Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Shit happens...And everybody loves it!

Statutory Warning: This post actually talks about the four letter word with which the title above begins. Only those with a brave heart, a realistic sense of humor, or parents may continue reading this post. Would-be parents be especially warned.

Now, now, now, here comes the time for some fact checking. The one essential app of the human body that is completely undermined all your life and usually the "butt" of most grotesque jokes is undeniably iPoop! And, why should I choose to talk about this on my mommy blog - well, because, when you become a parent, that's what hits your face among the first things, and it stays there for quite a while.

After the birth of the baby, everybody awaits "the happening". I kid you not, the first wet and soiled diaper (I can get all technical about meconium et al. but where's the fun in that?) is a cause of great celebration. The nurse and the pediatrician actually gave genuine exclamations of 'wow', and 'wonderful', while my dad took the moment to a whole new level  by congratulating us!!! Vish and I feigned a few indulgent smiles. 

And then started, what has been a never ending journey - the initial diaper changes were nerve wrecking. We would be nervous, Manya would be bawling, I would forget the rash ointment, She would throw her legs around, and finally the ordeal would end with a thank god. Cut to the present. Vish and I can individually change her diapers in a jiffy - there's no crying, no forgetting - and a top-quality job is done - day and night. (My learning curve has always been sharp, I tell you!) 
By the way, the industry standards say that on an average a child has about 5000 diaper changes till he or she is about the potty-training age (say 1.5 to 2 years). So, I do have miles to go.

The other quite irritating thing about this whole business is that, in the initial weeks, you have to not only keep a count of the dirty diapers but also note the color etc. (obviously for the pediatrician visits, duh and not as a present for your kid's 13th birthday!). I still remember Vish screaming, "please analyse the shit later, and put the fresh diaper on, else there shall be more to analyze than you can handle"! We actually downloaded an app that helps you keep a track of it and gives you stats in the end - you can even create graphs etc! It really helped - because imagine, keeping a pencil and paper next to the changing station and then manually doing a total and average at the end of the week :D. (I had considered maintaining an excel for keepsakes, but I was not sure as to how my daughter would react to such memorabilia :P.)

You can now breathe a sigh of relief, no more details! And, apologies for grossing you out if I have, but then like they say, "You do not know true love, till you wipe the shit off somebody's ass." Ouch!

Friday, December 21, 2012

And the tears have come in...

Just one of the fascinating facts you learn about babies is that their tear ducts become functional only somewhere between 1 to 4 months of age - which essentially means that when they cry before that, its tear-less. Imagine, of all the homework I did on neonates, I got to know of this only after Manya was born. 

So while I cannot document her first cry or first smile - simply because the first thing she ever did was cry; and as for her smiling, she has been doing that since the day she was born: in her dreams, because of her gassiness, and only very lately in response to people - I can definitely record the date of her first tears. 

Three days ago - on 18th December - our princess, poked her nose a little too harshly and slowly her eyes welled up with water and one tiny drop from each eye slid down. Awwww, it was heart warming and heart breaking at the same time. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Demand!

So, the pediatricians recommend that babies be fed on-demand for the first several weeks. My first reaction to that: Obviously. Don't we adults also expect to be fed or rather expect to eat on-demand! 

And then I realized, life's facts are never so simple. Apparently, the average baby feeds every 2-4 hours (including night and day) for a couple of months and in some cases, especially where babies are exclusively breastfed, the feed could even be every 1 to 1.5 hrs (more in periods of growth spurts). 

Now comes the catch, my daughter takes on-demand to a whole new level. All these IP TV providers and other service providers need to really understand from her what is truly ON DEMAND! So, her highness, started a wonderful new routine towards the end of her first week. In the night, she would ask for a feed, sip for 2-3 mins, doze off again, and then get up in 45 minutes for the next snack. With the exhaustion of delivery still hitting hard and strong, I was going crazy with this kind of feeding. 

At her next pediatrician appointment, we brought this up with the doctor and she explained to us that I need to ensure the baby is wide awake for a proper active feed. So, I should always change her diaper before feeding her so that she is woken up from her slumber. Haa! I did attend my child rearing classes, you know. I was already doing that. 
Next, she told me to take off her blankets and any warm clothing. That seemed simple enough. 
And then, she said, if that failed too, I should strip her to her diaper, put a cold wet cloth over her skin and then begin feeding her. The only thought that crossed my mind was, "How brutal; only these Westerners can be so harsh on the poor baby" (ouch, I didn't mean to be racist, but oh, well!). With a firm resolve not to ever do it to MY child, I left the clinic.

And then night fell again. Our Madame, started her assault. Soon, she was sipping 2-3 minutes every 30 minutes. I not only looked like a zombie but felt like one too. Removing her warm clothing, didn't do any good. 
As the darkness grew, so faded my strong resolve. It was 2 degrees (C) outside (inside about 20 C) - the doc's last option suddenly didn't seem so brutal. So with a guilt ridden heart, I attempted the cruelest thing ever - After she was done with her 2 min sucking, I stripped Manya to her diaper, rubbed a cold wet cloth over her (my spine shuddered and I must have apologized to her more than a 100 times). 
Lo, behold, she flung her eyes open - bright and wide. Wow, I said, it worked, and then I began feeding her. What she did after that will remain as a lesson with me forever. Manya clenched her lips so tight that nothing and no one could coax her to open her mouth for the feed. She kept awake and she did not feed. Period. She got up in another 30 minutes. Fed for 2 minutes. I tried my wet cloth only once more. She refused to feed till the next 30 minutes. 

