Dad = Mom

I am thankful that times have changed, at least ever since we became parents. Fathers are not just ones who spend ‘select quality time’ with kids, while mothers do everything else child-related. This generation of parents, the one we belong to, is more equally distributed. I see fathers-to-be, new fathers and seasoned ones take up parenting with equal interest (I wouldn’t call it enthusiasm all the time, because at times you really have to push yourself). My husband, to begin with, has been a hands on father from day 1. Whether its got to do with his second nature of being spic and span or that parenting has made him way, remains to be seen. But, he has taken up every aspect of raising L with the same interest and involvement as I have. He has done it all. Poopy diaper cleaning, spit up washes, making nap times happen, cooking meals etc etc. It does not make him a ‘wow dad’. He is doing what he has to do for his kid. I wouldn’t have imagined it otherwise. Not that we ever discussed our roles as parents. We are equally mom & dad to L, as and when the need arises.

Dhanaa.png

I am putting this out here, because like D, many husbands out there are looking forward to spending time with their kids right from the labour ward! It hits me that someone actually goes out to say that ‘Men will treat paternity leaves like a holiday’. Not true, Lady! There are dads out there who would give an arm and more to spend time with their newborns. There are dads who regret having to sit in an AC cubicle while their C-sec-ed wives struggle each day at home, longing for love and comfort. There are dads out there who would love to be changing diapers and rocking their babies to sleep. IT IS PRIORITY. As much a priority or even more as it is to submit that god damn excel sheet full of numbers.

D & I have been discussing the arrival of our second child in the next few months. While L was born, we were ‘lucky’. D got to spend a lot of time with him & I can see it reflect in their bond. This time around, he doesn’t even have time to fully sit through a prenatal check up (which he tries his best to). I can’t blame him. I can’t blame his work either. But an extended paternity leave would be such a blessing!

Dads go through a lot after a baby as well. Suddenly they aren’t just husbands, with wives who could head out partying with them or even sit up for a late night movie marathon at home. They can’t have loud TV noises, lest they wake up the little one. Their wife is now officially someone else’s. They go through zombie nights with the feeding, changing, rock to sleep sessions and it sure would help to get some time to recoup, right?

Cut dads some slack! I haven’t heard about a mom-teacher-meeting or a dad-teacher-meeting. It’s called a Parent-teacher-meeting because mom & dad are parents. One isn’t less entitled to the parenting deal than the other. So they shouldn’t be treated any differently. Now, don’t share this post with your husbands and spill their beer just because they aren’t babysitting the little one. They will find their space, zone and comfort. The key is to participate equally. How? You figure!

Hey, don’t forget that its the sperm and the egg that make a baby! 😉

Clingy Mamma

You’ve heard of clingy kids, I know.. but a clingy mom? Yeah? No? Well, here’s one right in front of you 😀 Guilty as charged. Call it the bane of being in a nuclear set up or just my obsession over my son, but I am super clingy about him and things that pertain to him. So much so, that I have stopped myself just words short of instructing the husband on what he should do with the boy.

But then, which mother isn’t hovering around their kids ensuring things are going fine? Maybe its because I spend the WHOLE day with him that I pick up cues faster than anyone else. I get furious with the husband when he is not able to get a specific word that L is saying. To me, it’s naturally evident. To my husband, at first its gibberish and then (when I break it down) becomes whatever word it is that L is saying. Nope. I know THAT isn’t clingy, but I refuse to let L go anywhere out of sight and I realize why. Ever since we moved to Coimbatore, its been a lot mom-son solo time and the bond has strengthened even more after the conception of baby#2. mother-to-be-clipart-cliparthut-free-clipart-nFik3N-clipart

Deep down inside, I feel guilty that I wouldn’t give ALL my love to L in a few months’ time, but then that’s just the hormones speaking, right? I mean, I feel bad at times about the whole baby#2 deal (yes, there! I have said it) only because I feel my love will be divided. Now, saner and sensible friends of mine tell me that all this changes after the second baby comes and that love isn’t ever divided, but it just multiplies! I am believing that strongly. Imagine the case of parents with more than just 2-3 kids? My great grand mom had 9 herself! That’s a lot of love to share and spread right? 😀

My clinginess with L will change or take new dimension eventually, I am sure of that. But until then, I am gonna be a ruffled up mother hen who won’t let her chick out of sight! Yes yes, I need to let go a wee bit and step back a little. But there will be time for that! When he goes to college. Or maybe not! Maybe even then I will be a mother hen around him and his siblings 😛 Who knows?

