Yummy Mummy Club!

I’ve been sort of MIA on this blog lately and it’s because I’ve been busy over at Erica Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club!

It’s beyond exciting to be a part of such an amazing group and you should really check out Bollywood Babies at

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/gurpreet-randev-bollywood-babies.

YummyMummyClub

 

 

Avery’s Bucket List!

Every parent needs to hear the story of Avery Lynn Canahuati. She was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at four months old and not expected to live past her second birthday. Avery only made it to five months and passed away yesterday.

Avery was just a baby but she has touched my spirit in a profound way. If you go to her blog at www.averycan.blogspot.ca you will understand what I mean. No doubt you will fall in love with her as millions of others have around the world. Instead of letting the thought of death impair them, her parents made Avery a bucket list of all the things they hoped to have her experience in her lifetime – however long that may be. I cannot imagine the strength it takes to face despair so courageously.

Avery was a special baby born to incredible parents and without even knowing them, they have taught me to cherish each moment I have with my daughter. All too often there are times where I’d rather watch mindless fighting on reality t.v. than play dolls on the floor. I’m vowing to never let another television show keep me from spending quality time with my daughter. My friends will understand what a huge step this is for me. FYI, I’m trying to infuse some humour here because I don’t want to get preachy. It’s a heart wrenching topic but I think Avery’s parents want us to see the joy in life, not the sadness in death.

I hope everyone will donate what they can to www.fightsma.org. I had never heard of SMA until I heard Avery’s story and it’s time to change that. I’m not usually so effusive but Avery’s story has really resonated with me. As a parent, I feel compelled to add my voice to the millions of others that this story has touched. As Avery says in her blog, “You can live life dying or you can die living life.”

The Way I Dress!

Okay, fine – the title is a bit misleading. This has nothing to do with how I dress. I really badly wish it did though. I wish I was as cool as this but alas, I am not.

The Way I Dress is a series of five short films for Mr. Porter by famed London photographer, Chris Floyd. It showcases five stylish and impeccably tailored men as they quite literally get dressed. Each film is brilliant. My favourite is The Way I Dress: Mr. Waris Ahluwalia. It was shot at the Mercer Hotel in New York City in February 2012. You have to watch it to understand.

I find him utterly fascinating. To be so fearlessly stylish while retaining your unique cultural identity makes for a wonderfully refreshing and inspiring role model. I hope my children will find the courage to be themselves so freely as well.

The Nanny or The Nanni?!

If you have read my blog before, you know I’m East Indian. That means that we have a few of our own nuances and idiosyncrasies. I always feel the need to remind every one of that before I share something personal because it can mean that situations I’m writing about may seem slightly foreign (for lack of a better word) to other mommies.

One of those such situations is the pressure on us as mothers NOT to entrust our children in the hands of nannies or daycare workers. God forbid the horror. Nameless, faceless strangers who quite possibly are Satan worshipping, sadistic, psychopathic murderers if you believe the stories. According to the older generation, no one can care better for your children than their own grandparents. This may not always be possible but more often than not, it’s the norm. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure which is better – the nanny or the nanni (grandmother)! That being said, my mother-in-law is the one who babysits my daughter while I’m at work and she does a great job of it. Having a nanny was never an option for us as I’m sure it would have horribly offended everyone’s sensibilities.  However, I’m just not convinced that it still wouldn’t be easier to have a nanny sometimes.

To begin with, a nanny works for you.  Your mother-in-law or mother does not. Lord have mercy, does that ever make the biggest difference. A big, suck ass, not fun difference to be clear. Let me outline just some of the differences:

