Do me a favour – Part 2

So, I finally got help. After months of deliberation, I met a counselor to discuss my issues. What issues? For months now, I have been having mood swings and tides of low moods that have been causing a great deal of distress. If you have been following me on IG, you would see me talking about it.

Well, who discusses such things? I mean it’s natural to have a child and find it difficult to cope, but who goes to meet a doctor about that? Don’t say ‘no one’, because sometime help helps. After a good three hours of talking and sobbing *drama queen much?* I ended up feeling much lighter and happier.

Firstly and thankfully, I do not fall under the category of depression. What I did suffer from was anxiety. Now, if you know me (in person or online) you will think that I am a HIGHLY confident individual who’s just managing everything like a piece of cake. That might be true to some level, but I have been battling a lot of low self-esteem issues of late.

You see, what happens to women when they become mothers is that their world radically tilts and shifts. You could have a battalion of family and staff support but still feel like shit. Birthing a child and providing for it can be a huge challenge. This change also makes women vulnerable. Women who are new mothers (first, second or third time moms count too) can be very sensitive and touchy. They could be feeling cornered for no reason, but it isn’t their fault. Babies don’t come with an instruction manual. It is hard to figure them out initially. Why are they crying? Why do they need the boob so often? When will I sleep? and so on. The questions are endless and the answers aren’t readily available. A lot of trial, error and tears give you the answer. By then, you are exhausted; sleep deprived and sanity deprived. At such a juncture, the last thing you want to hear is some grading you as a parent. ‘You could do better’ is like a poison dipped knife slowly being thrust into your sides. AGH!

That’s exactly and almost what someone who barely knew me told me. Let alone one, I was balancing two kids when someone sweetly stepped into my life for a whole of ten minutes to tell me that I should be putting more effort into loving my children *MAJOR EYE ROLL* . Well, major eye roll now, but back then it hurt, stung and killed any iota of self-confidence that I had. Was I being silly? No! But here’s my take away from all of this.

A mother, new or otherwise, is working overtime. Whether she’s a homemaker or a working mom, she is putting 100% in order to keep everyone happy and the house functional. What she needs the most is acknowledgment of what she is doing and appreciation of that. Remember, it’s not a sacrifice that she’s making but it’s her choice. But going through with this choice is hard without appreciation. If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all. We hardly know the life of that mum behind the scene. We only calculate her ‘motherhood’ score based on the two coffee dates and twenty Instagram posts that she puts up. That’s bloody unfair.

That’s all I ask. Say a good word or say none at all. With that, hundreds of mothers out there will walk with an additional spring in their step and their head held high (no matter how sleep deprived they are). Is that doable?

 

Does your three year old enjoy engineering? 😉

Remember my last post on the kind of toys that we would like to choose for our kids and what influences the decision? This post is a follow up on that thought.

When L turned 1.5 years old, we were constantly asked about his induction into a playschool or a day care and our answer was that it was too soon for him to be involved in any sort of structured learning.  It was then that we chanced upon the concept of homeschooling and alternative education. 1.5 years since that conversation, we are doubly sure that for both L and I, we would provide as much open ended exploration as we can. This, until the day they ask us to enroll them in a school (if at all).

Educating or providing a source of learning for your child on your own can be a challenge. Where do I begin? What do I focus on? What is the core requisite at this age? These are a few questions that I asked myself. It was then that I learned about STEM learning. It is an acronym alright, but it is also the stem that will hold together the whole plant of learning.

STEM is Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and is usually introduced at the age of seven to children. But you can lay foundation for STEM learning based on pre-stem activities. Now I can see you thinking what is a three year old going to do with engineering at this age? Remember, that him stacking up blocks or fixing the clogs in a gear set up is engineering too 😉

STEM requires logical thinking and brings about the concept of possible outcomes based on a primary action. This is why I started looking up toys/activities that are inclined in this pre-STEM learning and Skola reached out to me at the same time. Why Skola? Their pre-STEM learning tools are great in encouraging of fine motor skill development, thinking skills and of course, increased concentration. These attributes make STEM learning easier as the child approaches the required age for it.

