Category: Baby

Changes big and small

Dear Buzz,

I was reading something while I was pregnant with you where the author who was in his late 50s wrote, ‘the only one who remembers my childhood now is my brother’. This single statement made such a huge impact on me. Almost then and there I decided that if it was within my power I would give you someone to share your childhood with, to build memories with, to reminisce the same with when your Paa and I are no more.

You were born soon after and your Paa and I faced the reality of a little human who was solely dependent on us but came with no instruction manual. We struggled to do our best with all the challenges you threw our way every few days. We loved you immensely but that did not mean that it was smooth sailing. There were endless days when you were sick, there were times when you went on hunger strike, there were sleepless nights (months) and those were the days when having another kid seemed out of question. But I kept going back to this statement and that was my one argument for having another kid that your Paa could not argue against.

While we were in India recently your cousin Maami asked me, ‘Why second kid?’ and all I said was, ‘I can’t imagine what I am going through right now without having Bhaiya around’. Your Maama and I are a team. I just had forgotten how strong a team we were till this year. With all that was going on we would seek each other through the crowd. I would look up to find your Maama looking at me. No words would be exchanged but we understood each other completely. We shouldered the pain together, we stood strong together, we held each other. And it reinforced my belief that having a second child was the right thing to do for us as a family.

Life as you knew it a few months ago has changed a lot. But you have been so amazing through it all. You are crazy about your little sister and would play with her non-stop if we let you. You would stay with her day in and day out if we did not put you to sleep or send you to daycare. You get scolded and told no more often now, not all toys that come home are for you, you don’t get the undivided attention that you used to but every time one of us ask, ‘baby kiske hei?’ you reply ‘mera’. Yes sweetheart the baby is yours first and foremost, you just have to wait for a little more time before you can start playing with her the way you want to.

You have your moments where you tell me, ‘no mumma, no baby’ when you want me all to yourself but they are few and far between. Till you get your share of one on one time with me, till you get to sit in my lap as long as you want to, till you have me to put you to bed at night you are happy and don’t throw a tantrum. And even when during our time if I have to go take care of Bugz you don’t throw a fit, rather follow along. Which means the three of us spend time together rather than the two of us and that is fine with you.

You got up crying last night because of a bad dream. You were crying and calling out to all of us, checking on us to make sure that we were all OK and Bugz was the second person on your list to check on. It warms my heart, gives me hope that the two of you will be a team with a bond strong enough to carry you through the highs and lows of life. I once got a birthday card for your Mama which went ‘Remember the mantra we lived by as kids, DON’T TELL MOM!’ and I can honestly say that no matter how frustrated I am at that moment but if this is the kind of bond the two of you share, you-two-against-us-the-parents, I would be the happiest Mom around.

But those are things of the future. For now the present is full of a lot of love and care and laughs and a few tears and there is nothing more I could have asked for. You have been amazing with the changes happening, smiling your smile, free with your hugs and filling our hearts with joy. You are still my little baby and I, the biased Maa, thing you are the bestest kid around. Even though I don’t get to spend as much time with you as I used to, I am crazy about your sweetheart. And as I try to balance things and do right by both you girls, you stay happy, stay healthy, stay you. Always!

Loads of love,
-Maa

Let's talk Men

and their commitment phobia.

Random conversation with a friend: We had been going around for 2 years, parents had been told, everyone knew we were getting married, but he was not ready to set a date. Took a lot of arm twisting and pressure from the entire family before he started talking Wedding.

Random conversation with another friend: I feel my biological clock ticking but every time I talk about having a baby, he tells me we have lots of time, we should focus on our career. Let’s visit having babies a couple of years from now.

I have had so many such conversations over time. And have also had the pleasure of hearing the other side. So let’s walk through some of the things the men around sprout.

Baby? How old are you? We will talk about one when you turn 30. That’s the age people say one should have a baby right? Why because having one before that will be a cardinal sin..right? Oh God, what will people think? She had a baby before she turned 30. So old-fashioned Indian of them.

Why do we need a baby? When we are so happy together. Oh the burden of responsibility of another human being is sure to break your back.

