Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Separation anxiety gets better

This month did a lot of good to LG's separation anxiety. The beginning of October saw us visiting Delhi and Amritsar for a week which meant a lot of newer faces all through the day. At Amritsar, there was always someone by LG's side round the clock even when he was asleep, a privilege he does not enjoy at Pune. So he slept soundly and did not ever wake up crying in the middle of the night for fear of being left alone. I guess he sensed someone's presence and slept happily through the night. His daytime naps were never less than 2 hours and man, was I surprised to see the boy sleep so peacefully.

The pattern continued on our return as within a day my parents got here. They stayed for a week and again, I believe he sensed there were people around and slept well without waking up. Once my parents left, he has got back to his old habit of screaming through deep sleep for fear of being left alone though it is not as frequent as before.

It makes me sad that we can't have so many people around him all the time as was in Amritsar or when my parents were here. With the nuclear family setup of these days, it has become a rarity for even family getting together often. And this kid enjoys company, newer faces, grandparents to play with, watch what other kids do. The way he sleeps through the night is a good indication of if he is happy ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blame it on teething

The world knows of only one reason to blame on for everything the baby does - teething. By world, I mean the experienced and the inexperienced that includes mothers, grandmothers, unmarried women, teenage girls who have seen their nephews and nieces grow up and just about anyone who has an opinion on parenting. Wonder what makes the world think that the baby can't get a fever because the weather was cold or that he has a dysentery because of something he ate or some bad food that just didn't go well with him?

Now, Lil General ever since he was two months old had a habit of sucking his thumb which slowly gave way to putting stuff in his mouth when he was five months. The habit just got worse over the months. He bites everything that comes his way - the cot, his potty chair, dining chair, wooden cupboards, utensils, his toys, teether etc etc. I stop him as much as I can and finally, when I am tired I just give up.

People are often quick to comment when they see LG that it must be teething that's bothering him. I just nod and go with the flow enjoying their expert comments. The look on their faces is worth seeing once LG opens his mouth to flash his eight teeth. That's right. All eight of them at ten months. Most people are dumbfounded to see eight teeth at this age (he got his first pair of lower incisors when he was five months old)

The neighbour aunty about whom I have written before blamed it on teething yet again. She sees him every week and knows that LG has teeth, yet cites teething as the reason for everything he does. And I'm still patiently putting up with all that she has to say :)

I have traveled with Lil General a few times on road and by air ever since he crossed the much-awaited 12 week milestone. Yet, traveling with him gives me the jitters every time. Sometimes, I feel I plan more than what is needed and pass my anxiety to otherwise non-hassled family members. I am an expert in drawing up a list of disaster situations and rehearsing what-if-this happens. Maybe it is all futile but it helps me to travel confidently and prepare better the next time. I am glad we haven't had too many (or any for that matter) situation that saw us running across the airport to get food for the baby or hunting for hot water. Traveling with a baby leaves no room for mistakes, carelessness or blaming each other.

Here's a list of what has worked for me :

First things first, the baby bag is on the top of my list. But this is one that invariably gets packed the last.

What goes in the baby bag :

I have 2 baby bags - a small one for city travel and a bigger one for travel outside.
I usually keep both the bags with essentials to last me for 8 hours, ready at all times to leave within a 10 minute notice.

  1. 4 diapers

  2. 1 Nappy liner with 2 nappy pads

  3. 2 long pants and 2 short pants

  4. 4 shirts

  5. For long travel :

  6. Tissues in the side pouch

  7. Water bottle in the side pouch

  8. His medicines in a zipper bag along with the prescription

  9. Formula and 2-3 sterilized bottle half filled with warm water. So that if you have to mix the formula inf light after sometime you can just add remaining hot water and it will be lukewarm for the baby to drink. This was you don't have to find a way to cool it.

  10. Bananas, biscuits - these are handy foods to feed the baby at airports

  11. Cereal

  12. Thermos flask with hot water. You can also get these at the Coffee shops in airports or heat with tumbler heater in trains.

  13. something to chew on during take off and landing. If your baby is the cranky sorts, then make sure you carry along his/her favorite toy too.

  14. Bottle brush

  15. A small baby blanket and socks

  16. Small towels to clean after feed in the front punch

  17. Lastly, don't forget baby wipes. Atleast, One toilet in airplanes are quipped with a diaper changing table.

Other stuff that I carry around :

  1. His favorite pillows

  2. More clothes

  3. Toiletries - towel, soap, shampoo, comb, shampoo hat etc

  4. Porridge mix

  5. Baby thermometer

General tips :

  1. If you are traveling by one of those low budget airlines, then choose Spice Jet. It is better than Air Deccan. Spice Jet allows you to choose seats while booking tickets at an extra fee which is worth it.

  2. While traveling by train, though Second a/c gives you that extra space, it has always been a bad experience for me because of the cold temperature. LG as invariable ended up having a cold every time. But it helps having those extra inches especially if your child is someone like LG who sleeps on a queen size bed all by himself rolling around the whole night.

