Mother’s Day Gifts from Dad to Mom

…And Mother’s Day is here again! Last year I talked about family picnics, photographs and handmade gifts for mommy dearest (read the full post here). This year around, I’ve decided to draw up a list of things I can do for my better half to make her feel special. That will be a surprise in the real sense of the word. Here are some items from my to-do bucket list.

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Image courtesy: Flickr

Breakfast all done and ready: The better half adores blueberry pancakes. Ambitious though I may be to give her (and the kids) a ready-made sumptuous breakfast on D-day, blueberry pancakes, I’m afraid, do not figure anywhere on the list. I know what I am good at and that’s a double egg omelet with onions, tomatoes, green chilies, mushroom and cheese, along with perfectly toasted bread and a dollop of slightly melting butter on top. Not very elaborate, agreed; but then I can confidently say that it will be a perfectly plated delicious breakfast not many can say no to, least of all my beloved wife. However, more ambitious dads (read: better cooks) can go through these doable by some brunch recipe ideas to mark the happy occasion.

The kids (and their dad) out of the house: One major change in my wife’s life since she has become a mom is the absence of sleep. From as far back as I can remember, she would love to spend a free half hour in the afternoon dozing off; a lazy evening curled up in the armchair with a book, snoring away to glory (oh yes, you snore my dear – I know you’ll read this and turn up your nose at me but you do). All that changed once we had a baby. I don’t even remember the last time I saw her peacefully catching forty winks in the middle of the day and I want to change all that on this Mother’s Day. So the kids and I are going out to gallivant someplace (I know not where yet) and leave her all in peace and quiet for a few hours. Boy, she sure deserves it a lot more than all the rest of us put together.

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Image courtesy: Public Domain Pictures

A poem dedicated to mom: From each one of us. I came across a list of Mother’s Day activities for kids which talked about penning heartfelt poems for our mothers and we’ve been working on ours since back then (surprise!) and though it doesn’t rhyme in all the right places (I’m talking about mine, it definitely doesn’t), I’m sure it is something that will elicit quite a few laughs. And be treasured as a keepsake for eons to come. So there!

P.S. When this post is up, I’ll probably be through with the numbers 1 and 2 on my list. Will definitely fill you all in on how the day panned out. Till then, Happy Mother’s Day to all the special women in our lives!

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Cool April Fools’ Day Dad Pranks

April Fools’ Day is right around the corner. Needless to say, I have been scouring the internet for family-friendly tricks that can be played on my kids (and better half perhaps – should I or should I not risk it?). I did chance upon a couple of harmless yet fun pranks and thought of sharing them with you.

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Dad and son” by nanozero87 is licensed under CC by 2.0

  • Weird milk: If your kids love eating cereal, this could be the ideal trick. Simple organic food coloring or juices which can be used as food dyes are readily available and can be used to dye your kids’ milk a wonderful hue of purple or orange or blue. Imagine their delight (or shock) when they find their cereal floating in orange colored milk!
  • Non-lathering soap: Any bar of soap, when painted on with a coat of clear or transparent nail polish will refuse to work up a lather. Just be prepared for mid-bath shouts from the bathroom if you go ahead with this.
  • Misbehaving mouse: A computer lets you easily set the mouse settings such that the cursor moves in the opposite direction than what it usually does. Your kids will be flabbergasted as they move the mouse this way and that way, before yelling out for you.

Let’s try not acting like an adult for once and have some good laughs in the process. Wotsay?

4 New Year Resolutions for Dads/Husbands

Resolutions are meant to be broken, aren’t they? Or so they say. So this year, I decided I would try to make resolutions that make me feel happier, instead of having to do something just as a compulsion. This way I’ll probably be better off at keeping them till the end of the year.

Here are my 4 New Year resolutions as a dad/husband for 2018.

  1. Home = NO Office Work

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Family Fun Silhouette” by GDJ is licensed under CC by 2.0

I admit that I don’t carry office work back home regularly but then particularly near the weekends, I do often work late nights at home just to get things done and wrapped up. Now that I come to think of it, most of these tasks can easily be carried forward and done the next working day, in office itself. So my first resolution for 2018 is – home means NO office work at all. That is me time, us time, family time, reading time, virtual games time, outdoor games time. Personal relationships and spending quality time together with my near and dear ones ranks right on top of my list in the New Year.

