Clever mummy

Toilet training Mia. Or trying. Yet another mishap, this time the more solid variety.

Me: Let's put this in the potty
Mia makes no move to help and stands far, nose screwed up, the picture of disgust.
Me: So c'mon then, help me, you throw it in the potty, you like doing things yourself.
Mia: Oh no thank you, it's yucky poo-poo, I no touch it. You do it.
So I do it. She comes up and pats my back.
"Well done mummy, you so clever."


Masca(ra) laga ke

Usually I try not to let Mia around when doing makeup related stuff; especially since she's taken to 'manicures' a little too quickly.
Today however she planted herself on the stool as I painted myself in the morning. As she gave a running commentary I began getting a bit worried about explaining things with "because mamma wants to look pretty" or "mamma is hiding her flaws" etc. I thought 'Body Image Issues and how i might be destroying my little girl's ideas of beauty forever...


Can't make (this) up

Part1. Before makeup.

A few weeks ago, I walked into one of the big department stores in Melbourne (Myer) and lined up at the MAC Cosmetics counter for advice. I was looking for some light foundation. I had my double pram with me though only with Liv in it (Mia was having a Daddy-day).

Now Livvy has some sort of a mummy-store-sensor. She is a perfectly angelic baby (coos even) when I'm shopping groceries, or visiting the doctor or sitting in a café. But the moment I enter a shoe/ clothing/ jewellery store, my normally happy, placid baby becomes this infuriated, red-faced ball of screams. And right at the moment the MAC salesgirl approached me, Livvy began roaring.


Mia's Peppa Pig birthday party

4 days old, coming home
from hospital
Just the other day I remember bringing home a tiny little baby, weighing only 2.99 kilos, wearing a hand-knit red sweater three sizes too big for her. She was so little and so perfect. I remember waiting for that first smile, remember waiting for her to crawl, to stand, to walk... With each "milestone", Mia took her own time. She did everything but only when she was ready. She didn't give a damn that I was waiting.

7 months old

So many firsts, so much learning -- for her, for me. My first little baby turns three on the 17th. Back then I had to decipher what her various cries meant, now my baby tells me, "I'm so cited about the party Mamma!" Or that "Peppa Pig and Daddy and Livvy and my mummy are my faaavirite." She still loves broccoli but has developed a dislike towards peas. She loves her chocolate but also demands "I want to crunch a green apple Mamma." I sometimes have to remind her to say "yes please" when offered something but she always remembers to politely say "No please" when she doesn't want something. And she knows when she doesn't want something. Of all the things I have learnt along with her; she's taught me mostly that she knows her mind.

But then I am her mother and I know my mind too.


Papa don’t breach


I had never faced such a dilemma before.Should I tell him? What if I hurt him? As I looked at the email again, I wondered anew if I should tell Papa...

Talking to my father wasn't the easiest things when growing up. There were topics you didn't broach with him: Bollywood, any other film industry, fashion, any idea that might directly or indirectly contradict what he'd just said, Punjabi boys, Tamil boys, Bengali boys, any other human being remotely described as boy, Boy George, Madonna's Like a virgin, waxing your eyebrows... Then there were things you broached via Ma: almost everything else.


Kung Food Panda 3

Just the other day I decided to be a Really Good Mother and make some extra healthy, ticking-all-nutrition-boxes food for Mia.

Cooking for Mia --and feeding her -- is hair-pullingly frustrating. She will only eat plain chocolate cake. Will not touch a "complicated" sandwich (ham, cheese ONLY please) and don't even think of adding mayonnaise or any other sauce to it.  Won't eat anything that doesn't match her idea of what it should look like. Noodles are always "white". If I add even a drop of soy and the "noo-noos" change colour, she won't eat. She loves broccoli but only if it's steamed, cut into 2 inch pieces and not an extra centimetre. She loves steamed green peas too but if you overcook them and if she can squish them with her index finger...


