Toddlers of Technology

There has been this long drawn debate on what’s advisable for children in terms of screen time. Many parents are dead against it & have successfully managed to keep their kids away from screens of any sort. The larger percentage of the parenting population has not been that successful or hasn’t let go of the one thing that can give them some sane moments in a day.

*warning* If you are the ‘What nonsense, no child needs screen time!’ kind of person, do not read further. 11231928_10155546362135507_3017787949944980739_o

A couple of months back, a good friend had shared an article about how screen time is unavoidable. Their analogy was simple : The caveman needed to understand stones to be a master of his time; children of today need technology similarly. It is true! Technology is the ‘Brahmastra of this generation’, how do you expect children to be away from it? There are gadgets all around them. Laptops, iPads, Mobiles, Smart TVs, VR Headsets and more. It WILL pique their curiosity and they WILL want to ‘ape’ their parents, head into mobile phone all day long. I am guilty as charged. I am constantly walking phone in hand. I can brush it off saying ‘but my work demands it’, but that’s not the truth. We parents are pretty stuck to the phone. God save us. Too late for that thought. But what can we do for the current generation? Cruise control. Don’t go auto pilot, don’t go manual.

It was about 5 months back when a bunch of friends had come home and one kid was not too settled. The mom said, ‘Can you put this on YouTube? It will bring calm’ and it did! Problem was that it also brought along an ‘addiction’ like no other. My son was hooked onto ‘Ooh-ti-tube’. He watched it everyday, every time the TV was switched on. It graduated from nursery rhymes to ‘Daddy Finger’ to Play Doh videos to (currently) random people painting their hands & opening Kinder Surprise eggs. I found it appalling and every bit annoying, but I did see something. He was actively picking up stuff from the screen. Colors, animals, alphabets. I am not saying ‘Hurray, he’s learning’, but the kind of stuff that he watches kind of also gets something into his head. WARNING! More the reason for me to monitor what he watches, including accents of these videos. He was suddenly saying Apple with a HEAVY British accent and I almost choked. Some rewind and search later, we found videos that are Indian enough for us to accept. Hello, I wouldn’t want my son, who hasn’t crossed the National border, to talk Brit without even knowing what it is! Sorry!

There’s the thing about ‘engage him no’. Yes, I do. He plays with colors, animals, puzzles and water too 😛 But there are times when he wants to do some ‘sit down’ stuff. When he’s just relaxing between high energy moments & I am okay with it. As long as the stuff is sensible, yes. I stopped restricting screen time forcefully ( a concept under alternative schooling) and I see a change. Now, it’s only about 45 minutes in the whole day. We are weaning ‘Ooh-ti-tube’ and moving to Arty stuff and some Baby TV. That’s where we are.

I have seen kids of friends who have been iPad addicted at the age of 3 and now, at about 5-7 years of age, they are doing role play games and riding cycles like kids of their age would do. So, I know there’s hope! I know Lishaan will move on. I know it will be a thing of the past for him and I ALSO know that by then he will pick up stuff like I did as a kid. Dexter & his laboratory, Johnny Quest and so on. But there’s time and in that time, we will find a way to make technology a part of our lives and not just EVERYTHING in life.

Any instrument, when sensibly used will make a whole world of difference. It’s up to us parents to find that thin red line & hit the brake before it is too late!!

Mission 2017

Happy New Year ya’ll! Hope 2017 has been a better one than 2016 in all aspects! Our new year started off pretty off beat for a family with a newborn (more details coming up in a separate blog)! 😀 Nevertheless, it looks like 2017 is the ‘Year of travel’ for us and we are all excited about it!

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That’s our first pic for 2017 from our holiday! <3

Isha is 2 months old now (Yeah, time flies like that!) and Lishaan is bringing in his ‘Terrible twos’ with full gusto. Between the two kids, D & I are sleepless as hell, but we are sure it will pass (someday!). I can tell you one thing; Baby#2 has a lot of things happening on auto pilot mode. From waking up at night to feed her to making her sleep, everything happens like clockwork , D & I have no clue about what happens 😛 It will change eventually, so we are learning to enjoy it while it lasts!

So, I turn 30 in about 4 months from now and it means a great deal! I am two babies down and cannot paint a prettier picture right now. Done! Dusted! Now, it’s time to focus on self. To begin with, I have NEVER been the beauty regime kind of person. My family has had a tough time trying to get me to wear eye liners in the first place! But, now is the time to shake up a few things and approach life differently. I am not going to become a MAC queen overnight, but I am going to ‘take care’!

