Dreams…

Dreams do come true…

The day has come…Avy can now tolerate milk baked at high temperatures!!!!

Last Thursday we did our first baked milk challenge and it was a success. One of the most happiest day of my life…of this year which has otherwise been a mess.

Seeing him take his first bite was nerve racking….the fact that he rubbed his eyes immediately..made my heart and hope sink….we wiped it with a wet towel…it became alright (seasonal allergies)…

A small bite every 30 minutes…the first 30 minutes was the worst…the remaining three hours were nothing but joyful and tear- filled…

A gleam of hope has appeared…and I sit dreaming of the day I can take him to the ice cream store and buy him everything that he wants…

I sit dreaming of the day he doesn’t have to be the only kid in class who does not have a cake and has to eat chips instead…

I sit dreaming of the day when I don’t have to dread every time day care calls, hoping it is not because they had a accidental exposure…

I sit dreaming of the day I don’t have to explain to a three year old why he can’t have most of his Halloween candy…

I sit dreaming of the day when my son feels normal…

I dream…

Soy good!

Major Major good news alert!!!!! Avy can now have Soy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are beyond thrilled about it. All of a sudden it has opened up a whole new world for us. Being a Vegan is so much easier than being a person who cannot have both soy and milk.

We tried a little bit last Friday, similar to a food challenge. We had the Benadryl, Epi-pen all ready in case. Over the period of 2 hours he drank a quarter cup milk. We watched with bated breath, no early onset of rashes, which was a great news by itself, and then nothing more also. He slept well, he ate well, he pooped well. So all was good.

Everyday he had a little form of soy, soy milk muffins, soy milks and best of all SOY NUGGETS!!!! I am happy to report as parents we were so happy to see him down the fried soy nuggest!! Tears filled my eye and I could barely see. A big moment.

So tomorrow we are going out for Vegan Pancakes!!! Pancakes are something Avy’s always wants to eat when we go out, but we were never able to get him. Tomorrow we can….

This is Avy at 9 months when we first got him diagnosed, the remnant of a tiny red patch on his left cheek is visible..hmmm….we have come a long way!!!!!

Milestones- Part 1

After all the not so happy posts, I am happy to do two happy posts!

Milestones, slowly but steadily, one after another have been crossed. In order of increasing importance here I present…

We are Potty trained completely… Yaayy!!!!!!Actually this milestone was achieved end of June and has been going good. No accident at home or daycare and dry diapers at nap and nighttime. So we are thinking of removing the diaper safety net and ending all sort of Potty related issues.

We are writing!! As you all can tell by my previous post! He writes ALL the time. He has issues with C, G & S. He does them the opposite way. He knows it is wrong and is working hard on correcting them. We barely interfere as we want him to learn it. Paati did notice him brining the letter G from our fridge magnets and trying to re-create it!!!!

This is him writing Amma, Appa and Lemon Grasss on bottle (thanks to his daddy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are drawing!! His drawing has improved so much. Thanks to Patti, now he writes a letter of the alphabet and draws a word from it. Like A for apple, B for Ball, so on….he can do them all. It is so enchanting to watch. Look below for R for rabbit, and apparently the rabbit is lying down!!

The R and the Rabbit from the R..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest one of them all in the following post…COMEBACK!

Allergen Free Sugar Cookies!

 Hope all of you had a good Valentine’s Day or just a good day if you do not fall for the hype surrounding this day. I personally like it. I don’t expect much but I like the thought of it. This year was special- Yupa donated a dozen blankets, just because I love blankets to Operation smile. I thought that was just so thoughtful and probably one of the best gifts ever!!!

As usual Avy’s daycare had a party yesterday, so weekend was mainly spent on getting things ready for the party; Handmade cards for all his classmates and teachers, cookies and cupcakes. As I was going through the list and writing the names on the cards , Avy wanted to make one for two of his classmates, who have moved up to another class. He remembers!!!! So had to make more than planned. He was also partial towards his ‘best’ friend, filling his card with extra stickers than the rest…Oh how soon they start!!!

