Why being a girl mom is harder!

When my daughter was younger, I used to think as she grew older, it would be easier to take care of her. And today when she is eight, I realize how wrong I was. It doesn’t get easier as the kids grow up and you had more control of your life and theirs when they were still toddling away.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love being her mom yet the first year of raising her remains the most difficult period in my life and I doubt I have the physical and emotional capacity to go through it all again.

And now, when she’s standing already at the precipice of preteens, I realize a whole new pandora of parenting is still waiting for me to open.

Here are a few things why I know now being a girl mom is harder:

Periods: While I have taught my daughter about periods, I doubt there’s anything I can say which will make it easier for her when she inevitably has a red spotting in her underwear, cramps and to teach them about properly using tampons and sanitary napkins.  In the initial few years, it is best for the girls to use sanitary napkins before switching to tampons and period panties. You can check out my article ‘How to talk to your daughter on periods’ for some tips and helpful advice.

Looks: We live in a shallow world where how we look, dress and carry ourselves manipulate and change the perception for those around us.  For every parent and family, their child remains the best. It is a universally accepted fact that for us ‘my daughter and child will be the best, prettiest, cutest, smartest and the most perfect kid in the whole universe.’ My daughter has a dusky skin tone and I have told her from a young age that there will always be people judging you on your looks, skin tone, physique, eating habits, dressing style but what matters is how you respond to it. Last year when a relative commented in front of her on how come her skin tone has not gone on her mother, my daughter retorted back, “Uncle, mumma said, I am dark chocolate while she is milk chocolate. I love dark chocolate.”  It is this acceptance and self-love that we need to teach everyone.

Fashion: We went shopping for her birthday a few months back and all I could find for her age groups were crop tops, ribbed jeans, t-shirt dresses, tank tops and I couldn’t help wondering when did this subtle but distinctive change happen and when did young girls start dressing up as teens and grown ups.  My daughter at eight itself does not fancy animated and cartoon tops anymore, calling them childish and is drawn to a relatively mature form of dressing. As mothers and parents, we need to set an example by practicing exactly what we are preaching. As girl moms, they observe everything from what clothes we wear, which brands we like, how much make up do we use and how we carry ourselves- and those are standards that they set for themselves too. 

Attitude and confidence: Beyond a certain point, it doesn’t matter what you wear, how you look or where you are from if you don’t carry the right attitude and confidence to face the world.  While growing up, I faced a lot of bullying and my confidence was never much for most of my life. I didn’t mind being in the shadows but when I had a daughter of my own, I knew I didn’t want her to ever doubt her worth and face every age, everyday and every walk of life brimming with confidence and positivity. Luckily for me, my daughter is a contagiously positive person and this is a quality I cannot encourage enough.  I have told her to embrace each day with positivity as that is what will keep away negative people and get her more friends and happiness. There are days of self worth and doubt even at this age but that is where we need to raise them with only positive words, confidence and attitude where they don’t believe anybody but you.

Be it raising girls or boys, it is always going to be a challenge but at at the end of the day all we need to do is love them and give them the strength and confidence to face the world.

Things to do in Vacations with your kids

My daughter studies in an International school which essentially means our holidays start when the other kids’ holidays end.  Her holiday begins now by May end and will go on till July end. With no playmates and a lovely monsoon season (sarcastic!) to add on, it is always challenging to find things to keep her engaged, occupied and most of all, happy.

Here are a few things I do on every break and holiday with her:

Gardening: I am not a nature person! Being a born and bred city girl, I have no qualms in admitting that unlike some I don’t find solace amongst plants. As luck would have it, my daughter absolutely loves to get her hand dirty and the idea of seeing tiny seeds grow into buds and plants excite her.  Thus, we began a tradition of sowing seeds at the start of every holiday, watering, observing and seeing it grow. It is fun and yes, there are days when we forget to water but the overall process itself is so exciting that it’s worth the grime, mud, reptiles and all.

