The school’s have started and all the mommies around me are super busy!. The mornings are hard pressed and evenings are equally engaging with home work and assignments. The moms, trying to juggle their lives with too many variables bring a smile to my lips . This phase of life is no doubt the most creative and innovative one. The little people in the family bring out the best in their moms. Motherhood is challenging and thus coerces a women to push her boundaries and multi task not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.
I saw the school bus leave as I sat in my balcony sipping my tea. As if they have finished the first innings of the day, the moms of my compound now sat with one another in the gazebo to unwind themselves from the morning hustle and bustle. Watching me watch them from my balcony, they waved and gestured me to come and sit with them. This I knew was coming! I packed my freshly baked cake in a container and set off for my tete a tete with the mommy friends.
ʻ Good morning girls! hope your day started wellʼ I asked them.
ʻ Yah, aunty, although if my kids were not fussy eaters, my mornings would be much more pleasant said Neha.
ʻMine tooʼ said the others collectively! And we all shared a laugh. ʻWell, that usually is a challenge for most mommies, I remarked.
ʻIts all trial and error, certain things work one day and don’t work the next dayʼ said Dipti.
ʻI would like to term it as reinventing myself everyday for my kids. Sounds better isn’t it, Diptiʼ exclaimed Bela and everybody shared a hearty laugh.
ʻYes, definitely, it indeed is reinventing oneself. The children change not only ones life but ones personality too. They bring out the best and sometimes the worst in you I could not help but add to the discussion.
ʻ I really need some tips how I can improve my kids eating habits, said Nandini. ʻIn these times, when the processed food is readily available which is more attractive to the eye as well as to the tongue, it becomes a big task for the mums to attract their kids to a normal staple hot mealʼ Nandini continued. The rest of the mums silently agreed with Nandiniʼs remarks. ʻ
ʻWell to start with, I think catching them young is the key. Therefore, as soon as the child starts eating solid food, he should be given all the tastes. I am not implying that they should be given spices, but all the vegetables that are cooked in the household should be assimilated in their food. Most of the Indian moms use only potatoes, or carrots or food that can be made into pulp for their meals. But adding other vegetables like cauliflower, peas, pumpkin, butternut, calabash, spinach to the potatoes or to the ʻkhichdiʼ will acquaint the child to these flavours, ʼ .
ʻ The pediatrician also told me that as soon as the kids are able to chew, moms should stop making pulpy food. They should be given whatever the adults are eating at home. The food can be made into chewable bites or crushed with hand so that it is easy for the child to chew and along side gets the feel of food Jaya added.
I wanted to share some of my mother’s wisdom with these ladies. ʻ One key thing to make the children love food is to make the child’s digestive system strong which makes them eat more. An easy way to do this is to increase the healthy bacteria in their intestines by adding plenty of yogurt in their diet. Dahi, or the home made curd was an imminent part of my diet. My mother made sure that my siblings and I ate dahi for breakfast and lunch. That habit has stayed with me till now, and I make sure that two meals in a day are accompanied with dahi.ʼ
Nandini then remarked, ʻ I am also reminded of my mother’s habit of serving our plates with all the food items that were served on the table, tiny portions though, but each and everything that had been cooked for that meal was put in our plates. From a young age, I remember my plate to be stocked with roti, daal, rice, vegetable, salad, and papad. My siblings and I were served exactly like the adults of the family. The interesting part is that my mother would never force us to eat everything, she would just put it there, and before we could really understand, we all were in the habit of eating everything that was served
ʻ Too much talk about the food and too many instructions while eating tend to put off the kids and eating time usually becomes less attractive. Despising food is related more to the psychology of the child rather than his/her appetite, I said, talking to them about their favorite topics while eating is better instead of talking about the food itself.ʼ
ʻEating habits of parents also play a role on the kids eating, ʼ said Neha, and ʻI grew up in a household where we had a ʻfruit timeʼ every evening half an hour before dinner. This was a prelude to the dinner and my parents and siblings would finish a big bowl of fruit. But after getting married, I never made the effort to continue this habit, and that is why I am struggling to feed fruits to my childrenʼ.
ʻ I am definitely going to start this practice in my homeʼ, said Nandini thoughtfully, ʻmy children like fruits, but having an exclusive fruit time will definitely make them eat fruits more regularlyʼ.
ʻThe bottom line is to keep on exposing the kids to fruits and veggies, and not stop exposing them if they don’t like eating a particular thing.ʼ I said.
ʻSubtlety my friends is a virtue especially with the growing minds, suggestions work not instructions, sometimes reverse psychology works and not the direct approachʼ, I concluded.
As the conversation progressed, all the moms exchanged their problems and solutions. The small session of real life experiences was more productive than reading a book on how to raise kids. To be surrounded by active and alert minds is a blessing and to share and use the wisdom is a healthy practice. Since I knew this topic is engaging, evolving and never ending, I bid adieu, only to be invited to similar session in a few days time again!