  1. Unplanned Date Nights MORE Often

I was reading an article from The Huffington Post website here the other day and they were talking about how date nights take a backseat when you’ve been married for a considerable duration of time, plus why they are so important that they need to be marked on your calendar as a ritual of sorts. A candlelight dinner would be a nostalgic trip back to our courtship days – check. Not having to get things done or look after the kids and actually spending time connecting with each other – true, much needed. I don’t remember the last time me and my wife went out dancing, while back in our college days it was a part of our weekly routine and something we looked forward to the most. The icing on the cake? The children will get to have a good time being pampered (and vice versa) by their grandparents while we are out. A win-win situation!

  1. Actual PRINTED Photograph Albums

A popular photographer made this very important observation: Since cameras are making their presence felt everywhere from our phones to our tablets, it is estimated that in the last 5 years or so, more photographs have been clicked in the world than all the prior years combined! But then, where will these photographs end up? They’ll probably die a quick death in our phones itself when we upgrade to a newer model. I remember my childhood vividly even today as a result of the actual print photo albums we still dust off the shelf and open on birthdays and other special occasions. So my third resolution for the New Year is this: I will get an album of selected digital images printed for every occasion – birthday, anniversary or anything else – in the form of an actual physical photo album. My kids will definitely thank me for it one fine day.

  1. Family Breakfasts EVERYDAY

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Full English Breakfast” by OgreofWart is licensed under CC by 2.0

What could be a better way to set the tone for the day than breakfasting together with family, howsoever hurried it may be? Breakfasts are pretty easy to whip up (there’s always cereal and milk if running short of time), everyone is fresh and well-rested (hence lesser squabbles – hopefully – than during the last meal of the day) and the family can plan together for the day that lies ahead of them. A simple way to feel grateful for life’s little pleasures at the beginning of the day and get charged up to face the world head on – that’s how I look at my fourth and final resolution. What’s more, it has scientific backing too (read more here).

At the end of the year, I’ll fill you in on how successful I’ve been at keeping my word. Happy New Year, everyone!

Memories – The Best Souvenirs

The dictionary meaning of souvenir reads thus:

‘A thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place or event.’

Very often, souvenirs are little objects or memorabilia that we pick up on our journeys or vacations to faraway places. Thinking of souvenirs, what comes to your mind? Gaudy-colored key chains, small teddy bears in miniature jars or the ubiquitous fridge magnets? Well, to my mind, souvenirs are all this and more.

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Shell” by Hope_first is licensed under CC by 2.0

Here are a couple of my most cherished and treasured souvenirs till date (all collected by my little one): a half-broken sea shell occupying pride of place on my writing desk (through which the daughter could hear the waves lashing the shore when she put her ear to it); a sturdy little pine cone up on the mantelpiece picked up on a random Sunday picnic from the side of a hill; the beginning of a diary entry written in scraggly letters on hotel stationery from one of our trips (abandoned mid-way) and a straw sun hat with a pink ribbon from one of our beach excursions.

Yes, our refrigerator too is home to a great number of magnets from many different parts of the world. But then, the best souvenirs are those that have a personal touch to them, like the ones mentioned above. After all, nothing can beat memories being the best souvenirs of all. Am I right?

The Different Shades of Daddying

Am I a geeky, nerdy dad? Well, yes and no. Truth be told, fathers and the love for gadgets somehow always make for a picture perfect couple. Gadgets are fascinating and one of my favorite pastimes is finding out more about the newest gizmo to hit the market, even if it is way beyond reach (monetary-wise, ahem). Well, what’s wrong with a little day-dreaming every now and then, huh, if it gives one happiness? And in the love for gadgets and other latest multimedia gizmos, my daughter seems to have taken after me.

Video games are dad and daughter bonding times. We’re comfortably seated in our favorite squishy bean bags and playing car racing games, pet games like these ones, Super Mario Run or something totally fun like Just Dance, accompanied of course with squeals of laughter and/or accusations of “But that’s cheating!” or “But you’re supposed to let me win!”. At that precise point I patiently explain to my daughter that I used to let her win once upon a time when she was much younger, just to make her feel happy. Not any more, since she’s growing up fast.