Then my favorite part- COOKIES. I had signed up to bring cookies, though I had plans to make them, a sudden unscheduled root canal almost made me pick up a box from Kroger. But I survived pain or not, I wanted to make them from scratch. So with the help of my little helper, I present Milk-Egg-Soy Free absolutely delicious cookies. Enjoy!!

Spread the Love!!

For the cookie dough:

All purpose Flour (I use the organic one): 1.5 cups

Applesauce :  4 ounce pack

Oil (Canola): ¼ cup

Coconut oil: ¼ cup

Sugar: 1.5 cups

Salt: ½ tsp

Baking powder: 1 tsp

Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Nutmeg, Cinnamon (I skipped this as Avy is allergic) and Cardamom: A pinch of each

For the icing:

Confectioner’s sugar: 2 cups

Rice Milk: 4 teaspoons

Agave Nectar: 5 teaspoons

Vanilla extract: ½ tsp

Food coloring-optional

Preparation method:

1)      Mix the sugar, canola oil and coconut oil in a separate bowl. Beat until very smooth, about 6 to 7 minutes. Then add the applesauce and beat for another 2 or 3 minutes.

2)      In a separate bowl mix the rest of the dry ingredients.

3)      Combine the wet and dry and form a smooth dough

4)      Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

5)      After 2 hours take the dough out and knead it well and roll it out on a cookie sheet or piece of foil.  I did this in parts, small balls two or three times, made it easier to roll it out.  Also, I used a chapatti roller (tortilla roller) covered with a plastic wrap, helped it to be non sticky.

6)      Use the desired cookie cutter for the shapes.

7)      Preheat oven to 350 and bake for about 15 minutes. Keep checking often; to make sure it does not char.

Preparation of the icing:

1)      Mix all of the ingredients listed and beat till smooth. If it is too runny, as was my problem, add some flour.

2)      I used a spoon (Avy’s little spoon) to spread the icing, a brush will work too.

3)      Once all are iced, it has to be left overnight or 6-7 hours for icing to harden.

The recipe is sweet enough for adults to enjoy without the icing, for kids they would love the icing. Enjoy!!

Multicultural and all

This week in Avy’s school it is multi cultural week, each day they learn about a different culture, they eat that kind of food, dance to the native songs, make art projects on the said theme. Adorable I say! Two year olds running around learning the differences between their heritages.

So his teacher called me last week and told me she wanted to discuss this week and see what we can do for Avy, food wise. She also wanted to know if I can bring something Indian so they could do it one day. I thought it was mighty sweet of her to call me and workout something for Avy. So here is how it planned out:

Monday; Italian – The kids were having mini pizzas. So I got one of the pizza bases Avy can have and the sauce that the teacher had, was compatible with him, so he got his own pizza too.

Tuesday: Mexican- It was chips and salsa. Well Avy did not go J He stayed home to be pampered by his Paati (Grandmom)

Wednesday: Chinese- the kids were having egg rolls, so with my mom’s helps we made baked spring rolls with all purpose flour and the stuffing was of carrot and cabbage. Yummmy!

Thursday: Africa/India, well they had decided Africa first, but then since I offered to bring Indian, it was added later. So Paati made vadais for all the kids and we sent through some songs for the kids to dance too. I know, I know, Kilimanjaro and Boom Boom from Endhiran are not reflective of my very prestigious heritage, but Avy is TWO. All he knows is to shake his cute little booty to these songs and I want him to share it with his friends J. Of course, the vadai came out yummy and I was told that there was some serious bargaining happening in the morning, as Avy wanted to eat his Vadai at home itself, even before his friends could get their tiny little fingers on them.

Friday: Hawaii, well he will not be going, as he has his physical therapy appointment and his scheduled date with Paati.

So when I think about all the planning and effort that has gone into this week it makes me happy, gives me hope that even if Avy’s allergies never go away, we can manage. We can do our best to re-create or just create something which he can enjoy with his friends without feeling left out. For the first time in a long time I feel like I am in control of his allergies. So I am going to try to enjoy this feeling as long as it lasts.

