Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is it really a Tantrum?

Krishnan raised an interesting question about what we adults refer to as a child’s tantrum in response to my earlier post, “Dealing with your child's stubborn tantrums”.

That set me thinking. I was curious and looked up the definition of ‘tantrum’. Tantrum is defined as a fit of bad temper. Now is it justified to call a child’s behavior of continuously crying to express her frustration or hunger a tantrum? I would tend not to agree. When children are not able to control themselves and resort to kicking, screaming, or pounding the floor, that may again be due to extreme frustration experienced by them because they have been denied something they want, and their parents aren’t responding to their actions either.

I came across this article titled “A Guide to Tantrums: Understanding, preventing and surviving them” by Claire McCarthy, M.D., Harvard Health Publications. Here is the link to the article http://health.msn.com/kids-health/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100211722&page=1.

Claire has written a very well balanced article on this subject that covers why children behave in this fashion, and how parents can help prevent or diffuse the same.

There is one paragraph I would like to quote that I believe is the essence to understanding everything: “The key to preventing or diffusing tantrums is to understand your child's tantrum triggers, and understand what it feels like to be little and out of control.” I think if we as parents really exercise patience in understanding this aspect, that’s half the solution.

In the case of our daughter after one time she was crying loudly for over 5 minutes when she didn’t get what she wanted, when she calmed down a bit I hugged her and explained to her in a very loving manner that I knew why she cried like this, but why we didn’t give her what she wanted.

To which she nodded her head as if she understood what I was talking about completely. We shall see, if not keep trying harder! :-)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Colors, Shapes, Alphabets & Numbers

I was thinking about how, as if by magic, our children grasp the concepts of colors, alphabets, numbers, shapes etc. at such a young age.

For instance, our daughter who will be 2.5 years old in August is able to sing the whole ABCD song, rattle off numbers from 1 to 14, and identify some of the shapes. She is able to recognize alphabets and relate them to objects: for example 'g' for grapes, but she is not able to say the alphabet when asked at random. She has some trouble identifying colors as well. Maybe she is still too young for this.

We do the same things most parents would do: read to her daily; let her watch educational shows on TV; sing nursery rhyme songs along with her whenever she feels like singing, and help her identify and say numbers and colors when there is an opportunity.

I was just curious in general, apart from the above tried and tested methods of helping our child learn, if any parents have come up with unique and novel ways in which to help their children learn to read and recognize alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.?

We would like you to share them with all the readers so we can make this whole process much more fun than it already is for us and our children.


Friday, July 25, 2008

UV protection for Kids

I just read this article as I was browsing the web that I wanted to share with others. Please view http://www.nj.com/news/gloucester/local/index.ssf?/base/news-10/121540572624740.xml&coll=8.

The article talks about how our children always need UV protection when they are outdoors in the sun. I took note since we have been going to the beach during this summer, as our daughter loves the water. Its a little scary how most of the time we don't think of these things, taking a lot of things for granted.

I thought this article would be useful for everyone with kids.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Your kids may help you solve problems!

Have you ever faced a difficult situation that you could not overcome with all your might of logic?

Try bouncing the problem off to a kid, to see her rattle off what to do, one idea after another. If you point out flaws in their schemes, they will point out an alternate way, more often than not.

The basic reason is children believe their world has zero limit to possibilities.

Of course, you may not be able to always apply their ideas directly to problem situations. But, you can surely tweak your way around with their ideas.

In case you have any such episode to share fizz-kidz, we are all ears and eyes!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dealing with your child's stubborn tantrums

I found the following article on the web as I was reading up on suggestions on how to manage your child's temper tantrums. Please view www.heptune.com/tantrum.html.

My wife and I experienced this once while shopping at Target. In hindsight, I think my daughter was just really hungry. And, she wanted a whole box of goldfish honey graham crackers, and wouldn't settle for anything less. She started crying at the top of her voice and would not stop.

I tried to reason with her, but to no avail. In the process, I almost lost my temper. At the end, it took me about 15 minutes to calm her and get her to agree (don't ask me how) that she wouldn't finish the whole box at one go!

Coming back to the article, it has some useful tips, although I won't say I will try all that the author Brenna E. Lorenz has written, on my daughter.

I would like you to read the article. Also, I would love to hear from you: What do you do to calm your child when she displays temper tantrums?


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sesame Place, Langhorne, PA

A couple of weeks ago on a Saturday we had been to Sesame Place (http://www.sesameplace.com/sesame/pa/index.aspx), a theme park based on the popular characters of the TV show Sesame Street such as Elmo, Big Bird, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Zoe, etc. My niece and her husband, and their 3 year old son joined us.