  • You hire a nanny to work around your schedule. You tell her the hours and that’s pretty much it. Well, a nanni (or dhadhiji or whatever your child calls their grandmother) isn’t hired to work around anyone’s timetable. Granted, most of the time it’s not a big deal but there have been just a few too many instances where my daughter has been dropped off at my workplace because my mother-in-law had somewhere to go. Not exactly fun when you have a million things to do and a crying toddler doesn’t make it any easier.
  • Your nanny will follow your rules. Have you ever tried to get your child’s grandparents to even listen to your rules, let alone follow them? It’s practically impossible. We raise our daughter dairy, gluten, and refined sugar free in our household. While we have made her grandparents very aware of this, I’m pretty convinced that all goes out the window once we’re out of eyesight. My sister has the same problem with my mother when she’s watching her daughter. The worst part is that they will lie straight to your face and unashamedly so if you ask whether they follow the diet guidelines.
  • Your nanny often helps out with household tasks. I have friends with nannies who clean, cook, do laundry, iron clothes, and even shop for groceries. One nanny even stained the deck! Hearing their stories makes me absolutely and undeniably green with envy. In case you’re wondering, mother-in-laws do none of the aforementioned. Double ugh.
  • Your nanny’s job is the children. This is a big one. Your nanny may help out with the household chores but she is fully aware that her priority is the children. This means that she must take full responsibility for what the children are doing during the day and this means more than just planting them in front of the television. A grandmother doesn’t consider her grandchild her job. It’s her joy and that means spoiling the living crap out of them. If the child wants to watch television all day, that’s just what the blessed child will get. It’s almost as though grandparents forget discipline as soon as any grandchildren are born. My mother used a wooden spoon on me but now she tells me she finds it hard to even scold my daughter?! Are you friggin’ kidding me?! This is what I deal with.

Those are just a few of my issues with NOT having a nanny. But there are certain things that make up for all that. I never have to worry about whether my daughter is mistreated in any way. I know she’s with someone who loves her unconditionally and would never willingly bring her any harm. My daughter will never have to deal with a nanny quitting and breaking her heart. More importantly, I will never have to deal with a nanny not quitting and my daughter loving her more than me and thus, breaking my heart. And at the end of the day, that makes it all worth it….unless of course, you have a nanny you’d lend me for part of the day – maybe just long enough to cook dinner in the evenings?

Speaking More Than Just Gibberish!

My daughter has just turned two and I’m finding that she will not stop talking! It’s constant and never-ending babble.  Granted, I understand only half of what she’s trying to communicate but nonetheless, she’s definitely saying something. When we (as in my husband and I, not the I-think-I’m-royalty ‘we’) found out I was pregnant, we decided to raise our daughter to speak both Punjabi and English. Punjabi being the first language for both of us and English being an obvious necessity.

Though we both agreed we wanted her to be bilingual, it really wasn’t such an easy decision. I grew up speaking Punjabi as English wasn’t exactly my parents’ forte. In fact, I walked into my first day of kindergarten with absolutely zero knowledge of the English language. I mean absolutely, embarassingly nothing. Luckily, I was naively unaware of the various taunts that I’m sure were thrown my way by the other kids. Later on and once I mastered the English language, I would be witness to and acutely observant of such taunts that would nonchalantly be directed at the new immigrant children. My heart would always hurt a little for them and a little for myself.

It’s cruel to grow up being made aware of just how different you are. It’s more than just being different, it’s being made to feel inferior that really wounds the soul. Unfortunately, that’s how you feel when you don’t speak the language of the masses. With those sorts of memories, you can be a bit wary of teaching your child anything but English. Especially as her crucial first language. At the same time, I wanted her to have a sense of belonging to the rich culture she is born into and that can be made difficult without understanding its language.

My husband comes from a different background. His dad grew up in England and as such, my husband had no difficulty with English at all. He also had an older brother who exposed him to the language early on. As such, he didn’t quite understand my fear of not speaking exclusively English with my daughter.  He just knew he wanted her to know Punjabi so she could understand her grandparents. In his words, “we didn’t need to complicate it” and in the end, we didn’t.

One of the easiest ways for us to expose our daughter to both languages was through books. If any of you mommies out there are interested, there are some great multilingual story books for children at www.multilingualbooks.com. These books come in a variety of languages along with English so you can read either version depending on your mood. Some of my favourites are ‘Deepak’s Diwali’ and ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’.  Another site exclusively for Punjabi/English books is www.giandukaan.com and a favourite is ‘My First Fruits’. My daughter loves her books and these allow her to be read to in either language. It’s a fun and simple way for her to learn the words in both the languages of her world.

