With our beloved Persian New Year نوروز (Norouz) approaching and the smell and sight of Spring not too far away (except for people in the Northeast of course, cause I hate to break it to you, but I heard you have another Polar vortex approaching) here is a great idea to promote Norouz in our communities and schools. I hope that one day Norouz will be as easily recognized in our community as Easter, the Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and Christmas are.
At around this time, it is customary to begin spring cleaning for the fast approaching Persian New Year (Norouz), which always falls on the Spring Equinox. So, it would be a great idea to promote a clothing drive or some kind of spring cleaning event in our community and schools with Norouz in mind. Here is an event that my sister-in-law started at her children’s school. It was a clothing drive that benefited their local Big Brother’s Association for Norouz. You would need to get in touch with the charity of your choice while also getting the permission from your child’s school. It may help to begin with a locally recognized and supported charity so that the community you live in can relate. I hope that I can pull this off at my daughter’s school this year. We shall see But even if I don’t, I hope I have planted a seed of inspiration that will hopefully grow as fast and tall as your Norouz sprouts سبزه sabzeh. Together we can benefit our community while raising awareness of our Persian culture and teaching our kids the beauty of charity and leadership.
The Persian writing above is Saadi’s poem used in the flyer and here is the Penglish for those who understand Persian but can’t read it:
Bani aadam azaayeh yek digarand Keh dar aafarinesh ze yek goharand
Cho ozvy be dard aavarad roozegar Degar ozvhaa ra namaanad gharaar
To keh ze mehnateh digaraan bi ghamy Nashayad keh naamat nahand aadamy
There will be more on Norouz and crafts you can do with your kids coming soon! Stay tuned and as always I welcome your suggestions, feedback, opinions, and expertise!
I was just recently asked by a friend who’s a fairly new mom in a moment of her frustration with her toddler, how on earth I managed three kids when one alone is enough to drive a mother crazy. Well, firstly I admitted that I’m pretty sure I have become some sort of crazy, and that as the Persian saying goes آب كه از سر گذشت، چه يك وجب چه صد وجب aab keh az sar gozasht, cheh yek vajab cheh sad vajab , meaning that once you’re drowning, what difference does it make how much water you’re under? As you may have already noticed, I resort to humor and I’ve learned that you just have to learn to be able to laugh it out and laugh at yourself sometimes.
In response to my friend’s request, here are Persian Momma’s top 10 parenting tips that I’ve learned along the way and wish I was told and reminded of more often:
Remember that everything with your new baby/child is transient. If they are a bad sleeper now, I can guarantee there will be a day when you will have to nag them awake. Think school days, snoozing alarm clocks, etc. If they are not good eaters now, there will come a day when you have to hide food from them, if they are clingy now, there will be a day when you will be yearning for them to call your name. So cherish the moments for what they are and remember that it will not always be like this.
Time-outs work! They have been a Godsend and actually allow me, the hotheaded momma, to calm down before I react to my child’s action. Really I look at it more so as a time-out for me. But it also allows your child a moment to think about what they have done.Some time out pointers:
1 minute of time-out for every year (1 year-old has 1 minute of time-out, 2 year olds 2 minutes, etc.)
Set a timer (I use my oven timer) so your child is not sitting in time-out for more than they should. It also helps your child understand time better.
After the timer has beeped, I also made my toddlers count to 10 (this was a tricky way I got them to learn their counting
Come down to your child’s level and ask them if they know why they were in time-out. Make sure you explain why what they did should not be done.
Always end your time-out with a hug and a reinforcement of how much you love your child. I don’t think you can ever tell them enough times how much you love them. Feeling loved gives a sense of security.
Remember that your child is not doing the “naughty” things to spite you but it is how they learn about their environment and boundaries.
Be consistent in your parenting and if there are two parents in the household, make sure both parents are on the same page and use the same discipline techniques.
