Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Melting Pot

Every time I attempt to update my CV, it feels like my whole life flashes in front of my eyes and my mind is in a flurry to make sense of who I am. Why did I choose to work in x and y at z point of time? Why did I not do x,y, or z at this job? Is that all I have done? And the reverse also happens, vow that is a lot I done:)

My 12 years of experience have made me a sort of jack in all trades. This time, unlike before,  answers to two questions: what do I love doing and what am I great at were not that different. So this time, when I re-started the consulting journey, I thought it would be easy enough for me to know not only know what I want to do but also tell people with ease what I do. Even within the basket of what I wanted to do, I was still sounding confused, dispassionate. "So what do you?", "Consulting, in what field, on what issues?", "Organisational change...what does that mean?" For once, I wished that I was someone who was good at just one thing and did just one thing and that is what I could say!

On advice of friends, I started listing down what specific things that I do. As I was doing this, I also ended up writing two things, how I like to do them and why I thought doing that was important! And it just fell together, like that. These pages became a melting pot of all the different ingredients that have gone into making the current me! I also owe it to Vibha from Genuine Contact Space, whose workshop on "Whole Person Process Facilitation" made me reflect on myself as a "whole" facilitator (my filters, my internal balance, my beliefs) which I realised had a lot to do with the "how" and "why" of my work.

The best outcome of this redrafting, was articulating my engagement philosophy. These were things usually on the back of my mind or questions that I would raise while engaging on any new work area, which came down to two key things:

  • Learning from systematic and participatory inquiry: it is refreshing for organisations to occasionally stop and ask themselves and others the bigger questions (how are we doing?, where do we/ you see us in future?, how do we know we are successful? what are we doing great?, what else can we do better?). The resulting reflections converted into commitments followed up with focus build robust and trustful relationships internally and externally and also act as a self-directed beacon to guide the organisation in its roller coaster of a journey. 
  • Alignment of purpose, projects, people, process and structure: if all these elements are in sync with each other, then the organisation will be in harmony internally and externally. Sometimes organisations review the overall vision and mission but not the program goals, all things are reviewed but a sense of understanding and ownership is not created across the organisation, the program goals are clarified internally without knowing the perception of the intended target groups. The greater the alignment, the greater the sense of balance within the organisation and that encourages all to talk in as similar a language of doing and thinking as possible. (thanks to the Organisational Change Facilitation program for introducing me to the organisational 5 Balloon model)

And the engagements I really enjoy (more details in the note, can share with ones who are interested):

  • Organisational strategy review and planning
  • Program/ project review and planning 
  • Process facilitation for issue-based dialogue within organisations and with others 
  • Facilitation training for organising effective, efficient and engaging meetings, workshops within organisations and with others  
  • Individual and team engagement

It is still not a short list, but that is one part of me now that I have come to accept! Short is not necessary better, nor fun:p

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ayan Adventures Part III: The World Here I Come!

The last two months have been quite exciting indeed. I now have much more control over my arms, fingers and thumb, with the effect that I can not just grasp but also pick up things, move things from one hand to another, and my favourite pastime…the TASTE test! I am so flexible now that I can even put my toe in my mouthJ And I can role from tummy to back and vice versa. Hold on Mom Dad I am not going to be a gymnist :P 

I need some help to sit up, but once I am up, I can manage to be up for upto 15-20 minutes. I am trying to learn how to balance myself so I need to be surrounded by some pillows, so cushy and comfy! The world looks so different now. I can see other people eye to eye and play with all sorts of toys.

When I wake up in the mornings I love going to the balcony and watching all sorts of vehicles from a bicycle, motor bike, cars, trucks, airplanes (yes I can hear that far, surprised huh?).

I love classical the most as that was played in my cot mobile. Now when I wake up in the morning and my folks are still sleeping, I just lay in my cot and play by myself. The other day I was just shaking my arms and voila, the music started playing! My mom was so surprised she got up and shut the music with the fond hope that I will go back to sleep. Sorry momL I gave it one more shot and I did it AGAIN! Vow what a great feeling!