Now my daughter speaks and understands both languages quite well. It seems I was worried about nothing. What’s most surprising for me is that although we speak to her predominantly in Punjabi, she responds to us in English the vast majority of times. Albeit, with an accent but it’s definitely English. Besides, a little girl saying “I lub ju” has to be one of the cutest things I’ve ever heard.

Manicure Magic!

As a mom, I try very hard to keep it together. I had vowed that I wouldn’t become one of those moms – the ones that never change out of sweats, hardly wash their hair, have dried food constantly caked onto their coats. You know exactly well the ones I’m talking about. But lets get real for a minute. It’s just so damn hard. So much harder than I thought it would be. Why doesn’t anyone warn you about these things?! Oh wait, they probably did but I must have put it down to them being one of those moms and brushed it aside. Ugh, I guess the joke’s on me.

And seriously? The first thing to go when I had a baby was my nice manicured nails. I can usually wrangle some free time to make myself presentable but forget about waiting for any polish to dry. Someone needs to tell Tom Cruise what mission impossible really is. If I’m lucky, I might occasionally find time to make it to the manicurist but no more at-home nail jobs for me. It’s the law of the universe – as soon as you apply that polish (when baby is napping, of course), the baby wakes up. Happens every single time. Go ahead and try it if you don’t believe me. Just don’t blame me if the truth leaves you in tears.

Luckily for all mommies, nail stickers have been invented! Nope, these aren’t just for teens and tweens and such! I realize these are nothing new but I was always wary to give them a try and mistakenly believed they were sort of adolescent but honestly, these miracle manicures are being wasted on the young. It’s mothers like us that really need them! These are so easy to use and so much cheaper than going to a nail salon to get a manicure done. You simply apply the sticker directly to your nail and file it down to fit perfectly! That’s it! No waiting for it to dry and no worrying about smudged polish. This could possibly be one of the best inventions ever.

You can find these stickers everywhere – Sephora, Walmart, Shopper’s Drug Mart. They are inexpensive and actually last quite a long time on your nails (mine are good for over a week). The best part is that they look amazingly cute! You need to try these immediately. Trust me, it’s another step in the opposite direction from becoming that mom.

Chanel Conquers Bombay!

The annual Chanel Metier D’Arts fashion show took place on December 6th, 2011 at the Grand Palais in Paris. I might be showing a bit of bias but it is one of my favourite shows from Chanel ever! It was heavily Indian inspired and I loved the extravagance of it all. It displayed beautiful beading, jewels, and textures. Absolutely beyond gorgeous. It was literally a feast for the eyes so it was only fitting that the stage was set to resemble a fancy dinner.

Some of the outfits may not exactly be mommy appropriate but we can all pull a little inspiration from the strikingly opulent pieces that were shown!

This runway look was one of the best to walk the stage! I love the beautifully tailored jacket with the beading and the heavy statement necklace is breathtaking. Try wearing a similarily elaborate necklace with a t-shirt and jeans to add a bit of luxury to your everyday look.

I love the easy glam of this outfit and obviously it showcases another stunning jacket.  The pants are perfect and I can imagine any mommy wearing these during the day. And of course, you can never go wrong with a black sweater! 

Here’s a beautiful and different take on the little black dress. The embroidery is dazzling and I love the loose cut which would be flattering on any figure.

Anyways, I thought everyone would enjoy the eye candy from this exquisite show! You can watch the show trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWtOvbQHFIM 

 

Living out Childhood Dreams!

When I was growing up, we didn’t really have much money. My parents were working the jobs that everyone else was too good for – manual labour at minimum wage. So you can only imagine the many toys we didn’t have.

I used to go to my friends’ houses and try to get my toy fix but it was never quite the same thing. We never had the dollhouses, the barbie car and motorcycle, the magic bake, the latest boardgames – none of it. But out of all that we never had, there was one that I particularily felt a deep loss for. The play kitchen. I wanted one so bad and for so long. I think I may have still wanted one late into my tweens but that might be a whole other story.

Well, thank you baby Jesus, because guess what? I have a daughter now! And you know what that means? That means that I can by us – ermm, I mean her – a brand new, totally awesome play kitchen of her own! I’m beyond excited and have been impatiently waiting till she was old enough to get it!