I find that the most frustration with my kids comes at times when I am trying to do something for myself (write an email, make a phone call, tidy up, etc.). I am learning to time these things during nap times and bedtime so I can actually get them done and not become a raging lunatic TRYING to get them done while meeting my children’s constant demands.
Have fun with your kid(s). Do something you both enjoy, like singing, dancing, play dates, reading, etc. Remember that these little children have opened up the door for you to once again revisit childhood and innocence! So dance like nobody’s watching, act goofy, and have a good time!
Get some fresh air. Being cooped up in the house is not healthy for you or your child.
Exercise! I cannot tell you how much the gym has helped me become a happier and stronger mom. If you can’t go to a gym, or there isn’t a gym with a daycare option, try going for a walk with your baby/child outside or at a mall. Just avoid walking by Cinnabon and the food court at the mall. It totally defeats the purpose of the walk Or just do some stretching, yoga, or dance at home. It will keep your child entertained as well and wondering just how weird mommy can get.
Learn your own triggers. My 3 big personal triggers are a messy house, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise. Find your own and find a way to handle it so you are not taking your frustrations out on your kid(s).
Have a routine/schedule. This will only prevent the meltdown that comes with your child being too tired, over stimulated, and hungry (a lethal combination, that you should NOT allow to happen if you don’t want to end up on the 5 O’Clock news channel)
And lastly, I will leave you with my motherly advice of don’t be so hard on yourself. We are all doing our best as parents and have the same goal in mind. Parenting, as one of my friends once told me is not for the faint of heart. I’ve learned not to judge other people’s parenting. Different folks, different strokes. Do what works for you, and your family and don’t let anybody get you down!
I hope you were all able to ring in the New Year with yummy food, good company, a smile on your face, and a gher in your kamar (loosely translated, a dance in your step). Here’s what a party hosted by myself and my cousin looks like. And yes, we went crazy with the 2014
There was Gheymeh, Maast va khiyar, Salad Oloviyeh, rice (of course), Salad Shirazi, Fesenjoon (not pictured because we almost forgot to serve it!), and Salmon.
And of course it wouldn’t be a party if we didn’t have desserts to share. There was Sholeh Zard, Persian Roulade, and homemade Baklava & Nummoora (courtesy of our talented Lebanese guests). Yum yum!
I think all moms can relate to this one! Momisms know no boundaries and are very similar in all languages I will have most likely repeated at least half of those momisms in just a couple of hours :-) Enjoy.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to spend your whole day in the kitchen and you already feel like you are there too often for your liking. However, you also want to provide a well-balanced, nutritious, and khoshmazzeh (delicious) meal for your family, yourself included. So here’s a dish, guaranteed to satisfy everyone’s palette.
1 package of your favorite pasta (I chose the curly spiral ones because they are easy for kids to eat. Penne and elbow macaroni also work well)
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 lb of ground beef (preferably Organic for your own good)
3 tablespoons of Piaz daagh پياز داغ = Fried onions (This is a staple in every Persian household as it is the base of many dishes. It is basically onions sautéed in oil to golden perfection). I have a stash of frozen piaz daagh in my freezer. OR 1 chopped onion (sautéed to make piaz daagh)
3 tablespoons Turmeric
Garlic (minced or powder)
Heat a medium skillet and add piaz daagh, some olive oil, and the ground beef. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat while cooking it. Add salt, pepper, garlic, and turmeric and allow to brown and fully cook.
Add the pasta sauce to the meat mixture and allow to cook for another 5 minutes to soak up the flavors and reduce the liquid.
Cook your pasta according to package directions and drain the water.
Add the meat to your cooked pasta and set over the heat for another 5-10 minutes, and voila, dinner is served. Serve with a side salad and some yogurt and you have yourself a complete dish! Noosheh jaan نوش جان (Bon Appetit)
Note: You can always jazz this dish up if you’re not in a hurry by adding in some vegetables (like chopped mushrooms or peppers) before you cook the meat or by simply sprinkling some fresh parsley to the food.
