Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why your parents want you to have kids: And of my increasing faith in Karma and the Cycle of Life

(A standard telephonic conversation - could be any day...)
Mom: Hi Yuvika, what's happening?
Me: Hell's broken loose. (Followed by one or more of these rants:) M doesn't stay put at one place. Massages, diaper changes, everything has become an ordeal. Apart from that she is a fussy eater - she doesn't sleep too well also. I woke up so many times in the night. Oh, yesterday, she also threw her ball on my face. I think my face suffered first degree injuries...
Mom: Oh my god, stop accusing the poor baby. This is normal with children. You have no idea what all you used to do. You were worse. (Followed by one or more of these accusations:) You would pull out your soiled diaper. You used to keep acting hungry even after a full feed. You used to bang the bed so hard. You used to pull my hair.
Me: Hello, so you mean to say I had Manya so that she could avenge you?
Mom: Oho Yuvika, don't be silly. This is how it is when you have kids. You should bask in the joys of motherhood.
Me: Aah, I can smell sarcasm there. I know you are secretly delighted that finally I am getting to experience what you went through. Very bad mummy, you should not harbor feelings of revenge against your own children.
Mom: Ha ha ha (I am sure she had devils' horns flashing too). You are so funny. Okay, now I need to go pack. We are driving to Bhimtaal for a mini weekend getaway in a couple of hours - we plan to reach by evening and sip some wine as the sun goes down, behind the mountains. What are your weekend plans?
Me: Meh. Sleepless nights, soiled diapers, endless feeds, teething troubles, blah blah.
Mom: Chalo, please take care of her and don't trouble her too much. Everything will be alright and by the time you have a second one, you'll be a pro and all this will be normal routine! And you will get plenty of sleep once the children are off to college!
Me: What!!! I don't believe this!! Waah! (To myself: WTF! The cheek to mention a second child in the same breath as wine and sunsets!)

And so after atleast a trillion such exchanges, I am convinced that (barring the joy that becoming a grandparent brings - no responsibilities and lots of fun!) the big reason your parents want you to have children is because they want you to go through the miseries that they did (:P). If that was not the case, what explains the fact that no parent will ever go into details of all the compromises and the pains that parenthood brings when you don't have a kid. They'll urge you with subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints - there will be ample encouragement - visions of the infinite love, the eternal bond, the everlasting joy (which is all true) but, but hang on, they don't warn you against the infinite sleepless nights, the eternal worries, the everlasting running around. 

You know, in a perverse way, it is the cycle of life - that is continuous and, much to the pleasure of every parent, a very fair cycle. The naughty child becomes the parent to a naughtier child, while the original parent becomes the grand parent and cheers the grand child to finally close the circle. 

This brings me to my other new founded belief in karma. Unfortunately, what goes around does come around. No escaping that and no point in hoping that you can postpone the paying back to your next janam/birth. All income will be and is taxed in the same cycle. No carrying on of dues etc. So, every time you have an altercation with your parents and your mom or dad retorts saying, "you'll know when you have a child" - trust me, someone up there is recording all of that, which will be exacted with interest years later when you do have a child. Parents know that because they have been there and done that and this is something only experience can teach you. 

So, dear readers, consider this post a boon to you if you still are not married/don't have a child. You will soon realize this is the only place you get the whole story including the brutal truth :D.

(P.S.: Manya darling ignore this post for the time being, we'll see when you are on the other side :P)

Signing off with a deceptive picture - don't let the serene smiles fool you - I just gave you all the gyaan, right? ;)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

M finally decides to sit up!

After going through various phases of sitting - propped up with support, then propping herself up with support, then sitting in a toad like fashion on her thighs, finally our pumpkin can settle down on her bum all by herself. :)

More than us, she is fascinated by her own skill. The funniest is how the second she wakes up from sleep, she gets up and sits upright! Alright, alright, enough of showing off, we chuckle in amusement!

And, she's already using support to pull herself to a standing position every now and then - one development milestone at a time, hun!

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Father's Day!

I was all gung-ho for M's and Vish's first Father's Day. A mini surprise was planned for the man of the occasion :D.

"Baked" a no-bake Oreo cheesecake, which was a huge success. Link to the recipe and the pic in my blog post here
Then, we got daddy dearest a personalized mug with his favorite pic of his daughter and him, which said "World's Greatest Dad"!

And finally, M wore the following T:

(For those who don't know M's daddy is a great guitarist who loves a wide variety of music, especially, rock, metal, and the likes.)