Have you ever felt that way? Pray do tell me about expecting another addition in the family and how the who dynamics changes but never changes, if you know what I mean! 😀

Love,
A hormone-spiked flustered mom <3

Experience Vs Logic

In a country like ours (no stereotyping here), experience is measured higher than logic or reasoning. Maybe it is our set up (joint family, with 3-4 generations under one roof) or just the fact that we are a very timid bunch, who have never taken the step to move from under our elders’ wings of guidance and “experience”.

For ages, what we have done has been done by our dads, moms, thaathas and paatis. In some cases, even Kollu thaathas.hqdefaultNo questioning involved. Ever tried asking your mom why a certain thing (which defies logic) is done a particular way? ‘It’s been done like that only in our house for ages. Chumma don’t question like some Einstein’ would be the reply in most cases. Right? And over time, we stopped questioning.

But then again came the time when we had to adult up, become parents. This is where we begin to question, check logic and ask a gazillion questions (thanks to Guru Google). Let me tell you, it does not go well in our society. One is not supposed jut-a-but to what elders say. Or else, hell.will.break.loose. There might just be open guffaw and confrontation or silent tear shedding, blaming God for their misfortune that their offspring (or their wife) turned out THIS way 😛

Seriously, I have questioned a lot of things ever since L was born. Basic stuff. Why does the baby need a cruel massage? Why should I not hold my baby for too long? Why should I nurse in a room where no one sees me? I have got some brilliant answers, which were as follows:

  1. Must Massage because the baby’s (1 month old or lesser, mind you) need straightening
  2. Don’t lift the baby above your head or it will poop at night (???)
  3. Don’t hold the baby for too long, your body heat won’t let it grow
  4. Don’t let your husband watch you nursing (the whole world has by now, btw) because you will make less milk

and so on.

The latest I experienced was as to why my son is being a crank-button. He is one because he is going through growth spurts one after the other, then he is teething and then he falls ill and by then its time for the next spurt. You have reason and logic ready in hand, to answer people who ask about his behaviour. But, by then they have already dusted their shelves of experience and derived that he is ‘like this, because he wants to go to the park and play / is anxious about the next baby / is throwing a tantrum so that he gets x,y,z thing’ or something that just leaves me baffled beyond belief.

Not just this, but a lot of things come under the scanner and get shoved aside thanks to experience which just trumps logic big time! Reminds me of a time when my son was barely 3 weeks old. He was crying uncontrollably (which apparently newborns do for no reason) and I had a senior member proclaiming that his neck had sprained (because of being kept on the cot all day???) and that he wouldn’t be able to nurse unless it was massaged out! This happened at an unearthly hour, leading to waterworks (mine) and more advice (theirs). Looking back at it now, I know how silly I had been. But that’s the thing with a FTM, they are harassed beyond belief and it takes quite some guts to stand up to these idiotic (if I may call it that) suggestions. From that point on, I have gone the ‘my baby, my way’ route and it’s helping (me at least) 😉

For starters, God forbid you try to make logic sound logical. There are 99% chances that you will never see that relative again or that they would never talk to your child the same way, because ‘you know, she doesn’t listen to experience’. In the long run, its okay. You tend to build your shelves of experiences (based on some inkling of logic) and that is good enough.

Now, you may stare at me with steely eyes saying ‘experience is good’. It is! But please take 5 minutes to tell me instances where you yourself have questioned certain actions that are purely based on experience and hit the logic lorry on the hind side! If you get one, my work here is done 😉

Supermom.

Here’s a quick post!

supermomSupermom! Quite a fancy tag to own, right? Nope! I have been associated with this word in recent time (No, I am not showing off) and I don’t want to be anywhere near it. Truth is, I am not a super mom. I am a mom who is struggling to survive the 24 hours that each day and the 7 days that each week throws at me. I am that mom who will run and dive into her bed at any given toddler free moment. I am that mom who is rattling her brains everyday to stay afloat!

