Sometimes when I write this blog, I feel a tad guilty.
Am I being totally honest here ? Am I portraying only a slice of my life here ? Am I writing only about the funny and smart things my kids say ? Am I hiding from the world that my PMS lasts for exactly 21 days and 5 hours, give and take two ?
The thing is when you read a blog, anyone's blog you see only a slice of the blogger's life there. The slice the author/blogger has chosen to put forward for world viewing in HTML. So it would be wrong to assume a character, a life just based on the posts he/she may be doing.
Just because someone eats organic almond flour pancake for breakfast and posts the recipe does not mean they don't eat phuchka for lunch. Just because someone is proudly posting pictures of masterpieces drawn by her 2 year old does not mean that the said 2 year old did not get a timeout for scribbling on the walls that very morning.If you give it some thought, you are only seeing a small window, like looking through the camera lens.What lies outside of that is nobody's business.
You should neither judge nor form lofty opinions based on that.
In my case, I mostly write about the funny things that my girls do because that is what I want to remember about their childhood. The fun part. I don't want to remember the tantrums, the meltdown, the shrieking screams, the tears, lots of them. They are a part of life for sure but ten years later they won't matter. This will.
But today I want to write something different. Amidst the fun I also want to write about the learning and the growing. Both my daughters' and mine.
So I usually write about LS's smart retorts which are really really funny and she is indeed a sharp kid, sharp as a knife and cute as a button. At four and half she reads menus at restaurants. Have I told you she is also funny?
But also she is someone who takes a little time to warm up to people. Every kid comes with their individual traits and LS, I have realized is not very comfortable amongst a group of people she does not know much. I mean not strangers, just people she is not that familiar with. In that scenario she is a completely different person. She gets quiet, even timid and until few months back she would also be very intimidated by friendly gestures from such people. There were birthday parties where she would resort to howling and gatherings where she refused to talk to anyone. This in sharp contrast to the playful, naughty girl doing somersaults amongst people she is very comfortable with. And by "people she is comfortable with", I mean both friends and families she sees more frequently.
No doubt her transition to pre-school was tearful and difficult. In the firs few months she refused to play with the kids in class and took to sticking to the teacher.There was a point I was also getting a tad worried because BS had been a moderately social child with an easy smile and an eagerness to participate in everything and I had no clue how to make LS more comfortable in a crowd.
"You were exactly like that at her age." my Mother said. "You would chatter and talk non-stop at home and outside you were a bhije beral." I chose to ignore her statement.
When I talked to her teachers early last year though, they seemed the least bit concerned and stuck to my mother's theory of "every flower blooms in its own time". I need not worry, she is a smart kid and plays with few kids if not all, they said. The only thing they however suggested I could do is to enroll her in some group activity classes to make her comfortable in large groups.
Since BS was already learning taekwondo, I thought to enroll LS in the same class. I knew the teachers very well and if both kids could spend an hour there three afternoons a week, I could spend a good amount of time at Kohl's across the street.Yeah, that was my incentive. Also that my otherwise polite girls could beat up people in future if necessary.
Last summer when I enrolled LS in the taekwondo class, after the first couple of classes she refused to go. Forget Kohl's, I would be sitting there in class with her and yet she cried. Her teacher however was an excellent gentleman with far more patience than mine. He never forced her to do any forms and tried to play games with her. Even on the day LS locked herself in the office and refused to come out, he managed it all pretty well. Didi, too helped by always being on her side. Slowly, and I mean really slowly, over a period of 3 months or so LS warmed up to her taekwondo class. She played tag with her teacher, jumped on the trampoline, punched the dummies and also learned some karate moves. I think the class had a positive effect because even in her pre-school she gladly did the weekly sports classes and made more friends.
"I just want her to be in the class. It is fine if she doesn't test for any belts," I would tell her teacher. At that point I was just relieved that she was at least going to the class and enjoying herself there.
Finally, first testing came up around end of Feb this year. BS was testing for her brown-black belt. If LS at all wanted, she would get a yellow belt, the second level. I asked her if she wanted an yellow belt.
