Off You Go

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I gave you wings
So you could fly

Let go of doubt
Just don’t be shy

Shake off your fears
Give them a try

At first you’ll fall
May even cry

But I’ll be there
To wipe your eye

In but a blink
Your tears shall dry

’cause night will pass
The light is nigh

With dreams in tow
You shall go high

The winds of time
Will pass you by

And lift you up
Beyond the sky

– Yousuf Bawany, September 2016

Note: One moment you’re carrying them in your arms, and the next, you’re dropping them off to school on their first day. Children grow up so fast and as much as you want to hold on to them, there’s nothing you can do to stop them from their destiny. This poem is a gift to my children Fatima and Muhammad; they are the light of my life, the twinkle in my eye, and the beat of my heart. To them, I say:

There’s nothing you cannot do or accomplish if you set your mind to it. If you ever need me, you just need to to call; I’ll be there to break your fall and support you in getting your bearing straight. All the best, my little birdies; fly high and let nothing drag you down. The world is your nest now.

Who Is She?

Never Let Go

She carries you around for months
She brings you into life
She holds you when you need it most
And makes sure you survive

She loves you with no strings attached
She is your first true love
She shivers when the cold sets in
Makes sure your hands are gloved

She keeps leftovers for herself
She feeds the best to you
She sits patiently by your side
When you’re ill with a flu

She is the only ray of hope
She shows you what is right
She pulls you up when you’re in blue
And brings you to the light

She is your friend when you need one
She mentors you through life
She lends her shoulder to lean on
When things don’t turn out right

She works hard for you night and day
She ensures you advance
She sacrifices all her life
To give your life a chance

She meets your infinite demands
She helps you make your mind
She pushes all her hopes aside
And leaves her dreams behind

She safeguards secrets within her
She is the one you trust
She can be tough on you sometimes
Never is she unjust

She’s always close-by even when
She may be miles apart
She’s known as mommy, mom or maa
And lives inside your heart

– Yousuf Bawany, July 2015

NOTE: Being a mother is one of the most demanding jobs yet doesn’t pay a dime; our children should be able to recognize her role in shaping up their lives and learn to respect her. This poem is for my kids so when one day they ask their mother, “What have you done for us?”, this can serve as the perfect answer and also help them understand her true value.

I dedicate this poem to my mother and all the mothers out there. I love you maa!

Feeding Monsters!

Getting your kids to eat is an uphill battle parents have to fight on a daily basis, and more often then not, we grown-ups end up on the losing side. I constantly have to come up with new and interesting ways of serving food to my kids (3.5 yrs and 1.75 yrs).

Just a few days back, my wife and I were having some mac-and-cheese for dinner. As usual, the kids were in no mood to eat and well, I just had this insane idea to feed them some plain macaroni using a very unique approach (see photo below). Both my kids ate their fill and thoroughly enjoyed their meal, all the while trying to scare each other with their fake monster nails.

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I hope this helps some poor couple in distress and keeps their children enjoying this fun way of eating for at least a couple of weeks; then boredom will kick in and the cycle shall start all over again.

Que sera, sera. 🙂

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

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For girls, it’s all about accessories. Their love for color and sense of style start to develop at a very tender age; for my daughter, it was at about one-and-a-half years. Her shoe collection is ten times the size of mine (which consists of 4 pairs of shoes, a couple of sandals and a pair of slippers) and she loves her accessories as much as she loves her parents. I try spoiling her and I cannot resist the urge to buy stuff that I think she’ll enjoy wearing/using; at least 70% of my impulse buying results in a purchase for my lovely daughter.

A few days back, we happened to visit a local bazaar, a heaven for my now almost three-year-old Fatima. We came across these really neat bracelets made out of old telephone wires and I couldn’t help myself from buying them for her. Pink’s her favorite color and purple’s mine, and since most of her clothes belong to one of these two color-groups, this purchase was a no-brainer.

Hope these photos can inspire all of us to recycle and possibly ignite a spark of creativity.