We won’t get to travel after we have one. Because as soon as you have a baby, the airlines refuse to issue tickets to destinations. You are even refused to drive outside the city limits.

We won’t have a chance to go party when we want to. The fact the you have not spontaneously picked up and gone partying in the last 5 years does not count. The fact that even the hope of one will be taken away is what is of importance here.

If you really read between the lines all this means is that they are scared about the loss of freedom, they don’t have a clue on how to handle the change.

So he resists with endless arguments, which she take intense pleasure in demolishing with the much acclaimed logic that the Men folks so gladly prize. When all else fails, the poor He start looking at each other for company. Then the unthinkable happen. One of their own kind caves in or has an accident (err..the wife got tired of waiting and stop taking the Pill one day, without telling. Oh OK accident did happen in one case that I know. The wife was in more shock than the guy). She has all the more ammunition and a knife to hang on the his neck.

The conversation goes something like hence:

She: Let’s make a baby
He: What’s the hurry
She: I could stop taking the Pill
He: You would not?
She: I would
He: I will not come close to you
She: We will see

Impasse..Basic instincts + other friends in the same boat + water works on her part..the hold out does not work for too long.

Ever month hence, as her despair rises, he rejoices. Till comes a day when she shrieks with joy and he looks on with hopelessness. The end of a dream. End of the world as he knows it. She puts on weight, is overjoyed about little flutters and kicks. He can’t feel a thing, no matter how many times she holds his hand on the stomach. She makes a list of things to buy. He can’t seem to gather the enthusiasm about spending money on an unknown. She buys little clothes. He can’t get himself to assemble the crib, the finality of it he can’t digest. She smiles with joy, holding on to her belly. He struggles with stating the simple fact that he feels nothing.

Then one fine day, just like that, push comes to shove. He holds the baby in his hands. And promptly falls in love. All it takes is a tiny bundle in his hands and he is smitten like never before. Even mouths words like, ‘Why did we wait so long? Let’s have another one real soon.’

All is suddenly right with the world. Rainbows are in the sky. Spring in the air.

Till, till she comes and says ‘Let’s make another baby’. Oh boy. Back to square one. Let’s start right at the beginning.

Need some colour

Attention: Rant alert

Level: Elevated

Importance: High

Colour : Pink

Everything started because I went all maternal last week. Well I was taking some clothes out for Buzz to wear as we were heading out and I went..hmm..’Buzz is outgrowing her current clothes. And we have a lot of party invitations all of Feb. And I haven’t bought any new clothes for her in a while. Bad mommy Comfy’.

This had me heading to the Mall to buy clothes for Buzz, in between all the work stuff deadline I was dealing with, on the weekend. And now I am see-sawing between anger and helplessness.

Why you ask? Well because one step into the children’s section..splash..cold bucket of water thrown over all my ideas on what I was going to buy. I guess it is my fault that I went to the mall with preconceived notion of what I wanted to buy.

What is that you ask? All I wanted was to buy a couple of dresses, in cotton, in some fun colours, which made me go all aww when I saw them on Buzz.

What I got you ask? A sea of dresses in shiny, scratchy material, with ruffles and laces and bows up to the throat, and all in PINK.

I mean come on. I know Buzz is a girl. I know, you don’t have to tell me, really I know. But Pink only. The only colour you sell baby girl clothes in? Really? OK I have made a valiant effort to keep her from that colour for most parts till now and this is retribution for the same. I get it. But can’t you give me something at least a little bit less fussy? I mean the poor little thing will drown in all the shebang you have attached to those dresses. Princess dresses D calls them and I agree. There is something in this country about treating a child as a prince or princess. And I rebel big time.

Let me clarify: Buzz is special to me. No other child is currently as special to me as Buzz is. As if that is not true for all moms out there. Sheesh I am not special that way. In the same way Buzz is not that special to anyone else but to me. And I am trying, real hard, that she goes up with her head firmly on her shoulders. That she does not grow up with ‘I am special, bow down to me world’ syndrome. And so I rebel against anything foo..foo..princessy..not only on an esthetic level but on a moral level as well.

But the world obsessed with Disney and out to make profit by selling the image is stepping up its game big time. If I can’t find anything else, I will have to buy the dresses they throw my way will I not? Well no. I am not.