Mom started her work on 1 May, but she goes only half day. Rajjo didi and Nani are great fun and so she is back before I know it! Sometimes Pa also plays with me in the mornings and goes to office late. Does he really have to go to officeL My mom leaves milk for me and since we jointly gave up the bottle during my nursing strikes, I started drinking from a spoon and just last month I graduated to a silver glass. Not the training sippy cup for those baby babies who do not know what to do! A proper silver glass! And it was a special gift from my Vijay Dada, oh what foresight he had:) I am way ahead of my timeJ I am still figuring out how to drink more and drip less but I think its really nice that I am being given the space and chance to learn by trial and error!

I had many visitors as well. My lovely Moni Masi and Mimi didi came back to visit me and I could hear them from a mile away! Playing with Mimi I realized how much I enjoy looking at similar sized humans. Another favourite visitor was my Cris uncle. He is the only one who played fondly with my toes again and again and again! My toes miss the tickling Cris Uncle, come back and tickle them.J 

Two big days came. On mothers day, my Pa changed my poopy diaper for the first time, got my mom lovely flowers, a HUGE card and also took colour impressions of my feet on the front door (a bit annoying for me PaL) On fathers day, my mom got my Pa a magical mug with a lovely photo of Pa and me. Now every time Pa has tea/ coffee I magically appear in front of him. I finally have gotten lovely high chair and I cannot wait for my culinary exploration to start. Thanks Rohi Masi:) 

I complete six months on 6 July and to celebrate all of us go to the hills to beat the Delhi heat. My first train ride, yippee!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ayan Adventures Part II: Discovery and Exploration

The second two months of my life had ups and downs. I slowly begin to realise that this is life!

Playtime became more and more fun. There are many more things to see  other than the ceiling and the fan and my cot mobile!!!! I discovered the fun tunnel gym which my Jyot Kaki sent. I could see myself in a mirror (at first I thought that was another baby, and then I realised, hey that's just me, someday I would have to understand how that works!), kick this cool ball and shake different types of rattles. My cool swing was fun too, at first I was baffled at how it could move on its own! Thanks Rohi and Nidhi Masi for your thinking and foresight and getting this swing three years ahead of my time:) The wonderful thing called motor and batteries! It makes many more things move in this world, apparently! The best was how I scared shankar mama with artificial cries and poo poo:P

I finally started going somewhere besides the hospital! I started with the park in my pram. How nice to be pushed around:) There are so many many many colours, shapes, moving things, non moving things out there! So many types of trees, plants and flowers. The flying birds, the barking dogs, the running squirrel! So many of those noisy moving things that carry people that competed with my road to the park! Terrace time was fun too. Things looked so different from that angle. It was also refreshing to see humans of sizes closer to mine though I did not like them so much at first.

My first trip to my Dad's office was not so fun. My mom took me at a bad time, I was hungry and sleepy and all the people at the office just surrounded me as if I was E.T.! Sorry Pa do not take it personally. I will come back soon with a better mood! The same way the first trip to my Rohi Masi house in Gurgaon. The car was burning hot and it was too short a time for me to get comfortable. I redeemed myself on the second trip though!

I developed a bit more control of my body. I was able to move my hands and feet VOLUNTARILY! I loved eating my forefinger. As my tummy time increased, I was able to push myself forward slowly. Oh that first time took some effort and my folks just kept fumbling with the camera! Hmmph!

I must discover what is this mysterious "M" on my clothes! I have all these jerseys talking about these "ball"games with this "M"! My Jyot Kaki has a cool taste in clothes and I think she will be in charge of my future wardrobe! 

I also was able to get some sounds out of my mouth (not just my ass!). I tried to vary it a lot to make people understand what I wanted, but alas, utter confusion. I was fed when I wanted  sleep, I was made to sleep when I wanted a change of scenery, I was given a new toy when I wanted to eat! Oh so frustrating it was! But now slowly they are getting a hang of it.