Oh wait, I actually have a mission for 2017. It’s called ‘Less Drama’. Dang, I am going to be 3 decades old and it’s high time I set things my way, right? With two kids to look after and a house to run, it’s not going to be easy, but try I will!

The first step of the ‘Less Drama’ mission was to get out of any circle that you aren’t contributing much in. To focus more on productive things in life & of course, set foundation for Lishaan’s homeschooling efforts. We will see how far we can go and how well we fare.

While we are at all this cleansing routine, I am also going to make an attempt to blog more often (I have an ‘everyday’ running in my head).

Here’s to a happier, less dramatic & more productive 2017! <3

How do I do it?

*Statutory Warning:There are going to be a lot of caps in this post.*

So, it’s been a month since Ms.I came into our lives and I cannot tell you how exhausting & exciting the whole thing has been. When we had gotten to know about the baby in Feb 2016, I told the husband ‘We can handle them both’. I still can, but it isn’t one bit easy. I am THIS close to losing my marbles every day and it is nothing but sheer will that makes me carry forward.

Firstly, the misconception. A normal delivery DOES NOT mean I am fit as a freaking fiddle to jump over roof tops. It’s hard work to even drag yourself out of the bed, but ‘Situation demands’. Second, TODDLER! What a good time to turn two, huh? His terrible two has been rolled in a thick coating of jealousy of sorts and shallow fried in the oil of ‘all of mother’s attention’. He was perfectly fine as long as there were others at home. The minute it was back to just the four of us, the tantrums begun in full swing. I have not seen this side of him EVER! It’s taking me quite some effort to not want to give him a good shot on his rear for his current behaviour. But then, he is just a kid!

Let’s keep all this aside and look at how emotionally draining the whole deal is. I know some of you might be saying ‘hey, you chose to have a baby. Why complain?’ I am not complaining, but am coming to realize that it is a VERY VERY difficult journey. For any mother who has to deal with two children (or more), with or without support is darn hard. Worse still, when you do not have an adult conversation for a larger part of the day. Truth be told, this did get to me quite a bit. Plus the hormones. They don’t leave you even after pushing the baby out. I have been through quite a peak of emotions in just this month, that I guess my whole quota of being ‘extremely’ emotional is done! That bad! Oh well. (I will soo write about how I almost touched the gates of depression)

In between all of this, I am spamming on IG, I am posting pics of crochet projects etc and how? Don’t ask me. I think these are my anti depressants. What does one do? You need to channelize your energy somewhere.

Here’s the answer for the question I get asked most ‘How do you do it?’.

  1. I am dead lazy. I don’t wake up before 8. That’s because I don’t sleep before 1am.
  2. There’s no scope for a day nap for me. Hence, I make use of that time to do whatever it is that keeps me sane.
  3. We are trying to wean Lishaan off processed food (from outside, even if it is bread) in order to keep a watch on his tummy (until he can take the junk).Hence the baking & alternative cooking.
  4. I need something to do. I am a multi-tasker. I have to have a minimum of 3 things happening in my life at any given point.
  5. Over the past 6 years, I have done most things around the house myself (ourselves rather, because husband did help quite a bit). So sitting idle and asking someone to do some chore is not even remotely possible for me.
  6. What does one do all day? Even with a baby & a toddler, I have some scrap time on hand. Ms.I is just moving out of her sleepy newborn phase & L has these windows of ‘self play’. I max on these windows.
  7. I don’t do major things until the last minute. If the house is messy, it will be so. I take pains to set things in place, but they miraculously turn messy. Hence, I don’t clean up unless there are guest or I can’t seriously find stuff 😛
  8. Understanding reality. This is my reality & I need to work around it. There are folks going through more than me. So, I better buck up & ace my game.
  9. No one is going to help forever. So, you have mom helping you for a month, three of even six.. what after that? What when it’s time to come back to regular routine? Whom will you ask for help then? THIS thought makes me do almost everything.
  10. It’s bloody hard. I just told my husband that ALL I want in the near future is to book a hotel suite, curl up in the cloud like bed and SLEEP. Sleep on!
  11. Finally, draw inspiration from around & talk when the head needs some decluttering.

I know you would be saying ‘Hire a nanny’ and yada yada. But that’s not the solution. I know it’s my choice, it’s my life and it’s all in my hands to be able to get on top of this. So, I don’t DO anything. It happens. I don’t have an inkling of what my weekend this Christmas looks like, but I hope to clean up the house a little more, finally put up the Christmas tree & bake some goodies.

Who knows what I will do? 😛

P.S.: I make notes. On paper. every day. Of things that need to be done. Even if they are as trivial as ‘cut your nails’ or ‘comb your hair’ (yes, I do not find time to comb my hair luxuriously in front of a mirror everyday). Hand written To-Do lists and the thrill of a tick mark against each point is a big high!