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Game” by monikabaechler is licensed under CC by 2.0

Initially, I always thought I would be a ‘tough dad’ – a dad who firmly believed in a disciplined, regimented style of parenting. But then as time went by, I realized something new; to be a tough dad, parenting would mostly always feel like having to say a firm NO to your kids for this, that and the other. It’s not that I don’t say no to my daughter now. Eating a full bar of chocolate fifteen minutes after breakfast? No. Ignoring the day’s worksheets and homework and prancing off to your neighborhood pal’s place? No. Throwing a tantrum for a new dress just because you feel like having it? A big NO.

But then, there have to be yes’s to balance the no’s too. An extra ten minutes of bedtime reading because you want to finish an interesting story? Yes. Enrolling in a guitar class because you feel you’ll enjoy it? Yes (even if you realize along the way you’re not suited to it and decide to give it up). Going out with your best friend and her parents for a day’s picnic? Yes.

Kids going out remind me of this news piece I came across recently. A really brilliant dad has reportedly come up with an app called ReplyASAP, which could soon come to be counted amongst the best parenting apps in the world (my personal opinion). Apparently, the kids’ phone screens will go berserk and all the alarms will set themselves off at the loudest volume until he/she responds to the text from his/her parents. Sheer genius! Wish I was an app developer of sorts and had got the idea before this brilliant dad did.

And now, I’m afraid I must wrap up all my ramblings and head to the video gaming session my daughter has been waiting for. She’s been giving me those side glances sitting on the bean bag with the controls in her hand. Who’s going to win? Daddy of course!

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Arms” by OpenClipart-Vectors is licensed under CC by 2.0

A Busy, Busy Dad

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Cup Of Coffee” by freephotocc is licensed under CC by 2.0

Okay, so I’m not trying to exaggerate or anything, but the last month has been a whirlwind of activities, both on the personal as well as professional front. Let’s talk about the home front here, because I always leave work at work and then come home (even if it means reaching home very late as has been the case lately). I’ve taken up jogging daily, even if it means for a mere 10 minutes. I’ll gradually – hopefully – increase it for good by and by.

Also, a new resolution which I have pledged to make time for every day is reading. I used to read books by the tons back in college, post which something or the other always found precedence over reading. So half an hour before bedtime, all gadgets off and reading it is. Feels really good and satisfying. The daughter has specially designed a bookmark to mark where I left off.

What I’ve come to realize is this: There’s nothing known as a perfect work-life balance. If someone says it exists, they’re probably trying to show off or something. You work some, you live your life some, but both always tend to overlap. What is really important here is what works best for you and your family; whether you’re able to have an evening meal together at the dining table and laugh over the day’s happenings, planning for the next day to come. That, at least for me, is what I call the perfect work-life balance.

Adieu July. Here’s to a new month full of work and life!

 

For Chef Daddy

The daughter and her mom pulled off nothing short of an extremely clever coup this Father’s Day. I got a gift, oh yes, and a very, very thoughtful one at that. The dictionary defines it thus: ‘A protective garment worn over the front of one’s clothes and tied at the back’. I define it thus: ‘An excuse to trick dad into entering the kitchen’. Yes, I got an exclusive, personally customized apron as a gift last weekend.

The hand-painted message on the front of the apron read: ‘Love is sweet. So are you.’ Sweet, both literally and figuratively, I thought. And hence, out came the non-existent chef in me and I decided to take the family by surprise (that they were no doubt, expecting!).

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Afters” by Meditations is licensed under CC by 2.0

The microwave came to my rescue. Sugar, cocoa and cornstarch went into a bowl, accompanied by whisking in a little milk. Approximately four minutes on high in the microwave, then stirring every 90 seconds and again microwaving for 3-4 minutes. One teaspoon of vanilla extract to the hot mixture and the ‘dessert-a-la-daddy’ went into the refrigerator to get chilled in time for dinner.

Agreed, the chocolate pudding (if you can call it that) wasn’t exactly lip-smacking but near enough. And the looks on the faces were of pure awe, if you know what I mean. After all, I lived up to the challenge. Needless to say, the apron stayed on my person for the rest of the evening!