Nesting Hens
Locking Blocks

Be it the Cascade Cars that introduce the concept of cause and effect or the Building Blocks that introduce concept of construction using various shapes or the Locking Blocks that explore the concept of patterns and pairing, Skola toys are designed to grow with your child’s growing needs. As a young learner, any toddler would benefit from these handpicked, finely finished toys that are both attractive and effective.

 

 

 

While I pick toys that would work for both the children, do check out Skola’s ‘Learning Journeys’. It beautifully explains and categorizes the various journeys a child undertakes as an early learner and how you can aid the development better.

 

You can learn more about Skola toys from their website https://www.skola.toys
Skola’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/skolatoys/
Skola’s Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/skolatoys/

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, but the opinions and thoughts are wholly mine. 

What’s in your toy basket?

Have you ever told people to not buy gifts for your children? I know that sounds rude, but I have tried to be very diplomatic in explaining to family and friends that a) he has enough toys and b)we don’t want to buy him toys that he doesn’t understand the use for. It’s a task, let me tell you. People get offended or even worse, think that you are very high maintenance. Truth is, it is not true. Ask any parent with toddlers at home and they will tell you that it is a tough task to be selective about toys. I remember for Lishaan’s birthday, getting three boxes of the same toy. What would I do with the same toy? I upcycled two of them and gifted it to someone who would have better use for it.

This is why I am worried about the kids’ upcoming birthdays. We are going to be given chug along trains, walking dogs, plastic cooking sets and what not. Please don’t get me wrong, but I do appreciate the thoughtfulness. I do appreciate the fact that you are taking out time to pick up a toy for the child, but let it be something that’s of use to them. I say this out of exhaustion of clearing up their play pen and wondering where  all this came from.

Added to this, my husband has a huge thing with plastic toys. While I argued about how ‘non expensive’ and colorful they were, he stuck to wooden toys that provided more scope for learning and also were more ‘close to nature’. Well, I do see the point. Wooden toys are natural, giving more scope to open-ended play and are better for motor skills. The shapes are far more refined and it is a different ball game than your 199-a-box plastics.

So, when I sat down to clear the children’s stuff as we get ready to shift another city in two weeks, I removed almost ALL their plastic toys. What remained and what will be added are some wooden blocks, stackers and the sorts. Lishaan’s approach to these definitely was different than his approach to other toys.

I was reading up about this a while back and found an article on the NewYorker. In the article, author Amy F. Ogata quotes from her new book, “Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America,” that “Among the educated middle and upper-middle classes, wood became the material symbol of timelessness, authenticity and refinement in the modern educational toy.”

It is in this search for toys that allow open ended play, are all natural and are definitely timeless, which both my kids can use and share without damage, that I found Skola. Toys from Skola are designed for children to explore their motor skill. Working on lines of the Montessori methodology of learning, these toys allow for multi-sensory development. With the child’s growing age and curiosity, these toys also allow for freedom in exploring creativity and muscle memory. So, if you want to invest in a good toy for your child, you know where to look!

While you read this, please understand that while I love your intention to gift the children something for their birthday, I just say make it worthwhile. Hey, this applies to me too. So, if I have bought your son or daughter a toy that’s been more of a space eater than a partner in their exploration, I will make up for it this year 😉

My First Year with two under two

Isha turns one in a month and the whole ride so far has been blurry. Like the kinds where you are on a motorcycle on top speed and the wind is blowing in your face. Where it’s all hazy, but you accelerate nevertheless, waiting for the haze and the wind to pass. Such rides are adrenaline pumping; they give you a LOT of feel good feels, but the haziness, the parched feeling in your mouth and the bleary eyed moment can make you wish the wind settles down soon!