Monsters University

Had a great today. Started out with breakfast with close friends at local café -- stacked hash browns, avocado and sumptuous coffee -- followed by some shopping for a mum-to-be. Then driving around for some work with the kids. Then it was our first movie at a theatre as a family, as in all four of us.
We saw Monsters University, which is absolutely adorable. Mia was a little concerned there was no "Boo" this time but soon got over it. Livvy tried to stay up but was soon snoring through most of the movie.
Followed by dinner at local restaurant where I pigged out on prawn in chilli sauce and now consequently have a horrendous tummy ache. But hey, what's a tummy ache for a good day spent?
Monsters University is like a prequel to Monsters Inc and tells the story of how Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (John Goodman) met and became friends. It's a movie about under dogs or under-monsters as is the case and involves a whole lot of spoofing of everything from all-American college movies to a rather funny take-off on human horror movies. :D Some of the jokes had more adults laughing than kids but most kids enjoyed watching silly monsters doing sillier stuff. Highly recommend for a nice evening off with the kids.


My toddler loves tv.

I have a confession: I allow Mia (2 years, 11 months old) to watch television. A lot.
Despite that bit of "bad" mothering, I think I am a bloody good parent. Mia is bright, clever, smart, curious,  absolutely not-shy, loves going to the park, loves meeting new people, loves asking them 20 questions even more, knows her mind a little too well and is very, very observant. Of course, all of that might have nothing to do with me (or Partner) and might simply be her personality. (I am quite possibly one of those painful mothers who think their kid's a genius.)

Mia's favourite characters (from tv and movies), in order of preference, are Peppa Pig, Kung Fu Panda, Bananas in Pyjamas, Merida (from Brave; I love her), Fireman Sam, Timmy (from Timmy Time), Shrek and Angelina Ballerina (I don't much like). So far, despite all her tv watching, Mia seems to be a perfectly normal, happy child.


Save the bunny

Why do you hate me Patrner? Just look at my stupid expression. It's saww cuute. I was bought for $6, not the best money spent but hey, just look at me. I've been around three years despite numerous murder attempts. Including being chucked at t...he wall by a then-18-month old. Toddlers! Shudder. And then She asked you to pack me in bubble wrap and put me in the Lounge Room box. Instead... She just found me in the recycle bin. Outside. She's hidden me now. Going to Jakarta, she said. She also said she trusts you. How could you??!!!
PS: For those who might not know, we are moving to Jakarta in the next few months. For a couple of years or more, don't know yet.
But major excitement. And little bit nervousness.

Also said bunny is a wooden Easter Bunny that has been inexplicably hated by Partner ever since I purchased it.



Recipe: The good brownie


A brownie is not a brownie unless it has walnuts in it, or so it is for me. While that doesn’t stop me eating a walnut-less brownie, it's not quite satisfying. I also cannot stand brownies that have heaps of chocolate sauce or ice-cream piled on top. Not unless it’s being served for dessert. A good brownie is meant to be eaten as is. And should have walnuts.

If the Black Forest was Ma’s for-special-occasions/party dessert, the walnut-brownie was her weekday specialty. It was not fudgy. It was more like a regular chocolate cake, with more cocoa and walnuts. It used to be a lovely, light chocolate colour, smell divine and taste really, really good. My job each time Ma made brownies was to chop the walnuts and lick the residual batter from the bowl. While Mia has now perfected Licking of the Spatula, I’m waiting for her to take over the walnut-chopping.

I first discovered that brownies can also be fudgy-not-just-cakey once the whole Barista/café onslaught began in Delhi in the late 90s. (Small town girl, no big city/café experience, what to do!)  In Melbourne cafes, more often than not, the brownies are without walnuts and oftener still, sort of thick slabs of sweetened chocolatey dough. Not always nice. I still eat them though; sometimes you’ve just got to get your brownie fix.


Recipe: Aloo gobhi

Aloo gobi (Mildly spiced cauliflower and potatoes)

Serves 2 (Pic coming soon)

Cauliflower 1 full, cut into smallish florets with some stem
Potatoes 3 medium, diced into 1 inch cubes
Sunflower/olive/vegetable oil 2-3 TBS
Green chillies 1-2, seeded, finely chopped (optional)
Cumin seeds 1 TSP
Ginger fresh  2 TSP, grated
Salt to taste
Turmeric ½ TSP
Coriander powder 2 TSP
Fresh coriander, chopped finely 1 TBS (more/less according to taste)
Water as needed



Livvy refuses to be put down today, has puked on me thrice since morning. The last one right after I had a shower. Then as I am holding her on one arm and trying to have a sip of my coffee, she flips the cup. Coffee down my dress and up my nose. After I had just changed from the pukey dress. Mia has nose full of snot that she insists on wiping herself and thereby smearing all over her face. I am having a brilliant morning. How is yours?