The park is filled with rides and activities that one can enjoy in a ‘dry’ setting and a 'water' setting. The activities are also categorized by children's age and there are some attractions that very young children cant participate in. We booked a two-day ticket since there were just too many things to do, and also based on the fact that the difference between a one-day ticket and a two-day ticket is just around 5 bucks. There are several coupons to be found online, as well as one-day discounts through AAA if you are a member.

Park timings are from 10 am to 8pm. The park is open from May through October, and apart from the daily attractions and rides/shows there are other special events that are organized.
Children can also have breakfast or lunch with the characters, but these cost an additional amount of money. Lockers and strollers can be rented if you want at an additional cost. We passed on all of this.

We reached there around 11.30 am and the park was already very crowded. We were famished, and had lunch outside the park, as carrying one's own food to have inside the park is not allowed. What is allowed inside are snacks, fruits, kids' stuff etc., and a cooler which should be of a particular size.

By the time we actually got going inside the park, it got real hot. At specific places in the park are "refreshing zones", where at the press of a button there is a spray of cold air and water. A word of advice: lot of sun block lotion, lot of water, sunglasses and a cap are a must. Also in order to escape the heat it is worth it getting into the water based activities to cool off a little bit. I was in bad shape for a while as i forgot to take my cap, and i didn't want to venture into the water as i had my costly camera equipment with me. Bummer! will make sure the next time we go there, I leave my camera behind.

The 3 of us rode on the new "Sunny Day Carousel" ride
before it was time for the first "Round the Block Parade" at 2 pm. The parade was a real treat for both children and adults alike, as there are a lot of performers who along with the main characters dance along with music in the background, and put on a great show for everyone. They have the parade twice during the day, at 2 pm and at 7pm.

After this we went for Big Bird's beach party show
with all main characters decide to go out to the beach. The show was conducted very well by all the characters and the girls who manage the show. A few people from the audience were very sporting to come on stage and dance along.

We rode on Elmo's "Flyin' Fish"
which is a like a merry go round, only it can go up and down vertically with your control as you are going round at a very decent speed. That was a great experience and all 3 of us really enjoyed it. The only other ride that we 3 took was Big Bird's Balloon race. Apart from this my daughter and my wife had great time in a couple of the water attractions - Little Bird's Birdbath and Little Bird Rapids, both catering to my daughter's age. All this while i sat in the hot sun caring for my camera and roasting away.

While i waited in the line (yes there are long lines for almost everything) to collect pictures of my daughter with Big Bird and her favorite Elmo, she made sure that she had fun at the Silly Sand Slide, Monster Maze and Cookie Mountain.

By this time it was almost 7.15 pm and we started to make our way back. I am happy that we have another day's pass left to go back and try to get into all the other attractions there (there are just too many). Even two days aren't enough to go through all the attractions. The park is a great way to spend time with family, but it would be better if you had a chance to do it during a weekday so there wont be so much crowd, which means not waiting much in the line for all the rides. I think having a Passport membership would be well worth it as you can keep coming back throughout the time the park is open if you happen to live around the area and its just a couple of hours drive.

Well worth it and would recommend this as one of the favorite spots for all parents with children up until the time they enjoy Elmo and his gang!

I am sharing some of the pics that i took through the day. Enjoy!
-- Sriram


Waiting patiently for the parade

Here they come!

There he is - Elmo!

Here are the performers putting on a great show

Zoe and Elmo at the dance floor

Baby Bear


Cookie Monster




Count von Count


Elmo again


Big Bird Float

Dance till you drop!


Sesame Street

Big Bird's Beach Party

Shakin some!

Now that's what we are talkin about!

Blast Off

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hello Again

Hi Everyone,

First of all let me apologize to all those who may have attempted to peep into the blog from time to time.

The absence of any writing on the blog in the last month and a half doesn’t at all mean that we have solved all the perplexing questions we face while raising our daughter. Nooo!!, in fact as anyone can imagine, there are new ones and recurring old ones that we thought we had solved. Well, more about that later.

As mentioned earlier, the family and I had been on a 3 week vacation to India, our homeland. We had a really enjoyable time there. Thankfully all three of us (my wife, daughter and I) kept good health during this time.

I enjoyed it especially because we could again be with our families for one, but also because of the fact that we took our daughter to all the parks and beaches that I used to visit when I was a kid, and new ones as well.

My daughter and her two cousin brothers, both elder to her in age, had a ball and I could see their influence grow on her as time went by.

She became more open with people rather than being shy, started speaking more words and some sentences that we could understand, started becoming more independent and stubborn in her behavior which is always a challenge as a parent to handle, and fearless as far as trying to swim (scary thought!).