I am so excited to be able to offer YOU my wonderful readers, through the generosity of Oznoz, a 20% discount on your entire shopping cart through Dec 29th! They offer books, movies, and products for bilingual children of all ages in multiple languages, our beloved Persian included.
“If culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside. Without it, he said, you ended up wayward, without a proper home or a legitimate identity.” – Khaled Hosseini (from the book And the Mountains Echoed)
I don’t think anyone can deny the benefits of having your child/children speak another language and be raised bilingual. However, this is not always easy to do. From my personal experience and reading a little bit about this topic here are my suggestions:
If both parents speak Persian, make sure that that is the only language you speak to your children at home.
Often parents worry that their children will not be able to communicate in English (or the other language spoken in your country of residence) if Persian is the only language spoken at home. To address this, I made sure to speak English with my child during play dates, on our outings, classes, and interactions with other kids. And of course your child will also hear you speak this language outside the home with others and surely pick it up. So don’t worry about this. I often see parents speak to their child in English so that they will be comfortable in preschool. But what they don’t realize is that once the child is in preschool/school, the dominant language becomes English and the child’s tendency to learn the recessive/minority language (Persian in this case) diminishes greatly and teaching them becomes a struggle. Planting the seed of Persian language in them from infancy is key to success. However, if you are already past this stage, it’s time to throw in the towel. JUST KIDDING!! The key is not to give up!
If one parent is non-Persian speaking, allow the child to speak to that parent in English (or whatever language the other parent speaks), but make sure that your child speaks to you in Persian. Try to stick with it. Consistency is key!
Form a playgroup with Persian speaking children or parents. For the child to be surrounded by the language is important and shows them that there are uses for the language you insist that they learn.
Read them books in Persian. Start from birth! Reading is one of the most effective ways of teaching your children. If you do not know how to read Persian, I suggest you translate some of your favorite stories to Persian for them.
If your child watches TV, let them watch Persian cartoons. (GLWIZ has a free app for smart phones http://www.glwiz.com/player.aspx and I let my kids watch the cartoon channel)
Sing! Add some hand movements, and dance to make it interactive.
Ultimately the best way to learn the language is to be in the environment. A visit to Iran would surely boost their language and enthusiasm for it. I have yet to make this happen with all three children
Flashcards are a great way to start with smaller words.
Sometimes pretending that the grandparents don’t know any other language other than Persian can “force” the kids to tap into their Persian vocabulary and use their skills.
Here’s a recent study that came out that shows the benefits of bilingualism:
Happy Halloween! Here are just some of the decorations I made for the halloween party we had. Wishing you, and your kids a safe and happy Halloween!
Starting from top left:
A spooky tree the kids and I made with brown recycled wrapping paper and some paint and fake leaves (you can use real ones too)
The purple cake is my talented friend’s creation. Mina baked a fabulous layered chocolate peanut butter cheesecake with handmade, homemade edible decorations. The 5 ghosts represent my family. How cool is that?! This layer on layer of awesomeness was not only a work of art to gape at, but was a party in my mouth, and later jelly on my hips
Carved venomous spider pumpkin
Wall decorations (I used black disposable tablecloths on the walls and hung haunted mansion-style changing portraits)
My Cleopatra face (with fake bangs I bought from a beauty supply store)
Some wall/table decorations
Another pumpkin the kids and I had fun carving. We bought plastic fangs you could insert into your pumpkin.
My brownie coffins with chocolate skeleton dessert
Blood candles (I melted red candle on plain white candles)
My favorite added touch had to be the fake body under the garage door! This had my youngest yelling “Daddy dead” and running to the garage to look for the rest of his father. Oops! For this, I took some old jeans, stuffed them with plastic and placed some shoes at the end. I also used Caution Tape on the garage door.
Spider webs with plastic black spiders on them
Foam tombstone decorations purchased as a package from Walmart on the lawn