And thus, I learnt two things: One, the true meaning of on-demand. And two, when you force your way through things in desperation, nothing will work the way you want :(.

Epilogue: She settled down into a lot easier schedule, soon after - a feed every two hours. I promise you it had nothing to do with my cold treatment though. She is back to hourly feeds lately, but only because of her reflux problem, which I hope resolves soon with the medication she is taking. Till then, fingers crossed (and recommendations for good under eye cream would be highly appreciated :P).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Power nap/ Yoga nidra

It is no secret that with the joy of mommyhood come countless sleepless nights and days. Between frequent feeds, diapering duties, burping, bath times, changing clothes, and other items on an endlessly long list, sleep is the last thing that 'happens'. I won't even get into the details of dark circles and blotchy skin and all the nasty side effects.
All for the greater love, they say. So be it :D.

The minute you announce the news of your pregnancy, friends, relatives. all and sundry, will surely give you one advice, "Sleep well, rest well." However, well meaning the advice maybe and I even concede, rest is important; but I always felt (and still feel) that you can't really stack up on the sleep quota - something like if you know you are going to fast next month, you can't eat double the previous month! 

So, ofcourse I rested a lot during the nine months, it still didn't come in handy post November 6th. Now, what would have me better prepared? A good course on how to get power naps or yoga nidra. For details on these concepts check Wikipedia: Power nap | Yoga nidra

Forget all those Lamaze classes, childbirth classes, labor and delivery classes etc., I feel a mandatory class should be not on breathing but sleeping. I ruefully admire my husband as he gets up refreshed from his 15 minute snooze and I am still tossing and turning to first fall asleep. It takes me atleast 30 mins to fall asleep and sadly, that luxury has not been offered to me till now! I wonder if it ever will be. And anyways, how does one learn power napping? Any ideas?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

One Month Milestone!

I cannot find an un-cliched way of saying this, but boy, time does fly. Manya is already a month old!

Here's what she's been upto:
  • Our baby loves constant noise, chatter - sleeps soundly through most noise. We infact used a metronome set at 120 beats a minute for her night time. She is slowly getting off that - mostly because mommy needs absolute silence for her sleep!
  • She feeds pretty much on-demand (more about this in a later post).
  • Poor baby gets frequent hiccuping bouts - some of which may last upto 15-20 minutes. She patiently hiccups while we fuss around her to make her comfortable.
  • She loves it when her nappy is being changed and she's being cleaned. 
  • She absolutely hates sponge baths - especially the time when her sleeves have to be removed, stomach has to be cleaned or massaged with cream. 
  • As much as she hates her sponge baths, she loves the hot water baths. From the first time on, she has taken an instant liking for her oil massages, is an absolute angel in the bath tub (we put it against the bathroom mirror, and she keeps adoring herself - what a narcissist!), and is extremely patient when we are transporting her slithery, wriggling body to and fro from the changing station.
  • Her highness also loves to have her hair massaged, cleaned, brushed and generally stroked all day through!
  • Keeping my fingers crossed on this one: She preserves her crying only for when it is absolutely necessary - when her hunger cues are not picked up for almost 4-5 minutes, when she scratches her self with her own long and always-growing nails or when she is extremely bored and irritated, the latter mostly because of gas!
  • She focuses extremely well on people and objects - even to the extent of frowning. Follows movements.
  • Has not taken an interest to any toys yet. Though, she is slowly responding to the hanging animals in her play gym. Doesn't mind being plonked on her recliner/bouncer but can stay put only for 10-15 minutes.
  • No story telling seems to particularly interest her. She quietens down instantly when I read from The Economist to her. Quite funny that she likes the monotonous sound of the reading to all the antics I do during the story telling.
  • Old McDonald, This old man, and Rudolph are her lullabies. (Mostly because mommy can't sing to save her life and these don't require her to be melodious.)
  • She smiles and laughs now (I don't know if it is yet an emotional response or just a muscle twitch ;) even when awake - earlier all the laughs and the gurgles and the chuckles were only during dream time!
  • She hates being swaddled too tight - likes her arms and legs free. Hates mittens and socks too!
  • She throws her arms around all day as if she was conducting an orchestra. Legs are kicked a million times in a million directions and she has begun to move herself diagonally or left/right when lying down. She doesn't mind being on her tummy, so we don't have a problem with her pediatrician recommended "tummy times".
  • No distinct sleep pattern as yet...though I have begun to notice that she is perhaps more awake early mornings and late evenings.
  • Touch wood again on this one - she seems to be extremely visitor friendly - no fussing, no crying - absolutely well behaved in strange environments like the car or the doctor's clinic! And I must get into details of this one in another post.
  • And this one with a sigh: She hates the crib, and instead prefers sleeping between mommy and daddy in the nights. Tries to reach out to both of us in the middle of the night. Keeps knocking at our bodies if we have our backs turned towards her!
  • She spends a lot of time admiring mom's hair (the only person in this entire universe to do so), and loves the cheek to cheek time with daddy in the mornings.
  • Last but not the least; Not many car rides as yet - but she is lulled to sleep with daddy's driving!
All in all, the princess has being quite the cooperative baby; and generally, any complaints or disciplining tactics from mommy and daddy are met with a grunt from everybody else. We are told to count are blessings and not trouble Manya :D. And we mostly try not to :P.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