Spending every evening looking at his face, thinking if those red dots should be there, debating if he need Benadryl for the night or if he can go by without it, worrying about what he touches, rushing to wash his hands when in doubt have become a way of life for us now, and only when someone from the outside comes and looks at it do we realize the magnitude of that. This is about you Paati. I know you heart breaks every time Avy itches or his face turns red and you keep the house freezing cold all day (even when he is not there), in the fear that his face may turn red from the heat, from the dryness and you hold back tears when his face breaks out and my reaction to all that is usually “Yeah, Benadryl koodutha seriya podium (Yeah, Giving Benadryl will fix it”.  Then it dawns on me that it is not the norm for you, and how far we have come (Yupa and me) and that I should be more sensitive to you.

We have learned to accept these occurrences and live our life day by day make decisions one day at a time that is the only way to maintain your sanity when dealing with so many allergies. You should too Paati. Otherwise it wears you down!!!

Experiences like this make you more sensitive to everyone else around you and about everything else around you. I hope my kid learned cultural tolerance in school (well, I think all he learned was, Paati vadai is yummy), and I hope as he grows he will be part of the world where people are sensitive to others limitations and we can learn to appreciate the differences in us.

I guess I put it up for the 'Indian' clothes!!

Tug of Hearts!

From this post we (Mom and Dad) have new nicknames, christened by none other than Yuvi (Avy). He now calls his dad Yupa (Modification on Appa), me Yuma (on Amma) and himself Yuvi. Silly boy came up with silly names!!!

This morning I dropped off my cutey, with a bag full of goodies. It was a happy moment to see all kids shout his name and him running to them, but also a reminder of some hurtful moments these past few weeks. Nothing major, small incidents that just add up and snowballs (yeah, seasonal reference!).

A couple of weeks ago I had a missed a call from Avy’s daycare when I was in a meeting. So I called them back, about an hour after the call. Apparently, the teacher had gotten some fruit gummies for the kids and she was calling me to find out if Avy can have some. I keep my phone with me ALL the time, even when I go to the bathroom, but this day I was destined to miss it.

So when I did return the call it was too late, and Avy had not gotten any. The teacher said he was very upset, but when she offered extra 2 stickers, and his Oreo cookie he became better, I believe. That tore my heart apart.  If alone I would have attended that call, maybe Avy could have had it. I was making it hard on myself by thinking of the sweet little kid standing there wondering why he could not have any, when all of his friends can.

I knew this day was not far away, I knew that as he was growing up the battles will be harder, more hurtful but I was not prepared at all, made me feel worthless as a mom at that moment. I somehow managed to spend the rest of the day at work and rushed home to see the little one. He had forgotten all about it and was happy to show me his stickers. But my heart kept tearing up and I just could not shake it off.

When you become a mom somehow this fierce protectiveness develops in you and sometimes it is good sometimes it is bad. Dads have it too, but not as quite as what the mother’s exhibit.  Ever since this incident mine has been in super hyper mode.

So the next time we went shopping we found gummies he can have, I fed all the gummies he wanted that day. Maybe I was over compensating, but what the hell, I had to do something. Did it make me feel better about the whole thing? Not really. I still ache. I still ache that I cannot do anything about this. I can make and bake everything Avy style but then I cannot erase the thoughts that run through the little one’s mind when he feels left out.

A few weeks before this incident, we had decided that the best way to bring him up is by teaching him about his allergies. So slowly I started to pointing things he cannot have and told him it is because he is allergic, he will get “oova” (hurt) if does have them. One of the items was curd (yogurt).  He seemed to understand.

A few days later, he saw his dad have some curd on his plate and he with his big eyes says “Avy allergy”.

It opened up a tap in me, everything is hurting. Teaching him hurts, not teaching him hurts, seeing him understand the whole thing and be a big man about it hurts, the thought of the battles we have ahead of ourselves, and more importantly he has ahead of himself hurts.

And, we as adults sometimes fail to see the beauty and happiness in small things. When Yupa dropped him off the other day he felt a pang because all other kids got colorful cereals and muffins while Avy was getting the same old cereal every day. Now when he told me this, I was sad sad sad. But then he mentions, Avy was happy and proud eating it. It made me realize, Avy is learning to be happy with what he has got, what right do we as parents have to put our burdens, thoughts and worries on the little one trying to be happy.