I met many many more people. My pinky masi, gaurav masa and prnu bhai came to meet me all the way from Aussieland, which is really really far away! My Dilip Nana and Geeta Nani also came to play with me. Dilip Nana's staring at the moving hanky was a fun new game for me and it improved my concentration:) My sweet sweetu mass made a special stop in Delhi, I was so happy that I was on my best behavior:P

This was a difficult time for me and my mom. Somehow it was hard for me to take her milk directly. I was on a nursing strike! I started getting her milk in a bottle, which was much easier and faster so I naturally liked it better. But turns out I get my stubbornness from her! Slowly and slowly we somehow managed to work it through. The bottle was switched by a silver spoon. Fancy, huh! I cooperated:) It was also the time she had to decide about going back to work, so I understand why she was stressed. MOM, you need to RELAX! Things work out in the end, trust me! And they did thanks to her cool boss:p I must thank him some day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ayan Adventures Part 1: Entry and Orientation

Hello, I am Ayan! On the occasion of my half year birthday, I thought maybe it is a good moment to capture my life's story so far.

I was born in Delhi, the city of extreme weathers. From the thunder and rain on the day of my arrival to the chilly winter winds and now the sweltering summer. My mom's belly was very consistent weather wise, so getting used to this will take some time:) Fortunately for me, my nana chose the best possible place for me to be born and aside from my mom's deafening screams it was a great welcome in the world. From my happy doctor to friendly nurses who cuddled and cleaned me up to the yummy first milk I got to eat (they must have fed my mom really well!). My pa held a small baby like me for the first time but it sure did not feel that way! My loud moni masi is also hard to forget. She was there in my early days and i crown her the unbeatable burping queen! She knew just when to pick me up and make me feel better:) Rohi masi rushed all the way from gurgaon and I remember her wide grin and her super white teeth:) I even got a little taste of formula milk, not bad, but no comparison to the natural source:)

After three mostly sleepy days, I came home to my nana nani's house. It felt really cold at first and it must have been really really big because even though I rarely left the house, it felt like I was taken for long walks of many micro miles! Sandip Kaka also came to visit me but everytime he came to play with me I was in my dreamland!

There are so many things I liked there: the variety of sounds I heard sometimes soothing, sometimes rocking, sometimes with music in the background, sometimes just melodic voices, some sounded very familiar too! (I guess my mom used to play the same sounds when I was inside.); the lovely car trips in the sun where I would be basking almost in the nude; the morning playtime with my nani; my daily massage and bath ritual with all sorts of liquids; the rhythmic back patting on the pillow to help me sleep. I remember the first time I was able to see and hear my cot mobile, oh, how it moved, its novelty has still not worn off:p; my Pa telling me about his day at his exciting office!

I have heard that babies my age pretty much eat, poop and sleep for the first few months. Well of course I did the eating and pooping but I cannot understand how one can sleep when there is so much to see, hear, do and feel! But it is not all that good, let me tell you. Firstly what is with all the people and the weird faces they make when they see me? I had little control with any part of my body, well except my mouth! Even there, a smile will sneak out when I would least want to and hold behold the adult holding me would have a proud moment mistakenly patting their back for their excellent baby playing skills! Guys, don't you know that its just a REFLEX!! Hmmm.what to do. Apparently all rational goes out of their heads the moment they see a bundle like me. 

Lying on your back can be quite boring especially when you are wrapped up in hundreds of layers. Did you not listen when the doctor said, only ONE more layer more that you?? Thankfully the layers came off as the temperature went up! In the poop department, luckily for others I would make a big announcement at the time of incoming, so I would be promptly placed down and allowed to do my big job in peace. Thank you:)

I loved being held and carried of course, but there were times that I wanted to just by myself. I think I have got this from my Pa. Rajjo didi gently reminded everyone of my right to be left alone once in a while. A right I fully exploited as my awesome muscles now show:) And after a round of exercise, a scrumptious meal would be ready and waiting for me.

One area where I kept everyone on edge was my erratic sleep! Now I understand the value of a good night's sleep. But at that time, my system was just not designed to sleep the same way every night. I would wake up, sometimes because I was too hot, sometimes I was too cold, sometimes I was hungry, sometimes I had pooped, sometimes I was JUST NOT SLEEPY! Though they would tried to keep me company there were times they just left me by myself. My pa would patiently carry me to sleep for hours in the middle of the night while my mom caught up on her sleep. Slowly I soon realised night time was quite boring and now I mostly sleep through it. A good strategy indeed!