My year as a mother of two children has been exactly like this. There have been really sweet, special moments but for most part of it I feel like I am running a race with no idea of the finish line. I still maintain that managing one child, however active it may be, is very doable. But when you have a toddler, a newborn and postpartum blues sitting inside the mixer, the cocktail leaves you with more than just a hangover 😉
So, instead of talking much about ‘how it feels’ I am going to tell you what you can expect as a parent of two children under three.

Month 1: Newborn cuddles tiny cries and of course pangs of anxiety of the love being shared between your firstborn and the second born.

Month 2: Sleepless nights thanks to growth spurt nursing sessions. Toddler bonding with the baby, overly sometimes. Shuttling between baby and tot, engaging, satisfying and loving them both as much as they need.

Month 3: Pure unadulterated sibling love. The baby smiles at the brother, the brother helps in massaging the baby, they co-sleep without fuss. Total heart melt.

Month 4: Baby tries to move. Slowly, toddler gets confident with baby, hands over his toys, dirty shoes and more to attract the baby. Panic attacks of toddler trying to feed the baby gems.

Month 5: crawling baby tails the older brother around like a shadow. Another episode of rushing happy hormones watching the two bond.

Month 6: Toddler tantrums at the peak and baby tantrums to match the brother’s. You & your husband sit like zombies in the middle of the night, wondering where the mistake happened.

Month 7: The two start spending more meaningful time together and you can take a leak in peace. Yes, you get 2 minutes of uninterrupted bathroom time! YAY!

Month 8: baby wants brother’s food. Brother wants to feed the baby. More movement, more toys. LESS bed space!

Month 9: Sibling bonding stage 3 – hugging, cuddling, kissing, jumping together on the bed (at 11:30 in the night). Toddler becomes a bigger toddler, starts bonding emotionally with you. Even wipes your tears of fatigue and gives you a quick kiss.

Month 10: MONKEY ALERT! The siblings gang up finally and beat your husband and you! No escaping them. Blocks land mines, squeaky toys under the sofa, food inside water bottle and more. All possible, thanks to the tiny sidekick who keeps you occupied while the older brother makes master moves.

Month 11 & 12: Accept defeat. They have their tactics in place. First they will rile you up the wall, and then they will cuddle each other and melt you into a puddle. Ha ha ha!

Frankly, this one year has been MAJORLY taxing both mentally and physically, but what keeps me going is the love that I see them both share. It gives me the assurance that I have done something right. They survived this far, I am sure we will get better! 

 

**** I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce Dilpreet Kaur Dua who blogs at www.bhangrababies.com You can check out her blog to read her thoughts on this as well!  ****

 

Text as you pop! 😋

Who texts their friends from the delivery table, dilating well past 5cm? ME 😀 I was extremely lucky to have a bunch of beautiful friends who were super pampering and caring during my 2nd pregnancy. They were extremely excited about the delivery and even had bets running on the gender of the baby.

 

It brings me immense pleasure to share that I, along with 23 other bloggers are celebrating #9daysofwomanhood throughout Navratri. I thank Sanjivini for introducing me. I loved her blog on the prompt for today. You can read it here.

As for the rest of my story, read on!

14th November 2016: 9 days away from my given due date, I was wondering and hoping the baby would make a late appearance on its dad’s birthday (24th November). My mom was in town, we had all things (Lishaan’s) washed and ready for the baby when it comes. I had made a decently elaborate lunch and had just started working on a hat that was a puff stitch beret of sorts. It was very frustrating because I couldn’t get the start of the hat right. One coffee later, the hat was 3 rounds down already and I was in a flow.

So, closer to the last couple of months my husband made it a practice to come home for lunch so that I had a little extra time to cook. Every day, I would call him to tell him that lunch was ready and that he can start (his office was 10 minutes away). That day, I called him and told him the same thing ‘Lunch is ready. Come off soon’. Just like any other day, I took my toddler to set him down for a nap. I had just plonked him in the bed when something felt funny. I knew it then that the baby was on its way. So, I rang up my husband again and asked him to come as ‘it was time’. My mom sprung into a half panic – half alert mode and quickly gathered essentials in a ‘ready to go’ mode. By then 20 minutes had passed and my water had started leaking. FUN! Baby on the way. We waited for my husband to get home, woke up the toddler, told him baby was coming, fed him lunch and started for the hospital.

