Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Why use Logic to Answer a child's "WHY"

As busy parents time is never on our side. More than often you're tempted to shoot down the "Whys", "Whats" and "Hows" in the shortest possible manner. The "Whys" are the hardest to deal with which is the why we parents try to either make up believable (read: fairy tale) stories or we simply shut them up with our favourite ones like "Because I said so"!

My 3 yr old has suddenly shifted to a lot of "WHYs" in her daily conversation with me. Last night she wanted some butter and bread. Her idea of it was that she does it ALL by herself end to end from spreading it to eating it. Well, obviously I wasn't going to hand over a knife to her so I told her that she can't spread it by herself. Upfront came the much expected "but WHY mama???" and I thought for a split second about the possible answers I could give her... "because you can't", "because you're a kid", "because we are late for bedtime?"  But I ended up using a more realistic and logical one instead. I told her "You can't use a knife because its too dangerous. Knives are sharp and they can hurt you" (yea I know it was a butter knife, but they have teeth too!) 

My daughter reflected "'s dangerous? hmm...." there was a silence of about 2 seconds and then she spoke up ecstatically: "Mama! Give me that plastic knife you got from the plane, that's not dangerous! It's not sharp!" The excitement in her eyes was to die for! She was so excited to have drawn the comparison and I was even more excited that she thought it through. So I gave her the harmless plastic knife; she not only applied butter neatly all by herself but also bit on every inch with accomplishment!

Moral of the story: By telling my daughter the logical reason behind not allowing her to use a knife, I discovered how intelligent a 3 yr old can be and how well they can reason back with you. This conversation lead her to believe that with reason she can win over people more powerful than her, and she gained the confidence of accomplishing something new! 
To top it all I just became a "Prouder Mom!"

Also found an interesting article on this topic that helps understand  WHY Kids ask "WHY". Check out this link:


Dear Hamza, 

You're a great actor and model. And it seems from your posts that with all that beauty you've got some brains too. 

But there are just a couple of things I would like to give you feedback on as a sincere audience to your social media activism: 

1. If acting is your #1 priority in life, then please don't over engage yourself with strong views and opinions about politicians and distant social issues (like those taking place in the US).  When an ordinary person makes an opinion, people read it and move on but when Hamza Ali Abbassi shouts on his FB status, people don't only judge him, they remember and they form a long lasting opinion about him. Doesn't help if you're looking to continue your acting career!

2. If becoming a politician or social activist is more important to you than your acting career - then please work on your social media communication. Please don't over express with long paragraphs as they make you seem out of control, over emotional, vulnerable and fanatic. People don't want to follow an unstable leader. Use few and impactful words. Better yet, take your activism on twitter. It will control you with its 150 characters limit :) 

3. Stop justifying yourself before your fans. Fans come in all shapes and sizes. Some are intellectual and others are dumb. Some will follow you blindly and others will criticize you for the heck of it. When you make an effort to over-justify every status you have put on a controversial issue, you seem guilty and you turn off your stronger, more intelligent fan base. 

You may take it or leave it, but it's advice worth pondering on ;) 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

"Golden Rules" from my Grandfather

The first time I heard my grandfather talk about Rule # 13 was when I was 10. He was talking to some guests at our place and emphasizing on the lack of professionalism people tend to have in work-places in Pakistan, especially when it comes to following up and reverting back on a job assigned. 

I think the seed was sowed then, which is why from the day that I started working, my email turn-around-time is about 2 mins. Even if I don't know the answer to what is asked of me, I still write back and let the person on the other end know that I have "heard" them and I will get back to them. 

It would be a great loss to the community if I don't pass on all of the 15 Golden Rules of a  successful Work-Place (which by the way very well apply at home too!), that I have inherited from my Grandfather. He himself is still known very well for his professionalism and discipline. 

So, taking it from the top: 

RULE #1 : If you open something, close it. 

RULE #2: If you unlock something, lock it. 

RULE # 3: If you break something, fix it.