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Life After Kids: Beauty Sleep For Newbie Parents

In my Arms

In my Arms

Children are the BEST thing a married couple can have; a new home comes in a close second. The first few days after the baby’s born are the sweetest. Everyone in your household pitches in with the baby’s care, especially if you are living in a joint family system (it’s an Indian-sub-continental thing). But after the furor has died down, the baby is left at the mercy of the untrained parents who try balancing everything from their disrupted nightly routine to the regular diaper changes; needless to say, the whole experience can be a bit overwhelming.

I started writing this post almost seven months back, right around the time when I was cradling my two-month old son to sleep and I revisited it only after reading a friend’s Facebook status update begging for help:

Can’t say I miss being with my li’l baby but I do feel good about my newly acquired balancing act of managing work commitments too. Now only if I can get back to my social commitments. Any tips from sleep deprived parents welcome! All others who plan to be smart-alecs by saying motherhood comes with sacrifices, please keep your traps shut! Lol.

Having gone through fatherhood twice, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on balancing sleep and kids. This sense of helplessness most parents experience can be somewhat alleviated if you somehow miraculously get to sleep through the night. So my dear friend and all my readers, I present to you some time-tested tips that work most of the times and will (probably) help you and the baby get a good night’s sleep; if everything fails, try praying.

  1. Get the baby checked for infantile colic and treat accordingly
  2. Try giving the baby a pacifier at night
  3. Let the baby snuggle with you; try the wonders of kangaroo care
  4. Change the baby’s diaper frequently; some babies are really fussy about a dirty diaper
  5. Sing the baby a lullaby; hush little baby!
  6. Take the baby in arms and pat him/her lightly on the buttocks
  7. Try a technique called the 5 S’s by Dr. Harvey Karp; I have tried it on more than one occasion and it works
  8. See if the baby is gassy and give him/her some gripe water; do check with your doctor before giving the baby anything
  9. If the baby is being breast-fed, check if the mother is fulfilling the baby’s needs; otherwise, ask the doctor for a suitable infant formula
  10. See that your kids are burped properly; if not, they may cry a lot and keep you up all night
  11. Set up a sleeping pattern with your partner so that you can each take 4-hour shifts watching the baby; a 4 hour sleep at a stretch is better than no sleep at all
  12. See if the baby has boogers in his/her nose; a stuffy baby is a fussy baby
  13. Make sure the temperature of the room is right; the baby will cry if it is too hot or too cold
  14. Get an automated swing; the swaddling motion is comforting for the baby
  15. Use toys like mobiles over the baby’s cribs; seeing a repetitive circular motion helps put them to sleep
  16. Buy cots that have a vibrating electronic device underneath; the vibrating helps babies go to sleep
  17. Maybe you are not handling the baby properly; there are several independent services who teach how to take care of a baby and you should try hiring one
  18. Take the baby for a ride in the car near its sleeping time; works like a charm
  19. Give the baby a stuffed toy to snuggle with; it’s better if you try point no. 3
  20. Teach your baby how to sign; apparently, it’s the new IT thing but I’ve never given it a try
  21. Give the baby lukewarm milk with some cardamoms as it helps relieve stomach pain and gas build-up (check with the doc before trying this out)
  22. Make sure the baby’s wearing comfortable clothes; an uncomfortable baby is a fussy baby. Babies outgrow clothes faster than older kids so make sure you have appropriate clothes for the baby.
  23. Check your baby for diaper rash and get your doctor to recommend an anti-rash nappy cream.
  24. Join a parenting group for new mothers; hearing other people’s problems may help you deal with yours better. OK. The last one came out wrong. It should be ‘a support group for new parents’. The mothers and fathers are in this together.
  25. Most babies adjust to a sleeping pattern three months after their birth, so wait out the sleepless nights, keep your fingers crossed and pray that your baby is one of them; think of this as a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel scenario

Some parents may actually resort to giving the baby up for adoption but I suggest you wait out the worst of it and you’ll be amazed at the things these kids do when they grow up. Remember; it’s these unique experiences, these memories, that bond you with your spouse and your children for life.