There was one more voice I remember very well. Not just because it was so sweet and soothing, but because soon after I heard that voice, my mom would be in her best mood EVER! And that meant that I got good milk, so in my own self interest, I would go off to sleep whenever that lovely voice came over! Turns out, it was HER massage time!

I was too small to hold so my nana who took me in his sturdy steady arms much later. It was worth the wait! Now he holds me comfortably and swooshes me in the air as I push down on his stomach:)

As we all prepared to live for my own home towards my second month, I achieved a major milestone, I magically turned! My nani and mom almost screamed in wonder and luckily captured this historic moment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New mom essentials

Tv channels with sub titles (so you can catch up on all favourite shows without disturbing the baby)

Smart phone with headphones (so you can catch up on news, movie releases, listen to interesting talks, your personal email, fb + listen to radio + remember imp dates + do your banking + online shopping + plan holidays + lots of baby apps to make you feel less guilty :) Feeding time adds up to about four hours in twenty four. Unless you have innate ability to be in a state of relaxed sleep (enough to feel rested but not deep enough that you dose off and wake up surprised to see a bundle in your arms) which I never did, such devices are a super blessing.

Older window ac loud enough to drown out outside noises (dogs, vehicles, fruit wallah) or inside noises like your partners snoring:p

Cute paediatrician that makes you look forward to the routine doc visits

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some reflections

Ayan will be six months in a couple of weeks! How time just flew! It seems that I had just found out I was pregnant, that I had just gotten admitted to the hospital and that he had just come into the world at the bellowing of the thunder and rain.

First things first! I managed a natural birth WITHOUT an epidural! Those who know me know what a low threshhold of pain I have. So ladies, if I can do it, ANYONE can! Of course, I could have punched my doctor to continue to poke me even after Ayan was born and it is ironic how someone telling you to breathe can make you want to kill yourself:P I remember asking the doctors where my pain relief was and they kept stalling. The funniest was Parth asking me, "should I ask them to do an operation?" In hindsight I am happy that I did not take it, it just exponentially increases your desperation in pushing the baby out!

Here is what else helped: some months of yoga, knowing what is happening to me, constant supply of glucose water, soothing music in the background, discussing some work problem to solve and the BEST, a calm birth partner who would not leave your side even to pee or your hand to wipe his bucket of sweat off!

Looking back at these months and having read ooldes of literature on babies, we realise now there were so many different type of choices to think about. My sister's one liner on parenting: life onwards with a baby will be about making choices and decisions as small as picking a sweater to deciding what school to send them to..and you can never shake of that feeling of uncertainty and confusion on whether you made the right choice! While some we had thought about and were clear about what to do, others we came to along the way...
  • to use a bottle for feeding or a spoon or a cup: I never really gave this a second thought, just assumed bottles it was. But it took Ayan's repeated rejection of my milk for a few weeks for course correction! The literature I read also said that the muscle development and oral hygiene also trump the decision against the bottle. Now he happily takes milk with a spoon and we do not have to worry about kicking the habit of the bottle.
  • to use formula or my milk: Ayan took formula maybe 3 times till now. The first time was at the hospital when he just would not stop crying even after I kept feeding him! Later it was when I was sick and the third I had to go to a wedding and I could not express milk just before I left! But I decided later that I would stock up atleast one expressed feed in the fridge for emergencies and no more formula. Aim is to feed Ayan my milk as long as it works for both of us.
  • to use nappies or diapers: Given he was a winter baby, diapers it was! But I also bought as assortment of cloth nappies and from about April onwards we tried using different things at different times. My nanny is already trying to get him to pee in the basin atleast few times a day! (warning: initial use of diapers did make us become a bit lazy to start cloth nappies..the assurance of no wetness was bliss!)
  • should Ayan sleep with us or in the cot: we had decided that Ayan would sleep in the cot from the beginning because we wanted to have him get used to sleeping on his own (the "real" reason: we were too scared that we would crush him should he sleep with us) 
  • carry the baby in our hand or wear a sling: I read about attachment parenting much later and it was interesting to read how "babywearing" had become a fad in the West after they had observed how Eastern babies were raised so naturally while being "worn" with their mother! At the same time, we let Ayan play a lot on his own from day 1, so he loves to stretch and flail his arms and legs!
  • feed on demand or on a schedule: We let Ayan lead the way here..initially he would feed often and even now its not always every three hours..but he has standardized at 6-7 feeds in 24 hours
  • use a pacifier or continue comfort sucking: Oh how close I came to giving him a pacifier! Some of the literature I read praised its use and said it was no so bad given you used it in a certain way! But in the end, we managed without.
  • sleep train the baby or allow the rational sleeping pattern to emerge spontaneously: some parents begin sleep training at a few weeks while it is recommended to start at about 4 months. The most interesting thing I discovered in my research: the no of professional sleep consultants in US:p
  • etc.....
We don't know whether we made the right choices yet, but the good news is that even with wrong choices, like with the bottle, baby's habits can be changed! And across the board this was the bottomline: babies are babies only for a year. Love them, snuggle them, hold them as much as you and they like. Key takeaway for me from the research: the best I could do for Ayan is to understand his temperament, his needs and behaviour and and respond to him accordingly. The rest would be ok! 