I arranged everything - the cake, the mug, and Manya in the T shirt on the dining table just before Vish came down for his morning coffee. His expression was priceless - like he wasn't sure what hit him. Well-worth the effort that went in at unearthly hours so that the surprise remained a surprise till the end :).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

On the prowl

It never ceases to amaze me how babies make progress hour on hour. Till about a week back all that our little tiger could manage was moving around making swimming strokes. M went from that to scooting to full-fledged crawling in just about 24 hours. 
As expected, this has wrecked great havoc in our anyways-not-so-peaceful lives, for the past couple of days. She is so fast! A blink, and she has reached I-don't-know-where!

Btw, she still can't sit properly yet. She squats like a frog on her thighs but is not able to go all the way back on her bum unless she has some support. With the support of furniture, she sits up pretty well on her own. Her other favorite activity is to dive down to the ground from the couch - while Vish and I nervously hang on to her legs, PJs, or whatever we can get hold off to keep her from falling down. And once down, she wants to be on the couch again. Did I ever mention kids are crazy? 

Oh, and she also literally shocked us the other day by almost standing up clutching to the couch. Since it happened just that once, we are thinking it was only a fluke. (Yeah, we are still awed with the crawling bit as of now, and want to be cribbing about that a while before going on to the next 'dangerous' phase :D.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A little bit of tradition...

While I am not really the person you would label religious or traditional, I do love celebrations every once in a while - especially if they are fun, and involve good food :D. (I could go into details about which rituals and customs I believe in, which I don't, and how I do believe in God, but then that's not the point here :).)

When my parents were here to help during the last days of my pregnancy and the first few weeks post delivery, we celebrated Manya's naamkaran (naming ceremony) on the eleventh day. A simple family affair with the five of us - dad arranged all the puja (prayer) stuff - he actually recited the right slokas (holy chants) and everybody whispered Manya's name into her ear. We all did aarti and even had Ferrero Rocher chocos for modaks (laddoos). Dad's really good with these rituals and has kept in touch with all requisite sanskrit verses for the same. Mom made yummy puris, aloo, paneer, kheer; and we made a short trip to the temple with a peacefully sleeping cherub cooperating all the way.
Here's a picture from that day...

This Sunday, Vish and I did the annaprashan (grain initiation ceremony) for our daughter. Technically, Manya was already on rice cereal and oatmeal (both being grains) but it was all baby cereal, you know. Not grains grains as such (my argument for having the ceremony so late) - she can now actually eat most table food, so I thought now would be a more befitting time, which it was because I could make her taste a little of everything I made that day (a spread with a small variety). We also went to the temple and M enjoyed the trip because she loves bright lights and sparkling stuff, and there's lots of that in a hindu temple, right?

Monday, June 10, 2013

For My Daughter

Every once in a while you come across a poem or a piece that says exactly what you would want to. When S shared this poem by Sarah McMane on her FB wall, I realized that if I wanted to put together everything I would ever want to tell my daughter, this would be it. It's perfect - it covers all aspects of the individual I aspire her to be. 

So, dear Manya, if you ever are deluged by all what mommy's telling you (which you will many-a-times, because (a) mommy talks a lot, and (b) there's so much to tell), you can always read this poem to get a concise summary. Ms. McMane wrote this for her daughter, but I'd repeat it to you line by line, word for word. Love you, tonnes!

Never play the princess when you can
be the queen:
rule the kingdom, swing a scepter,
wear a crown of gold.
Don’t dance in glass slippers,
crystal carving up your toes --
be a barefoot Amazon instead,
for those shoes will surely shatter on your feet.

Never wear only pink
when you can strut in crimson red,
sweat in heather grey, and
shimmer in sky blue,
claim the golden sun upon your hair.
Colors are for everyone,
boys and girls, men and women --
be a verdant garden, the landscape of Versailles,
not a pale primrose blindly pushed aside.

Chase green dragons and one-eyed zombies,
fierce and fiery toothy monsters,
not merely lazy butterflies,
sweet and slow on summer days.
For you can tame the most brutish beasts
with your wily wits and charm,
and lizard scales feel just as smooth
as gossamer insect wings.

Tramp muddy through the house in
a purple tutu and cowboy boots.
Have a tea party in your overalls.
Build a fort of birch branches,
a zoo of Legos, a rocketship of
Queen Anne chairs and coverlets,
first stop on the moon.

Dream of dinosaurs and baby dolls,
bold brontosaurus and bookish Belle,
not Barbie on the runway or
Disney damsels in distress --
you are much too strong to play
the simpering waif.

Don a baseball cap, dance with Daddy,
paint your toenails, climb a cottonwood.
Learn to speak with both your mind and heart.
For the ground beneath will hold you, dear --
know that you are free.
And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

S for Seven and Summer!

