Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What to do this summer

Puttachi is mighty kicked that her vacation is starting in a month.  And she is going into overdrive planning how she'll spend her days.  So I asked her to sit down and make a list of what she wants to do, and she came up with this, and stuck it on the refrigerator.

This is the first time she's written so much at one go.  And I find this a fascinating study, because she hasn't yet started full-fledged reading, and has written all this just by applying her knowledge of phonics to how she hears words being said.  All the "ing" words are "yg" to her, and I find that both funny and interesting.

Anyway, here's what she's written, and what she actually meant. :)

1. Fygar Papet   - Finger puppet
2. Klot-Dol    - Cloth Doll
3. Kards    - Cards (as in making greeting cards)
4. Kookyg    - Cooking
5. Lanyg Musik    - Learning Music
6. Dans 2 Musik    - Dance to Music (The 2 for "to" is hers - does sms language come naturally?  shudder!)
7. Bakyg-kake-mafins-bred-kookys     - Baking - cake, muffins, bread, cookies
8. Ebroydry    - Embroidery
9. Patyg    - Painting
10. Droyg    - Drawing
11. Groyg plants - Tomato    - Growing plants-tomato.
12. Rark - spots    - Park-sports
13. Lan Kanda    - Learn Kannada (she wants to learn the Kannada alphabet)
14. Rydyg    - Reading
15. Rityg    - Writing
16. Telyg Storys    - Telling stories

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

With new eyes

One of the nicest things about being with young children is rediscovering the world through their eyes.  It is unbelievable how many things we take for granted. 

Just yesterday, Puttachi asked me loads of questions about space - I don't know how much she actually understood of our discussion, but she was fascinated that you could "travel outwards in a rocket and not reach a wall."  She thought about it all day, and made me think about it too, and that sense of wonder about space was rekindled in me, and sent thrills down my spine. 

And today, during our walk around the park, she wanted to know why all the trees were bare, and then we talked about seasons and trees shedding leaves... and I once again looked at the lovely bare trees with new eyes and a sense of disbelief about what a beautiful, intricate and complex world we live in.

We crunched dry leaves under our feet, collected airborne seeds, and walked hand in hand as Puttachi imagined that she was a fairy who would go and paste new green leaves on the bare trees with Fevicol.

I cannot thank her enough for opening up this whole new world for me!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Home Remedies

I got talking with my dear friend CC about kids and illnesses and home remedies and she suggested I do a post on home remedies, and request my readers to contribute too.  I thought that an excellent idea.  It would be a good repository, something to check back on when needed.

You could post your remedies in the comments section, or email me.  I'll update the post with your remedies, credit them to you, and link to you if you have a site.

But please do keep in mind:

- Let's just stick to home remedies, medicines derived out of things found at home - no medicines bought from the shop, please.
- Are they suitable for children?  Do mention what age group the remedy is suitable for.

I'll start with mine:

1) Steam inhalation - for colds and coughs.  Suitable for even very young children, but under strict supervision.

2) Gargling with warm salt water for sore throats and coughs - My daughter could gargle a little before she was four, but she could gargle full-fledged, without choking, only after she turned four.  Check with your child, and start as early as possible. 

Tip:  Both Steam inhalation and Salt water gargling is very exciting and new at first, but later, kids can get tired of it.  Join them in the activity, give them company. Gargle with them, if you must.  I make up stories, describe each germ that she spits out with each gargle - that makes it fun for her. 

3) Lemon and honey - 1 tsp of honey and 1 tsp of lemon juice, twice a day, we believe, build immunity.  For younger children, dilute it with water, because the taste is a little too strong.

4) Raw garlic is supposed to be excellent for immunity against respiratory problems (not to mention a gadzillion other problems).  Adults should swallow it raw, crushed, with water first thing in the morning.  For my daughter, I chop 1-2 pods into slivers and fry them in a quarter spoonful of ghee.  She actually enjoys it and asks for more, but I don't give it to her more than once a day.  Also, I don't give this to her in the morning, more like in the evening.

5) Tulasi/holy basil - chewed, made into kashaya, mixed with milk... all good for cough.

6) Turmeric - a pinch of it with milk as hot as your child can manage - again for respiratory problems.

7) Kashaya for sore throat and cough. - boil together 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 4-5 peppercorns, 4-5 tulasi leaves, a pinch of turmeric in a large glass of water, boil until the water reduces to half.  Drink as is, or with honey/jaggery, or with milk, or with milk and honey, as hot as possible.  (It works very well for me, but somehow kashaya doesn't seem to agree with my daughter.)