Now, I should go sleep (It’s Christmas weekend & I have family coming over 😀 ).

See you around! ❤😄

Love, love me do!

Why is it that a relationship is always in stages? We all seem to be leveling up but it’s not like in video games. We are just moving up across different levels in our relationship (read: the one with our partners/better halves/spouses) and not retaining (or so I feel) what we started with. What am I ranting about? Well, let’s see. WE (here would be the couple in discussion) started out dating each other, then courtship happened, some coochie -cooing followed by the proposal (or not) and then the vows happened. Then came settling in, building your love nest and juggling between crazy sex, unplanned outings and managing work life. Fast forward a couple of years, the baby talk happens and the baby itself happens. And then what happens?

What begins with ‘cuteness overload’ reaction to having a newborn at home, slowly becomes a full fledged routine. You spend time changing diapers, rocking the baby to sleep, to vaccination rounds, to buying new clothes for the baby and so on. You know what the couple are missing out on? Being a couple! You never notice it, but you stop being a couple and become parents. THAT is where the problem is. Hey, if you are shaking your head with a strong ‘No’, then whattey wow! Tell me how! But most often couples become parents and they are all engrossed in the parenting show that they forget the thing that got them to this stage in the first place.

508290248It’s not the years in your marriage but the life in it that counts. Bottom point? Take some time out and be that couple again. I know it’s all hectic and sometimes too overwhelming and tiring. I know that at the end of the day, you would rather just go vegetable on the sofa rather than make out like you were the last couple on the plant. But give it a shot.Going for a drive might be impossible, but at least wake up early and sip tea together sitting in the balcony. Make making an omlette an intimate deal. I am giving you  hint, because I am working on it too. Two kids under two and I forget that D is my husband. He’s more like my tag team partner. You know, the kinds where I chuck the tiny into his arms and run in the opposite direction or pass on the diaper/wipe/cream to him in the middle of the night like we were on The Amazing Race. That’s a good thing in general, but the romance needs to spark once in a while.

Mausam hai suhaana (the weather is just right 😉 ), make the most of it 😀 Even if it means just snuggling for a split second before the kid (s) wake (s) up!

P.S.: This theory also applies to being out with your friends. Go out with them boys for a beer or two. Go meet your girls for a lunch date or spa treat! Become a parent, but don’t give up on stuff that makes it all worthwhile 😉

Two under two

Parenting one child is hard enough, that I chose to double my stakes! Ha to that!! 15 days since the little one’s arrival and the reality is sinking in. Nopie! It’s not going to be ‘easy’ for sure! It will be doable, yes. But easy? no! Unlike most Indian households, I didn’t choose to ‘move to  mum’s’ for 3 months or get her parked here with us in Coimbatore either. She did spend a good one month with us and I really couldn’t ask more of her. She came over to Cbe about 20 days before my said due date. So, she helped me a lot with the last phase of pregnancy in setting up the house and keeping the tot off my hair for a bit so I could rest (read knit/crochet).

Once the little one came in, it was a matter of getting back to everyday routine for me. Thankfully, a healthy delivery meant I could move around and get my feet shuffling soon enough to feel sane. But through the course of this ‘getting back on the feet’ little did I know that there would be surprises in store! I remember telling my mum that ‘I was perfectly fine’ and that ‘I had the scene under control’. I did, I really did.. or so I thought 😛

Come D-Day#2 and mom said tata! She had a flight at 6 in the morning, but spent the previous night setting things up for me and boy did she make some arrangements! Everything was on cue. Except, the kids 😀 Ha Ha Ha! Life’s evil joke had just been rolled out in front of an audience waiting to laugh their lungs out! The tot would want me in the kitchen right when I sat to feed the little one. The little one would REFUSE to even get drowsy right when the tot wanted to nap. Tot wanted to sit inside the bucket while I was bathing the little one and so on. Oh, fun! I lost my marbles, yes. But it became a joke… seriously! I was standing in the kitchen this afternoon (when the two boot camp instructors had finally slept) and laughing to myself. My situation is funny indeed. Just depends on which side I let the ball roll. If I take it all too seriously and get all wound up, it really wouldn’t be the best option right now. So, we will go with the option of cackling away in laughter when everything goes haywire around me 😀 Maybe throw in chocolates and baked goods (beer will have to wait) to keep the sanity going.

tired-mother-2

I am going to probably chronicle all what happens with two kids under two under the same roof (if I survive the whole deal EVERYDAY). For now, I will go back to dreaming about patterns and projects that I would love to work on, but can’t because my tot would decide to chuck skeins of yarn at the baby or that the baby would spit up tonnes of goop on some WIP! Ah, life! Fun!