We got back from India during the first week of June. Things have been a bit busy and combined with some laziness on our part has resulted in no blog updates.

A couple of weeks ago we had been to Lake Welch Beach (http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkID=74) at the Harriman State Park (http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/info.asp?parkId=143) in NY. It’s the largest man made beach in that park, and although very crowded, was a good place to be on a hot summer day. Entry per vehicle is $7. I would request readers who may be aware of good beaches to recommend them in the blog, that way we can be aware of more places to take our kids to during summer.

We also visited Sesame Place last weekend. I shall be writing on that and posting in the near future with some nice pictures that I took while we were there.

Till then,

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back in the US!

Hi all,
My family and I had been away for a long vacation to India and we just got back a couple of weeks ago.

I couldn't get back to blogging cause we were having way too much fun after coming back visiting the beach, attending some birthday parties, etc. I will fill in soon enough. Until then!


Monday, May 5, 2008

At Long Last!

It has been busy the last few weeks making it a little difficult for us to update the blog. In terms of an outing, we did manage to take our daughter to the annual Lego show in Tarrytown NY that I wrote about 2 weeks ago in our blog.

Other than the few times my wife took our daughter for some play dates with her friends, to the park etc., combined with work and other commitments, the time went by very quickly. I am going to try my best to be as up-to-date as possible.

I also wanted to share that we finally hit upon a way to reduce my daughter's dependency on TV as a means to get her to eat her dinner or lunch. Instead of this forming habit which was on the verge of escalating, we decided to have our dinner/lunch together as a family on the dining table, daughter included. We hoist her up on her small cushion chair placed on top of the dining chair, and not on her high-chair, no straps, nothing so as to give her that freedom while sitting. She fits in nicely except that she slips down her chair from time to time :-).

Maybe its this practice of 'sitting together as a family' or sitting at the same level as her parents, that has brought out some positive results. Our daughter has not only started eating really well in terms of the food portions but is also experimenting a little bit on different foods. We involve her in our dinner conversations and she loves that.

Although she is still coming to terms with the different kinds of food we cook, and scrutinizes the food very closely before eating anything. I think observing what we eat on a regular basis is also making her familiar to the different foods, their color, look and feel, etc.

So far, so good!

- Sriram

Monday, April 21, 2008

3rd annual weekend of LEGO® Fun at Lyndhurst, Tarrytown, NY

This weekend we went to the 3rd annual weekend of LEGO® Fun at Lyndhurst (a historic site overlooking the Hudson River in Tarrytown NY http://www.lyndhurst.org ). Here's a review for the readers.

The event featured master LEGO® Builder, Arthur Gugick and his New LEGO® buildings from around the world (
http://www.gugick.com/, http://www.mocpages.com/home.php/2138 )demonstrations by award winning FIRST LEGO League Robotics Teams (http://www.usfirst.org/what/fll ), and most importantly for us activities and fun for kids. There were also LEGO creation displays by children.

Lyndhurst Mansion Replica (by Arthur Gugick)

Each of the rooms in the mansion had several Lego Creation displays of children varying from ages 3.5 to 12 years old. The displays gave a glimpse of the imagination and creativeness of the children. Here's a sample of a few of them.

Children's creations: 1





The second building had all of Arthur Gugick’s Lego creations at display. Gugick has been doing this for 40 years now. He was present at the event to answer any questions people had.
There was a huge room with several tables where children were busy making models with Lego that they could take home. There were raffles, prizes and all kinds of activities for the children.
The building was really crowded at that time (around 2.30 pm) and it was a little tough to move around or find a place to sit at the tables. As compared to the mansion, this building wasn’t too conducive for 2 year olds, but was fun all the same.

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy (by Arthur Gugick)

The Taj Mahal, Agra, India (by Arthur Gugick)

Children's Lego Play Room 1


The mansion property grounds is huge and sprawling with lots of green grass and trees with blooming flowers everywhere. Children were running around, rolling down the sloping ground and having a great time with their parents.

All in all, it is definitely an event to take children of all age groups. Adults can go check out the mansion, or just get out on a beautiful spring day and play with their children on the grounds, and if you are a Lego enthusiast, that’s even better.

We had a great time. My daughter and her friend had a great time as well with the Lego show and also tiring themselves playing and running in the grounds in abundance.

This will definitely be on our list of places/events to visit annually and we would recommend this event to all parents.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Zucchini and Carrot Chapati (Tortilla)

This was a preparation I came up for my daughter who refuses to eat her vegetables - Anita.

