My three year old wants to “cancel” her party

Today Nasreen decided she wanted to “cancel” her frozen birthday party for next weekend. We went round and round about the meaning of cancel. She finally concluded she wanted to have the party then cancel it. Got to love my daughter’s determination, she never backs down lol.

 

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We do not eat Paneer on Christmas or Turkey on Diwali: Things we do not Mix

We are a truly fusion family. Everyday my husband and I combine our Indian and American cultures and created a masala life together. There are a couple times in the year where we focus especially on one side of the culture.

Christmas is my holiday and Diwali is his.

On Christmas we celebrate all the traditions of my culture, the food, music, stories, decorations. There have been times in the past when my husband has suggested that I make an Indian dish like Paneer or Gulab Jamun for the Christmas season. My answer is always no to this. We do not eat Turkey on Diwali and we do not eat Paneer on Christmas. I know this sounds rigid and alittle ridicules but it works for us.

These are just two holidays where I do not want to “mix” traditions. I want the traditions of these two holidays to be completely intact for our daughter. I want her to love and fully appreciate both cultures independently as well as mixed. I want her to experience Christmas as I did with a Christmas tree, stockings, Christmas stories, lots of Christmas music. I want her to taste the holiday foods like turkey with all the fixings, sugar cookies, yule log, and so much more. I also want her to experience Diwali as my husband did as a kid at the Gurdwara, with all the candles and lights, fireworks, and decorations. The wonderful Indian sweets like Rasmalai and Gulab Jamun and foods like Butter Panner!

We keep Diwali completely Indian and Christmas western. 

The Christmas Season is upon us now, so you will see a flood of recipes and articles on my favorite Holiday

To other Masala couples,  Do you mix traditions on your respective holidays or do you keep them intact?

Please share your holiday traditions I would love to hear them all.

If you are interested in reading how other Masala Couples celebrate their holidays, there are some links below to some wonderful articles.

My Christmas meaning, by Home Cyn Home ( a Swiss expat living in India)

Christmas in My Intercultural Family, by American Punjaban PI

My Four Year Old Writing Her Name in English and Punjabi

Nasreen received a chalk board as a house warming present from mommy and daddy. Our move across country from California to Michigan and then back to California was hard on her. Emotionally she is very mature and very aware of her surroundings.  Moving and having to leave things and people behind has left her feeling unsettled. We gave her the chalkboard as a way of saying welcome to your new home! She loved the easel and chalk board and spends hours drawing and writing on it.

Recently she has been practicing writing her name in both English and Punjabi letters. It makes me so happy to see her so passionate about learning how to write and speak in both English and Punjabi and I will support her in any way I can. She has an easier time writing in English because her school supports those lessons, but she is picking up Punjabi well. I am currently writing a Punjabi child’s picture dictionary to help teach her more vocabulary. I hope that it may possibly help other children learn Punjabi as well.

The Importance of Cooking with my Daughter

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Hanging on daddys back while he helped mommy cook Paranthas

My daughter is three and since she was a newborn baby she has spent alot of time in the kitchen with me. As an infant she was either strapped to my back or sitting on the counter in a baby chair. As an early toddler she sat on the floor with a wooden spoon and pot making music. Around 16 months she began “helping” me cook. Honestly it was no great parent planning when it came to having my daughter in the kitchen. I needed to be able to cook and I needed her in my sight. My naughty little munchkin could not be left on own for even a moment. She can get into trouble faster than a blink of the eye.I learned that when I gave her things to do she enjoyed her time in the kitchen, which in turn made my job alot easier.

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every baby loves a spoon and a pot

She is now three and every time I go into the kitchen she is right behind me grabbing her apron and begging me to help in any way that she can.She helps me mix atta ( chapati dough) with her hands. She helps roll out her own little messy rotis. I cut the veggies and she puts them on the sandwiches or on a homemade pizza. She loves to help measure and I even let her push the button on the chopper or blender! That is her favorite job! Sometimes its easier to work without her in there, but I know that it truly benefits her in so many ways so I find a way for her to help.

helping to form paneer koftas

1. Teaches a love of food and cooking

Nasreen loves all types of foods. Since she is a Masala child we have a mixture of Continental and Indian foods. I enjoy teaching her the traditions of both of these cultures in the food. I try to incorporate language learning into the cooking as well. I remind her that in Punjabi apple is called a Seb. She holds the apple and says the word seb, and I know this is better than looking at a picture and saying the same thing. Nasreen is more willing to try new food when she helped make it. What might have been deemed “gross” is now yummy because she helped put it on the pizza. I have noticed since I started working more and not being able to spend that time with her in the kitchen she has resorted to only preferring simple foods like chicken nuggets. We will be having more cooking sessions in the future to bring back that eater I love so much

2. Practical usage of measurement and counting and science

Whenever I measure flour for a cake or put yeast to rise, or even boil water I explain the process to her. She has started to understand the concepts of measurements ( cups, tablespoons). When I put warm water and sugar with the yeast she has learned that we are feeding the yeast so they grow because they are alive. The same goes when we make yogurt at home, she knows we must keep it warm for the yogurt to grow. The kitchen is a great classroom.