What did I do you ask? I walked in the boys section. Bought a couple of trousers and a few T-shirts in green, white and blue. So what if half the people who will see Buzz will think she is a Boy. So what if we have been brain washed that if a baby is not wearing pink or a frock or has a hair-band or some fluffy hair-pin, then the baby is a boy. I am sticking to my guns, till Buzz is grown up enough to tell me she wants to wear the pink dress on that shelf. I will give in give up  then (may be not gracefully but will give in) but not a minute before that.

Anyways, moral of the story: Feeling maternal is a sure way to get ones blood pressure up.

PS: Why pink..why only pink when there are so many colour out there? Give me some orange, red, brown, yellow, green and some shaded in between please..Someone..anyone..??

Showered with love

Some 3 weeks back an almost unknown blogger to me (won’t give her name as she gets a little upset at it and all) left a very cryptic message on one of my posts.

Want to talk to you. Please get in touch with me at xyz@abc.com It’s urgent

My first instinct was that I had somehow broken some unwritten blogging rule and I was going to be educated in rules of blogging (sort of initiation since I am new to the game and all). Well I did get initiated but in a way far different from what I had expected.

What I was being asked was to get on board along with a few other bloggers to throw a blog baby shower for one particular MTB. With a single email which just said ‘Sure‘, I became part of the inner circle, with a lot of plans on how, when, where discussed. Does anyone remember the excitement of the first time you got an email address and started receiving emails.  The time when you rushed to get to the internet first chance you got (internet not being easily accessible those days). The time you opened your email and had loads of emails from friends. Forwards they might be, but you opened every single one of them, saw every single PowerPoint talking about the beauty of friends, read through every single Santa Banta joke, even forwarded those..send this to 10 friends in 10 mins to get what you wish in 10 days mails. That was the kind of excitement I got up to every single day. And this in the age where email, holds no more excitement, something I take for granted.

Anyways I would get up in the morning to 200 plus emails in my mail box and would read through every single one of those, even though I knew most of them talked about food that someone was having, or was about to have, or wanted to have. I got reviews for ‘3 idiots’ from these email. I got must watched movie recommendations from them. But the underlined theme was that I made friends. Some of them where people whose blog I read and commented on regularly, some were blogger whose blog I lurked around on, some were gals whose blog I had never read before. But friends I did make with all of them. And the most impressive part was how selflessly they were giving their time, their creative ideas. The giggles that were shared while coming up with clues for each blogger, the gush of admiration that was passed around as baby picture were shared, the less than five minute response that was received when a new MTB was suggested and then promptly added to the list to celebrate. This was about making the fabulous ladies who are about ready to bring the next generation into the world feel good and everyone was up for adding a MTB on the list. The extra work that needed to be done was not even discussed over much. 

Finally came the day of. Email flew all over. The clocked ticked. Countdown over email. Publish. Message left at all MTBs blog. The wait begins. When will they get to it?

Parul, started almost immediately. Leaving a trail of messages at each blog. And all of us panicked at the speed at which she cracked all the clues.

Everyone else seemed to be quite. Where they following the clue? Had they seen the message? Was the baby already here? So many questions..so many emails exchanged.

Then a little bird came up with an interesting nugget of information. AHK was doing the hunt, but was being real quite about it. So what does the little mischief maker do? Tells AHK that there are 22 clues to be found. This was when she had 15 clues in her hand. Poor things went round and round in circles. Where she was suppose to find one more clue, she went looking for 7 more.

In the mean time a MTB not part of the blog shower wrote on one of our blog ‘Oh blog shower. I am six months along. Can I join in‘. The comment was just so sweet, so full of enthusiasm, that all of us went aww..can we please add her? In less than a minute off we were scrambling to read up her blog, write a post congratulating her, getting virtual gifts for her, putting the post up.

As the post finally went up, we saw a comment by Cluelessness on the new blog. She did the hunt and was at the blog, in tears but happy.