Friday, December 30, 2011


Observing babies can tell a lot about our own evolution, says Desmond Morris in his fascinating book, Babywatching. How babies behave also shed light on how we behave and communicate as adults. Morris does an excellent job of digging out behavioral research studies, roots of our common traditions, and links many of our instinctual acts to our former avtars-primates!

The book attempts to answer specific questions from how do babies enter the world, why do they cry at birth, what makes them smile, how well can a mother recognise her own baby, do men and women react to babies in the same way etc etc? I share some of most interesting answers. Some answers seem too incredible to directly attribute the effect to that cause, but he does make a rational argument!

Babies cry at birth because we have significantly altered the way they have historically entered the world. From being born at home surrounded by family, in a vertical position and cuddled immediately by the mother, babies now are delivered in a brightly lit, noisely hospital surrounded by strangers, in a horizontal position and taken away to be cleaned and checked. His point is that a lot can be done in the hospital itself to make the birth a comforting and loving process, like making baby rest on mother's stomach for a while, bonding with the father, reducing the clitter clatter noises and slowing down as far as possible the post birth procedures.

How strong are new born babies? Well, in first few weeks of birth, they can clasp your finger and carry their whole body weight this way. Monkey babies had to possess this skill if they did not want to fall off their mother's fur while she leapt and swung from tree to tree. Similar to this a baby reacts to a loss of balance by its legs and arms clasping empty air, again a instinct in monkeys when they would do so to catch a branch to stop their fall.

He quotes many studies for some of these questions. An interesting one was where after 48 hours from birth, 12 out of 23 mothers were able to identify their own baby's cries out of a selection of no fewer than 31 different babies! Or studies where there is no artifical separation between mother and her baby following delivery, after only 45 hours, the newborn can tell its own mother purely by her body fragrance!

Another study showed how men and women react differently to babies by observing if their pupils enlarged or shrunk on looking at babies (a positive emotional response vs a negative one respectively). Females whether or not they had own children, all reacted positively with enlarged pupils. Only those males, on the other hand, who had children of their own, reacted positively. Males without children had a strong negative response! This is not to say that they would make bad parents, but basically that women have an instinctive positive reaction for babies and for men that comes from external experience.

Why do women usually cradle babies in their left hand? Morris suggests that this is because the heart beats on left side, thuse comforting the baby with a familiar sound she heard when she was in the womb. Why do babies love rocking? This could also be linked to the heart. Studies found that ideal rocking sequence was 60-70 in a minute, resembling most the 72 beats per min of our heart!

When the first pram or peramburator was invented by Dr. Charles Burton in 1848 in New York, it was quite a nuisance on the road and people did not take it too well, wait...until Queen Victoria ordered one conferring on it a "status" symbol! The birthday cake tradition comes from the ancient ritual of worshipping the moon with candled (hence the cake is round, white with candles!). The blue and pink stereotypes for babies come also from ancient tradition where blue was chosen as the colour of protection, heaven, the sky for the "more" important gender and the pink colour was more of a derivative taken from the colour of the baby's skin just for differentiation!