Travel: Being avid travelers, I have been planning trips around her holidays and breaks from Pre-K days. We consciously take her wherever we travel and that has helped her adapt to all climates, surroundings, culture and cuisines better. She’s been everywhere in Asia, Europe, Middle East and the US and absolutely amazes me with her communication and adapting skills every time we travel.

Art: My sister is a mosaic artist and since my daughter has been seeing her aunt make all sorts of fantastic artworks with glass, glue and glitter- she has been drawn to it too. Thankfully, her artistic skills are nowhere close to mine and we take up either doing a big painting, pottery project, glass painting or mosaic art work at the start of every holiday. Since the work can be spread over days, it is a perfect remedy for bored afternoons and the end result is almost always fantastic.

Sports: Since vacations and breaks are usually slow paced days, to burn some much needed energy and give them a boost for the day, I enroll her in summer classes of gymnastics, yoga, basketball or even martial arts. It is a great way for them to make some new friends, for you to get a break and for them to learn something new.

Write: Being a writer, I have always encouraged her to write and express her emotions in whatever form she likes.  She had this phase of writing horror stories everyday, a few of which I even published on a children’s website to give her extra motivation. She also writes diaries and I even ask her to pen poems or thoughts that she feels she will forget later on.  This is a great medium to channelise their imagination and innovative thoughts.

YouTube Channels: Due to covid, the exposure to online channels for learning and entertainment increased tremendously. My daughter, inspired by her favorite YouTube channels, puts up a video occasionally on her own YouTube channel dedicated to art, math and toys. Obviously I manage and supervise the content and comments on the channel but this a great medium to boost their confidence, have fun and since it is online, relatively safe.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of perverts in the online world and as parents, we have to monitor their online presence carefully, consciously and consistently.

What do you do to keep your little ones engaged in their holidays?

How to evolve as parents

As mothers and parents, we always want our baby girl to be our baby at all times. My girl is eight now and I don’t think I have ever wished for time to go slower and pause more than now. In our day to day life, it is easy to neglect and almost forget the small, miniscule moments that make up everyday life. 

In this busy life, it is really quite difficult to ensure you manage to sneak in some quality time with your loved ones. As adults, we tend to forget that for children, even ten minutes of our quality time everyday is good enough. Ideally, in today’s technology driven world, this should be something sans technology, sans screen and just about communicating and discovering the joys of raising a child, an almost adult, a wonderful, sensible and amazing mini you.

Since me and my husband always wanted a daughter, we were thrilled when our wish actually came true. There are a lot of things in raising a child that me and my husband don’t agree upon but if there is one thing in which we unanimously agree is spending good time with her, as a family and individually at least once a week, if not more.

Things to do with your daughter often:

  • Find a board game/ activity that bonds you together as a family. For us, it was Lego when she was younger and Monopoly and Scotland Yard now that she’s growing up. When she is with my mom, who’s nearly 80 years old, she adjusts and plays Snakes and Ladders and Ludo with her. 
  • As a mother and daughter duo, we go for walks every weekend and we have a waffle party every Friday evening.
  • On the two off days of the week, one day is reserved for going to the mall or the movies, a pizza party or hanging out with friends and relatives while one day of the week is for doing absolutely nothing. It is a day for binge watching, sitting in pjs and essentially chilling together at home as a family.
  • As the kids grow up, their likes and dislikes change and we need to find a middle ground enjoyable and doable to all of us. My girl enjoys gymnastics and yoga but neither me or my husband are yoga people so once a week, she goes to yoga with her maasi and we play ‘pretend’ or card games or take her and her close friends for a drive. 
  • It is important to understand and accept that she may not always want to hang out with you. As much as that could hurt, we need to be more accepting to growth, growing up and taking in the ‘newer’ mature and grown up girl with as much love as we have done till now. My daughter plans play dates with her friends every weekend and sometimes it does get a bit annoying, it is such a pleasure to see her interact and blossom with her friends. The side of her that I get to witness when she is with her friends is the side ‘the rest of the world’ sees and those are moments of extreme pride and joy.

