Monthly Archives: May 2013

Packing for the Hospital

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This is a long overdue post. I meant to put it up almost two weeks ago, but my weekly checkup led to an emergency c-section and the birth of my cute baby boy. So, I have been a little busy changing diapers, feeding and staring at the little one.

A lot of expectant mother do videos or posts on what they are packing for the hospital, here is my little bit on the same.

Luckily my bag was packed (almost), and my dad just had to add in a few items.

So, here goes:

  • Toiletries
  • Eye glasses/contacts solution
  • My going home outfit (dress and jacket)
  • The baby’s going home outfit (cotton shirt, mittens, socks, hat and swaddling blanket)
  • Stem cell collection kit from Cryoviva
  • Camera and charger
  • Phone charger

    Baby's going home outfit options

    Baby’s going home outfit options

It wasn’t a heavy bag, since new moms are dressed in hospital gowns for the duration of their stay, and newborns are kept in the nursery until they are ready to be discharged. It makes sense to keep the babies in the nursery, as it does limit infections and they are provided round the clock care, while at the same time giving the mother time to recuperate. Moms are encouraged to head down for feeds and are free to meet the babies and hold them when they wish. All other visitors view from the viewing glass.

I was a little nervous heading into the surgery, but I must say I had the most helpful doctor and nurses at the hospital, along with the nurse sent in from Cryoviva for stem cell collection.

Wishing all moms to be a pleasant and memorable experience!

 

Life at Flame:TFI Summer Institute

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Sorry for the break in blogging! I have undergoing some rigorous and immensely enjoyable training at Teach for India’s first institute at FLAME near Pune. This is my second week of teaching summer school for 18 little 2nd graders! The experience has been great! I never knew all the work and planning that went into being a teacher! Time at the school just seems to fly. We are back at FLAME for an afternoon and evening filled of sessions covering content and lesson planning strategy.

I promise to write about the experience in more detail soon, but I need to get back to planning my reading fluency lesson. Keeping little ones engaged for 30 minutes is hard, and I am making Google and Pinterest my teaching assistants.

Leaving you with a few picture of my time at FLAME and teaching summer school.

The little pup that entertains me at FLAME <3

The little pup that entertains me at FLAME ❤

My summer school teaching collab ready for first day of school.

My summer school teaching collab ready for first day of school.

Me in my teacher outfit! Mixed a top from FabIndia with patiala pants.

Me in my teacher outfit! Mixed a top from FabIndia with patiala pants.

Summer Essentials

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Summer is upon us and in this hot and sticky weather, everyone prefers the cool and the light. Cool drinks, light  food and definitely light make up as well. Here are some of my favorite things for the summer, from clothes to food.

Bangkok is humid, and oh so hot, and your makeup begins to melt in the time it takes you to walk to the cab, so you definitely want to stay away from foundations. I prefer using the L’occitane lavender moisturizer after a shower, and a tinted moisturizer on my face when I am heading out. Top that off with a light barely there blush, gloss, and waterproof eyeliner-Maybelline gel liners get my vote.

L'occitane Lavender Moisturizer

L’occitane Lavender Moisturizer

And I definitely stay away from the denims. This weather definitely calls for dresses and flat strappy sandals to get you through the day. Cotton is your best friend. Not to forget the sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself  from the harsh rays of the sun.

Perfumes need to be light, fruity and floral as well for me. My choices are Davidoff Cool Water, Givenchy Fleur d’Interdit and Issey Miyake Florale. BLV Notte by Bvlgari is another sweet scent that I prefer during the evenings.

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Clockwise: Davidoff, Givenchy, Issey Miyake, and Bvlgari

The upside of being in the tropics is the abundance of fruits and during the summer, you cannot miss mangoes, watermelons, rose apples, and longan.

You also need to remember to stay well hydrated during this season. In addition to plenty of water, I also include coconut water, ice tea and Roof Afza to help me cool down.

Clockwise: coconut water, homemade ice tea, green tea, and Rooh Afza mocktail

Clockwise: coconut water, homemade ice tea, green tea, and Rooh Afza mocktail

What is your summer style?

Reflection: TFI Institute

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So I have a new career path: becoming the best teacher I can be, through Teach For India (TFI), and working towards solving the educational inequality gap in India. To be honest, when I applied for TFI I wasn’t really sure about it. I mean I was familiar with Teach for America, had read up on TFI, and was also aware of the inequality gap, but wasn’t sure if I was in a position to do something about it. One of main things that attracted me to TFI was that the fellowship (where you actually become a full-time teacher at a low income school for two years) is also about personal change and growth. That was probably the top thing that bought me here.