1 Zucchini
1 Carrot
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chili chopped
1 1/2 cup of Wheat flour
2 tsp of oil
1 Cup of water
1/2 tsp salt

Grate the carrot and zucchini with a fine grater. Add salt, cumin seeds, chopped chili (or you can use any spices you prefer) and 1 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour. Mix the ingredients into a dough with 2 tsp of oil and 1 cup of water. You can add or reduce the water and/or whole wheat flour to make sure that the dough doesn't get too sticky. Roll the dough into small balls and shape them into a round thin tortilla (my daughter calls it a pitathi, a combination of pizza and chapati) and pan fry, with a little clarified butter for kids and olive oil for adults.

I have also tried pumpkin and carrots, and potatoes alone which has gone well with her. This can be eaten with plain yogurt, lentil or tomato soup, or by itself.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Fun Alternative to TV Watching

- Contributed by Krishnan, father of two boys, ages 3 and 5.

Children enjoy watching television. They especially enjoy watching cartoons, preferring them to serials and feature films that catch the fancy of elders. Some of the favorite shows of our children are classics like Tom & Jerry, Popeye the Sailor, and even the action-oriented cartoon shows where the main characters possess some amazing powers. I have observed that when they watch the shows they seem to be completely transported into another world. In fact, my father once said so… and that made me wonder whether it was related to the power of story telling. Stories told visually that evoke fantasy, and stimulate imagination.

The only problem was the TV-viewing, and the dulling effect it had on their mind and eyes. It set us thinking. What if we narrate stories of fun and heroism from the conventional story book - would it take their mind off the TV?

One evening, once they finished with their playing, they gathered in the house to settle down and watch TV as a group. We quickly intercepted, got them seated together, and read out a story from a book. We substituted the characters in the story with our children and their friends. It was a great hit, and the close of the session took an unexpected turn. They started discussing why a certain character behaved in a particular manner, and that he ought not to have acted in that manner. The funny thing was they referred to each other by the name of the character he or she had played in the story.

With the discussion getting passionate, we decided to step in with the moral of the story, and calmed things down with a round of chocolates. It was time well spent, and lessons learnt.

Garlic and my little one

One day while cleaning up the onion, potato and garlic basket in the kitchen, my little one walked in and sat on the floor, and started peeling the skin off the onions and garlic. I thought was very cute.

Nowadays, I find that my little one loves to help. She comes to the kitchen often and says, “I wanna help”. She helps me put away washed dishes from the dish-washer, spoons, forks, and cups being her favorite. She loves to remove the cutlery and dump them into the cutlery draw. She is indeed a good help. But sometimes her ‘help’ is a little unhelpful. Especially those days when I am back from work, and want to get her dinner ready.

The earlier ‘peeling’ incident gave me an idea to keep her occupied. I now seat her on her high chair, and give her a bulb of garlic. She loves to peel the skin off the garlic cloves with her little fingers and separate the cloves from the bulb. But then, she puts all the skin and the garlic cloves in the same container and says, “All done, mamma”.

This is fine by me. At least, it keeps her occupied and gives me time to prepare her dinner. I am also happy that I found a way to make her feel a part of the process, rather than send her away from the kitchen. And, by the way, I use the peeled garlic cloves to make garlic pickle!

I would like to ask other moms, when you are back from work and are busy fixing dinner, how do you keep your little one/s fruitfully occupied?

KidzSight - making the child an active participant in the process rather than excluding her from it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mac & Cheese With a Twist

On the weekly menu at my daughter's daycare is Mac & Cheese, prepared in the usual sumptuous way. Only that our daughter doesn't eat Mac & Cheese prepared this way, and when we tried preparing it at home for her, she took one look at it and turned her face away. Now i don't know why she does that to certain foods that you would bet children would love.

We send food for my daughter almost daily since she is allergic to certain foods. Anyway I decided to try and do a twist on this dish, also keeping in mind that it had to be prepared in a jiffy in the morning before we leave for work.

Here is the recipe for it, which has become a big hit with her, and she eats this unfailingly once every week. This serves one child (who may or may not consume the whole serving).

4 heap tbsp macaroni pasta
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
pepper to taste
3 1/2 tbsp Kraft grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin light tasting olive oil

Boil the macaroni in water along with 1/2 tsp of salt, till the macaroni is cooked just a little more than Al Dente. Drain out the water and place the pasta aside in a container. Heat 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a pan. As the oil warms up, add crushed black pepper (just a few twists of the pepper corn mill). Add the oregano leaves as well. As the leaves turn slightly brown, add the cooked macaroni in the pan. Mix the pasta well with all the ingredients in the pan for about 10 seconds. At this point add all the Parmesan cheese while the stove is on, and immediately turn the heat off on the stove. Mix the cheese and the macaroni just until you see the cheese giving a hint of melting. Take the pan off the stove.