Recipe: Mexican red chicken


Pollo rojo (Mexican red chicken)*

Serves: 4
I’ve made this dish twice now. Once in the oven as per the original recipe; the second time, with my modifications and on the stove top. With the original recipe I found that the tomato paste retains its tomato-pastiness and doesn’t taste quite ‘cooked’.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve grown up eating curries… When making an Indian curry, the tomato/paste – the base of the curry/gravy – is always ‘prepared’ first and doesn’t taste uncooked and like the cook was in a hurry! Tomatoes aside, the chargrilled capsicum adds a very nice flavour to the chicken and overall the dish is quite different from anything I've had in a while. It’s definitely going to become one of my go-to recipes in a busy week.


4 red capsicums
Cooking oil spray/ 2 TSP vegetable oil
500 gm chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces
2 TBS plain flour
Salt and pepper, to season
1 TSP chilli flakes/ crushed red chillies
1 TSP ground cumin
2 TSP hot paprika
2 TSP dried oregano
1 TBS tomato ketchup
1-2 TSP hot chilli sauce
400g can diced tomatoes (I use Ardmona, I find other brands, particularly Italian ones are too acidic and add quite a sour taste)
2 cups chicken stock
Parsley leaves, to garnish
Steamed rice to serve


Understanding marriage

Compromise: the negotiation involved in buying a new casserole dish ONLY if you throw out three other dishes.

Going today, ice tray, jelly moulds and one plastic storage box. Cheating, but the size of items to be thrown were not specified.


Recipe: Fried, mixed vegetables

Serves 6-8

Flavourful, colourful, lightly spiced and very healthy, this recipe can be eaten as an accompaniment to mains or as a ‘salad’!

2-4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
300g beans, stringed and cut diagonally
½ cauliflowers, cut into slices, leave some stems
2 TBS olive oil
1 tsp black/brown mustard seeds
1 dry, red chilli
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tsp finely grated ginger
1 ½ TSP turmeric powder
½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
Salt to taste

Recipe: Matar paneer

MATAR PANEER (Cottage cheese in tomato gravy)

300g paneer, cut into cubes
500g frozen peas, thawed
½ cup vegetable oil for frying (olive oil can be used but isn’t the greatest for frying)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder, optional
1 cup tomato paste
Salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbs finely chopped coriander leaves

Recipe: JB's chana masala

Serves 8 (recipe can be halved to serve 4)
4 cups chickpeas/ garbanzo beans (if using canned chickpeas, drain and wash)
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cups tomato paste/puree
6 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves minced garlic (optional as per taste)
2 tbsp ginger paste
Salt to taste
½ tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. turmeric powder
3 tsp. red chili powder (adjust according to taste/tolerance)
2 tsp. coriander powder
2 TBS vegetable/ olive oil
½ tsp. garam masala powder

Coriander leaves
1 tomato, sliced into rings

Gates of Mordor


11am: the art of mess
It's 5.30 am and given my "regular" routine for the last three weeks, that's sleeping in.

I went to bed at 11 pm last night, woke up at one am to feed Livvy and have slept a total of five hours. Wow. For the last month that I've been on steroids (Prednisolone), I've been on a crazy energy drive, which includes me waking up at three am. I cannot sleep unless I'm literally asleep on my feet and once awake, I can't go back to sleep. Apparently insomnia and mania (I am a maniac?!) are both side effects of using the steroids. I've also developed something called 'mooning' of the face; a rather cute, non-Harry Potter term that means I have a huge, bloaty face. Not cute. In another couple of weeks the steroids stop and after that... I am absolutely terrified. Apparently there are side effects to stopping them as well, including fatigue, aches, depression... I have two little children to look after, I can't afford depression.
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