Next came a comment from Jotting. She had been all silent about her hunt as well (What is with all the MTB and them silently doing the hunt? We would have loved to follow their trail just as we did Parul’s) 🙂

And then came a message that Monika had already delivered a baby girl. This I think was the biggest surprise for us all. Her, we expected to get to the blog. What with her c-section date set for Jan 8th. But the baby we guess has other plans. 🙂

As Takshaka finished her blog hunt, reports poured in of all the MTBs almost in tears, overwhelmed with the surprise, but happy, real happy about their virtual shower. And we all 16 of us send high-five email across. Mission accomplished. What more can we ask for?

Well there is one thing we can ask of all of you reading. Please stop by the baby shower blog and wish the 5 MTB and one Mother who is. They, we are sure, would appreciate it and that is what counts. 🙂

Judging and being judged

We as humans are constantly judging others in one shape or form. But never is the judgment as vocal as when it comes to raising a child. Suddenly everyone has an opinion and nothing you do is the right thing to do. Being a new parent is difficult as is but to be constantly bombarded with suggestions, comments and big eyed ‘you really did that’ expressions gets too much to take.

So here are the suggestions I have heard till date (at least the ones I remember):

  • Bath – ‘You should bathe the baby first thing in the morning. It refreshes the baby.’/’ Bath time should be just before bed time. This way baby sleeps more peacefully.’
  • Massage – ‘You should massage your baby for at least a year. Simulates blood circulation, which results in stronger bones.’/’Massage is a waste of time. Does not help and takes too much effort.’
  • Nursing – ‘Breastfeeding the baby for minimum a year is really beneficial for the baby. It strengthens their immune system and they fall sick less often.’/’Breastfeeding is a big propaganda done by some organization. Formula is just as beneficial with the added benefit of you not being tied down to the baby all times.’
  • Feeding – ‘Feed carb rich food to the baby early in the day so that she has had time to digest them by the time she goes to bed.’/’Carb rich food take longer to digest and hence if feed just before going to bed baby sleeps longer stretch.’
  • Toys – ‘Buy a lot of different kind/color of toys for the baby. This simulates the baby and expands their mental capacity.’/’Baby’s who play with toys, are not curious about their surroundings so don’t waste your money of them. Let the baby play by herself. This way she will explore her environment, thus expanding her mental capacity’.
  • Cuddle – ‘Baby’s loves to be cuddled and held. This makes them feel secure, which results in happy, non fussy babies.’/’Cuddle baby too much and they get used to it. You will not get a moment of peace then. They will always want to be held and when they are not they will become super cranky.’
  • Daycare – ‘Sending your baby to daycare is a recipe for disaster. They become insecure, rowdy and bullies.’/’Baby’s who go to daycare are well-adjusted, follow a schedule, disciplined, play well with other kids and know how to share toys, books etc.’

All of this in simple terms means that there are pro and cons to everything and me as a parent has to come up with a plan on what works for my baby and me. And sometimes if neither of the two extremes works, I take the middle ground. To be honest the suggestions I still take positively and listen to patiently, as they seem to be well-meaning, without malice. It’s the absolute conviction that their way is the only way to go and if you are not following that you are a bad parent, the judgment in their voice and eyes, that get’s me hoping mad. What worked for you may not work for me.  I will ask for advice when I need to, but till then I need to do what I think is right for my baby. If I make mistakes they are mine to make and mine to learn from.

So please..please hold your judgments to yourself, because if not, you are letting yourselves open to being judged by me and I really don’t want to expend my time and energy on that when I have a shortage of both at the moment.

The not so nice..

You hear everyone talk about the upside..the joy..the love of having a baby..and they are all true. But unknown to people without kids and unspoken by the ones that do..there is phase which is not so nice..called postpartum depression..every woman I know and have spoken to who has had babies, has gone through some form of PD (or milder form called Baby Blues)..but no one (at least in the Indian women) is ready to openly talk about it or even completely acknowledge that they went through the blues. Is it because our society does not think mental trauma is a form of sickness that needs to be talked about and treated..is it because we think on acknowledging depression we leave ourselves open to being called Paagal..or is it the dread of being called a bad parent in general and a bad mother specifically if we come out in the open and say we have the baby blues. I don’t know..I truly don’t.

