Birthday madness starts with a BANG!

Quite literally. It was still early around
4am. Me and hubby were asleep but in a sort of light sleep, you know when you still seem to know your surroundings but are slowly slipping into to a deeper sleep….it was so nice a peacefully quiet, cosy and relaxed and then,

bang! tushhh! crack!

…it was so loud and sudden that we instantly woke up but both of us remained frozen still (actually we were Like playing dead incase storm troopers had marched into our home…) for a few seconds and then I shoved at hubby to go see what happened what that was, go check although i wanted to go and I mean I could but why would I want to (in tune of Selena Gomez song. Come on, I knownsome of you did it too) I did get a sort of sense of excitment though and the adrenaline rushed through but then I remembered I was too tired and still half a sleep so turned around and got comfy again….whilst hubby checked on the kids and they seemed to have amazingly slept through with out a twitch, yeah! (Now if that noise was a bag of sweets…they would be up faster than a bolt of lightening, vader wouldnt have half a chance) go figure!

I looked around the room to see if I could see anything, still in a sleepy state, as if I was gunna figure it out like that, but I felt like I contributed. Maybe its a wierd sleep type reasoning, haha.

DaddySingh came back in a rather casual way and looked around just like I did but just with my eyes. Mummy skills there! and tell him ive already done that!
He frowns looking confused, I can sense he’s probably cursing me and then gives me a look.

…And then I ask him for the 3rd time, what was it?

Oh the window broke casualy whilst getting back into bed. Obviously decided its not serious enough to deal with….

What? How? Where?

Think a bird hit it, from the… zzzzzzz

A bird, I think to myself. From the what? I didnt hear no bird. But the window, how badly is it broken. Shall i go have a look? Will all the cold come in now? Wait what window did he say? Bird. Omg bird! Is the bird ok?….shall i check on the bird and make sure tha…zzzzzzz!

A few hours later Am wakes me up to get ready for the pogh and still in heavy sleep i drag myself out of bed. Really should have gone to bed earlier and then getting woken up by a bird hitting a window. Oh yeah so i go out tonhave a look and imediately see the hall way wondow smashed from the outside….turns out there was no logical reason other than it cracked under the pressure of the heat. Definitely no bird and my random theory that maybe our neighbour was using bottle smashing as therapy from toddler parenting didnt last long. Anyway smashed window remains a mystery. Any ideas?! Haha.

The following 2 hrs were crazy with breakfast, nappy changes, getting ready, hubby moaning that im taking too long to fet ready, snacks for kids, nappy change again, and jua5 before we leave we find out the roads were closed and town was in grid lock. Panic struck, with the hubby anyway. I for some reason I believed it would all be fine. Positive thinking!

finally we got in the car……

Hubby was annoyed. It was all my fault i took 30 mins as opposed to the usual 20 mins to get ready and that 10 mins messed everything up, apparently. I pointed out a few things back to him but he was prepared he had it all figured out he had thought about it and was ready for anything I would say…it was pointless, so fuck it. let him moan I thought. Its the only way as I calmly look for my hand cream.

Straight away we were in traffic…the diversion was in grid lock too and hubby was stressing as we had 20 mins to the pogh time and we werent even close.  He was spinning the around like a fast and furious scene. The girls in the back were loving the ‘ride’ and thought it was funny, whilst I calmly mositurised my hands. At which DaddySingh suddenly takes a sharp bend and put his foot down giving me a look.

Now really anoyed, swearing and reminding me i took an extra 10 mins I casualy say is there another diversion we could take?

Hubbly replies, This IS the diversion…like im stupid.
I know that, I mean maybe off the beaton track sort of route.

Hubby decided not to say anything….obviously he didnt know the answer but was definitely thinking about what I said and whether there was another route…haha.

We aproach a roundabout and on current route we still had 40 mins to go but the pogh was in 15 mins and suddenly hubby goes
Fuck it and spins to the right down a side road. Weeeeee giggles P in the back and then suddenly the satnav shows we are moving further and further away from our destination and hubby’s frustration increases ever more.