Today she is 8 years old. At the pace at which she grows up, I know it is going to be a blink of an eye when she will be all grown up and not need me as much as she does now. Girls do grow up fast and while we do become independent, I doubt there will ever be a time when she will not need me at all. 

I still need my mother. I lost my father two years back and I still seek his advice, his comfort and reasoning. Parents are always important, always needed. While they can be taken for granted, shouted at, irritated at- they are two people who love you more than anybody can ever love you in this world and they are ones who know you the best, your every move, mood and emotion.

As a mother and a daughter myself, I still seek ways to connect with my mother who’s nearly 80 years old. A simple short walk to the fruit market and medical shop is all she needs and that makes her happy. She’s happy knowing she is not alone and my hands will be there to hold, support and comfort her in every walk of life.

And that’s exactly the relationship I am seeking with my daughter too, where she knows just her presence is good enough to know all is well in my life.

Why I love travelling with my daughter

I grew up in a family who lives abroad more than in India. Thus, for me, traveling is something I have grown up loving and doing extensively since childhood. Every holiday and vacation has had me reach out for my passport and even before I finished my graduation, my one passport was stamped and over.  

Post marriage, I found a companion to travel with. We both love traveling and enjoy discovering new places to explore and visit every year. Luckily, we are both of the opinion that a month-long holiday outside India is worth the wait than weekend getaways nearby. We save up, fixate on a place/continent, plan and book. This has been our favorite pastime and that hasn’t changed even after our daughter was born.

Here are a few tips on how we travel with our daughter, who is now 8 years old:

  • My first trip with my daughter was a solo one when she was just six months old. It was a learning experience for sure. I made sure to travel only with the necessities and at that age, it meant a lot of milk powders and emergency medicines. Do not stuff your bags carrying diapers and clothes as wherever you travel, you can easily get both.
  • While staying in hotels and waking up to a continental breakfast is fun, when traveling with kids, I had a better experience at home stays and airbnb’s. Most of these homes have a kitchenette and a microwave which will save you a lot of trouble when you want to warm up some food or milk or make a quick snack for your fussy kid. Since kids also change their clothes more often in the day (read: get dirty), the washer and dryer will save you a lot of laundry money.  Most importantly, most homestay owners and locals are super helpful and can prove a great lending hand (in most cases, at least) when you are having ‘one of those days.’
  • When traveling on a long flight, it helps to make your kid a bag of her own with snacks, coloring sets and crayons, activity books and books to read. While most airlines come with a TV, too much screen time is never good and these books and activity sheets prove a good distraction on any and all long journeys. You can also download podcasts and music and give them headphones to enjoy some stories or music.
  • On every destination we plan, we make it a point to sit together as a family and chalk out places of interest and must-see list and do list in all of the places we are visiting. It is important to treat our kids as equal and give credence to their interests and preferences without enforcing ours on them all the time.
  • Introduce them to the food options before you travel. Let your children be mentally ready for the different cuisines, tastes and culinary choices that they will have to eat from on a holiday.  On our last trip to the US, I made her eat burgers from McD’s and Burger King, and try a Subway sandwich for us to have some options when we travel. Similarly, before we traveled to the Middle East, she tried the shawarma, falafel wraps and hummus/pita which I was sure we would get everywhere. 

What I have learnt over the years of traveling with my daughter is kids are extremely flexible and resilient, they deal with weather change, change in lifestyle and food habits and travel much better than we do. 

Traveling is also the best way to bond with children and make everlasting memories with them.

Life is too short and our world is getting even smaller, let’s learn to explore the planet we live in together, experience new things and grow stronger and united as a family and as global citizens.

How to bond with your growing girl

When my daughter was small, I thought things would get easier as she grew up. Now she’s eight and I am still in a turmoil whether things were easier then or now. Being a baby or a toddler, she was obviously dependent on me for the smallest of things and that meant very little free and me time. Now, she goes to school from morning to evening and weekends go in making plans, attending play dates, birthday parties, family functions and getting ready for the week ahead.