Also, there are many more versions of kashaya, with additions and deletions, do give your recipe.

8) Stomach discomfort - swallow 1/2 tsp of methi seeds with warm water. Not sure about small children, I give 1/4 tsp to my 4.5 year old daughter.

9) Gas in your tummy - sit in Vajrasana (preferable), or stand with both feet together.  Lift your arms slowly sideways, take them over your head, fold your palms over your head, stretching your arms all the while.  Bring them back down.  Repeat this 8-10 times slowly.  Great relief.

10) Temporary relief from non-stop cough - suck a raisin, or kallu-sakkare (literally "stone sugar" - a lump of sugar)

I'll probably add more as I remember.  Meanwhile, please add your remedies.

Updated on Feb 21st:

Thank you all for your wonderful home remedies, and please keep them coming.  I would have loved to categorize the remedies according to the health problem - Any volunteers? :)

The below remedies are for kids above 3 yrs of age:

for temporary relief from scratching non stop during chicken pox, brush the body with neem twigs with the leaves on whenever you have the urge to scratch. Helps to scratch without causing permanent scars.

Turmeric paste on wounds as antiseptic - 'paste' because i don't trust any of the brands for purity and would prefer to make my own paste using turmeric stick on a 'sanekal'. Turmeric can then be mixed with chandan paste for cooling effect. Helps reduce the scars.

1 bowl Papaya/a handful of raisins/over ripe banana for relief from constipation

For gas relief, boil 1/2 tablespoon ajwain and 1/2 spoon fennel seeds in about 1/2 cup water until the water quantity reduces to half. keep giving 2 spoons of this water every couple of hours.
For new born babies (0-6weeks), an adult simply chews ajwain and fennel seeds and then blows out through the mouth on the
stomach of the baby. The gases supposedly permeate through the skin to bring relief!

Dr MS Raghunandan
 before giving one home remedy which has been tried and tested on my children any number of times, i will suggest one home remedy which i come across very often and which should be AVOIDED in case of a tooth ache -HOT PACKS. It spreads infection.

When children/infants have diarrhoea the skin around the anus turns raw and is extremely irritating. If you have what is known as 'Alalekaayi' in kannada, available in any 'Granthige angadi' ( i do not know the english name) grind it to make a paste just as sandal paste is made and apply it on the skin. works wonders. one alalekaayi lasts years.


 For loosies - give the child pomegranates. Boiling couple of pomegranate leaves in water, straining and having that water also helps. Kids don't mind this because it has not particular flavour.

For cold - crush doddapatre leaves and Tulasi leaves, extract juice and give it with a bit of honey. Brings great relief.

Clean and dry roast 2 cups of mature [dark green]curry leaves, and quarter tea spoon of black pepper. powder them together.

At the beginning of the meal mix a quarter spoon of this mixture with hot rice and ghee [modalanna] and give to children above 3 years of age.

Good for immunity, flem control, balances iron and fibre content too.

Said to be very good during monsoon and cold months.

 ghee as a soothing balm on tender areas.
for adults-- hing + adrak powder soonth + jaggery-- for upset tums
for gas-- ajwain + salt to be washed down with water

 For boosting immunity: A glassful of milk mixed with a spoon of honey.

And this is what we do when we have had a heavier-than-usual meal. Stir a little hing-water and a little menthya (methi) powder into a glass of buttermilk and sip it slowly. Kids like it too.

If cough bothers at night, just toss a few black peppercorns and a a little kaDale bELe (Chana dal). Do not chew, but it is okay if you do. Amazing relief from cough. Lavanga also works well.

For diarrhea in infants jayikayi gandha (thin nutmeg paste) works well, but it should be used in a very small quantity (1 round on the saaNekallu for a month-old baby). This prevents dehydration but might not remove any infection. Better used only in emergency.


Stomach ache :
Take half lemon, sprinkle baking soda and bit of salt, prick with a fork.
It starts bubbling like soap bubbles. Just lick it! It’s quite tasty and my daughter enjoys it.

Throat pain/cough: crush doddapatre leaves, squeeze the juice, add bit of salt, take one spoon.
It’s not that bad to taste but my daughter doesn’t like it. So I put it directly to her throat so that she doesn’t get the taste :)

Indigestion: Buttermilk with hing and salt. Tasty and works wonders. 

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