Iritated with his frustration I firmly tell him to calm down and to just just see where it takes us and we aproach the end take a left to another roundabout and decide to go straight ahead. Suddenly we are around the corner to the Gurdwara, the satnav still says 13 mons to go and there was no traffic around but we got there in 6 mins and slammed the car on to the corner of the block that the Gurdwara was on.

Daddysingh took a deep breath but still stressed and I was thrilled so went for a high 5 but didnt get one back so obviously the joy wasn’t shared….takes him a bit longer to calm I guess. We get out and walk into the divaan at 11.05 where the GianiJi looks at us with that aage, time lag gea look! And begins the pogh. Phew!

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St Patrick’s Day: A random memory

Today is St Patrick’s day and it reminded me of my trip to Ireland back at uni for my mates 21st birthday. A group of us girls decided to go. I personally knew I probably won’t be allowed so one weekend I went home to somehow inform them I was going. This was a couple of weeks before the trip my mum was busy in the kitchen over the deep fat fryer. So I decided that this was best time to tell her that I won’t be coming home for that weekend as it’s Nikki’s Birthday and we are all going to Dublin for a weekend to celebrate. My mum not really listening said that is fine and so that was that really and I went back to uni with my passport.

Come the weekend my mum rang superstitously questioning why I wasn’t coming home. She must have known she didn’t hear properly and went off on one for me taking advantage of the situation she was in. That wasn’t really the case in my defense i thought and after that 20 minutes phone call she hung up and i carried on withbmy assigbment ibhd to finish before going. She then rang back after 10 minutes querying my passport and that I can’t go without it, to which I informed her that I already had it and not to worry but of course that brought on another telling off, including one from my dad. You see we kept all of the passports together in one place in them days and all knew where they were if needed but my parents weren’t impressed on realising I took it with out “permission” even though it’s my passport and my legal right to do with what ever I wish, It was more of the principal.

So off we went to have an awesome weekend and came back to my family acting out some hostility, which was short lived upon them realising that it wasn’t really a big of a deal, I hadn’t actually come home a rebel and after receiving a few presents (of course) I was having parathas. Haha.

For me this actually highlights the importance of building trust and a level of confidence with your children so that they are able to comfortably come to you when they have something on their minds. With kids of my own I would like them to be able to tell me whatever and share their experiences knowing that I won’t be giving them a very desi reaction.

Fun times though.

9 things MaaJi’s always say to new mums

You enter the Gurdwara with your new born and there is plenty of sangat around. You know most of them or at least they know who you are and before you can take your shoes off and head towards the divan all the Maaji’s scurry over bursting to see the baby, as if the smell of a newborn baby had wafted through the gurdwara and alerted all the ladies of the arrival just like honey to a bee. With out wasting any time and sometimes before the Maaji’s even get to you the questions pour out:

 

1. Kee aayea (is it a boy or girl?) Girlchal koini, kaneya ae ah! Dont worry about it, pitty on you and then bless you with a future son.
Boy
vadaiya! Best thing ever, the maaji’s over spill in joy and tell you tera kaam hogea (Your work is done!). Best thing to do is to keep remembering you have a gift from God,  boy or girl they are both precious and just as important.

2. Hon dehr naa kari/Shetti banaa li?
Don’t delay, make baby today! (Yep, you said it in an Indian accent. I know you did!!) Basically telling you that you have 1 now, so have another while your at it because your child needs a sibling and it’s better when they are closer together in age and apparently easier. Don’t give juwaab trust me it’s not worth it, just smile and say Hanji Hanji!

3. Rondi taani. (She doesnt cry does she?)
no, she was born with fully developed vocal cords and is able to speak and tell me exactly what she needs, and that too in Punjabi and English. Haha, of course babies cry. They can’t speak so that’s their way of communicating. You will hear a few stories of so and so had a baby that always/or never cried but they mean no harm here and will just bombard you with helpful advise, whether you want it or not. Just stay calm and say Hanji, thank you!

4. Raat nu utdi taani? (She doesn’t wake up at night does she?)
If your answer is No, Maaji goes straight on to next question . If your answer is Yes, Maaji expresses concern,”ucha, Chall koini, babies do that! Followed by a tonne of their own baby waking up stories. Best way to deal with it is smile and say Hanji, thank you!

5. Aapna dudh palondi ah? Do you breastfeed?
Either way the maaji’s come out with their own opinions and stories. Just remember what ever you choose it is your decision so just smile and say Hanji, thank you!