That thought helped me a little and I am back to what I believe in; make the best use of what you have been served. Find out ways to make sure you can minimize the instances of hurt, instances of exclusion and when such things occur buck up and move on. So all these thoughts sent me into a baking frenzy this week and we made some changes to help up cope.

I baked banana and blueberry muffins, which shall be sent to his daycare to be part of his breakfast, and also purchased two other cereal types which he can have and hence ensuring variety. A bag of gummy worms were purchased and handed over, in my own way to make up for that day.

More baking ensued, as he has his Christmas party today, and his teacher was nice enough to read out the entire list of what they are having so that I can make substitutes for as much as possible.

So sugar cookies were baked (a separate post coming on this episode with pictures soon), cupcakes were baked, gummy worms, crackers, cookies were bought and that brings us to the beginning of the post, I dropped him off with his own goody bag full of whatever he would possibly need.

As I sit here now thinking, I can manage and make up for anything we know is coming, but in the next few years so many instances are going to crop up where I am taken by surprise, where I cannot be there all the time to prevent things, but what I can do and will always be around to do, is swoop him in my arms when he is hurt, hug him tight and say,

“It is all going to be okay”!!

Ps. I really need to hear that for me today!

Freedom- bittersweet, nevertheless!

Freedom- YES, but so bittersweet it is! Well, when I least expected it, the day arrived- Avy is fully weaned! It is DONE! Been 5 days today, with no tears and all the happiness in the world, he has weaned himself. The following article is the one that kept me going for the last two years and now I am happy to add that it happened the same way with me as talked about here

“I see how it has made me more patient, more centered, able to calm myself. I see the look of deep knowingness in his eye, as if we’ve been walking the planet together for a couple of hundred years. I see how breastfeeding has become part of our rhythm, our rhyme, our understanding of each other. How it has given our relationship a whole other layer of connectedness. And how that connectedness has influenced my parenting choices, how I perceive him, and how he responds to me.”

SO SO TRUE!

So it has taken me 3 whole months to push him in that direction and to do it with no tears at all. I am very satisfied and happy that I was able to provide him for the past 2 years. Funny thing is the last part was done all by him. He refused it one fine day and never asked again or talked about it. Guess he DID become a big boy when he turned 2, and the biggest chapter in my life has come to an end. He is sleeping longer and better.

I was very very happy the first day, I guess mainly because it was done with no tears, no fighting. Also because I was FREE!! For the first time I slept all night without being a feeding box :). But then, as the days are going by I am feeling sad. The BIGGEST chapter in my life is over. We have been attached for the past 2 years and 9 months (pregnancy included) and now it is over.

The dark thoughts are back- Will he need me anymore, Will we be close anymore, Will I be able to let go, Will I be able to pacify him, Will he have more meltdowns? I am working through them; one at a time, every time he needs me now, makes me feel special. These thought may appear silly to some, but then they are not in my shoes!

But to add to the mix, to use Ajit’s words, it has been a double whammy. This weaning means I could start having milk and all other foods I have been avoiding the past year and half. This thought racks me up with way more guilt.

I feel like I am leaving my baby behind and having nice things. I feel so guilty to pop anything in my mouth that he cannot have. Maybe I have to leave this feeling of being a martyr. With my health, I NEED to fix my diet. Who knows how much my calcium and other nutrients have depleted over the year. I saw to it that he took his supplements but kind of ignored me. It is high time I fix myself too; he needs his mommy happy and strong.

So with the depression of weaning him, my health related sadness, and this over-bearing feeling of guilt, I have been a mess the last 2 days. Finally a ray of light yesterday, when Ajit said, what I think so far, has been the most convincing argument on why I should not feel the way I do. I told Ajit yesterday, on our regular phone conversation that we have every day on my drive back from work, that I feel guilty eating the nice things without Avy. Ajit replied, “But Avy does not know it is nice, to him it is just something he cannot have, just like spicy food”.