Yes, I do a million things from A to Z (thanks to my jack of all trades bone). But, I do them to keep myself sane. I have my leg in a hundred places because I just need that kind of distraction to keep myself alive amidst piles of laundry, stinking sheets and half eaten commodities in the refrigerator.

I have always mentioned that the grass appears greener on the other side. Had this been a joint family set up, I would probably be only doing half the things I am doing now. It’s my situation that keeps my on my toes. More like the Amazing Race’s parenting version 😛 Who knows how the scene would have been otherwise?

That being said, all of us are super moms! Moms who work, moms who pump every day and night, moms who handle multiple babies, moms who aren’t moms yet. Everyone wears a cape that is there fluttering fast and high. Just that it comes into sight at different times.

So, make the most of your situation. You are super if you have managed to balance it all and raise a child or two or three (for however long you have been doing it)). Be proud of it. I am doing what’s good for me. What about you? 😉

*Crochets away furiously as her toes type out the blog, with a whiny tot on her back* 😛 Just kidding!

What can be done?

My son is 20 months old. He’s a fairly *cough cough* active child and is what I classify as a monkey. Yes, he is a monkey who is up to his nose with antics of all sorts and levels. I might have been a parent for 20 months now, but hey! This is the first time I am handling a 20 month old at close quarters (read 24*7). So, there are things I formulate as ‘My Parenting Theories’ as we go. One of them, is how I handle his tantrums and his antics in general.

A quick example. My mom was visiting us and L decides to ‘spill and eat’ whatever has been given to him. My mom has a mini heart attack and rushes to pick up the ‘chi chi’ food from the floor before he mouths it. Me? I sit, watching TV without batting an eyelid. My mom tells me I should be ‘teaching’ him that it’s not right to spill food on the floor and even worse to eat it off the floor. I smile and say ‘okay’. Because what can be done? How do you drive reason into a one and half year old child with the attention span of a gold fish?

I have learnt that they (especially my son) don’t function that way. Kids do what they want to do. Action and reaction interests them (Ha ha ha.. I am laughing as I type this, because I was panicking about this before the phase set in). They find it amusing to see things spill, splatter and cover the floor. THEN they find their snack to be even tastier 😉

Same applies when he rips the newspaper into shreds (motor skill development, mind you) and stamps the life out of books and the remote. Hey! Its the age of curiosity. I don’t want to tell him ‘Beta, that’s Maa Saraswati and if you step on her (newspaper, book) you won’t get 1st rank in school’ 😛 duh! I don’t even know if I am sending him to school yet!

For the sake of better understanding, what is it that you can do when a toddler does what he does?

a. Stop him (yes, he is going to stop right away!)
b. Explain why it’s wrong (Sure! Because it works so well on grown ups, kids would listen too!)
c. Smack him (Because nalla maatukku oru soodu? *Good cow, one beating: An old proverb that a good cow falls in line with just beating*)
d. Let things run their course (Seems more logical than the above said methods, no?)

Tell me what you would do. Honestly, I have developed a LOT of patience thanks to this theory of parenting. If you insist on sitting your toddler down and telling him why a,b and c are wrong, you might just end up bursting a vein. He will forget about this act in a few months (and move onto something newer and crazier). He used to be obsessed with climbing onto the TV table and standing inches away from the TV. He’s forgotten that now.. only to come up with more insane acts around the house.

I must tell you, that I am not always calm and all zen while this happens. I lose my cool, I grit my teeth, but showing it on a toddler makes no sense. He just looks at my like I am some angry ape and moves on. Husband does get a fair share of this vent, but by then the day is done and the anger subsides. Another day, another mess 😉

Also, if you have a kid who DOES listen, can we swap please? 😀

Note: This is purely my thought on parenting and how I do it. There is no science behind it, but the fact that its better to have a messy home (that CAN be cleaned) than a BP-spike every day!

P.S.: My son is angelic. No, seriously! 😛 He’s a darling 😉

M.I.A. Momma!