Yes, the seventh month was welcomed with a lot of (unwanted :D) sunshine and warmth (read: heat). And the mother-daughter duo have been spending a lot of time doing nothing :P.
  • M is all over the place. She is not really crawling in the strictest sense of the term - but swimming around. She has forearm strokes, backward strokes and what not to keep moving wherever she wants - cool, I guess, considering it gets her job of creating havoc done! We are still on phase 1 of child-proofing (just getting things out of her way, moving the center table out of the way etc.) - hoping to hang low a little longer (if we can help it). She is also trying to sit and stand with the help of support, and has begun to show some signs of frustration at not being able to do so!
  • Diet's mommy's milk, cereal, fruits and veggies - and some formula milk sneaked into the cereal or the veggies once in a while. We have a clear favorite: applesauce (after mommy's milk, ofcourse)! I must also add that I tried giving her water and she just loves it - sips it right off a broad-rimmed glass like an adult! It's a pity water has no nutrient value and I have to limit her intake :(.
  • She is no longer interested in the so many bright (and safe) toys she owns - she now guns for the boring black TV remote, or the white cordless or daddy's and mommy's cellphones, the notebook, magazines and laptops. I still can't help wonder why. Ditto, with eating - she'd rather drink from the glasses we use and eat from the white and black Corelle dishes, rather than her bright and sparkling dinnerware collection.
  • There's a lot of babbling happening too since the last couple of days. Lot of ya-ya, ba-ba, da-da, ta-ta and some really long and convoluted words and phrases which are often succeeded by loud squeals of delight or guttural laughter. I take that as a funny story or a joke perhaps? I needn't specify that we are going to have a (another) happy talker in the family. Impatiently waiting for more meaningful conversations :).
  • Have I mentioned what a keen listener and observer M is. If she is being spoken to, she does sit up and take note. The cutest is I think she now understands the word "come". Every time I say come, she leaves everything at hand and gets ready to "come" - with her arms swaying or her body lifted in that "let's go" posture!
Looking forward to fun times ahead!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Looking back at the first 6 months: 6 things I couldn't have lived without!

I had done a post on things I needn't have bought very recently, and before anybody has the chance to get carried away and call me a little (or more) wasteful, I thought I should hurry up with listing the things I am so glad I bought...

1. Nursing Pillow (the good ol' Boppy): Manya continues to be mostly breast-fed with almost no formula supplementation (except in her cereal or with some veggie/fruit) and I don't know how I would have or any nursing mother can manage without a good nursing pillow. I bought a couple of slip covers for it too and it continues to be the best breast-feeding companion (after my daughter ofcourse :P) ever!

2. Humidifier: M was a winter baby and in the first week or so, we noticed she was really noisy during her sleep - that heavy nasal snore that you get when you have a cold - that's what she used to sound like. We got the humidifier and it was like a magic wand - she breathed so much easier. It is an absolutely must have for dry climates as well as for the winter seasons.

3. Sleep Sacks and Wearable Blankets: We got the sleep sacks from Halo and the wearable blankets, like this one, from Carter's. Though M outgrew these by her fourth month because a. she is a taller-than-average baby and b. she loved kicking her legs around, I still swear by these. They are soft and snuggly and assure you that the baby will be warm and comfy without having to worry about suffocation because of the need of added loose blankets etc. I had atleast one for every night of the week (to save on frequent laundary, ofcourse :D), and was very disappointed to give them away. Have two of them still tucked away in a closet :).

4. Bouncer: I did do a post on how M was a reflux baby, and this bouncer (my baby shower gift) came in extremely handy as she had to be kept propped up for about 30 minutes after every feed. And Manya was a very frequent feeder, so you do the math. She still uses it - though sparingly now as she is getting to the point where she can get up and sit upright without support. They say that's the time to dump the bouncer, and we will - but we have had a very positive experience till now.

5. Play gym: Another baby shower gift (we have this one from Fisher Price) that was a must on our to-buy list. I was not as convinced of its utility when I was pregnant but it soon became a life saver. (Again, this will become redundant when M sits up on her own). Since M turned a month old, we started making her spend time at the play gym - it was barely a few minutes in the beginning but it grew to cover the time I took to cook an entire meal and clean up too! She still plays with it rather than in it given her increased mobility, and we are already researching on the next activity center we need to get her. 

6. Bath Tub: When we got this one for M, my mom was pretty skeptic as to if we would ever to get to using all the paraphernalia. She accepted she was wrong immediately after M's first bath! The sling is so damn useful, especially for slithery new-borns :D - the perfect way to introduce a baby to water and bath time. We didn't get a single cry from M when we placed her on it for the very first time. At about 3 months, she outgrew the sling and now we just use the tub as is with the insert to keep her oily body from skidding on the smooth surface. What can I say, our bath times are a lot of fun and hardly any hassle! I'd recommend this to all new parents and parents-to-be.

So, what are the things you are proud to have thought of and bought for your babe?