See that struck a chord, I do NOT give him spicy food, and I love eating spicy food, I have been eating it all along. I guess milk, egg etc are just like that. Just something he cannot have, and Ajit gently reminded me that I try my best to replicate everything for him and that would not change. So thankful to have married the ‘logical’ guy, times like this, makes me thank my stars! I sometimes overthink, analyze and complicate things, sometimes it is easy taking the logical way out!

Since the weaning, Ajit has been giving Avy a bath and putting him to sleep, though yesterday, Avy screamed for me. For a minute I got worried that he would want to feed, but then, no, he wanted me for me. I told him stories and we fell asleep hugging, and all I know is we woke up again at 4am only, and fell back to sleep in 5 minutes. Am building a new bond, a new phase to my parenting and a new relationship with the little one.

So as I am writing this now, I am in the lowest of moods- the weaning, the guilt, the tiredness everything together is making for a sucky frame of mind and I am happy I can at least write. I have been trying everything in my power to make me feel better, walking during lunch, eating healthy, playing with Avy, but sometimes the body and mind just take over. So hoping to be in better spirits soon, hopefully a restful weekend, can give me that!

Letter to my son!

Dear Avyukt,

Wish you many many more happy returns of the day, my dear son! Son- what a Pandora of emotions that single word bring about in the mind, as I am writing this letter to you today, on your birthday. It has been the most wonderful, the most fulfilling, the hardest, the wackiest, the most joyful, the most painful, the most eye-opening, and the best two years of my life. In spite of sounding clichéd today is not only your second birthday about also two years since I have embarked on this life fulfilling journey.

A little flashback- See when I was pregnant I was convinced that I was carrying a girl. But in that ultra sound room when they told me that I had a tiny little man growing inside of me, it suddenly dawned upon me, the possibility of sharing one of the most precious bond in this world that of the mother and son, and that my son has been reinforced again and again each day in the last two years.

Deciding your name was such a pleasure. I made lists and lists and lists, and finally decided on this name only about 10 days before you were born, guess when I found the name I knew it was it. You are so much an Avyukt, an Avy. J. It helps now that it is the easiest name to roll on the tongues of all your little playmates, and when their mom’s tell me that their kids keeping calling your name at home, I have no idea why, but I do feel a little proud.

You when born were obviously attached to me for the best knows reasons- food and sleep.  But then the good part of the first 1.5 years of your life you were such a Daddy’s boy. You were the best source of inspiration, happiness, and light at the end of the tunnel in an otherwise hard situation in our lives. You can make that big man into a puddle with your slightest smile. You would always go to him first, you would want him to carry you around, and refuse to come to me also during that time. He made you laugh the most, capable of doing the silliest things, and it made you adore him more.  Your face would light up at the mention of his name, or appa. He taught you the letters of the alphabets, Tamil syllables, slokas, and rhymes- all on the car ride to and from your day care. You still wield an iron hand over him. That man, can never say no to you. A diaper change that takes 5 minutes with me would take 15 with him, a bath would take twice as much to0 (yesterday you were dabbing his hair with water as he was giving you a bath)- more fun!!!  You know how to smile, how to ask to get what you want. I come a very distant second to you, and it has never made me happier.

Before I tell you what you did to me and how we celebrated your second birthday, I want to tell you on what kind of kid you are. I would like to document forever on the joy that you are. You are such a sweet natured, happy and affectionate kid. Even when I was pregnant, every time doctor heard your sound they would say “Such a happy baby”. They probably said that to ALL pregnant moms, but in your case it is soo true. You are such a happy baby. When you were small and woke up in your crib, you would never cry, you would just whimper, and it made me wish on many days that you would cry loudly so that I can attend to you better.

You are a sucker for being clean and organized. You, even yesterday, told me to “wash the daep” (wash the grapes) before I gave it to you. You would take a wipe, and wipe everything in sight, including your tummy. You like putting your toys away, when asked. You keep your face, like the whole world just got away, if a single part of your alphabet puzzle is missing.

