Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pink n blue n...

... brown n red n yellow n green n black b many more!

Colors excite me. I sincerely believe that if worn in the right material, with the right combination, carrying the right attitude, anybody and everybody can carry off any color. And, babies and children look good in all  colors, yet yet, what I have realized in these months, shopping for Manya - that it is so difficult to dress baby girls in anything but boring pink. Why? Because the stores don't have anything else.

First, let's set the record straight: I love pink. But overdoing any color in a wardrobe makes it dull. I am surprised that baby clothes' makers don't realize this. As of now, we rely mostly on Carter's for Manya's clothes and just checkout the girl's section - it is incredibly boring: mostly whites and pinks. This is most obvious in the physical store, where there are two departments: pink and blue. Though, I have to admit that the boy's section has more variety in terms of style and color. While girls clothing has cute monkeys and teddies, boy's clothes boast of themes such as soccer and jungle safaris and music in bright colors. Why can't my daughter be a rockstar with a guitar or be on daddy soccer team? It's a little annoying, you know!

So guess what I do to bring color and variety into Manya's life (:D): I shop at all three sections: girl, boy and neutral. It is super fun to do so and I often congratulate myself for having a daughter because I very well realize that there is only so much you can experiment with your little guy's clothing!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Yes, we are (unapologetically) co-sleeping/sleep sharing.

(Thank you Aps for reminding me that I have to do a post on this!)

Preparing for a baby teaches you a lot of jargon - tough sounding terms for simple things in life that you hadn't taken time to notice up till the point the stick shows the positive line. Co-sleeping or sleep sharing is just one of the trillion words added to my vocabulary in the last few months. What exactly the terms means is that the parents sleep with their baby in the same bed. Here's the wiki link

As we assembled baby gear and braced ourselves and the house for the new addition, Vish and I were very sure that the baby was going to be in a separate crib but in the same room as us. Our top reasons did not even include the privacy factor - Our logic was that the baby would be more comfortable with a space of her own and yet under our watchful care. Also, this being our first child, we were scared of rolling over the baby in sleep if she was in the same bed. Another contributing factor was the constant mention of the absolute necessity for a baby to sleep in her own bed during our child preparatory classes in order to avoid SIDS (Wiki link). 

So, after a lot of meticulous research, a crib was dutifully ordered. Daddy patiently put it together. Top-class mattress was chosen; mommy placed the best of linens to go with it. And the crib was lovingly placed on mommy's side of the bed as all of us eagerly awaited its rightful resident.

The day we brought Manya from the hospital, she was immediately placed in the crib for her noon siesta - it all seemed so natural and nice till the time came for her afternoon nap. We thought she shivered in the crib and was so noisy - surely putting her in our bed as we were awake would do no harm and so she was placed next to daddy who hugged her and they both slept. Come night time, we placed her back in the crib and that's it, she would not sleep. She first sent desolate, despairing glances from between the bars of the crib - I began to feel guilty - as if we had deliberately excluded her. Soon her obvious discomfort turned into a bawling complaint and ever so swiftly  I scooped her from the crib and placed her between us...where she remains ever since!

(By the way, the next morning my mom gave me that "I always told you this would happen" look, which was hard to ignore! Also, when Vish's BIL was in town, he stated in a very matter of fact tone that Indian parents use the crib for storage purposes :D)

While "co-sleeping" comes naturally to us Indian parents, I believe the "practice" is not very common in North America. Infact, at every doctor's visit, we have to fill out a questionnaire on how we are managing the baby and the only question we get "wrong" is the one on bed sharing! Our pediatrician quite good naturedly brushes that answer away giving us that sly smile, which translates into: "Indian, I tell you!"

I don't know if it happens with all parents who sleep share in this part of the world, but I am almost made to feel apologetic about our sleeping arrangements when talking to outsiders. Surely, we didn't plan this but even if we did, so what! I know so many children who "sleep shared", if you will, and are perfectly normal, confident, independent individuals. My brother and I sleep shared too and there seems to be nothing abnormal about us. Infact, it is so much more convenient when you have to feed the baby 4-5 times in the night and keep her warm in the cold winters (And though I was scared to do this initially, I now love snuggling upto her on the pretext of giving her human warmth, while I derive a lot of comfort from the cozy little cutie!) 

Yeah, we want Manya to eventually move to her own room (I am also hoping she'll take to the crib this summer since I use it for her daytime naps and she doesn't mind it too much - given she is in deep sleep. Btw, she doesn't really mind her bassinet either!) but I am dead sure it won't be because of "societal pressure". I am convinced her emotional well being will not depend on how long she slept with mommy and daddy but how we bring her up in a steady loving and supporting environment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mommy is now also a full time manicurist!

So, our darling daughter was born with really long nails - which she learnt to put to use from day 1. She scratched her face atleast a couple of times in the first 48 hours itself. Don't even begin asking why I didn't put mittens on - that she hated/hates them is an understatement!

The minute we were back from the hospital, trimming her nails was the first on my to-do. Now, anybody who has seen a newborn (carefully) knows that the skin is so close to the nail, that even the most careful of attempts at using a nail cutter could result in a catastrophe. Also, I remembered all too well my SIL's post on how she had managed to nip her daughter's nail once. I was convinced - if she managed to do that, there was no way I was going to even attempt to try using a nail clipper. And, hence, I went about researching and guess what I found:

This is a tempered glass nail filer available on Amazon. Tell me, it's not cute :D. It requires some effort and force but you cannot cut your baby's skin even if you used it in your sleep. Requires patience too because obviously it takes longer, and you have to file more frequently than you would trim. But, it's all well worth it.