~The Mom of Two Under Two

And then, there were four :)

Yep, I have been MIA again but this time it’s for a good reason… Ever since I hit the 36 week mark, I had been extremely anxious about the baby’s arrival. I delivered L at 37 weeks and was expecting a repeat this time around. Little did I know that the baby girl had chosen to stay put a couple of weeks longer and make her own grand entry.

A beautiful addition to our little nest, our daughter was born on the night of the Supermoon day (14th November 2016) arriving with quite some noise ;).

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I will be back to blogging about having a newborn around (again) and how our lives have changed in just a week 😀 Meanwhile, it’s all about newborn scent, poopy dipes, late night sleepless marathons and some sibling love <3

Oh, I must add that the tot has transformed into a big boy all of a sudden! He’s pretty excited about becoming an elder brother and I am torn between melting into a mush looking at all that love & protecting the newborn from his ‘loving’ cuddles! 😀 More soon! Taa!

Birthing a child

So, I spent a large and rather sleepless part of last night thinking about this… Giving birth to a child.. I would call it transformational. Oh no, I am not dreamy dramatic when I say this. It’s the kind of transformation that you don’t find mentioned anywhere (but here probably).

When you get into the process of giving birth to a child (wind back to the day you did the deed) you sign up for 9-10 months of radical body changes. You sign up (involuntarily,of course) for major hormonal swings, erratic hunger cravings and pangs, delivering like a dam that just broke, leaky breasts in random and weird situations, bleeding like there’s no tomorrow (almost) and giving up on sleep once and for all, to begin with.

wp-1476154396354.jpg(Coincidentally, I found this image in an article called ‘Is a healthy baby all that matters during childbirth?)

This is just scratching the surface… There’s more to it. There’s the emotional transformation as well and I think that hits the hardest. Most of us (who have been there) scrape through the physical changes somehow, but the emotional changes are a whole different game.
Why am I talking about this? Because it’s not easy to be growing a child inside, looking at yourself undergo massive changes (hello, baggy tent like wardrobe) and having to deal with it all like an ‘adult’. That.. that bit about being an adult. If it were upto me, I would want to kick a mighty fuss for all that happens around me and NOT adult up. It’s that hard on the head. Very very very hard.

This is why people must beyond respect and have special regard for pregnant women. Because it’s bloody damn hard. When people around you don’t sense that, it can be a turmoil.

This is where, at some small point, the seed of PPD sets in. It is a teeny tiny speck and it manifests into a mountain in no time. Many mothers go through post partum depression in various degrees. Some’miss being themselves’, some ‘dont relate to motherhood’, some just want to be held and loved.

Imagine this: for 9 months people wait on you like you dropped down from heaven.. “duh! You are bringing in a child! You deserve that kind of importance”. Then all of a sudden, it’s a potato-like looking 8pound thing that becomes the centre of attention, while you are sitting there with bloodshot eyes and sticky leaky boobs! Ugllllllyyyy!

Again, I am just scratching the surface here. What I intend to say is that it’s upto people around to ensure that a woman sees through her pregnancy in not just physically good state but also a mentally good one.

It stems from respecting a person for what they go through and not just what end result you expect out of them. Empathy is one way to begin, using your common sense is just another 😉

P.S..: If you tell me that men go through transformation as well, then this very very very pregnant mother will curse you with 40 days of messy lochia and more, because it isn’t the same.

P.P.S.: I am no expert on clinical disorders, but being a mother to a monstrous toddler and waddling my last few weeks pregnant has knocked in some sense into me 🙂

Choices…

Lishaan’s fascination has been shoes (takes after his dad 😉 ). So, if we were going out someplace, I would ask him ‘Which pair of shoes do you want to wear today?’ , he’d say ‘ Gee-fee (giraffe), choices.PNGball, cat or some other shoe’ and we’d put that on regardless of it complementing his outfit. Same goes with my footwear for some reason. The minute he steps outside, he would pick a pair of my slippers (he knows clearly which ones are mine) and say ‘amma cheppu’ (seruppu is the Tamil word for footwear) and I wore the pair he picked religiously.