You love your routine, though you adjust pretty good with any changes, you are the happiest being at home with your routine intact, I think you have taken after me on this one. Even while I was pregnant, you would stop kicking by 10.00pm and would start up again 6.00am. You still kind of like that :). You go to bed on most days by 8.30 and wake up at 6.30. You like to eat, sleep at prescribed times, and that helps us a LOT!

Affectionate is the perfect term for you. You get upset at the slightest indication that anyone else is upset. You cannot see me have a sad face at all, it shatters your world. When a friend of ours, got a dump truck for you to play with, and it went and hit against your stuffed dog- Barclay- you got shocked. You went and hugged, and kissed Barclay’s boo boo away.  Even now when you fall, and we ask you to hit the floor in jest, you feel bad to do it and often times end up saying sorry to the floor.

You love cuddling, hugging. Now-a-days I see a little resistance creeping up, I wish you stay cuddly longer. What else is a mother to do?

You are such a shy person sweety. I think your stranger anxiety started really early. Initially, I really believed it to be a phase, but now I know it is your personality. You are exactly how your dad and I are.  Kind of reserved and shy with new people. But once you get to know them, you are so affectionate to them too. You always make it a point to share everything. Even if it is your favorite thing, you make it a point to give some to everyone in the house. I love this about you. But you just refuse to share your ball with next door kid Eddie, what is up with that????

I have been worried about you being this soft, shy person. I was worried about you being bullied as you grew up and worried if you would stand up for yourself, and in the last 3 weeks alone you have alleviated all my fears. The India trip has shown a different side of you. When kids bothered you time and time again, and coming to me and dad did not help, you stood up for yourself, held them by their shirts and took your toy back. Though I do no encourage fighting, was nice to see you stand up for yourself. But I would like to cut back on it and not take it out on poor innocent girls trying to hug you. DO NOT pull their hair out, like you did over the weekend with poor Tara.  I am happy that you did tell you’re sorry but I warn you, leave little girls alone!

Then, what else- yeah you are smart! You knew all your letters but the time you were 20 months, you can count till 20, know all your colors, know many many rhymes. Now you are becoming a puzzle monster and I love how to try and learn. Those kept you busy in the total 30 hour journey back from India.

Rhymes- OLD MACDONALD!! Your year two is not complete without writing about this song! This is the biggest influence in your life. You enjoying watching all different versions on youtube. It was restricted to the computer, but ever since your dad has shown it can be played on the TV, you coyly ask ‘Tv EIO?”. You LOVE animals, your face lights up the minute any animal or bird comes on the tv, or you see one in a book or magazine. I can keep you occupied for hours with books about animals and ever since your Venki Thatha got you those new books, you now know some exotic animals too.

I see your dad in you.  The inquisitive nature, the nature to find out what everything is. I am happy that your dad is there to take care of that, I am not sure I can keep up. I can hardly remember the stuff I have too.

In case you do not remember, you had a great party for your second birthday- Sesame Street themed, with the biggest Elmo. A Special thanks to Ram, Poornema, Tarun and Tara for making it so much more special. Our Daily Bread baked your delicious cake- Avy friendly version. It made me well up in tears that you could have this party, cut the same cake everyone could have. A year ago I thought it was not possible. You had fun, but more concerned about saving your Elmo from prying hands. Lovely friends visited up and got you special gifts. Thanks to everyone who came and made it such a special occasion.

Tara’s visit brings up yet another side of you. You spent all weekend pulling her hair when she was just trying to hug you, and yet yesterday evening before they left you were so sad. By the way, we were having fun kissing across the deck screen just for fun, and you kissed your Grandma first, then your dad, then me, and you called out for Tara and kissed her cheek, but then you wanted to get rid of the screen and kiss her, while she ran away, this made you very upset. Welcome to the real world, my son! You do not pull the hair of the girls you like!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So over the next year practice your skills to be a nicer boy :p 🙂

One other major thing this past year in your life the large presence of your grandparents. With someone or the other being here for the last six months have made you even more cheerful, healthy and happy.  In turn they adore you like you are the most intelligent kid on this earth. Now only, Rajee Patti is here and boy how much are you attached.  You LOVE her paruppu sadam, every time you see her, you ask “patti mamum”, no matter what time of the day it is. I am so scared to try and fill her shoes in two weeks.  You missed her so much after India trip that you went to her at 4am to sleep, when normally you would never leave my side. She has now opened up the world to story-telling for you, and it made me come up with random stories at 1am to get you to sleep (Did you all know that the crow also took part on the Hare and Tortoise race- that’s how groggy I was last night ). Thanks Patti!!!