As she is getting older, her need to hang out with her friends and kids her age seems reasonable but that invariably means less time with us. In order to spend time with her, at times, what I do is invite one or two of her friends. This way, I get to hang out with her, interact and know her friends well and understand how she’s doing, what they talk about these days. 

It is time to embrace the fact that girls grow up extremely fast and as much as we love them and they love us, they love their friends more and bonding with their friends is the best way to keep them close.

A few things I have learnt over the years of being a girl mom and rather, a mom in general:

  • The best way to keep them close is keeping their friends close. I am extremely fond of her best friend and I make it a point to pamper and treat her just like my daughter whenever they meet.
  • Accept it that your daughter’s friends means you are friends with her mothers! If you share a good rapport with the parents, the kids’ friendship will grow and nurture, as well.
  • You cannot be an introvert and expect your daughter to have and maintain friendships that last beyond school days. I was happy in my limited bubble of friends and social circle but to her social circle thriving, I made it a point to interact with everyone of her classmate’s parents and that has worked wonders.
  • It is okay to ask.  It used to bother me earlier that I was the one taking all initiatives and making plans but to see my daughter thriving and growing closer with her friends is what mattered. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who takes the first step as long as you take it.
  • You can behave perfectly well through the year but for important milestones like birthdays, new years and such occasions- it is important to invest in good quality gifts for your daughter and her friends. Do not be stinky by purchasing cheaper gifts as they reflect your standard and your views on them. I keep a minimum budget of 200$ or Rs.2000 when buying a gift for my daughter’s close friends.

At the end of the day, what matters is a healthy relationship between a parent and a daughter. The relationship and the way we bond will change, with every passing year and it’s best to embrace her growth, the challenges and hiccups that come with her growth and make the most of your ‘limited’ time with your little girl.

It is okay to not be present!

It is okay to not be present at all times.

This constant need to be present for everything has really created havoc in my life. I am functioning on four hours of sleep, laundry loads that never seem to end and deadlines that somehow are always just missed. And, while all of this is still worth it for those extra thirty minutes in the morning with my little girl before she leaves for school, the lack of ‘me’ time despite the lack of sleep is really getting to me now.

From attending the meetings at school, scheduling fun activities and play dates for the weekend, experimenting with fun recipes for her whilst juggling work, household activities, aging parents and other social commitments; sleep is a distant memory. Even on holidays, the constant fear of missing out on moments and memories has left me sleepless and exhausted. 

While I am fully aware that these fears are irrational and it is not humanly possible to be present everywhere at all times, my FOMO is really exhausting. 

As a mother, a working professional and a modern woman; here are a few things that I have learnt over the years:

  • Focus on the small moments and not milestones:  While as parents we really don’t want to miss out on any moment, big or small, with our kids. It is really not possible to catch up and be a part of everything. Rather, make out time everyday, be it for an hour or a few minutes, where you catch up with your little one, exchange thoughts and feelings and give that extra cuddle and kiss to your child.
  • Be present NOW, not TOMORROW: I am a planner and I love to be in control of my time and schedule. Of course, all this went for a toss after having a child who thrived on impulsive getaways and moments but I also learned an important thing. I realized some things are better unplanned, while it is good to plan meals and weekly school routines; it is good to act impulsive at times.  I realized I was making the most of my time with my girl when I played that extra game of UNO, watched five more minutes of Bake Off and My Little Pony, and read that extra chapter to her.  Honestly, there really are no guarantees on what tomorrow could bring and I would rather focus on the ‘now’ moments than on what could or could not happen tomorrow.
  • Accept you are human:  As a woman and mother, we tend to achieve ‘superhuman’ status and are often idolized as superheroes. While we may indeed be superheroes, it is simply not possible to give your 100% in all walks of life and be present everywhere. I found my life to be more sorted with the simple acceptance that I am human, I can err and I am not expected to do everything at all times.