I loved this one, "a spoilt schoolchild may well be one who has been disciplined too little but a spoilt baby is one who has been disciplined too much.":) Babies are not schemers who deliberately want to make their parents' lives difficult, they have needs and have limited ways of expressing them and all they need initially is as much love and cuddling and interaction with parents to transform them into secure and loving individuals in future:)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What is in a name?

One of the most difficult things for us so far in these nine months (besides of course the leg cramps, heartburns and advice from multiple fronts:P) is deciding on a baby name (well two since gender will be a big surprise)!

We of course started with what criteria it should ideally fulfill.

First, it should have some meaning, something that signifies our way of life and living, that connects with who we are as people.

Second, should be unique, something different, something that creates this "aha" response for us everytime we say the name and for the child when she/ he says the name. Parth's benchmark for uniqueness has been that we should be able to get the domain with the full name:P.

Third, should follow the KISS principle! Keep in short and simple:) No more than two syllables, no scope for annoying petnames that haunt you for the rest of your life and not open to any mispronunciations!

Fourth, it should role beautifully and naturally on the tongue, like a musical tone that transmits you to a moment of serenity!

Ok, ok, I know there are a lot of "shoulds" in there. When I think about this, I realise this is probably the first element of control we exercise over the child! Deciding her name, her identity for the rest of her life. It is also a role of great responsibility. A bad choice and well those of you who are stuck with not so cool names, know what I mean. But of course, even the name you choose is not really permanent. Your child can choose to change it later:) Luckily Parth has some experience there!

But I wonder, how much does a name actually affect who you are, how you are perceived and treated by others, how you feel when you introduce yourself? The first letter of your name determines where you are on a roll call in school/ college (either first to get your result announced or the last...). The higher the chance of your name getting misspelled (Minali, Monali, Maanali, Meenali, Malini....), the greater the annoyance when your name is called out on a panel or speakerphone. Too complicated names also have a higher chance of being misrecorded in your passport, license, PAN card, etc. And of course names which sound different depending on the accent of person who calls out your name!! Oof, so many possibilities of not getting it right:)

Well Baby Shah, we hope that by the time you arrive, we would have just the right name for you which you will love and adore! Of course, there are no guarantees in life, are there?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Happy Child Guide

Children do not listen, they model!

One of the many interesting insights in Happy Child Guide by Dr. Blaise Ryan and Ashley Olivia Ryan. (Thanks Iris for sharing this!)

The book lists seven simple ways to transform misbehaviour to great behaviour! What made it interesting for Parth and me was how the strategies in the book were very different (sometimes even opposite) from what we had seen being used by parents around us. But the authors have been practicing this with their child and seen results. They admit that all the crying and tantrums did not completely stop, but they have reduced substantially.

The key message according to the authors is for parents to understand how to respond to the child's behaviour and instill the principles of connection, trust and respect so that the child listens and cooperates naturally. They see two ways of influencing a child: one is to develop skills that help us respond to her needs and behaviours (internal) and second is to develop lifestyle habits that affect her in positive ways (external).

As in SWOT, we now refer to weaknesses as challenges, the authors refer misbehaviour as challenging behaviour. As in different styles of leadership, there are different types of parenting: authoritarian or violent parenting; authoritarian non violent parenting (rewards and punishments), parenting (giving in to child's needs all the time, here parents usually switch extremes) and the last one....can you guess....yes, democratic parenting! The first three often leave the child confused, angry, disrespectful and alienated. The last one focusses on involving children in the process and setting limits which are gently enforced without anger or punishment or reward.