Now to what you have done to me- You have made me whole. You made me realize my fullest potential. You motivate me, make me happy, and make to do unimaginable things. But for you, I do not think I would do as much as I do now, with my health being what it is. When people tell me, I cannot imagine how you do all this with your health, I just think of you. Yes, you have me wrapped around your little finger too, not just your dad. But I know your every cell, I know how you manipulate for anything. In spite of all that I cannot refuse your “Amma, Kokki” smile. A sucker for a cutey smile, is all I am.

 You are such a Mama’s boy now. You refuse to leave my side all the time. Though it is flattering it is hard sometimes. I do want you to feel safe with everyone. I love your face lighting up every time you see me, I love you waving good night to me, when I settle down for my afternoon nap, I love the care in your face when you tell your dad “Amma oova”, I love you supervising me when I go to take my medicine in the morning- like your checking on me and asking me “Amma, Mannu?”, I love how you take your medicines without troubling me a single bit, I love how you listen to me for anything- even while sitting on my lap to eat at the Indian functions and not touch anything, even though it was tempting, just because I said it was too hot, or it was only for older people, I love you smile, I love you bunny teeth laughter and everything about you sweety.

If there is one word anyone who sees you even for a little bit tells me is that you are chamathu (a good boy). But now I see the naughtiness creeping and I am gearing for what they call the terrible Twos. Are you ready for the ride my monster man?

Love,

Amma

P.S things for you to work on for next year: LOL

– do not pull kids hair when they try to hug you

– do not turn off the TV – please please

– do not take your dad’s side and tease me (actually do it is cute)

-do not refuse mommy kisses, I already miss them

-BE THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

World Breastfeeding Week

Disclaimer: I want to apologize to all those moms out there who CANNOT breastfeed. This is just my attempt in convincing those mothers who can, but who don’t. I am truly sorry.

As I am surfing through various Blogs I came across many posts supporting the World Breastfeeding Awareness week.  Go here to learn more about that. I so immediately wanted to do a post. This is one of THE most special experiences for me and the closest cause to my heart. I have had so many ups and downs in this process, so many days I wanted to quit, but I am happy I struck through and here is my 2 cents on this topic.

Lets us first start with the why’s and how long. How long- it depends, some people say first six months, some people say first two years. Here is what the WHO recommends. I say at least first six months and how much ever longer you can. Lets us get to the why- well because it is the BEST. There is no close substitute at all. But here are my top 10 reasons:

1) Packed with the much needed antibodies that your child would need for life. Breastfed babies have lower instances of sickness. Their immune systems get better with breast milk.

2) Breastfed babies have higher IQ’s.

3) It is good for the mother too- helps in post-baby weight reduction, helps shrink the uterus.

4) Breastfeeding makes you toddler calm, well cared for, makes tantrums easily controllable. Research shows more long term emotional benefits.

5) One shot way of making sure your baby’s diet is balanced- Breast milk has the exact right combination of protein, carbs and fat your baby needs. Breast milk changes consistency based on what your baby needs.

6) For us lazy ones- convenience. It is the ultimate best thing. I mean no packing separate bottles, water etc. Easiest way to control a crying, uncontrollable baby.

7) Sometimes the only thing the child can tolerate while sick. Gives the child the best boost he/she would need to keep away the infections.

8) The best thing I like about breast feeding is that it is not all or nothing. Do as much as you can. Even one or two feeds a day would give your child the benefit. I am a full time working mom, and I can tell you that one or two times a day is hardly difficult.