Instead of overcompensating for my absence when I am not around with gifts and other materialistic things, I learnt that she enjoys it more when I make the most of whatever time I have with her. 

Sure, kids love gifts. But what kids love more is our effort, to be with them, to pamper them, to make them feel loved and needed when we are around. 

It is okay to not be present at all times.

It is okay to miss deadlines sometimes.

It is okay to catch up on sleep while they watch a little extra television on weekends.

That doesn’t make you a bad mother,

That doesn’t make you any less capable and responsible of managing everything,

That simply makes you human

And at times,

We need to remind ourselves,

We are just humans in the end.

Quick snack fixes for small ‘hunger pangs.’

I have noticed these ‘small’ hunger pangs sneak in at the weirdest times of the day. They come right after clearing up the lunch vessels,  an hour after breakfast, post a playdate and of course, while doing homework and assignments. My girl eats healthy but small meals at least ten times throughout the day.  For me, this typically means, planning her snacks and meals way in advance so that I am well-prepared always for any hunger pangs.

Here are some of the quick snack fixes that I use to whip up a meal in minutes of her hunger pangs:

  • Chutney Cheese Sandwich: I usually keep fresh green chutney in the refrigerator and they work for a lot of quick fixes. Two toasted bread slices, a spread of green chutney and some shredded cheese or cheese slice can never fail you. This also works as a great snack box meal that my daughter takes once a week.
  • Veggie Fryums: I usually grate a few carrots, mix it with some shredded broccoli and potatoes and air fry/bake it. Garnish it with parsley, oregano and pepper. This is a perfect finger snack that tastes good hot and cold.
  • Sunny side up:  My girl is not usually fond of eggs but for a super quick emergency snack, nothing is simpler than a sunny side up with salt and pepper. It is easy to make, fail proof and can be served in less than five minutes.
  • French Toast: This is ‘my’ modified version of french toast. A few slices of chopped bread, one egg, some atta/milk powder, salt and pepper. I dip the slices in this mix and pan fry it till the bread’s brown. For an additional incentive, I serve it with a dip of Nutella.
  • Dosa: She loves dosas. She loves it so much that it can be served as a meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner and this is one meal which will be gobbled up without any complaints. She, however, likes dosa with sambar and does not like chutney or any additional topping with it.  Since dal is a daily part of our meals, making fresh sambar which I keep refrigerated for up to 2 days works like a charm for ‘big’ hunger pangs.
  • Theplas/ Parathas: Unlike many kids and even most of her friends, my girl is not a huge fan of parathas and theplas. She prefers to eat regular chapati and sabzi any day to stuffed parathas. Thepla, however, because of its easy to make nature is something I resort to giving once a week for breakfast, after school snack or mid-meal hunger pangs. I make theplas with a mix of methi and spring onion leaves and they need no accompaniment. 

While I usually refrain from the ready to eat meals, during dire situations, I fry up some frozen falafels, cheese corn balls or make some maggi and cheese/caramel popcorn. We also resort to some junk eating once in a while that could be Nutella bread/chapati roll, Waffles, Mini pancakes with maple syrup or whatever, the ‘desire’ is of the moment. 

Did this list help with your quick snack fix? What do you resort to for a quick meal?

Things to do in summer holidays!

My girl goes to an IB school and while I am thrilled at her progress and overall development, the biggest challenge is the lack of summer holidays. While the rest of the country is having summer vacations, she goes to school and when the school is about to resume for others, our holidays begin. With the conventional holidays between March and June for SSC, CBSE, ICSE and even IGCSE kids, the IB board which follows the International curriculum has its annual calendar, study and schooling pattern similar to the US and UK schools. 

Her vacations begin May end and last till mid of July and while we try to plan all our outings and holidays in these months, the lack of ‘play’ partners make it a tedious job to keep her engaged on regular days. 