Serve the mac and cheese to your child when it is warm. Can we name this a healthy mac and cheese? :-)

This became very popular with my daughter and hence I started preparing similar dishes, keeping all the ingredients the same but replacing the macaroni with penne cut into biteable pieces; penne with a clove of finely chopped garlic added to the oil when it is heating up, to enhance the flavor of the garlic; penne with garlic and veggies (only one vegetable for each preparation) such as finely chopped zucchini, or broccoli, or sweet peas, etc.

Its a very useful dish to pack and carry when you are going for any outing as it can be prepared very fast, its not messy when your child is eating it (the ones without the veggies), and very easy to carry as well.

If you have any quicky recipe of your own that you have tried for your child, please send them to
fizzkidz@gmail.com with your name and it will be posted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I was in awe and proud of what I saw in my two year old's class at her day care. The picture shown below is a result of the collaborative output of her classmates, herself and most of all, her talented and creative teachers. There was also a short write-up by her teachers that I am posting here as written by them. - Anita

April Showers Bring May Flowers - By Sandra & Nanette

This week we talked about April showers and how they bring May flowers.
Our project were a three day process:
On Day One we observed the rain clouds and made our own clouds by mixing white paint, black paint and glue.
On Day Two we observed the rain drops and made rain with paint and glitter.

On Day Three we talked about how flowers need the rain and made our own beautiful flowers out of our hands.

These projects exposed the children to pre-science concepts, and allowed them to express themselves creatively.
And, it was also a lot of fun!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Why Do Children Watch TV?

This post was contributed in response to my blog post 'Kids & TV Watching'. - Sriram

- Contributed by Jayashree. Jayashree is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 3. She juggles her day between her job as an Income tax employee and sending both children to school/pre-school, cooking, and keeping them entertained.

Denying children their time with the TV is an act of selfishness on the part of parents. Why do children watch TV? In my view, the answer is they do that when they do not have any alternative.

Look at it from a child's view point; he comes from school spending three hours in a large group of children – he comes home and sees people there doing their own thing, which he cannot relate to. He has actually come in expecting a refreshing and entertaining time, but is left with a sense of void, and the usual set of questions of how the day was, and instructions of good habits, such as keep your shoes here, and your bag there.

They just want to have a real conversation, and engage themselves in fun interaction.

It is when they do not get this that they turn to the TV for relief. It is therapeutic. It takes them to a world that is attractive, and life is fun.

I believe as we as parents have a task on hand – we need to involve ourselves more in their entertainment with the TV, get curious and really interested in what they watch and what they enjoy. They will then open up with us, and will like to watch the same programs with elders. It will lead to true companionship, where elders do not sit in judgment over the kids.

As days pass they may value the companionship of the parents while watching TV more than actually watching the TV, and that could be the beginning of the next level. Unless the parents get addicted to watching the programs themselves and ignore the children!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Kids & TV Watching

Our daughter loves to watch TV - be it Elmo, Backyardigans, Curios George which is one of her favorites, Dora, etc. More recently, she is crazy about movies and the song and dance routines in them (Indian movies). She loves to dance along with the songs in the movies and can actually do a move or two!

Shutting the TV off when she is watching will make her red-faced and her eyes full of tears and she will flop on the carpet with her palms banging on them crying 'TeeeVeeee........'. A funny sight indeed!

She is also a very poor eater of lunch/dinner at home. When we give her food (rice or chapati which is Indian tortilla made of whole wheat, along with veggies and lentil soup, etc.), she eats only the chapatis, leaving the rest of the food untouched. By chance one day we realized that this wasn't the case when the TV is turned on for her entertainment. At this point, we can easily blackmail her into eating all of her food and be assured that she will finish everything and then some more!

What is it about the TV that makes her succumb to our earnest requests to her to eat her food? On the condition that she can watch the song and dance routines, she displays exemplary behavior which basically means that she listens to what we say to her :-)

What is it about the TV that captivates kids? I don't know if we can generalize this habit for a large population of kids of course. My wife and I sometimes feel very guilty about what we are doing and keep thinking what we are doing here is not right for our child -- letting her watch too much TV (she watches about an hour and 15 mins of TV each day which we think is a lot). But we have been so far giving in to the apparent benefit its providing us -- she eats her lunch/dinner.

Does anyone else have a similar experience? Does anyone have other alternatives that can be used to make sure that the child is able to eat her food properly and at the right time? Agreed, TV is an important medium of entertainment and education based on the shows that are available for growing kids, but just how much is enough? Where does one draw the line?