9) More sleep for the mom and the dad too. The biggest battle after childbirth is sleep deprivation for the entire family. Breast milk is like a natural tranquilizer both for the mom and the baby. Easier bed times, better routines. Even dad gets to reap the benefits of a well rested mom and child.

10) Finally, the bonding experience. I cannot say enough on how darn special it is to share those precious few moments with just you and your child and nothing else around. I remember fondly those early am feeds when we can hear the silence and I can see the smile on Avy’s face and the sigh of satisfaction that comes from him is priceless.

I know that not all working moms can pump at work and make sure they provide ONLY breast milk. I am not an advocate for moms to quit working and be home so that they can feed their kids. I did not do that and I will not suggest that too. I was lucky to have an employer who understood. With the new laws in the US, large companies would soon HAVE to give a designated space and time for moms to pump. I suggest that all moms try. It is HARD. Believe me I did for a year, but it is worth it.

And if you cannot pump at work, it is okay, try and make up for those feeds at home. As I said it is not all or nothing. Every little drop counts. These two years I have had moments where I have felt that my whole life has been taken over by that little monster in diapers, and then I realize that for that cute little monster I am the world, all he needs is from me, and I am THE only one who can give him, the BEST thing he need.

As I am writing this, we are in the final stages of weaning with no crying J. I miss him already. He misses me. He hugs me fondly and we talk about it. Soon he will forget it all.

But I won’t, it will be etched in my memory forever.

Baked goodness…

I think this is going to be my favorite recipe, so simple yet so YUMMMMMM!!. So drum roll….please….introducing the soopertastic BAKED SAMOSAS’!!!

Here is the story behind this, I am an avid watcher of the Tv show , The Next Food Network Star. This season there is an Indian among them by the name Aarti. So it makes it even more special because I can relate to the flavors and spice combinations she comes up with. Anyway she has her own blog and I loved browsing through its history to find this http://www.aartipaarti.com/2009/11/04/aarti-paarti-ep-30-baked-samosas/.

Been meaning to try this out for a while, last Sunday was perfect. I felt like having some chaat, so I made Channa-Samosa but with the baked samosa and it was a great hit. I also made the filling different from hers, and used more veggies, potato, cauliflower, green beans and carrots. So here it goes:

For the channa: https://avymom.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/the-batura-weekend/. You could skip the whole grinding part and just  saute the items and leave it like a chunky channa, that is what I did this time.

Now for the samosas, you need to prepare the dough first.

You will need;

All-purpose flour (Maida)- 2 cups. Now next time I am thinking of adding some whole wheat flour or quinoa or spelt to make it more nutritious.

Oil- 1/4 cup

Water- As required, I would say about 1/2-3-4 cup.

Ajwain seeds- 1 Tsp

Salt- 1/2 tsp

Now add everything and keep kneading the dough.I skipped the buttermilk ,of course, that she uses! obviously the longer you knead the fluffier it will be. Then let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.

For the filling:

Potatoes- 2 medium, boiled and peeled.

Cauliflower- about 20 florets

Beans- about 5

Carrot 1, chopped into small pieces

Onion- 1 finely chopped

Garlic- 2 cloves

Green chilli- 2 numbers

Cilantro- a handful chopped

Salt- To taste

Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp

Coriander powder, cumin powder- 3/4 tsp each

A little bit of caradmon, cloves and 1 bay leaf.

Oil-2 Tbsp

Here is how:

-Put the cauliflower, beans and carrots in a microwave container and pop it in the microwave for about 7 minutes, till they become tender, but not too squishy

– Add oil in the skillet and let it heat up, now add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf. Let is saute for about 2 minutes.

– Now add the garlic and green chilli and about a minute later add the onions. Let is all nicely brown. Now add the potato and other vegetables.

– After a minute, add the remaining spices-salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and mix well. It should all come together like a mass, if not just press them with your spoon.

– Finally add the cilantro right on top and mix everything well.

So back to the dough. I did it exactly how it is on her video for the actual making of the samosas and baking part.

Once the samosas were ready, I added a little store bought tamarind and mint sauce and a little bit of chaat masala to each plate before serving!

So enjoy…

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