This is a simple matter of choice. As opposed to setting out his stuff in front of him and doing the choosing for him. But why is it so important, you ask me? It’s as important as someone choosing your food, dress, schedule for the day for you. Would you be okay with it? Would you like someone telling you how much food has to be consumed, what clothes go with which footwear and so on? You have happily made those choices for years now. Maybe even rebelled when your parents stepped in to tell you what to do. So, what changes that for your kid? 😉

In my opinion, this is also an important step in building self confidence. If someone has to verify and approve every move of yours, there will be a day where you would be asking the wrong person or standing dumbstruck with no one to ask. I have been through that and its in the recent few years that I have tried to move out of the ‘seeking approval’ mode and it is a challenge. Certainly something I don’t want my kids to face ever.

Hence the ‘decision’ to ‘not decide’ for L. At least in things that he has knowledge about 🙂 As he grows, the idea is to keep handing over his life to him in phases, so he is the true master of his destiny. Right said Fred?

What’s the Good Word…

I haven’t blogged in month???? That’s something! Truth be told, I have had an INSANE September, where I really did wish ‘Wake me up when September ends’. It is one thing to be busy and tired through your third trimester, but it’s another to have your first born fall ill back to back. It drove me nuts. Lishaan has always been a relatively healthy child, free of ailments until this point. That’s why it hit me hard. It was something that all parents would have been through, but being my first, it jolted me right out of gear. Well, thank heavens he’s recovering now, but this episode taught me something that I would never forget as long as I am a parent (forever i.e.).

So, I have this aunt who always has a good word about everything. Even in dire situations, she has a smile and says something nice, positive. I used to wonder how it is possible. How can one human not talk negative, complain or even express irritation over a bad situation. But that’s how she is. And I figured that there’s a reason why everyone hovers around her. This good cheer is important and keeps one in good spirits.

What does this have to do with Lishaan being unwell? Well, thanks to my hormonal spurts, in recent few weeks I img_20160918_125853_163000have been a bit verbal with Lishaan, maybe saying things I shouldn’t say to a toddler. No, I didn’t use foul language or words that would scar him, but simple stuff that I thought he wouldn’t understand anyway. Thing is, he needn’t respond, but he did receive the impact of it (or so I think). Words have a stronger impact than we can imagine. I was talking to a friend today, and she too mentioned about how positive words have a great impact even in unreal situations.

My learning from this whole episode is that, as a parent you don’t need to hit your child or give a time out, but what you ‘say’ is more than enough to create an impact that neither of you would understand.

So, is it possible to be a parent who can go on (even in volcanic situations) without saying a bad word? No matter how simple it is? Even a ‘go to hell’ for a nanosecond has more impact in some teeny tiny corner, in my opinion. I am trying to be that parent. Since the day I saw him curled up in the hospital bed, I am correcting myself to be a sensible parent. A parent who can have some self control over her words, because in some cases words impact harder than actions. Right?

P.S.: I have a podcast episode of mine talking about this as well. Give it a listen here 🙂

Something fishy about going organic!

I don’t always talk about these things! Being a very ‘goal oriented soul’, I hardly take time to take a look at what goes behind the scene (unless I am behind the scene :P). So, my husband had been going gaga about his friend’s ‘new farming technique’ that’s super cool and very different, for quite some time now. I thought, it was just one of these things that caught his fancy. Apparently, I was wrong 😀 Last weekend, D,L & I headed to Neelithal farms near Mettupaalayam. It is about an hour’s drive (not that we were complaining) and took you into a pretty greenery cast milieu from the hustle bustle of (yes!) Coimbatore.

D’s school mate (I will talk about this later) has packed bag & baggage from the US and returned to India because he had decided to invest money and A LOT OF TIME into this method of farming called Aquaponics . This works on the basis of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system (I got this from Google, thank you!). I was amazed at the simplicity of the whole concept and the basic science behind it. The more time we spent there, the more I got to know about how sustainable and economic (in the long run) the whole deal is.

D’s friend had invested a lot of effort into this even before setting foot on soil here. He had, from what I gather, spent hours and days trying this method out at home level and slowly expanded to see how it all worked. Then, he took the plunge. I was surprised to meet a person who left the comfort of a high paying job, the US of A and the likes, to do what he felt was good. It did feel good. Just being on that farm for a couple of hours.

I would sure want to return for a visit in a few months, to see how they have scaled up. Not out of anything but sheer awe! These tomatoes are from Neelithal and boy, do they taste yum! Never having bothered to spot the difference between organic produce and otherwise, this was an eye opener.

Psst.. He also told us about how hard it is to source ‘untouched’ seeds to start off organic farming! Kudos to him & his venture partner for having gotten into this. D & I are now seriously curious and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tiny experimental culture station at home soon 😉

As for L, he was kinda disappointed that he couldn’t ‘see’ fish and settled for cows, dogs and finally, mud!

 Quite a visit this was!

Check out Neelithal here : https://www.facebook.com/neelithal/