So, I have a few options here. The kitchen I want the most is just a bit out of my price range. It’s actually a lot out of my price range. It’s triple zeros, fancy kind of stuff. Needless to say, that’s not one of the options. I need to look elsewhere.

I suppose one option is a kitchen set that is pretty much a knock-off of the aforementioned fancy kitchen. I’m just not sure how I feel about this though. It’s still a gorgeous kitchen but is this any better than having the fake Cabbage Patch Doll? It’s just not the same thing (I would know, I had one). For my friends who know me, you know my feelings in regards to fake replicas of anything. Why not just get an original? Instead of that fake Prada bag, go out and buy a nice original one. It will be much better constructed and at the end of the day, who cares about the logo on a bag when you know it’s really a Frauda? I love me some designer bags but not because of a logo, you know what I mean?

The second choice is an almost as pretty corner kitchen. This one doesn’t have the same retro look and is an attached set as opposed to two pieces. We all know that almost doesn’t quite cut it though. This kitchen does have more play options – it has the washing machine, telephone, and real cloth curtains. Not only that, it comes with some pots and pans. Can I get over the fact that its not as asthetically pleasing to me?

I know some of you mommies might think I’m being selfish here – it should be about my daughter and all that hooplah. Get real, for a minute. How often are any of our children’s toys (or clothes or accessories or anything) really for the children? Sometimes, it’s just as much for mommy as it is for baby!

I love both these kitchens. As a young girl, I might have appreciated the extra gadgets on the corner kitchen. As a mom, I definitely understand the need for extra counter space. The best part is that both these kitchens are on sale at Toys R’ Us for 20% off right now! Let me know which one you think I should get! I think practicality is winning out here and I’m leaning towards the corner set with extra counter space – who knows, the ample cooking space might just inspire my baby to become a chef one day!

Love, Love, Love!

You know that feeling when you suddenly and inexplicably fall in love? Well, it happens to me all the time and these are my current obsessions!

photo by Miles Aldridge

OpenSky! It’s no lie when they say this is like twitter with the added bonus of shopping. What’s not to love about that?! You can follow everyone from Padma Lakshmi to Preston Bailey and they basically act as your curators to hand pick products that you may like! It’s brilliant and so addictive!

Martyn Lawrence Bullard! I am obsessed. There is nothing not to love about this man.  In my opinion, he is the total breakout star of the show ‘Million Dollar Decorators’ – hands down.   I love his high glamour designs and his  clientele but most of all, I love his over-the-top persona. Now if only he would come out with a book! Until then, I’ll  just  have to make do by following him on Opensky.

Voluspa Candles! I’m an admitted candle junkie but these are my absolute favourite. There are so many reasons to love these candles including the fact that they are so beautifully fragrant – one candle will easily permeate throughout the entire floor of your home.  They also come in gorgeous and über glamorous packaging. There are a variety of distinct collections and each collection is better than the rest!  And best of all, they burn ultraclean thanks to the coconut wax blend – making them safe to enjoy even with tiny ones around. They are a must buy!

Red Velvet Cake! I’ve become a slave to this dessert.  I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember but recently,  I’ve been craving it almost daily! This is obviously quite disastrous for my workout regime but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  My love for Red Velvet Cake even inspired me to attempt to recreate this delicious dessert with some rather scary results. However, there’s now some light at the end of this tunnel! I’ve finally found a recipe that even a novice cook (such as myself) can make – thank you, Paula Dean! Try it out but don’t say I didn’t warn you! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/grandmother-pauls-red-velvet-cake-recipe/index.html

Sephora Philosophy Welcome Baby Set! This is the perfect gift for a new mother! As a mom, I can attest to the ravage that all those stressful and sleepless nights can do to your skin. A kit like this, that comes with all the products necessary to help a new mom regain her pregnancy glow, is magical. Trust me, if you add this set to all the cute stuff you buy for baby, you will be an absolute hit at the next baby shower!  http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P285145&categoryId=C22530&shouldPaginate=true

There you have it, a list of things I’m currently craving! Thankfully, Christmas is right around the corner!