6 months is a bloody long time to be missing in action. That too for a mom who can hardly shut up about things around her. But then, that’s where nature kicks in. We have been busy baking baby#2 which seems to be consuming more time and energy than my toddler himself. Ah well! There are things you can plan and there are things you cannot. Junior seems to belong to the latter category. What can I say? 😉

2 announcement

There are pros and cons to the whole deal (or that’s what we have been telling ourselves). For one, I will get to sleep through the night without having to nurse or change poopy diapers *in a few years from now*. Yes, I wouldn’t have to revisit the whole baby deal after a 5 year break (that does sound like torture to me.. to be able to sleep well once your first kid has grown up and then go back to sleepless nights). And like I have mentioned earlier, Junior should be renamed the ‘Economy mode’ baby! He or She, gets everything from L in mint condition 😉 Right from clothes to cloth diapers to toys and the babywearing gear. Hurrray for all the savings we will make *cough cough*

So, yes. Managing a toddler, trying to keep your head high above the water on a personal level AND making a baby can be quite a laborious venture. I am 2/3rds done. Just can’t wait for November to see what’s going to happen. I mean, how hard is going to be with a kid in his terrible twos and a bawling little scrawny newborn, right? (I can hear you snigger from far away 😉 )

Maturity. I get it now. I am not yet 30, but I KNOW that for the next few years I am going to be a whirlwind of a mess (in all likelihood). I am going to be dealing with a chimp and a baby monkey. It’s going to be a circus. There’s going to be piles of laundry, floor laden with toy land mines and maybe (NOT) poop or spit up. But I am sure it’s going to fun and worth the whole deal in the long run!

For now, I am just praying L doesn’t get over friendly with my bump in the coming few months. He already enjoys talking to ‘bibi’ and sometimes getting physically over friendly with it too!

Aaaand yes, I am back 🙂 Got a lot more stuff lined up to talk about and you sure don’t want to miss it, do you?

 

A Little About Me

So when one talks about a parenting blog, it isn’t always about the baby. Let’s do some mom talk! Who is this crazy jobless *cough cough* mom? ME! MOI! C’est Moi! 😉

To put things into a mini perspective, I have been brought up under the umbrella of ‘No choice, but to be independent’. Me mum loves me much and all, but my situations always ensured that she let me take control, no matter what the outcome. So, I have always been someone who looks at not depending on anyone as a step 1 in life. Sad that husband hates this attitude, but that’s me. Now this has greatly influenced who I am as a parent. When we conceived L, I was working and days after our UPT went on an annual conference (knowing it would be my last shot at fun for quite some time 😉 ). The whole deal of being pregnant (apart from the first trimester where I couldn’t lift a feather) was a ‘You have no choice babe’ kinda scenario in my head. We scored well! Baby come and we managed until now with almost close to zero help. (We= husbandman & me)

Well, I am not saying that I am the only one who’s solo parenting, but like I said earlier, it has made a different mom. I believe I am the ‘Can do anything mom’. You will never hear me say no, unless it’s something darn boring! Well, thankfully L has been the kind of baby who has stretched to every direction we pulled him in. This meant traveling when he was 40 days old, solo flight travels, million shopping outings, relocating to a new city with a toddler, spending 4 powerless days in floods and lot more.

I am not against the comfort that ‘mom’s house’ provides, but I am glad I didn’t have that cushioning. When you know that being tough is the only option, its fun. You will see that reflect in L as well. He doesn’t care much about what is given to him or happening around him. He miraculously adjusts to any situation and a FAR more social person than his mother ;).

This mode of parenting (call it lazy or Jungle parenting) makes life a whole lot easier in a nuclear set up. I know many more stronger mums like me who live and breathe this ‘Can Do’ attitude. This is what will carry us all forward. Irrespective of what kinda cushion is under your bum, try this and you will feel relieved like 2 bottles of fuzzy beer down the throat after a parching hot day!

P.S: This is my view on the kind of mum that I am and not criticizing any other style of parenting out there 🙂 Also, this makes me no different from the mom next door 🙂 This motherhood is a crazy clan, one of each type and it sure takes ALL types to make us who we are! <3

Gender Play

A few days back, mom had sent a ‘Frozen’ miniature of Sven for Lishaan. He took to it real quick and when we were talking later, I mentioned to mom that if she could find the others in the collection she should buy them for him. She was thrilled, obviously, because he liked a toy given by paati (again) ;). But what she said next got me thinking. My mom said ‘But that collection has like some girl dolls wearing a gown and all!’ I asked her what the issue was and explained to her about what Frozen was and stuff.