Here are some of the activities I plan with my daughter to keep the days engaging and fruitful:

  • Make a schedule: While me and my girl love to make charts and plan timetables for our days together, I assure you, we rarely follow it! But what it does help in is understanding how she wants me to schedule her day. I get an insight into how much time she’s willing to allocate for reading, pretend play, board games, TV time and this helps me plan my calendar accordingly! We also have a fun outing everyday during the holidays which could be anything from going for a walk (we love walks together), going to the local park, a visit to the mall or at times, just a simple visit to the local toy shop or sandwich guy. 
  • DIY stuff: I confess, I hate doing art and craft activities of any kind but as fate would have it, she loves these activities.  We have come to an acceptance where every afternoon, post lunch, we would do an art/craft together. It could be something as simple as making a card for a friend or creating a poster with a social message, scrapbook making with sticking photos, mementos and knick-knacks which matter to her. At times, we also try to replicate a painting by looking at step-by-step YouTube videos. These activities are not just a fun way to bond with your child but take up a good couple of hours without any direct screen time.
  • Pretend play: She loves to put on skits and shows and ever since, her school started Theatre workshops; every birthday and party celebration has an ‘act’ directed and acted by her. I help her write a script and get things organized for the play. Once we used an empty cardboard box, cut it out in the shape of a TV screen and she pretended to be a TV news reporter for the next hour. These forms of pretend plays are not just fun but stimulate creativity and imagination.
  • Master Chef: She loves to help out in the kitchen and while on a daily basis, that can lead to a bit of a mess- we have a ‘masterchef’ session once a week. She writes down the recipes, I get all the ingredients cut and chopped for her and remotely guide her in to cooking a fantastic recipe. This could be anything from a pasta salad to a burger, sandwiches to waffles and most of these recipes are cooked by her. Obviously, her time with the gas is supervised and she’s never left alone with the flame on. It is endearing to see her put in her best to cook a recipe and understand the nuances of tasting and experimenting with flavors to find a taste liked by all at home. We also have a Children’s Cooking book which gives us ideas on recipes with photos and steps to cook with kids.

We also have lego sessions and competitions when her father is around on weekends, football and volleyball sessions down the building. 

Hopefully some of these ideas can help you, as well!

Simplifying meals for school!

I wake up every morning with an eternal question on what to pack for my daughter’s lunch. She leaves for school at 7 am and returns back post her school and extracurricular activities by 5 pm. The fact that she’s out of my eyesight for nearly ten hours a day, five days a week; the only way I can ensure her diet and nutrition is when I pack her bags myself. 

Undoubtedly, it is not easy to wake up at 5 am every morning to plan three meal boxes and one breakfast every morning but a mother’s love, after all, has no bounds.  This is my typical morning routine.

I pack three lunch boxes and these are my usual weekly meal preps:

Fruit box: My girl loves fruits and I make it a point to include seasonal fruits in this box.  From strawberries in winter to Mango in summer, Watermelon and peach; this snack box is for eating on the bus ride to and fro or after her sports class. If you are packing fruits like Apple and Pears for the fruit box, don’t forget to wash, peel and soak the fruit in lightly salted water for a few minutes. This ensures the fruit doesn’t get brown for a few hours.

Meal box: This is the main box that is hopefully giving her the nutrients to sustain her busy, active day.  I usually avoid packing chapati/sabji and prefer giving innovative snacks such as colorful idlis, mini burgers, cheese quesadillas, spaghetti aglio with garlic bread, hummus, assorted veggies and toasted pita and at times, a simple cucumber, chutney and cheese sandwich, mayo/cheese spread and tomato sandwich. Since the food is going to be cold when she eats it, I try to make her meals as oil and mess free as possible. 

Fun box: This is a small bento box with 2-3 compartments which she can eat whenever she wants a ‘perk me up’ in her day. One has assorted dry fruits i.e. almonds, cashews and some raisins or sunflower seeds. The other compartment has cookies and the third compartment has a junk snack i.e. pretzels, mini waffles, nutella crepe or kurkure/peppy/lays/pringles.