The flip side? The nail filer is as effective as any emery board filer but it's 10 times the price. The reason I still bought it - because I wanted something cute and likeable! Considering the fact that I have to file Manya's nails every two days (yes, that's how fast her nails grow), I'd rather have something nice to keep myself motivated (yes, i derive happiness out of simple, mean things :P)!!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Needles pierced | Tears shed

Earlier this week, Manya got her first set of immunization shots. I was extremely anxious and for good reason - poor baby had to get three shots at one go, plus an oral dose. I am a person who freaks out at the sight of a needle reaching towards me, even now, so you cannot even imagine how cruel I thought it was to poke our little girl. With all the advancement in science, why can't we have oral doses for all baby vaccinations, infact, make that all vaccinations. I hope somebody somewhere is doing serious research on this.

So the story goes like this. Manya was in one of her best moods ever - she didn't sleep thru the car ride, looked around with great curiosity - her first "awake" car ride! She cheerfully let the nurse check her weight, height - didn't even mind the cold thermometer placed in her armpits. The doc was impressed by her smiling and cooing - and called her "extremely" social for her age. (Needless to say, my husband was quick to note that that one trait came straight from me :P.)

And  then, we entered the "shot room". She was smiling as usual till the moment the first needle was inserted...
...And then all hell broke loose. Her face turned the deepest shade of tomato red; flood gates were opened as copious tears flowed; and all sound barriers were broken as she screamed her loudest scream.

I am not exaggerating - she could be heard bawling a floor up and a floor down. I just couldn't control my tears - much to Vish's exasperation who claimed he could handle only one crying person at a time and he'd rather pick the person who actually went through the pain. So off he went pacifying her for a good 10 minutes after which she was calm and lulled into sleep. Thank god. I didn't have the guts to hold her then!

Now, I am hoping the next shots are easier ... on me atleast! I'd rather be the cool, chilled out, practical mom than a teary eyed sissy :( :(.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The second month just rolled by...

Our feisty angel is 2 months old now and here are the highlights:
  • Manya no longer needs the metronome at bed time - much to mommy's delight who couldn't sleep with that constant noise! 
  • Her day time feeding schedule is still erratic because of her acid reflux (which has slightly improved), and she still gets up for her 2-3 hourly feeds at night. I have stopped reading forums where mothers boast of babies who sleep for 6 hours straight at night at just 6 weeks!
  • While on the subject of her feeding, she is quite a social diner: she wants to first look at me, coo a little, smile a little (confusing me if she has a trapped air bubble or if it is a genuine smile), and then get on with the job, while continuously staring at me. It's all cute, except when she wants to do this entire routine at her 1 AM and 3 AM feeds!
  • She continues to be well behaved, though a wee bit more expressive and obstinate about her demands. Her smiles and laughs and gurgles have increased. There is some occasional cooing too. And, when she cries, it's a whole lot louder!
  • She plays almost everyday at the play gym - quite excitedly at that.
  • Mommy has been showing her books and toys. Very little interest but she loves change in voice tones when being spoken too - responds especially well to daddy's sessions that include a whole lot of rough play and jostling around!
  • She moves her legs and hands very well now - a whole lot less jerky. She loves being on her tummy, only because she finds it convenient to suck her hand :(!
  • And she has an obsession - Our ceiling fan! She keeps staring at it and even smiles at it. Oh by the way, if while feeding she is not facing it - she'll stop her feed to turn in that direction. Some days it is so irritating, I feel like pulling that fan off!
  • She has started listening to Bach (daddy's influence) and Julie Andrews (mommy's influence). We are yet to figure out what she prefers, though!
  • Mommy has forced the 8 PM lights off rule. Our darling has been adhering to it with very little deviance. And if she gets a full night's sleep (ofcourse apart from the feedings), she is up bright and sunny at around 5 AM and then sleeps again only by 7 or 8 AM. Much to daddy's plight, she can't tell weekends from weekdays and so we have to ensure she is entertained well in those early hours!
  • And something not so pleasant: She will get her first set of vaccinations tomorrow and I have been so nervous thinking about it.
The verdict: She is growing real fast. Her arms, her legs, her eyelashes, especially. Oh, how I love staring at them! 

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    Happy New Year, Love

    Dearest Manya,

    2012 has been THE life changing year for daddy and mommy. We have gone through ups and downs all through our lives and had many a proverbial new chapters, but with you coming into our world, it's a whole new epic!

    At a single glance, the world doesn't seem to be doing very well - economic crises across the globe, shootings, unrest, and I don't even want to talk about the state of affairs in India. But, one look at you and we are filled with hope - hope for a better tomorrow for you to live in. We want you to grow up to be happy that we chose to bring you in this world. And I am not sure that we are doing enough.

    However, what is living without hope and love, and so we shall celebrate each new day as it comes!

    2013 will be a year of a trillion firsts for you. I can't tell you how excited mommy and daddy are for your first tooth, your first food, your first word and your first step. You are growing up fast. As I write this, you are already 8 weeks old - now that's a big girl compared to the tiny baby we got from the hospital :).

    Last year, around this time, mommy and daddy were sipping wine, and feasting on rum cakes. We were out for dinner and went hiking on the first day of 2012. Those were happy times.

    This year, we are surrounded by your dirty diapers, stinky burp cloths, messy bath routines, and sleepless night outs! But guess what, these are happier times because we have you and you occupy all our attention and thought, leaving no space for nostalgia of the calmer (:D) times we have left behind. So, here's wishing you a very very happy 2013. 

    Lots of love n hugs n kisses!