Institute, which is a rigorous 5 week training that all incoming fellows undergo, started three days ago and yes, it has been overwhelming with various sessions, community visits, and team building activities, but I also feel like I really only now have had the chance to do a very simple, yet important, thing and that is reflect. Reflect on my actions, my struggles, and feelings. Reflection is one the core values of TFI and on surface it sounds quite simple. I mean I can reflect! I know how I feel, why I feel a certain why, etc. But do I really?

Over the past three days, TFI has forced me to reflect on some the simplest to post profound experiences. How it felt to connect with a child when I entered a low income community. Did I really experience teamwork? What has been a problem I have been struggling with for a while? Why do I hide the way I feel at times? Who is the most important person to me?

These answers might be easy. However, when one has to peel back the onion and really think about the mindset we operate in, the reason behind that belief, and how do we not judge ourselves or others, the reflection isn’t as easy. I have experienced a wide range of emotions over the past few days-those of hope, fear, nervousness, gratitude, belief, confusion, and joy. I think these reflections have forced me to sit and analyze why I behave or feel a certain why. I am not saying that now I know the answers to it all or have a complete understanding in the power of reflecting (to the extent that TFI does), but it has opened the door to thoughts and feelings I probably didn’t let come out before.

TFI truly believes that reflection will help us becoming better leaders and professionals. We should do it frequently so we can constantly improve and give back to our students. I am sure that reflecting upon myself as a teacher and individual will be difficult, somedays I probably won’t want to reflect at all, and may be when I do, the thoughts and answers might be confusing and that is okay.

It may sounds weird, but when was the last time you sat and really reflected upon yourself?

So Many Choices

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Being a parent is a tough job, and I don’t think most of us realize that until we are about to become one ourselves. Walking down the supermarket aisle, we are inundated with choices from shower gels to diapers. In the end it is never a simple choice to simply pick an item because there are the ingredients that need to be considered for a baby’s sensitive skin.

There is just so much material to read, and none that gives a direct answer or ‘this is good’, or ‘this is bad’. And I guess to some extent it makes sense because at the end of the day you need to pick a product or a parenting style that works best for your baby in her environment.

I thought since I have gained all this information from the blogs out there, maybe I should pass some along and hopefully help someone. Here are just some of the things that moms-to-be need to consider before birth:

Natural or Cesarean: I have finally come to the conclusion that our bodies were made to go through the natural birthing process, and barring any last minute complications this is the route I am going. Quicker recovery time as well. But definitely a cesarean or c-section makes sense if the mother or the baby’s life is at risk.

Cord Blood: we have decided to store our baby’s cord blood for future use for the baby or if the need arises for a family member. I have read so much on stem cell treatment in the last few weeks that I feel I can write a paper about it. At the current scenario, treatments using own cord blood are still relatively few and many in clinical trials, but we are banking on the hope that there will be more research and progress in the coming years.

Massage Oil: I had my mind set on Olive oil, until I read that since it is high in oleic acid it is not recommended for babies with extra sensitive skin. In those cases other vegetable oils such as sunflower are a better option. And you should always pick unscented, cold pressed, unrefined oils. I am thinking to alternate between almond oil and olive oil-in the hot weather coconut oil is a good recommendation but I just cannot stand the smell.

Baby Massage: essential to bonding

Baby Massage: essential to bonding

Bathe or Wash Cloth: this seems to depend on what part of the world you come from. In the US it is recommended to use a wash cloth on a baby until the umbilical stump has fallen off in order to keep it infection free. Whereas in Asia, the common practice seems to give the baby a daily bath and carefully dry the stump area to prevent infection. Definitely going the daily bath route, because you can’t massage a baby and then not give it a bath. Plus its more hygienic.

Shower Gel: of the numerous ‘learning to bathe a baby’ videos that I have watched, one thing is common, Johnsons Baby. That was easy!

Johnson's Baby Head to Toe

Johnson’s Baby Head to Toe

Diapers: this is really important, because for the first few months you go through a lot of these, and decided to go disposable or opting for cloth can mean savings in time or money. Disposable diapers are obviously easier to deal with since you simply bin the dirty diaper, but you really have to take into consideration the toll that the planet takes. Not to mention they can get expensive.

Disposable diapers

Disposable diapers

Cloth diapers on the other hand are better suited for a baby’s sensitive skin and they are a one- time initial investment. But you do have to change after every time the baby wets or soils the diaper and there is the cleaning. We have picked some animal print flat diapers for the first few weeks and a pocket diapers for the later months. Disposables are set aside for going out and traveling.

Flat (top) vs Pocket (bottom) diapers

Flat (top) vs Pocket (bottom) diapers

Once the baby is here, some of the decisions might change, depending on how the baby reacts. And not to forget all the new ones that we need to make from picking children’s books and toys to deciding when to start solids.

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day, a big thank you to all the mothers (and fathers) for raising us well. We now know what a tough job this is.