could change two things in the elementary school, they would be... 

( Try not to think about technology, books, libraries, PE etc.. think out of the box. If you had the opportunity to re-design the way schools are, the way teaching is done .. what would you do?) 

III) Technology, parents and me. 

JUDGING CRITERIA:   The ideas can be fictional. If they are.. try to lead the reader towards understanding how this day can be a reality soon. 

For instance, if you dream of a world where people live for 200 years, it may not be a reality today, but it is definitely possible.  If you dream of a world where people will go back to being monkey's.. that is a little too fictional. But a world where a catastrophic element can wipe of out the entire human species, and the earth regenerates itself - that is possible. 

Out of the Box thinking : 80%
Grammar/Spelling : 20%

JUDGES: Total three. They might be HS students or adults. Will post names once I have approval from them. 

PRIZES: 3 prizes $100/- value. One prize each for the three categories below. 

Category 1: K - 1st
Category 2: 2nd - 3rd
Category 3: 4th - 6th. 

DEADLINE for Submission:  July 31st, 2014. 

Results Announced on: Sept 1st, 2014.

Feel free to pass this on to any student you know and would like to participate.  There are no geographic boundaries. So if you have a nephew in India, that is perfectly fine too.  Technology has reduced barriers, and the prizes will be sent across too :) 

Looking forward to reading all the amazing ideas the younger generation has. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

25 and counting joys of Motherhood.

As Mother's day approaches, and I hear the repeated question, any plans for Mother's day?  I decide to pen down a few myths that were shattered and few realities that were learnt in this journey called "Motherhood."

1.  The phrase "sleeping like a baby" does not mean sleeping peacefully. It means waking up every few minutes. 

2. When a baby cries, yes by all means look at the check list the doctor gave you; feed, burp, change diaper.

Baby still crying: Rock him, take him for a walk in the stroller.

But baby still crying: Call the doctor and go down the check list.  Baby continues to cry. Doctor says "its okay sometimes they have to release the energy."  You are thinking, seriously, he's been crying for a while now. And then the light bulb turns on and you hold the baby close to you and lie down on the bed. Magically the little one stops crying and you both sleep.

For your baby: YOU KNOW BEST.  Listen to the maternal instincts. It is nature's gift to every new mom.  

I salute this mom who listened to her heart and not the doctor: A mother's touch defies Science

3. "Colic" is a word that pediatricians do not like. Why? Because they don't know why it happens, or how to stop it.  Hang in there.. it takes any where from 10-12 weeks, and the colic switch will turn off. Until then .. just hang in there :)   Just as an FYI, white noises work like magic for colic babies.

4. Some where around 3 months, your baby will give you that look. The look that only you will understand,  it will be the confirmation that "yes I recognize you Mom." Cherish that look for it will warm your heart for years to come. 

Think like a baby:
Spilled milk is definitely worth a cry
5. Every time you are on the phone either a bowl of cereal or a cup of milk will fall on the floor. 

6. The baby is a toddler now.. all problems solved for its an independent age. But wait, there's potty training.  If you have a boy, look before you go for boys cannot aim. So stock up on wipes, cleaners and gloves. You will be cleaning a lot.  If you have a daughter, stock up on scented hand soap and lotion.

7.  Yippee... No more diaper bags.  You go shopping for a pretty purse, only to realize it does not hold the mini first aid kit, the sippy cup, the small snack, your wallet etc. So Instead of finding a purse that works like a bag - Find a bag that works like a purse. 

8. Band aids: yes the jumbo packs are a cost saver.. but they are plain old boring band-aids. Character bandaids make the tears go away faster. Invest in them. 

9. Everytime crayons, Playdoh, bubbles go on sale. Stock up. 

10. Empty boxes make the best toys. Stop waisting money on those fancy electronics :) 

Wow, the baby is now in KINDER. YIPPEEE.... 

11.  I am so lucky, my kid loves doing homework and is so excited about school... and this changes to "can I just sleep for 5 more minutes. what's the big deal about getting tardy, it is just a piece of paper," in one month. 

The excitement of going to school and being a big kid wears off as soon as the reality of being big hits them :)

12. Lamaze: you didn't remember it when you were delivering, but now you are an expert. Use those techniques during homework time,  every time you are scrambling to get to school on time and basically through out the day :)

13: Take selfies with your child. You will be reminded of the down hill trend; but 10 years from now, you will be amazed at how good you looked.

The baby is evolving into an mini adult: 

14. "Mom, I am a big kid now, I can do this now." And then when they really need to do it on their own, it's a memory lapse and the skills magically disappear. 

15.  Conversation with a miniature adult is more about listening than talking. I am learning this the hard way. His doctor recently asked me. Does he like sharing with you? I said, well sometimes, when he is that mood.. Brilliant answer right ;). The doctor was brilliant too.. he said, well try to find him in that mood .   Jokes apart.. these little adults need a hearing ear. Just keep listening..

16a.  For moms with sons; sprains and fractures are a moment of pride. They will be big babies in your arms, but outside it is all about "Dude, I heard the bone crack."

Don't return the crutches, the sling or the splint. Hold on to them, you will need them again. 

16b. For moms with daughters; yes the world wants the pinks to be replaced by blues and browns, but if your daughter loves pink and Barbie, it is okay.  Take pride in the fact that your daughter is celebrating her femininity. Nurture this trait and soon you will have a daughter who can twirl a skirt and  shoot hoops with equal ease.   

17.  The older they get the lesser they care about going to "tourist" spots with their parents. It's then about discovering the world. Humans are natural wanderers. Let them satisfy the thirst to discover. Take them to places they haven't seen. Let them see how the world moves without Wifi or how people live with bare minimum. It is these experiences that will help them thrive as adults. 

18. Pick your battles. You will win very few. Pick only those that you know you are going to win. 

19. When something can go wrong, it will. So even though they are older and almost adults, You are still the MOM, so plan and fill in the gaps when you need to.  Murphys's Law.. one of the few things I heard in school that actually hold true. 

20.  Yes, your child will think you are over-protective or even embarrassing. It's hard but try not to care. They will come back.

21. Always, always remember to checkin with your girlfriends. If you have a squabble pick up the phone and say sorry.  

22. There will be blah days and the head-spinning days. There will be days when they will forget to ask if you had dinner or not. No matter what, try hard to not go the self-pity route, you are only hurting yourself. The world will keep moving. 

23. You can listen to your doctor, your mother, your mother-in-law, the other perfect moms, but at the end do what you think is best. You will become a mother only by being one. 

24. There is no such thing as a perfect mother, so stop being so hard on yourself. 

25. On Mother's day your friends will Face book pictures of the amazing breakfast their kids made for them and pampered them.  Don't judge your happiness by theirs. 

If your kids woke up and asked you to make breakfast, did not remember till later in the afternoon that it was Mother's day and then asked you what was for lunch. Smile! It is a luxury to have breakfast in bed, but it is a blessing to be able to get up and make breakfast for these beings that you have nurtured with love and care.  Chances are they like your cooking better than anyone, and so never bothered to learn either :) Soon, they will fly away to find their own nests. Until then pamper them. It is these warm and caring moments that they will come back too. 

Mother's day is not just one day. It happens every day a mother packs lunch for her kids. It happens every day a mother hugs her child. It happens every day a mother makes the wrong go right.

Mother's day is 365 days of the year. It just so happens that we choose to celebrate it once a year.