I remembered to take a GOOD shower (my dear friend told me that it was a very comforting and soothing way to get into the labor mode). So, off we went to the hospital.

Within minutes, I was taken to the labor ward for preliminary checkup and was asked to stay put. ‘Walk, do whatever, just be here’ they said. Mega moment: I was discussing with a mom about what carrier she should go for and what she should be trying before she made a purchase 😛 My mom literally threw a fit and asked me to hand over my phone!  Later, my mom and the toddler were comfortably settled into a room and the husband kept running up and down, checking on both parties. Meanwhile, my messenger kept buzzing with messages from this mom-friends-bunch and the usual Whatsapp groups, as usual. So I thought, why not surprise them all. From 2:30pm in the afternoon till about midnight, I played along and kept the whole deal a secret. I think I finally put my phone away when they moved me to the delivery table and my senior doctor said ‘what the hell are you doing with a phone right now?’ in a quizzical tone. So, no one knew about it and I remember after Isha came out, we went back to our room and in the middle of the night, I texted them ‘Girl or boy?’ and everyone started jumping! It was super exciting and definitely a very special welcome for my baby girl. My friends probably thought I was insane, but hey! An addition to any family should be a pleasant surprise, right? 😉

 

**** I would take the opportunity to introduce Dilpreet Kaur Dua who blogs at www.bhangrababies.com You can check out her blog to read her thoughts on this as well!  ****

 

What does pregnancy teach you? 😉

It brings me immense pleasure to share that I, along with 23 other bloggers are celebrating #9daysofwomanhood throughout Navratri. I thank Sanjivini for introducing me. I loved her blog on the prompt for today. You can read it here.

 

Pregnancy, a nine letter word that can bring about extremes of emotions in people!

My own pregnancies have been pretty non-adventurous, but definitely have taught me a lesson or two in parenting!

From an exasperated ‘when will you both plan for a child?’ to a shocked ‘why a second child so soon?’, the society has shown me that bearing and birthing a child should be the sole decision of the wife and the husband. No one else, except maybe your gynaec, should have an opinion in it.

We had been married for four years, when we decided to have a child. We had skirted the ‘good news’ for a good part of the four years, but the tension that can mount on a couple thanks to the pressure is inexplicable unless experienced! My husband and I even have a spot in Chennai where I blew my top (sitting inside our car) thanks to the whole baby deal!

When our second baby happened, we were in a completely different city, with a toddler in tow. The whole pregnancy was on us. Up till my 8th month, it was just me, husband and the toddler. My second child’s birth was as fast as watching a Karan Johar movie and both these deliveries have taught me a lot. So, instead of boring you with my epidural laced birth saga, check out what I have to say about ‘pregnancy’:

  • It is one way road. No looking back!
  • Pregnancies are easier than raising babies
  • You are the mom, husband is the dad. Remember to involve your partner equally. It’s his baby too!
  • If you treat your very pregnant self as ‘normal’, then you can lead a very healthy pregnancy and be VERY confident of your birthing option/choices/decisions
  • Please avoid the trap of being pampered. Many girls I know didn’t lift a spoon during their entire pregnancy thanks to their families. Family waiting on them translated to a non-active pregnancy. This leads to unnecessary complications.
  • Read up a LOT! I stuck to the one basic book and it definitely helped my husband and me in understanding what to expect.
  • DIY! Do everything yourself – right from deciding the clothes, langots, soaps, diaper bags. It brings in a lot of happy hormones and gets your SUPER involved.
  • Invest in the baby – Ha ha! Not money, but make something for the baby. I started knitting for Lishaan and Crocheting for Isha. I made tiny hats and socks that never fit beyond week 2 but it gave me a huge sense of warmth in knowing that I MADE something for the baby.
  • Do whatever it is that you usually did (within limits). Shop, watch movies, and go on holidays, whatever it is that keeps you moving, just do it.
  • Pregnancy isn’t an ailment; it is a process that brings about change. So, accept and experience it happily😊

Lastly, your pregnancy is your own. Enjoy it, remember it and be thankful for the safety cushions around you.