She's got mail!

On 28th November, Manya got her first postal mail addressed exclusively to her with her full name et al.

Though it was just some legal paper work, we were super excited and opened the envelope ever so carefully so that we could preserve it as a keepsake for the times to come.

Of course, we realize that time flies, and soon we will not have access to her highness's mail!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Being a baby is no child's play!

Before starting my tirade of rants, courtesy my newly acquired 'mommy' status, I thought I should first objectively acknowledge that I do understand that if being a parent is hard, it must be exponential times harder to be a baby. And even though, I might disregard this knowledge ever so often, I just want to state for the record what I often tell Manya too :), "This big, bad world just has no memory as to how tough it is being a baby!"

And here's how a baby would tell you exactly why:

-  For 9 months, you cocoon me in your amniotic fluid. I try to accommodate my ever growing self in your not so comfortable body. I make a life for myself and hey, then you tell me it's show time and I have to do acrobats and such that I have never even practiced inside. Take for example, breathing in air, crying, feeding, peeing, pooping, and the list goes on. Compare your learning curve to mine!

- If you are hungry, you eat leftovers from the refrigerator, or cook, or order in. When I am hungry, I give you adequate hints and then when you fail to decipher all of those, I cry out aloud, and even then I need to wait for you to get my feed ready! Trust me dial-a-pizza is so much simpler and more efficient!

- You attend to all your ablutions and nature's calls in absolute privacy. Not only am I not granted the privilege of that privacy, but mommy and daddy actually make a big deal about my every poop and pee. How embarrassing it is that they keep count of my nappies. Why don't you figure out for yourself how uncomfortable diapers can get, and don't get me started if you forget or cause delay in the changes!

- Just because I can't express my personal opinion, that doesn't mean, I don't have one. How would you feel if every visitor hugged you and kissed you, and insisted they hold you. If nothing else, I also have to tolerate the long stares and detailed scrutiny of every movement and sound I make. Get a life, people!

- I might be cute and all, and may even look good in whatever you make me wear, but for god's sake, don't dress me up in ridiculous outfits or uncomfortable clothes just because you bought them to satisfy your own deep-seated fascination for what you think is cute. Come to think of it, you have full access to my closet and wardrobe. Not for long, though!

- My vision is still developing, and so are my motor skills, my nervous system, my digestive system and all the other complicated bodily functions - And all that you can do is devise ways to discipline me - you call me a night bird when daddy himself doesn't have a fixed sleeping time, and you want me to have timed feeds when mommy seems to be munching anytime she wants! Please play fair!

- And last but not the least, to set the record straight, you invited me over, and I merely accepted in courtesy! So remember that when you go around telling the world how you have been having sleepless nights and days, and blah, and blah!

(Inspired by Manya's trillion expressions, most of which seem to say, "guys, cut the crap out and let's get down to business" - which is usually feeding her, rocking her to sleep or changing her diaper!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 6th, 2012

The world changes in a fraction of a second; and the enormity of the truth of this statement strikes you the loudest and clearest when an achingly delicate baby is put in your lap moments after the big bang birth.

When the democrats and the republicans were tossing and turning in bed in the wee hours of the morning of the election day, there was feverish excitement at our end too. Amidst the clamor of the sanitized tools of the doctor, the hurried activity of the nurses, the rhythmic beats of the monitor, the fast fading strength of mommy and the nervous anticipation of daddy, a tiny little being eagerly pushing to come out, finally managed to pop her whole self out and say hello to the world in one loud cry.

When her bare wriggly body was placed over my chest, Manya instinctively strained her neck to look at me; wide-eyed she stared into my eyes - a moment etched in my memory for ever. Suddenly, I seemed so small in front of her, her strength seemed greater than mine and so did her resilience. My heart froze and my body shivered in fright. For all the unsorted emotions I felt, all I could say to her was, 'I am scared, you take care.' Vish had a better grip on the situation and I was pleasantly surprised as he confidently took her and rocked her and cooed to her while I was still reeling from the shock of what had happened.

This was finally her. Our daughter, who we had eagerly awaited for, for nine long months. We were parents now. Priorities flipped as our heart skipped a beat with every sound and movement she made. We felt so responsible and vulnerable, at the same time. And, why not. A care so binding, a love so intense.

Our world had changed, for forever. And it had taken only a fraction of a second.