She’s used to eating a heavy breakfast before leaving for school every morning and we usually rotate between stir fried noddles (yes, really!), pancakes with maple syrup, sunny side up, left over pav bhaji (again, yes, she can eat this at 6 am and 10 pm), dosa/idli sambar and dal puris (made with leftover green/yellow/black dal).

The preparations for her lunch boxes take close to 45 minutes every morning but that is only if I keep stuff ready and prepared the previous night. For instance, if I am to make burgers the next morning, I boil the veggies and keep the burger patty ready to cook the next morning. The idli batter is ready with chopped veggies and cheese. The veggies needed are always washed, cut and stored in tupperware in the refrigerator.  The chutney ingredients are chopped and kept in the grinder container, in the refrigerator so that I simply grind it and use it fresh the next morning. These small preps are tedious and exhausting but are a prerequisite to keep the weekday mornings stress-free. 

For additional time saving, you can also pack the fruit box and keep it in the refrigerator, the previous night and the fun box can be packed in advance too. 

My girl doesn’t like milkshakes and juices, else, one of these boxes can be replaced for a glass of juice or fruit smoothies. 

I hope these small tips help and make snack and lunch box time an easier process for you, as well!

Dietary changes in growing girls

My girl loves sprouts and pulses of all sorts. I know they are not necessarily healthy but she is more than happy to eat a sprout salad, chana, rajma, sprout sabzi over the regular veggies. We are avid travelers and on our latest travels, she discovered a new love for black bean burgers and falafel-hummus.

While I am thrilled, she loves these healthy alternatives to nuggets and fries, unfortunately for her, she has a weak digestive system. Now, this is not something we discovered through tests but a hypothesis we derived based on how she would always complain of feeling bloated, heavy in her stomach and constant tummy aches. 

There came a time when we alternated every weekend between black bean burgers, tacos and falafel-hummus. And whenever she had the hummus and falafel wraps, the next day would go in tummy aches and discomfort. The food we make at home is always fresh so I don’t doubt the quality of the ingredients or the freshness of the food. We observed this pattern whenever she had any food made out of chickpeas and even milk.

Hence, in the past two months, I have made a lot of dietary changes for her. 

  • She used to start and end her day with a glass of warm milk with turmeric but now that has stopped. Instead, I have incorporated more cheese, paneer, soy and oats in her meals to balance the nutrients that she’s missing out on from stopping milk. 
  • I have replaced chickpeas with fava beans, broad beans, moth beans and green beans and while obviously, her favorite chickpea sandwiches and falafel/hummus do taste different- most importantly, her stomach aches and heaviness have considerably reduced.
  • Initially, I used to be obsessive about her eating a minimum number of rotis or food to keep her ‘full’ but I have learnt to withdraw from this ‘mom’ habit. I have learnt to accept that she’s old enough to understand her body and hunger, and I cannot force feed her. This acceptance itself made a world of difference as I find her demeanor to food and meal time more positive and accepting now.
  • It is okay to replace meals at times with fruits, salads and even occasionally waffles and chocolate sandwiches. These sudden ‘surprise’ meals keep her excited and raring to discover ‘when’ and ‘what’ is the next surprise.

We tried a lot of over the counter medications, home remedies and hacks to ensure she doesn’t compromise on her favorite foods but with her constant pain and discomfort; it just didn’t seem worth it.

Honestly, I haven’t told her about these changes in her diets and the alterations in her favorite recipes. She has thankfully not noticed the subtle changes in tastes and textures too. For her, if the food looks and tastes good, the subtle change and differences are something she can make-do with!

After a lot of research and experimentation to salvage her eternally favorite recipes, I have finally found a winner in falafel with a combination of fava beans and green moong beans, and a black bean burger replaced with sprouts. 

The key thing to remember is you don’t need to play by the book and the rules. What works for your friends or even your parents, don’t need to work for you and your child. It is okay to stumble on your own problems, discover challenges and issues and resolve them in a way that is unique and suitable to you.