Do you have pointers that your pregnancy taught you as well? Drop a comment and share it with us all! 💖

**** I would take the opportunity to introduce Dilpreet Kaur Dua who blogs at www.bhangrababies.com You can check out her blog to read her thoughts on this as well! 💖 ****

Do me a favor!

My husband usually doesn’t appreciate certain topics that I touch upon in my posts. He says ‘people might think you are weak’ or ‘they might think you are complaining about them’. But there are some things that I would like to share and talk about and no, it’s not a complaint. Actually, THIS is a humble request to the society at large.

By now, we all know (whether or not we are parents) that becoming a mother is probably easier than BEING a mother. A lot of effort goes into raising a child; maybe not so much in creating one inside. That’s just me!

This time last year, I was at a surprisingly high social presence rate. People (I am not exaggerating) used to gape as to how I managed to move my 8 month pregnant belly and 22 month old toddler from corner to corner of the city, being a social butterfly (social enthu-cutlet, more so). I was actually out and celebrating Diwali 10 days before my delivery. Yes, my folks were shocked and no, I had no issues whatsoever. Once my baby girl came into the world, things changed upside down. If you know me (from my posts and rants), you will know that it’s a nuclear set up in our home and I manage just about everything except sweeping, mopping and washing utensils. So, for me another baby in the mix was a lot of work. When it came to being my social self, that part of life took a back seat. I would say I sent it to the boot.

Nod your head if you agree that dating, marriage and children have changed the width and type of your social circle greatly. I have THREE friends who have put up with my nonsense and loved me through my pregnancy and both kids. They didn’t have babies at that time, but they never said no to me. Post children, I forged different kinds of friendships – virtual ones. Maybe it is the fact that, like me hundreds of mothers find ‘ME’ time in between feeds and at weird hours of the night that brought us together. Props to Facebook, importantly. So, there I was happily forming a safety net online while in real life, I REALLY didn’t have the stamina to get ready and step out.

Seriously, dragging two kids and myself out of the house (looking presentable and not pooped) was an exhausting deal. I decided that I preferred the company of my TV, couch and crochet to that of the outside world, because I just couldn’t head out without wanting to throw myself in front of that Ola cab. It was too much of a task. But I did try! Why I gave up was because it didn’t seem worth it to have two fussy kids in each arm and a puffing-panting me at the end of it all.

You see, the biggest issue that haunts mothers (new and old) is anxiety and depression. Even without being a parent, if you feel neglected for some reason, you tend to put yourself into a lot of stress by over thinking. Especially with new mothers, it takes a LOT of push to keep them positive and going. Believe me, looking at spit-up stained t-shirts and bird’s nest hair every day in the mirror can seriously affect your head.  What kept me floating through my anxiety attacks and phases of depression is what I call the ‘sisterhood of motherhood’. Nope, it’s not a cult or something but these are the few people who were and are available for me to fall back on. These are the people who have always pinged, called, dropped even and even called my husband to check on my wellbeing. So what if I wore the same pants three days in a row? So what if the house looked like a mini hurricane had just worked its way through? So what if the children were BAWLING all day? They didn’t leave me alone. They pulled me through most of the difficult times in the past year and they are the reason I am writing this.

Kindly do me a favor and read through below.