20160322_180153[1]

My mom’s theory was ‘Wouldn’t he feel bad playing with girl dolls?’ and I was zapped. It took me some one-sided explaining to get her to understand that babies don’t know gender. They don’t do ‘boys’ ‘girls’. If the toy is something that can keep them engrossed for hours, they play with it irrespective of it being a Barbie or a Transformer. Then I went to remind mom about how I used to have the entire G.I.Joe collection in one bag when I was about 6 or 7. I used to make LEGO towers for them and the Hot Wheels cars were their ‘mean machines’. Au contraire, I have NEVER owned a Barbie ever. I used to keep looking at my cousins who had Barbie dolls, with a lot of yearning. But nothing came close to the cardboard war machine one Anna helped me build for my G.I.Joe figurines.

Another incident that made me think about how parents influence gender based play into kids is how Lishaan recently reacted to bangles. We use them as curtain holders at home and one day, he managed to put one on and kept saying ‘Kai-le’ (in my hand). So I encouraged this game of putting and taking bangles off by giving him a dozen of my plastic bangles (which I NEVER use) and he was beyond thrilled. This was okay until a few days, when a friend’s kid came home. She was wearing bright orange bangles and somehow within minutes Lishaan was wearing them comfortably. I let is be, but was watching what happened further. The boy figured that shaking his hands made the bangles clink, which was a high source of entertainment for him! So I casually mentioned to my husband that we should get him some more bangles of his size to play with and husband said ‘bangles and all no!’ and I was like What??. His concerns I don’t know, but I see no harm in a toddler playing with bangles if they keep him hooked. Right? I even plan on investing in a kitchen set for L in the coming days! 😉

None of us were born with gender different thoughts, it was instilled by the bloody market out there. Blue for boys and pink for girls. Even yellow wouldn’t do. Do you know how hard it is to buy clothes in a store without it being boy baby or girl baby clothes? Sigh! The market is divided! Kinder Joy makes ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ toys, ear-rings and gold bangles are for girls, bright color clothes are for girls and so much more preconceived marketing gimmicks sit deep in our heads that we don’t let the child explore and enjoy as it should at its age!

A few months later Lishaan probably wouldn’t even remember these things as his play mates. Why the fuss? Only when you fuss do the kids want to explore the ‘No’ further without your knowledge. So, if your kid wants to wear lipstick or try on a frock then let it. Let the kid know how things feel and choose what they want for themselves.

Edited to add: So much so that I have once or twice said ‘Lishaan don’t cry like a girl and felt like smacking the back of mu head real hard myself!’ :-/ Not proud there!

Spoonful of Emotions

This whole parenting thing is like running a treasure hunt without any clues. You just have to find your way through it. You will look like a mess at every pit-stop, but nope! no clues ever! And yet people want you to make a Princess Kate kinda appearance with everything the baby does.

Did you know that as a parent in the Indian Subcontinent (please don’t call me stereotypical, this has taken some thought before being keyed in), you are supposed to:

  1. Have a baby who is born with a round head
  2. Have a baby who rolls on cue, walks at month 8 and says supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at 10 months.
  3. Poops in a pot or on cue by month 4
  4. Eats a bowl (A BOWL) full of whatevermashedstuffitis by 7 months?

Well this list could go on, but the whole food thing has gotten me going crazy. So Lishaan is a BLW baby. Nope, not BMW (ha!), but Baby Led Weaned. Which means he gets to eat what the family eats (sensibly, not butter chicken) and decide how much he wants to it. I intended to raise him that way but when we did start out, I tried going the traditional way by giving him ‘kanji’ (cereals) and mashed fruits. The result? I have been the receiver of a million ragi face packs and apple mush packs in just a month. ‘Hey mom, I am not gonna let you pump gooey stuff down my throat, ever!’ said the boy at month 6.

Since then we have been giving him what we eat. Roti, Dosa, idly, pongal etc.. you name it, he probably has had it for lunch, breakkie or dinner. Do you know how easy it makes my life? I do not have to lug around cookers or boxes of pappu mammu everytime we go out. I can just ask the goddamn restaurant to give me a saltless version of whatever we eat. It works! Most restaurants in my city should be awarded ‘Baby Sensible’ for this sole reason!