6. Shetti bottle te laadi?
Give her the bottle quickly, because sweety they don’t take it other wise and that’ll be a pain to deal with.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s your decision and your experience. Advice is great but don’t judge the mummy’s if they don’t want to use a bottle. Oh and Hanji Hanji!

7. Kede te gae ah? Who does he/she take after?
Before you have a chance to even respond they will then tell you who the baby looks like and praise or even dismiss and tell you don’t worry they will change! In some cases they won’t say anything and walk off. Yep, ha!

8. Delivery normal si ya opretion naal?
Was it a natural birth or Caesarian? Again followed by stories and wish you a great recovery and give you tips on what to do/not to do with your body for the first few weeks.

9. kede te gaeya? Who does he/she look like She looks like a squished up tiny human at the moment, but they always know or think they know and will openly express their opinion.  Also If maaji’s perceive you or any member of the family with outstanding features they will ask you does he/she have that feature.

( I have coloured eyes so this seems to be a huge focus on my kids)
one of the first things I had was this followed by attempts to get the baby to open her eyes and then decide for themselves whether she has the eyes or not. Well she was born yday, eyes take about a year to develop and well, really? Does it really matter enough to disturb my baby? No! Get away from my sleeping baby and don’t touch her eyes with your subji fingers, haha!

Sometimes it can be over whelming and others might be completely fine with all the questions. Everyone’s experience and feelings are different and all the Maaji’s mean well. You will see the funny side of it later but don’t forget to take a deep breathe, smile and say Hanji, thank you!

Hanji solves everything!!

Midnight showers. A hot steamy night….

Midnight showers. A hot steamy night….

It was late, silent and dark. It was time ….both children were sleeping and husband was in bed, I knew this was the moment. It was now or never! I jumped in long strides like a ninja out of the room. Avoiding those noisy areas of the floor that would certainly wake the kids up and quietly ran to the bathroom. Switching on the blue spa lights that made the bathroom feel so relaxing just like the spa or steam room at the gym, only there’s no steam just yet and it was dark and strangely romantic. Just the way I like it.

I switched on the rainfall shower and the boiler makes a noise, that’s when DaddySingh knows I’m in the shower in the middle of the night.  The water gushed out and splashed the bottom and turned hot quickly whilst changing colours above the bath lights. I lit my favourite rainforest candle to set the mood and threw my clothes off with a quick listen at the door to make sure baby hasn’t woken up. I’m sure he’ll handle it if she does, I think to myself with a little giggle. 

I stepped in to the hot shower, cold where the water first hit the bottom and quickly moved closer in where it was nice and warm. I shut my eyes turned and stood underneath the hot waterfall and began my mindfulness (just like the “yes yes” lady. You know herbal essence advert, wink wink).

The hot water droplets hit my body like a waterfall as I lather up the shower gel and massage into my body.  All the mummy stress began to melt away…If only Superman or even Batman (oh yes!) was here to massage these shoulders, right under the waterfall deep in the middle of a rainforest, grinning to myself and starting to feeling happy and relaxed ‘mmmm…” 

I let my imagination run wild, deep with in the forest with those big strong hands on my shoulders…

Suddenly, I hear a noise I turned back into the room now all hot and steamed up, and looked at the door hoping it was nothing and I can get right back to where I was but I see the door handle moving down. Oh no.

Ah, Maybe it’s superman and my dreams have come true, haha! But no, I see DaddySingh peek through the door, yeah that’ll do I laughed to myself with his eyes half closed and a slight grin to his face. What was he thinking? Maybe he’ll join me? Hot steamy shower with my hubby…he comes in slowly as I continue to enjoy the water hitting the back of my neck hard and giving me a sense of calm. 

I step to the side of the shower screen and he slowly walks in looking all sleepy and sexy. Hmm he looks cute, maybe he’s thinking the same thing? He definitely knew what I was thinking as his grin enlargens and his eyes now a bit more awake with a cheeky glint suggesting let’s make the most of it whilst the kids are sleeping. Yep this is gunna be fun but right then I see a tiny foot, then a leg and suddenly in his arms was a very sleepy crying but grinning baby looking at me, they both then glance at each other just as if sharing the same joke ‘Let’s go get mummy’! 