"Yes, Mr.K has said I am ready, " LS said, very confident, uncharacteristically excited about testing day. I gathered she had no idea that there will be loads of parents that day and she would have to demo her moves in front of them. I tried to prepare her by telling that there might be more people in class on the day but she need not worry and such but she didn't really pay me enough attention.
On the day of testing, when we reached the school and she saw all those people there, her face darkened as excepted. Soon tears started rolling down her cheeks. She being the youngest student in the class, the other parents were actually happy to see her and more friendly than usual. That made things only worse and she refused to leave our side. Finally after much pep talk by me, the Dad, the sis, the teacher and an incentive of frozen yogurt with loads of topping, she went on to do her form exercises. Her face was still tense and my heart probably beat faster than hers. But I knew she needed this push for her own good. She however did everything that was expected of her albeit with less power and vigor than on her regular days.
Test over we came back and the day was forgotten.
Next week was result and LS got her yellow belt. She had done her form in full and so she passed on to the next level. We tried to make a song and dance of it and she too seemed a little proud of her yellow belt. There is still miles to go for her to be more open of people but we do see a lot of changes. She has quite a few friends in school and her class teacher really loves her.
Thirteen yeras later when she packs her bag and steps into the outside world, I want to remember her first yellow belt. It must have taken a lot of courage for her 39" petite frame, to do those exercises in front of people she did not know but she had survived and survived good.
And I am sure she always will. To conquer her fears and step out, to face the world and say "Hai-Yah"
Now to the chicken stew, which this time is Kerala style. LS loves chicken and every Sunday a chicken curry is made with her in mind. BS is not too fond of meat these days and I try to make a chicken dish that caters to all four of us as a Sunday lunch. We are quiet fond of this Kerala Chicken stew with creamy coconut milk from Mishmash's blog.
I have adapted it and add vegetables like carrots and beans to it sometimes. My method is also a bit different to suit my taste. I also make it less spicy for the kids. To make it spicier for us, I use Preeoccupied's idea of finishing off with fried red chilli and garlic slices.
Spooned over a bowl of rice, this creamy and fragrant Kerala Chicken Stew makes a lovely Sunday meal for us. It really really is very good. Cannot thank Mishmash and her beautiful blog enough for it.
Marinate about 2lb of chicken pieces with salt, turmeric powder, little lime juice and 2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste
Chop about 4-5 small red potatoes in halves.
Chop a small sized carrot in sticks
Microwave the vegetables
Heat vegetable oil in a saucier or kadhai
To the hot oil add
6-8 whole dry red chilies and
6 cloves of garlic sliced thin
When you get the flavor of the garlic remove the garlic and red chillies and keep aside. We will use this for garnish at the last stage.
Now to the garlic flavored oil add the chicken pieces. Saute the chicken pieces till they loose their raw coloring. If water is released from the chicken, cook till water dries up. Remove the chicken pieces and keep aside.
Add some more oil if needed to the kadhai.
Temper the oil with
2 green cardamom
1 thin stick of cinnamom
10-12 whole black peppercorn
2 star anise
and a sprig of curry patta
Soon the fragrance in your kitchen will be so beautiful that you will forget Dior.
At this point to the oil add
1 medium sized red onion thinly sliced
5-6 pearl onion (optional)
1" knob of ginger peeled and chopped
Fry till the onion is soft.
Next add the potatoes and carrots cooked in the microwave.
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp of home-made Garam masala powder and saute the vegetables.
Add the fried chicken pieces and mix with the other stuff in that kadhai
1 cup coconut milk + 2 cup of warm water
salt to taste
and let the gravy come to a boil.
Add 1 more cup of coconut milk, lower the heat, cover and let the chicken cook.
Once it is done finish off by
adding a few more curry leaves
the fried garlic + red chilli from the first step
You can also heat a tbsp of ghee in separate pan, roast some cashews and add it to the stew as suggested in the original recipe. I often skip this step though it boosts the flavor.
Enjoy with some rice.