If you know a woman who has birthed a child, for the first time or the millionth (not possible, unless she is Kunti), please do this:

  1. Check on her. Even if you are sitting in a cinema, just ping her and say ‘hey! I am at this movie that’s totally crappy. I wish you had been here, we would have laughed our derrieres through this!’. She can’t make it for the movie, but she just wants to know that she isn’t forgotten.
  2. Offer to help. Even if she’s as ridiculous as me to be sinking up till the neck but still refuse help. Offer nevertheless.
  3. Visit her once a while. Yeah, most times will be nap times or boob-times, but you will know that she feels great after a visit. Perked up, actually.
  4. Involve her. Even if she isn’t coming tequila downing on Saturday night with you, she’d like to know. Hey, everyone likes to feel a bit important.
  5. Be grateful for the times she’s helped you and been by your side. Don’t let her down when she needs you. Friends happen once and remain through ebbs & flows of time. They aren’t momentary. If they are, then they are just acquaintances.

Really, this is more than just about me. This is about not letting a mom who is already exhausted, feel further like crap. She would be better off without wondering why there were plans being made without her or why none of the friends from before (not you, my 4th standard ‘bench buddy’. I still hate you :P) have checked on her. Every woman deserves better and the least you can do, is send in some good vibes, right?

Of course, the good vibes do mean that she will be super teary-eyed when you give her a hug and might bake breads and cakes at midnight just to show you how much it means to her. But if you don’t do it now, you will never be able to do it again. Not to her, at least.

Do it for your sisterhood of motherhood. Stick around, don’t let go.

~ The Lazy Parent

Fact of the Matter: Comparisons

Post # 2 in my Fact of the Matter series. (You will find the link to the first post in this series in this post itself) 😉

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I am particularly not fond of road travels by car. It gets painful and annoying very quickly for me. But what makes it bearable is the series of conversations that the husband and I share with two sleeping children to add tune to the talk. While hopping from one topic to another, it suddenly hit us that our baby girl turns a year old in just 3 months. Time has flown by really fast. Frankly, I remember tiny details of Isha’s birth and her first year more clearly than I do of her brother’s. Strange huh?

 

People have this whole thing around their first baby and its first tooth, first step etc. Well, Lishaan was born with teeth, so that simplifies one ‘first’ for me 😉 But coming to think of it, most of his milestones seem like a distant memory, considering he is only 3 years old come December.  Maybe Google photos can help me trace back and recollect some of them, but I had no answer when my husband said ‘What was Lishaan’s first word?’ I thought hard, really hard, but couldn’t for the life of me remember his first word. Somewhere I remember him saying ‘nanni’ for thanni (water in Tamil) but the rest seems to be a big guess-work. With Isha though, we remember a lot more details. Surprisingly, we seem to have paid more attention to smaller details about her growth. Also, there are a whole lot more photographs than we had with Lishaan. Ouch!

So, why am I telling you about my child’s first word? Because, even with the same mother, no two babies are alike. Each child is different in its own abilities and developments. One shouldn’t place two children to measure up against each other EVEN if they were born on the same day. It doesn’t work that way.

Most of the stories that I hear about parents with more than one child are about how the kids are chalk and cheese. Even in things like food habits, they are very different from each other. Like I had mentioned in my Baby food post, my children started off and reacted very differently to food. I am learning to unlearn this about them. They won’t do things the same way, though they might surprise me once in a while.

I think, as parents we should stop doing ‘mera beta this and meri beti that’. Going back to when I was 9 or 10, I remember how children were constantly asked to perform. Sing, dance, recite a poem, show them your drawings etc. and this became a huge tournament of sorts. But what has amplified this whole ‘is your son smarter than your Mr.Kumar’s son’ is Social Media. Nowadays, EVERYTHING gets onto the internet. My son’s first ‘drawing’ – IG It! My daughter’s first somersault – Facebook it! My child’s first ‘unassisted’ cooking experience – YOUTUBE IT DAMMIT!