She woke up, the baby woke up! 

Oh Fiteh Moo! I thought in my head. Although I’m sure my lips moved to some degree.

I remembered the threat he gave me a few days ago whilst having breakfast in the kitchen “watch, I will do it” he said as I laughed to show him I wasn’t the slightest concerned and didn’t think he really would.  He hates the fact that I choose this ungodly hour to have my dreamy showers and always threatens me that he’ll bring the baby to me in the bathroom whilst I shower if she wakes up for a breastfeed and that’s exactly what he did and he was proud of it, grinning like a Cheshire Cat as he walks back out with baby leaving the door wide open to let the cold air gush in and force me out the shower.

 I can still feel the grin stretching off his face back into the bathroom as he walked in to our bedroom with the baby radiating a sense of victory.  So proud of himself.  I will get him back though! 

Showers to me are like those cups of tea/coffee (or maybe something stronger for you lovable alcoholics) moments we mummies enjoy when ever our children and the dads let us. 

DaddySingh. He just doesn’t get it, but Midnight Showers, it’s my thing! I knew it was too good to be true though and maybe next time, I should concentrate on doing Waheguru Waheguru and then I won’t get disturbed!? After all the almighty Waheguru is more important than batman right? hehe!

So how did your Valentine’s Day go?

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Survival Guide: Gurdwara and Children

Survival Guide: Gurdwara and Children

We took the kids to the Gurdwara as usual at the weekend and everything was ok until about 5 minutes after we sat down in the Divaan. That’s when toddler decides she wants to run around and baby wants to play with toys the kids in front were playing with, must be the Prashaad effect. After numerous quiet attempts to settle toddler we shift to the Langhar hall. Now the Langhar hall is a big open space and kids love open spaces so as soon as you enter there is no stopping’ em. As we enter our toddler takes a big excited sprint into the middle of nowhere, turns to look at my unimpressed face whilst ushering them to come back but of course she just laughs and goes for another sprint followed by spins, more sprints and dodging all the sangat doing seva and having Langhar. Yep Prashaad gives you wings!

Finally DaddySingh (the husband) sits down to have his Langhar but toddler with ants in her pants can’t sit down so bops around whilst taking bites of roti. I come along with my Langhar to sit down and baby dives her hand in to the dhaal. DaddySingh grabs the arm whilst I dive for wet wipes and clean her hands before she gets a Mirchy mouth (now that would have been a nightmare). Before you know it toddlers up and about again and my husbands reminding her to be careful and just for a split second looks the other way to say hi to a friend when suddenly,

Crash! Cling-Clang!  Waaaaaa!

As i turn quickly I see our toddler on the floor crying with Langhar all over her and the floor and then baby had reached my Langhar and was going for the subji but I managed to quickly swipe her away, give her a bit of roti to keep her occupied and grab the wipes from my bag with out even looking for it to clean up the mess (mummy skills *lifts arm to show non existent biceps).

Whilst the Sangat looked over with a mixture of expressions we calmly addressed the issue and settled down our toddler. DaddySingh then took toddler out of the Langhar hall and I was left with the responsibility of eating all the left over Langhar (…no comment).

This happens to many of us, whether you go to the Gurdwara with the kids regularly or even just when invited to a wedding, all is going as well as can be expected and suddenly the kids go crazy but what do you do and how do you avoid these disasters? Well unfortunately toddlers and babies are unpredictable and don’t come with an off/mute button so there is no 100% guarantee they won’t play up in some sort of way, especially if you’re going to be at the Gurdwara for a while. However here are my tips on how to make it easier along the way:

Plan and Time
Try and plan ahead for when you are going as this will help you get everything organised in advance and minimise the craziness. 

Determine how you are going to get there because the journey is just as important. Stressed out, upset and tired children is not an ideal way to arrive at any event. 

Finally work out what time you will be going and arriving, will it be nap time, lunch time, do they need to go potty? All these add to the possibilities of a tantrum or misbehaviour.