Secondly, BLW also emphasizes on letting the child decide how much is to be had. This again is an issue, because we as kids were asked polish our plates clean (even if it meant loosening the belt by a few inches). So, the mentality of ‘he didn’t eat fully’ carries on. This is an issue when we are out. Cos, my little monster gobbles 4-5 mouthfuls of what he wants and closes the cave for any further attempt. Which either means, I get him howling for no fault of his or he purposely spits food out signalling ‘End of story’. I have learnt that he knows what he wants to know and how much as well. I CANNOT force him to polish the bowl clean if he doesn’t want it. (Note: If any of you think I am not trying enough, you are more than welcome to try!).

12733578_10156462931305507_2086254652209416785_n

Food = Chubbiness = Health = Bullsh*t. Babies do not need to be chubby to be healthy. They can be lean toddlers and still have good health. My paed is the only sensible senior in recent times that I have encountered. He says ‘ Do you want him any more active than he already is?’ and I am grinning like a fool at each wellness check up, knowing darn well that L is fine! I am just being a ‘You got 98 marks, where are the baaki 2 marks’ kinda parent.

Unfair! Let your child decide. Like a very talented friend of mine puts it, ‘Would you like it if at 30, your mom said ‘finish your food or else the doggie is coming’ or ‘if you don’t finish your food, Amma will call you bad boy’ OR attempts to pin you down and plaster the food down your throat? No, right? Then why try it with your baby.

You are only spoiling the idea and imagery of food and decision-making in your child’s head. Yes, they understand even when they are that young. I, for one, don’t want L to zombie-like finish everything that is put on his plate. If he says no, it’s a no! The same should apply with each child and you will see a world of difference in their approach towards food.

Note: This isn’t against parents who traditionally wean and feed their children. Kudos to you, because I wouldn’t have the patience to be separately preparing formless meals for my son or distract him with everything under the sun to get his meal down into his tummy.

Also Note: There have been instances when I have resorted to traditional feeding with distraction in tow, but even then, when L says ‘Aachu’ (Done) I stop. I do 🙂

So please save me the gyaan the next time you see me trying to ‘not help the child complete his meal’ because my child knows what he wants (even if it is a bowl of pasta after a dosa) and his meals are meant to be fun times to explore, not howl and bring the roof down or look like a lion being tamed in a ring!

For further doubts on whether I am right, wrong or mad, read this book 🙂

The Parent Trap

You know, I am beginning to feel like this whole parenting thing is like one of those retailer network programs. You join as a bakra and then you find two more to join as bakras as well and then they find two more and so on.

Seriously, think about it. You become a parent and then can’t wait to see another couple ‘enjoy’ it as well. So, you invite them over to dinner with a couple of drinks and then put up your baby to display (almost). You show them how it gurgles, you make them hold it and ‘sniff in the baby smell’ and once they leave, you start slowly sending pics, voice messages and videos of the baby doing just about *nothing*. There, in that moment you have successfully planted the seed of temptation in the minds of an unassuming couple, who would have chosen to go watch a late night movie with some chewy caramel popcorn instead.

image

The seed then grows and they see ‘signs’. Cute babies on TV, friends having maternity shoots done, birth announcements, cute baby at the mall and so on. They are standing at the brink of it and all BAM! They fall into the trap!

“omg.. We’re having a baby next June… I am so excited! *aaaaaaaaah*” squeals the new mom to be over the phone, as you plonk your feet on whatever little bit of the tea table you can see beneath the ocean of toys and laundry, sipping on some dead wine, with a sinister smile playing on your lips.

From there on, it’s all about what to do and what not to do advices over Whatsapp, sharing links, dropping over to spend time ‘getting handy’ under the pretext of having tea with home baked cookies and the likes.

I tell you, it’s a vicious cycle. One thing leads to another! So the next time a new parent couple invites you home for dinner out of the blue, beware or be ready to sign up! 😉 

*written in a lighter vein. People are requested to not rain down upon me about the emo and senti angle of it all. Kthxbai*