That’s the problem. We have stopped to see that each child, each pregnancy, each delivery and each parenting style is unique in its own way. We may draw points of similarity, but they can’t be the same. When we understand this, we will stop over expecting from our children. We will stop comparing milestone charts (I am saying this because mentally, I keep doing ‘Lishaan rolled over when he was 5 months old. Isha did much better. Ha!’), 1-100 recitals, world map identifications and the works. Let children grow without invisible checklists and charts hanging above their teeny tiny heads!

PLUS, it eases the whole parenting routine for us too, right? 😉
~ The Lazy Parent

 

Who is Anna Baby?

As is the case with most 2nd babies I know, Isha ‘happened’. We didn’t plan for her. We weren’t sure either of us was ready 😀 But, life isn’t about going by plan A all the time,is it?

The first thing that came to the table after our 2nd pregnancy was confirmed was ‘How will Lishaan deal with it?’. He was about 14 months old when we conceived Isha and they would be exactly 2 years apart by the time she was born. Terrible twos, sibling jealousy, missing his mother, nursing, baby bump and so on. The list of things that could go wrong kept getting bigger and bigger.

I was sure about one thing though. The two being so close in terms of age, it would be fine in the long run. I could wear the little one and we could still achieve lots, peacefully. That was my plan. But the first part of it was to make Lishaan understand that there will be someone new in the house soon. Someone who will demand more attention than him and someone who was way smaller than him. How do we go about explaining this to a toddler? (this is a question I keep getting asked ever so often by friends who are pregnant again and who have the idea to make another baby with a toddler at home already). Here’s how:

Babywearing india (2).jpg

  1. I waited for visual cues – when my bump started to show, I started talking about my tummy growing bigger and that he’d have to be careful around it.
  2. I relied on live examples – Thanks to the various babywearing consult sessions at home, we got to meet a lot of tiny squishes. Lishaan would hang around during each session and he got to see these little beings. So, he got familiar with the idea of a baby.
  3. Talk to moms who have done this before – you get ideas 🙂 A well wisher friend of mine suggested books that explain to the toddler about the new one’s arrival in a light and simple way. We didn’t resort to books, because Lishaan doesn’t sit down to read always. But we took the hint and used little cues and hints (scan sessions) to tell him what was happening.
  4. Make the toddler responsible – From when we could, we started talking to him about taking care of the baby when it comes. About giving it his toys, whether he would be okay to share his Simba (his go to cuddle toy since he was 3 months old) and stuff like that. This ingrains a feeling of responsibility and ownership in the toddler’s mind. Helps a LOT to also make them aware that the little one will take stuff from him and to check if the toddler is okay with the idea or not.
  5. Give the baby an identity – I couldn’t always be saying the baby in Amma’s tummy, so we gave it a name – Anna Baby! 😀 yes, that’s how the name came into being. He was the Anna (older brother) and the baby was his. Bang on! ha ha!
  6. Relate to baby stuff when possible – I spent a lot of time showing him little babies on TV (in ads) or discussing how little babies will cry when hungry (and not ask like he used to verbally). We even discussed who gets to keep the baby. It was decided that Appa, paati, aachi and all were Lishaan’s and I get to keep the baby. Good thinking 😉
  7. Give him someone to fall back on – My mom was the biggest saviour when it came to this. We had her around a month or so before my delivery. He follows her all around the house as it is and the baby’s arrival didn’t affect him much because if Amma wasn’t available, Paati was. She kept him occupied and attended to. This is important so the child doesn’t feel neglected.
    -Note: They might not COMPLETELY understand everything to tell them, but if they feel involved and a bit informed, they tend to deal with it better.

I think these were the key things we did during the course of our pregnancy to make Lishaan comfortable about the baby’s arrival. So much so that my darling of a gynaec would ask Lishaan ‘will you take care of her/him well?’ and he would say a big yes! That involvement translated into a very beautiful bond between the two from the minute they met.