The skills to respond to needs and behaviour = INTERNAL
  1. Understand the reasons for the child's behaviour: a genuine need (food, sleep, etc), unresolved stress or missing information.
  2. Non reaction: respond to needs not behaviour (speaking and gently is the only way one can reach out to the child, "thinking state")
  3. Natural giggles: instead of inducing laughter by tickling (which the child actually does not like but just can't make us stop), better to make them laugh naturally through other means like games (hide and seek; acting dumb etc)
  4. Listening time: carve out a time when you only listen and be with the child, no phones, no TV, no other distraction...
  5. Connective communication: Using words and phrases, like..."darling, sweetheart", "Not right now" (as opposed to "no"), "we" or "us" (instead of "you"), "that is is a great idea, and I think" (instead of "but"), "I am right here with you" or "I see you".
  6. Limit setting: support the child to help express true feelings. A different approach here is to just let the child cry it out. Suppose you set the limit together for let us say playing in the playground and now the child does not want to go. You explain your need to go gently and ask them to come along. In case they do not and they start to cry, take them to the car and just let them cry it out. Do not abandon them or alienate them when they cry. Let them cry but be with them so they know that you love them and will not leave them, instead of giving in to their demand or offering a chocolate to appease them. Tantrums are part of the healing process and usually there are underlying reasons for the tantrums which as a parent you may need to help your child experience and express.
  7. Avoiding control patterns: the favourite blanket or soother or TV...holding on these makes the child repress their true feelings and just hides them till they explode again next time...
  8. Adult to adult listening time: getting the support for ourselves without being advised or judged
The lifestyle habits = EXTERNAL
  1. Cutdown sugar, use natural sugars
  2. Enough water
  3. Whole food diet
  4. Supplement rest
  5. Play till you sweat
  6. Go to bed early
  7. Turn off the TV!!
They quote numerous studies to support their suggestions.

Alternatives to punishment
  1. Prevention (do not keep those sugar cream cookies in the house!)
  2. Evaluation (how did this happen? could this have been prevented? what is the real reason for the behaviour"
  3. Ask a question (what are you doing? they may have very imaginative reasons for drawing on the wall...)
  4. Offer an alternative
  5. Express how to feel, make a request
  6. Freedom to choose: as parents, we often mirror what how our parents raised us or what we see around us. But there are choices we can make as well about how we would like to do it!
Let us see how this works:)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Much Awaited Baby Shah Baby Shower

My friends and family had been planning my Baby Shower for a month now and by chance I happen to come to know:) It was a good thing for me but not so for them. My nosy and skeptic self crept in much to their chagrin, but they love me for better or worse, right? But on the D day, which was yesterday, I chose not to butt in and stayed away from all the hustle bustle at my parents house, a very wise decision indeed.

When I walked in the house all ready, it just looked so beautiful! All the lovely decorations, the silver strings, the all time favourite colourful streamers, yellow gende ke phool and white carnations, the variety of shapes stuck to the walls, the hanging octopus (unique idea for a stuffed animal!), my photo collage (which my Mom meticulously made many years back and I just love looking at again and again!) and last but not the least Parth and Jyot Bhabhi's unusual diaper cake (yes a cake made with actual diapers!). Nidh had fulfilled her task of making the place light up 120% and we hope to leave it like this for Baby Shah's eyes:)

Mostly all my close friends from work, CCS, school and college could make it and it was such a high to see all of them together in one room!

The games were the fun highlight of the evening. Guessing my tummy size was actually was quite difficult than it seemed, only one person came close! In "What Baby Shah will look like" everyone had to guess which features Parth and I wanted from ourselves in Baby Shah (the "correct" answers: my eyes, ears, legs, hair, lips, nose, accent and Parth's brains, smile, sense of humour!). Some people said none to some of these, we tried not to be offended:). The mommies and baby sitters in the group won easily at fill in the rhymes and baby charades! With some time in hand, we also played the typical kitty party game: tambola!

Ahh the food...the other highlight of the evening was my sister Moni's specialty-Swiss Rolls-Vanilla cake with coffee cream filling and chocolate icing! Shreya brought our all time favourite-apple crumble. Wenger's lived up to its name and the quiches, patties and kebabs were lovely.

We also asked everyone to share advice for parents to be and also ideas for baby names...

My lovely nieces and nephews also sent their wishes, Prnu made an adorable video message and my darling girls send hand made cards....

A big hugs to the master minders: Rohi, Parth, Nidh, Mom, Dad, Moni and Pinks...and Swati (arranged for chocolates), Dipti (helped in shopping), Sunaina (the music bank) and Shreya (apple crumble)....Thanks everyone to making this such a fun and memorable evening:) We loved the useful gifts and your active participation! Baby Shah was super happy, as I could tell from all the post-party kicking!!