Pack Snacks and a Drink
Whether you are going for a quick visit or an all day function, it’s always a good idea to have some good healthy snacks your children can have either on the journey or at the Gurdwara. Now there will always be Langhar, however children have a mind of their own so may play up and refuse the roti. There is always the situation where you’re in the middle of a prayer and the kids want food, if you have the snacks they can get away with having them and plus it’ll hopefully make them sit quietly, for a little bit longer anyway.

Take a quiet toy/activity 
This one is great for the younger children. Toddlers do have a short attention span and naturally have bags of energy and therefore unable to sit still for too long. So taking some toys or favourite activity with you can help them stay calm and sitting for a bit longer. Do makes sure these are quiet toys as you don’t want to interrupt the prayers or keertan.

Pack spare clothes
There will always be messy disasters so you can’t go wrong with having a spare outfit, doesn’t have to be the whole wardrobe and you can always leave it in the car or to one side until you actually need it.

Have Langhar early
Especially if you’re at a wedding or a prayer with a lot of Sangat, children can get tired and over stimulated and often we mistake this for misbehaviour. Sitting still is hard work for children, especially when they are very young so taking them to have Langhar or stretch out their legs is a great idea to help them stay calm.

Go freestyle
This is arguably the best option and I see many Penji’s and Aunty Ji’s do this all the time. You just go to the Gurdwara and not take anything with you, this will mean your children have no choice but to get stuck in to Gurdwara etiquette but if you don’t want to take the risk or you just know your kids won’t settle then not taking anything with you may not be an option.

Stay calm
Above all stay calm Mummys and Daddy’s, we all know it can be hard work and frustrating running around children and trying to get them to follow what we need to do at Gurdwara. If it gets all too much, take a second and grab some water and of course start again.

Of course regular visits will result in kids learning gurdwara etiquette quickly but don’t worry all parents go through it and all children get there eventually!

I hope you enjoyed my post and found my tips helpful. If you have any more tips to help all the Mummys and Daddy’s out there, please do share them below.

Disclaimer: Prashaad is the BEST!

Lohri; Celebrating our very own Indian Robin Hood. Part 1

Lohri; Celebrating our very own Indian Robin Hood. Part 1

Lohri has been celebrated for thousands of years, however no one really knows when it started although there are many stories.

Astrologically, this is the time when the sun transits the zodiac sign Capricorn and moves towards the North meaning the chill of winter wades off making the earth warmer. In other words it’s the end of winter and beginning of spring.

For thousands of years India has been symbolically celebrating this by lighting bonfires and gathering around singing, dancing and of course there’s food! Yum!
Furthermore the fire represented life and death just like water which symbolises transformation and regeneration, of crops and also newborns that survived their first winter. It also symbolises the sun or the Suns Rays, which stimulate growth of cornfields and wellbeing of man and animals. The sun also supplied light and heat and was seen as an image of energy and spiritual strength. This is why the Lohri fire was sanctified and venerated like a deity by offering peanuts, popcorn, sweets made of til-chirva, gajak, revri to appease the sun god.  

Hindus all over India celebrate Lohri in different variations and have different names for it.
Nowadays It’s not just Hindus, Punjabi Sikhs also celebrate Lohri and have done for many years.

One of the popular legends that you will hear is of Dulla Bhatti. During the Reign of Mughal King Akbar, Dulla Bhati was born in to a Muslim family who lived near Faisalbaad in Punjab which now comes under Pakistan. 

Following the foot steps of his father and grandfather Dulla Bhatti became known as a rebellion against King Akbars reign and famously robbed from the riches and distributed the goods to the poor. He also helped children and rescued girls from prostitution and helped them get married. Eventually he was deceitfully captured by King Akbars Army and hanged to death. Dulla Bhatti became a legend for these reasons and that’s why people of Punjab remember him on Lohri. 

Lohri is celebrated all over the world by Indians now, when there is a newly married couple or newborn (in many communities emphasised by the birth of a baby boy, but that’s a discussion of its own) and the rituals can vary by family but are generally similar. This year my family are celebrating Lohri as we have a new baby girl (my daughter) and my nephew who was born a few weeks earlier. There are also other relatives celebrating on the birth of their babies too. These celebrations don’t all happen on the same day nor necessarily on Lohri day it self, simply because it’s impractical to be everywhere at once.

How does Lohri get celebrated?