3. Learning how to follow directions and follow through from start to finish

Helping in the kitchen my daughter has learned the value of perseverance. To turn flour and sugar and eggs and other ingredients into a cake . Its a long process and it teaches them the steps to succeed. When she is in the kitchen with me I just keep talk to her telling her all the steps. Its amazing to create something from all those raw ingredients. I know that this process has helped her become a focused child. For example Nasreen is a pro at puzzles. You give her a 50+ piece puzzle and she will sit until its finished. I know that some of that focus has come from her time in the kitchen with me.

4. Forming a special bond between parents (other family member) and child.

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Proud of her cooking achievement

Some of my greatest memories as a child are of my mom and I cooking. I especially loved cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Getting up early and stuffing the turkey, making the mashed potatoes, yams, and green beans. I loved the pleasure of seeing everyone enjoying the food I helped make. I also loved the relationship my mom and I had. None of my other siblings came in the kitchen it was just her and I. I am glad for the time that my daughter and I spend in the kitchen together. I hope cooking is a passion that we always share together. 

Nasreen’s first field trip: Pumpkin Patch

Nasreen has been in Preschool for a full two weeks and is loving every minute of it! Her teacher is named Miss Betty and is a wonderful grandmotherly type woman, who truly cares for each of the children. I finally had the opportunity to meet her yesterday and I was just delighted about how sweet she is!

Nasreen holding Ms Betty’s hand

Nasreen hauling her pumpkin

Yesterday Nasreen had her very first field trip to the pumpkin patch. I was lucky enough to have the day off. We all met at the preschool and went in. Ms Betty counted the kids to make sure they were all there and told them about what we were doing. I took Nasreen with me in my car to drive the short distance to the pumpkin patch. My silly little munchkin started to cry because she thought we were going home. She was crying in the back saying I want to stay with my preschool class. She howled the entire way to the pumpkin patch. Finally when we got there and she saw the corn maze and jump house she stopped instantly.

The Pumpkin Patch was really wonderful and as a class we got to go on a tour of the entire thing. The kids got to play in the dried corns, which is like a sand box. Even Ms Betty got in! Then they got to do the corn maze! They each got to pick a pumpkin. Nasreen had a blast finding the best pumpkin. The rule was that it had to be the size of your head. So she loved comparing the pumpkins to her head! She finally found the perfect one! Then they went to a large blown up jumping area. It was not a jump house, more like a GIANT pillow! The Children then got to go to wonderful petting zoo. It was wonderful to see how strict the organizers were about the rules about the animals and how they were to be pet. I hate seeing children mistreat animals and this was not allowed here at all. Nasreen loved petting the animals. Nasreen also got to go on the big slide. Take a tractor ride. She even got to peddle her own little tractor! 

It was great to see how she behaved with the other children and her teacher, and I was proud to see her be such a good listener and followed instructions from her teacher. I was thinking to myself why cant you listen this well at home. She was also great with the other kids. The funny thing is she cant remember any of their names, but they are all her friends she said.

At the end of the day she really did not want to go home, but she had such a great time. I was glad I was able to be there for her first ever field trip! I know this will be one of many!

Nasreen’s first Day of Preschool

First Day of School with her special lunch box!

Nasreens First day of school was supposed to be October the 2nd, but my Grandmother’s funeral was on that day so she had to start the next week.

Sadly I took alot of time off for the funeral so I was not able to take the day off for Nasreen’s first day of school, so my Mom took her to her.I was sad to be missing this important day but so happy for her!  It was a little stressful because my mom had to register her for school but the office said that only a parent could do that! My mom explained the situation and told her how her granddaughter had packed her lunch box so she could not go back home now. The women agreed and Nasreen started school that day! So glad my mom was there!

My mom gave me all the details of her momentous day!

She got ready in her first day of school clothes. Her lunch box filled with snacks. They waited for the preschool to open and Nasreen chatted with the other children! My mom told me that her and another girl were talking about their lunch boxes and dresses! The teacher opened the door and all the kids put their coats and lunch boxes in the cubbyholes, and Nasreen did it as well, following suit. She played with the children and the toys right away. No fear. When my mom picked her up the teacher said she fit right in! I was so happy. She came home with a project she had done where she colored, cut and pasted! She had never cut and pasted before, I was so proud. I can not wait to hear more about her days at school. My baby Girl is now a school girl! 

Fitting right in!

Tina Goulart-Rallhan's photo.

Preparing to Start Preschool

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My baby girl is set to start preschool on Thursday.  She has been begging to go to school for a year now and finally she is getting her wish. My big almost 4 year old (turning 4 in December) is starting her educational journey.  She has her first day of school clothes bought and ready and today we went and picked out a lunch bag and thermos. She picked a princess one, my girly girl. I am very excited for her this thursday. I am taking the day off of work so that I can be there to drop and pick her up. I want to hear all about it. Though I work full time my mom watches her and preschool really starts the time of outside influence on my precious child. Lord protect my baby and guide her when she is away from the protection of family. I will update everyone on her first day Thursday.