I had of course heard of PD (what with the huge Brooke Shield, Tom Cruise controversy) but like an idiot never thought I would have one. Well I was wrong..really wrong. I could not handle the hormones raging through my body after Buzz was born. I did not even have a clue on how to handle them. I don’t know what people are talking about when they talk about PMS or when they say hormonal during pregnancy. I, to the best of my knowledge, don’t go through PMS and was not hormonal at all during my pregnancy. So suddenly after the hormone levels progressively increasing in my body for 9 months, the baby was out, and I was left with these elevated levels.

Thinking back, I think I went crazy for a while. Would cry at any odd thing..the neighbors baby crying would have me in tears..violence of TV would have me crying buckets..D getting back home late from work would find me holding sleeping Buzz and shaking with tears. I think staying alone for most part of the day (my parents had left when Buzz was a month old and D was at work), not meeting anyone, not talking to anyone had something to do with it. I knew all I needed to do was pick up the phone and could talk to my SIL or any of my friends, but I just could not seem to muster the energy or the inclination to do that. And it is such a vicious cycle. One feeding on the other. Another thing that factored in was the overwhelming feeling of responsibility..being responsible for such a tiny human being..and especially one you are head over heels in love with. The weight was too much on my emotionally unstable shoulders.

D, poor guy, was at a loss..anything and everything he did was taken incorrectly by me..or rather the emotional me..the rational me knew it was my issue, he was doing nothing wrong..but did that stop me from being a total wack??..Oh no..

I finally went and spoke to Dr. T about it. She listened and then asked questions: – Do I love Buzzu..Yes, Yes. – Do I get enough sleep..Yes, not in one continuous stretch, but I do sleep a lot. – Do you get upset when you have to get up every two hours to feed her..No, don’t mind that at all. – Do you do a lot of other household work..Hmm, no, I just do what I can or feel like, D takes care of the rest. – Do you have suicidal thoughts..No, never.

The verdict: Mild form of Baby Blues, not even classified as PD. Give it time..a few months..and things will start to get better.

Well if this was mild, I truly don’t want to know what moderate or severe form of PD is like. And I am glad that I am back to being me..comfortable in my own skin..comfortably nam.

Leaving with one of my favorite song when I have the blues, Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd

 

First few days – Impressions

Random impressions..surprises..flashes of the day ‘Buzz Bee’ came into our lives and a couple of days that followed..our stay in the hospital:

  • Me being so tired as not to be able to keep my eyes open between each push. I slept for a minute or so every time before pushing again and then promptly closing my eyes.
  • D eating throughout the day. He tends to eat if stressed. At one point a nurse commented, saying ‘You are eating every time I come in.’
  • Me clutching my stomach in horror the first time I got up after delivering, panicked at not having the baby within, before it came back that she was now born.
  • D having blue toe nails from the pressure his uber-cool shoes put on his toes from being on his foot all day.
  • The feel of Buzzu in my arms.
  •  Me being surprised at seeing her eyes opened when she was born. I though kids kept their eyes closed for most part in the beginning.
  • Total devoid of energy feeling after I delivered while being active till the very last day.
  • The joy on my parents face when they say Buzz.
  • The taste of ‘Besan ke ladoo’ that Maa made that day. 
  • The surprise/shock family and friends back home felt on realizing how old-fashioned a name Buzz had.
  • Seeing her sleep in her glass bassinette for most part of the day when we were not holding on to her i.e.
  • Buzz crying the second night.
  • The sight of D holding Buzzu close all night to keep her from crying and she not crying when held close by her Paa.
  • Me trying to find a comfortable position/angel on the hospital bed with all its parts that can go up and down but not a single marginally good position.
  • Endless tests done on Buzz Bee..eye test..hearing test..allergies test..jaundice test..weight measured over and over..temperature taken every 3 hours.
  • The overload of medication I was on after being particular about not ingesting any medicine while I was pregnant.
  • Buzz having this really red tongue which she kept showing us every time she was awake.
  • Deluge of good wishes..constant ringing of the cell phones.
  • My maternity jeans suddenly refusing to stay in place.
  • Getting her ready to head back home. How incapable we felt on dressing her for the ride home..she being so delicate..so tiney..
  • Buzz not liking her first time strapped inside the car seat..cry in her tiny voice..but immediately falling asleep once the car started.