Go on, break my leg!

“Stop jumping on that couch, R!”

Jumping continues…

Two minutes later, “I SAID, STOP jumping on that couch right now!”

R stares right back at the dad, defying him to do anything about it. The jumping increases in frequency! The springs on the couch squeak ominously.

The dad now has the additional task of not just getting the kid to stop doing what he is doing right now and also not losing face! We’ve all faced it, right? The parent dilemma – how much control is too much? How much punishment is enough without breaking the kid’s spirit? Unfortunately, kids don’t come with an instruction manual and no two are ever alike! Like as two peas in a pod is a myth!

So the dad in question does what he thinks is the best thing. He splutters a bit and then comes up with this classic, “When you grow up and get a job and buy a couch, I will come to your home and jump on it till the springs break”!!!! Huh?

That couch jumping kid is now on the verge of getting his own couch and we hear him challenging the dad to come DO IT!

I’ve heard a lot of mothers of boys telling me that bringing up girls is different – they mean easier. Well, all I can say from this side of the fence is that you have all the above and then the other watery route to deal with! Easy tears so the dad runs for cover all the way to what a little niece of ours told her dad (who’s just threatened to break her legs if she does that one more time!). She does it one more time and then holds out her little leg, daring him to break it! Dad backs off in a hurry!

The same little kid’s older sister receives a similar injunction and promptly bursts into floods of tears, leaving the dad to run for cover this time!

My own younger one’s favourite ploy is to raise her already squeaky voice to an impossible high pitch, look soulfully at her dad and say, “But appa, I’m your only younger daughter…!” I’d like to see the dad who can resist that! The same kid, let me assure you would sell her great grandmom down the river in a trice!

Easier, huh?


You need fortifications! Vitamins! Energy! Health boosters!

Here’s one- from a super soup joint just outside the Takoma Park rail station in Maryland – a vegan place called Soupergirl. Great service, great soups and value for money. I also loved the fact that their parsley seasoning and herbed croutons (yum!) are left on the counter in a bowl for customers to serve themselves rather than in thos ubiquitous and tasting-of-nothing little sachets that most joints seem to prefer. This is much more ecologically conscious. Plus there are real sunshine-y yellow chrysanthemums on the table – chirpy green and red tables.

SPINACH AND COUSCOUS SOUP (Adapted from the Soupergirl recipe)

  • 2 cups spinach – chopped fine
  • Boiled chickpeas (chana) – 1 cup
  • Couscous – 1/4 cup (can replace with brown rice or quinoa)
  • Green chilies – minced – 2
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Carrots – cubed – 2
  • Onion – 1 small – chopped
  • Spring onions – 3 – chopped – greens and onion part separately
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Crushed pepper – 1/4 tsp
  • Garlic – 2 -3 flakes – minced
  • 3-4 tbsp of tzatziki – to garnish (whip together 1/2 cup hung yogurt, 1/2 cup grated cucumber, 1 flake of garlic, salt, 1/4 tsp sugar and a generous pinch of dill and refrigerate until needed)
  • Parsley or chopped coriander or mint to garnish
  • Oil – 2 tbsp

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the cumin seeds and green chilies.

Add the onions and the onion part of the spring onions, Saute till golden.

Add the garlic and saute for a further minute.

Add the carrots, chickpeas and spinach along with 3 cups of water and boil – about 5-6 minutes till tender.

Add the couscous, pepper and salt and boil for a further five minutes.

Take off the heat and cool slightly.

Ladle into bowls and squeeze lemon in each bowl – makes about 4 large bowls.

Pour a tbsp of tzatziki over each one. Garnish with herbs and serve with brown, crusty sourdough bread for a really filling meal.

If making ahead, do not add the lemon and tzatziki till serving time.

And go right ahead and make that ultimate threat to your kids, “Wait till you have kids of your own!” No wonder birth rates world over are dropping!