RULE # 4: If you can't fix it, find somebody who can. 

RULE # 5: If you borrow it, return it.

RULE # 6: If you use it, take care of it. 

RULE # 7: If you make a mess, clean it up.     (My 3 yr old is already trained on this now) 

RULE # 8: If you move it, put it back.

RULE # 9: If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, ask permission.

RULE # 10: If it doesn't concern you, mind your own business (Shout to All Pakistani Ladies!) 

RULE # 11: If a problem needs solving, don't fight it, solve it. 

RULE # 12: If you can improve something, do it 

RULE # 13: If asked to do something, always revert back in good time. It does not matter if the job has been "done" or "not done".  (My professional Mantra!) 

RULE #14: Don't leave unnecessary things around your work area.

RULE #15: Keep the atmosphere in the work area fresh. 

These rules were actually circulated at my grand fathers work place by him, when he was an engineer at the Attock Oil Company in Rawalpindi. 

These are universal best practices that were written perhaps 3 decades ago, but are as valid to any work place or home environment even today and for years to come. 

P.S : the comments in the brackets are the granddaughter's comments are not part of the original 15 commandments from the Grandfather. And yes, that is my grandfather from his recent book launch ceremony  :) 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Theme Birthdays Made Easy!

My daughter just turned three. About 4 weeks before her actual birth date I had already started thinking about how I would celebrate her 3rd. Her first 2 were perfectly themed and easily managed in a small family group but this time around I could sense that she would want to have some daycare buddies over. 

I am personally not a huge fan of princess-y stuff and princess (read: Frozen) birthday themes where every other party just competes in size, dress and lavishness. To me theme birthdays are important not because they make you seem in fashion, because they make fun memories and wonderful photograph albums and if they are actually based on what your child is 'into' at the time, then it makes them happy! 

So here are a few tips for those busy, practical moms who want to celebrate theme birthdays but not end up spending a fortune on them: 

1. Bumble Bee Theme 

This turns out to be a really cute theme. Here are some simple ideas for execution: 

i) Goody Bags: Get plain yellow bags and paste black paper stripes (or the reverse if  you find black bags)

ii) Table Setting: Use black and yellow crape paper as a table cloth. Alternatively a black or yellow piece of cloth would do. Try to keep the cloth under neath the cake in the opposite shade as the cake itself. 

iii) Get a themed cake done OR get a simple yellow cake and stick-out some honey bee accessories on it.

iv) Back Drop: Use black and yellow broad ribbons as drapes in the background

v) Balloons : Yellow and Black Balloons or Yellow Balloons Covered with Black Ribbon Stripes 

vi) Plates: Get plain yellow or black paper plates and stick a cut out of a print-out (easily available on the internet) of a bumble bee. Otherwise, strip the plates as well. Do the same for cups. 

2. Lady Bird Theme

Do almost the same as above just change color combo to Black and Red and the stripes to Polka dots. 

The same theme could also work as a "Minnie Mouse" theme if you throw in some Minnie mouse cut outs, 

You could cut out large circles from black chart paper and paste onto red paper plates to make Minnie Mouse ears sticking out of plates.

3. Twinkle Star Theme

1. Goody Bags: Using plain blue bags and Silvery paper cut out in star shape with glittery effect to embellish your bags.

2. Table Cloth: Dark Blue Coloured Cloth or Crape Paper. Sprinkle confetti stars or glitter 

3. Plates: Same method, stick some silver star cut outs on plain dark blue plates. (Tip: Use the Foil in your kitchen drawer if you can't find a good quality glazed silver paper). You can do the same for cups. 

4. Back Drop: Cut out some big and small stars and a moon , and hang them with strings in the back-drop

5. Props: If it's your daughter's birthday, she could end up holding a star magic wand easily found in toy stores. Star shaped clips would add to the cuteness. 

So the above are 3 really simple themes and maybe you can draw some more along the same format. What's great about these not so fashionable themes that your party will give a more home-made and DIY feel which is always more charming :)