I was still in the recovery room when they took Isha to our room upstairs in the hospital. I remember Dhana (my husband) telling me that Lishaan was pretty composed when he saw her first. He even said ‘Appa! Anna baby has fallen out of amma’s tummy’ lol! Smart chap! He even got around to cuddling her, giving us some hope of calmer times ahead.

Of course, we went through a HUGE patch of resistance and fussiness from his side, but that was expected. It has taken us about 5 months to get adjusted to each other’s presence and space completely, but it has been worth it. So, if you have qualms about how your older child will adjust to a new baby in the house, worry not. They are so much better at adapting than we are (I was crying on the way to the hospital, not in labour pain but because my heart was breaking into pieces over the thought that he wouldn’t be the centre of my universe once the little one came. How wrong I was!).

Fact of the matter: Baby Food

I plan to write systematically, or at least add a structure to my posts. The other series about parenting wellness, you can read here.

This series called ‘Fact of the Matter’ is going to be about demystifying or breaking some myths about babies as I have experienced it. Read on!

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There isn’t ‘one way’ to parent. Parenting is all about being extempore, whether you like it or not. As much as I appreciate and love the support that the various support groups provide, I worry for parents who don’t find their footing thanks to all the ‘inspiration’ they see online.

I see a lot of discussion on how one should feed their child. There are two methods: the traditional method and the baby led method. I don’t want to call it weaning, because my older child refused to ‘wean’ off milk until he was 1.5 (only thanks to me being pregnant). These two methods are age old in nature, but then again one needs confidence to pursue either. Neither of these methods are easy to follow. With TW (traditional weaning) there is the need to puree your baby’s food, start with porridges, feed the baby and so on. Most of the work is on you, to ‘ready’ baby meals. In BLW (baby led weaning) you let your baby call the shots. You only feed family food (sans salt and spice) and you encourage self feeding from day one. There is a lot of mess involved in the self feeding method and one HAS to be patient to overcome that stage.

With my toddler, we went BLW all the way (read about it here). He never took to porridges (he still has a dislike for soups) and chomped on watermelons & mangoes with gusto. We never have made an effort to make a separate meal for him and the result of it a very confident child who knows what he wants to eat, how he wants to eat and when he wants to eat. It is but natural that I get my 2nd child to follow this route as well. Not yet! 😉

Going by the books, one starts introducing solids (phew, such a lovely way of putting it) at completion of 6 months. But it is not a mandatory. We were traveling around the time my girl turned 6 months old and for the need of ‘home comfort’ I waited until we got back to base, to start solids for her. This time though, I took the porridge way. Why? Let’s say I can afford to experiment 😛 I call Isha the ‘Experiment group’, the group where you add all your variables and see what the result is. The experiment was on the food intake pattern.

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Her first bowl of porridge, in a silver bowl (as per tradition)

For 3 weeks now, she’s been on porridges made from roasted powdered grains (Kanji in Tamil). While I worried about her rejecting it, she took me by surprise. She loves her porridge and looks forward to every spoonful. Of course, we still follow some basics from BLW :

  1. Sit unsupported in a specific place intended for food (her booster chair)
  2. No distractions of any sort (no toys, no spoon-plane-flying tricks)
  3. Stop when she says stop (Yes, she knows how to show me that she’s done)

 

So far, it has been good. Time to take things to the next level! Self feeding! We started with bananas (200% baby approved food world over). She liked the feel, the control and to some extent, the taste. But as expected, she gagged a bit, spat it all out and went back to play-eat! That’s a win in my book. From here, we will wean out porridges and amp up soft finger foods.

My biggest advantage is my toddler. She sees her Anna (elder brother) eat and loves to mimic him. We have tried minuscule quantities of dosas and mangoes already and they are Isha-approved 😛

Fact of the matter is: You don’t need to do just one thing. How your family and your baby functions is in your hands. Decide what works best for you. Do not go by inspirations online. I mean, take inspiration, but don’t go verbatim. No two babies are the same! 😉

I will come back with more tales and recipes that are toddler baby and parent approved! Stick around <3