Typically, a bonfire is lit in the evening at the home of the person celebrating or in a large open area. People get together throw peanuts, popcorn, sweets made of til-chirva, gajak and revri to the fire, whilst newly weds and new borns are walked around the fire and appear to be praying towards the fire.This is then followed by a traditional meal of Saag (cooked spinach) and Makki di roti (corn flour roti) accompanied by white radishes, whole green chillis, rice pudding and plenty of Indian sweets.Families also sing songs whilst around the fire and dance to express their joy and happiness.

What does this have to do with Sikhi?

Simple answer, nothing!

Religiously there is absolutely no significance of celebrating Lohri. I mean our Guru Ji’s made it easy for us to live with out meaningless rituals and materialism such as, walking around and praying to fire, but Punjabis just can’t help it, we love having a reason to celebrate, dance, sing and in some not all cases be merry. Even if we don’t really know why we do it or if we do know, we do it anyway, because we are being told to and that’s better than arguing or upsetting our elders, right? Don’t get me wrong some people actually do want to celebrate Lohri and that’s fine but letting go of our egos for Sikhi, I guess seems harder than ever. Or is it?

How do you balance this in a family of religious and non religious people? 

Some people just don’t celebrate Lohri but as families grow and integrate there are mixture of opinions. Some want to celebrate Lohri for newly weds and/or newborns and others don’t. My in laws don’t celebrate the festival as such but my family does so by communicating with each other and understanding each other’s way of life a mutual decision can be made. In our case we had a huge family meal with out the bonfire, which allowed the family to come together but without possibly encouraging praying to fire and that’s a fair compromise I think. 
It is great though, that we have our very own Robin Hood legend. He is an example that reminds us that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, it is your actions that matter the most. Therefore if legends like Dulla Bhatti encourage us to come together regardless of our backgrounds and create harmony across communities, (and by that I mean Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus etc) Lohri can hold a deeper relevance in today’s modern Indian society. Balle Balle to Robin Hood.

Invited to Birthday party

I mean my toddler was. She was invited to her first Birthday party just before xmas and I think I was more excited than her! 

As a child I was never allowed to go to my school friends birthday parties, I remember being invited to one at primary school but mum said no, what r u going to do there?  Come home and study…she did agree to get her a gift and equipped me with ‘we have a family function to go to’ excuse.  Although my school friend was none the wiser, I however, felt it was unfair and tried to find ways to get her to change her mind all week with no success. 

My parents had their reasons and did what they thought was best. It wasn’t right in there belief to interact with school friends outside of school. It was always show your appreciation, say thank you and tell them you can’t come as you have a family function or something along those lines.

My parents generation feared that their children would forget/rebel against their traditional backgrounds. Coming from India, they were brought up with high values, respecting elders and a huge family support system. The west challenged many of these beliefs for our parents as they adjusted to life here and as WE were the first generation to be born and bred in the west they had to figure out how to balance the east and west for their children as well as themselves.
My parents had obviously seen this rebelling happen in the community and admittedly many of my older cousins did rebel; sex, drugs, rock n roll, boy/girl friends, baby out of wed lock, marriage with different ethnic backgrounds, you name it it was all done before I reached secondary school. Maybe they felt they had a duty to ensure I didn’t do the same? 

My husband and I however, differ in that not only do we have and understand the values of our elders but also have the ‘western culture’ side kinda’ sorted through experience of living in the west since birth and so have no problem with taking our toddler to the Birthday event.

As I was clearing my toddlers bag at the end of the week, out came an envelope and it was an invite to a birthday party! I was really looking forward to it as I don’t really know many of the mums yet and well I never say no to cake (hehe). The following week I went and purchased a gift for the Birthday boy and wrapped it all up ready to go. 

The party itself was in a play barn with a reasonably sized soft play maze and there were about 20 children in the end plus their parents of course.  Most of the mums and dads were really pleasant to talk to but I did notice a group of parents comfortably chatting away in their own circle and definitely didn’t want to interact, you know the ‘snobby parents’. This reminded me of all those ‘types of parents you see at parties’ blogs I’ve read and are so true, I can definitely relate! 

Snobby parents spotted!

Must have done well though as the following day I received another invite to another birthday party, woohoo!