Most of our baggage when we travel comprises of his stuff now. The 78 cm member of the family rules our lives now. We have always been very light travelers, so it's hard to find a balance between taking all his stuff and comprising on ours.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Return of the fussy eater

Pursed lips are an indication that Lil General is not well. But I just refuse to believe that and am quick to label him as a fussy eater when I should actually be thanking my stars and taking pride in he being the most non-fussy kid ever. Really, I mean. He is every sweet that way when he is alright and doesn't trouble me a bit or throw tantrums for eating food.
Naturally, his behavior for the past two weeks drove me up the wall when he would refuse to open his mouth at the sight of his cup. I tried everything I could under the sun - tried varied vegetables and fruits, changed his schedule, changed his cutlery but nothing worked. I was scratching me head all day for those two weeks wondering what to make for the next meal that would make him eat. The insects in our gutter are sure to have put on a few extra pounds with all the vegetables, fruits and cereals that were passed on to the drain at regular intervals. I knew it was not LG but the damn cold that was bothering him. No medication helped. And then I learnt my important lesson - sometimes you have to wait patiently and let what is natural take its course. As a coincidence, The Seniol was going through a fever cold cough phase too. He was at his irritable best - thanks to the discomfort caused by the cold. If an adult cannot tolerate this and doesn't feel like eating, how could I force a 10 month old to eat when maybe he just doesn't feel like eating at all. So I stopped forcing him because it wasn't working well for him nor me and made us both feel more frustrated. It takes ten times more energy in force feeding a baby. I let him come to me when he was hungry and within a few days he was fine and back to his regular appetite.

I just wish someone asked for what specifications mothers wanted in their babies when they are born - shouldn't they be able to talk ? (Yea, I am kinda dumb not to understand him or rather stubborn).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mannat - my new friend in Amritsar

Today afternoon Lil General was sitting on the front porch in the lap of his grandpa when a little girl dressed in pink appeared from the opposite bungalow. The little girl in pink, a year older than LG, had long hair neatly ties into two ponytails. She was being held by her nanny and I learned a few minutes later that she was eager to see the new baby in the neighborhood - LG. LG was not his normal self today; the usual stomach bug was bothering him. However, as soon as the cutie in pink approached him, he got all excited and jumped from grandpa's lap to touch her. Mannat, the girl in pink, was too shy to react to the sudden affection showered on her by The Baby - as she preferred to call him. She spent a few silent minutes with the baby munching Lindt milk chocolates before kissing goodbye. With a heavy heart LG saw her off and came in. Mannat is only a few days younger to the kid in one-of-those people category I wrote about. and he met her for the first time today. so his fondness for the child took me by surprise.

Later this evening, actually around LG's bedtime when he was all set to sleep, Mannat came again - this time with her elder sister - Gurseerat. LG had his eyes half closed. Just then he saw Mannat and pulled the covers off him and crawled with such a speed towards Mannat that left all of our jaws dropping in surprise. Before she could reach him and touch his face gently, he was all over her. He pulled her hair band which was in LG's favorite color - Orange. Shocked and confused over how to react, Mannat took a step back. That didn't stop LG. Now he was reaching for Seerat who is quite old - in her teens. They played with him for 15 minutes and it was fun to watch. He now has a new friend in Mannat :)

The crawling machine is on a roll. Some days he is so fast that he can crawl at the pace we walk to reach a room with an open door. Most rooms in the house are always closed giving him very less opportunity to play with water or hurt himself with the stuff lying on the floor. He naturally doesn't understand that he is only nine months old and his body can only take so much. He pushes himself to the limits crawling tirelessly continuously sometimes for an hour. At the end of day, he is so tired that he cannot sleep. His joints ache as he keeps touching his knees with his little hands and moaning through the night unable to sleep. wish kids this age could talk. His moaning makes us helpless while trying to figure out what is bothering him - body ache, mosquito bite, ant bite, hunger, thirst, too cold or too hot etc etc.

I am more than positive now that it is his body that aches on days when he has crawled a lot. By the end of the day, I can make out if there is something interesting happening in the room but he doesn't make an effort to move at all or if he is rubbing his fingers over his legs. I have never seen LG sit in a place for more than 10 days, so the past 3-4 days have been very disheartening to see him sit in the same place and play with his toys which is more than enough to say that he is not his usual self.

Here are a few things that I have tried and it has helped:

  1. Give a hot sponge bath before putting him to sleep. Or you could wash your baby from the thighs (down) with hot water. It is soothing for the aching body without risking him to catch a cold.

  2. Try a hot water bag - there is one specially available for kids these days that can be microwaveable.

  3. Try massaging your baby's body gently.

  4. If you know your baby is tired, hold him in your lap and let him crawl too much for the time being.

Every time we have a new face over at home, The Seniol and I love to play the guessing game as to how LG will react to their presence. Mostly, we both have the same opinion. But there are occasions when he surprises us by his cranky behavior and body language that leaves us to analyze what put him off. We just blame it on one-of-those-people category or just a bad day. There aren't many people in the one-of-those-people category, though. The non-fussy child that he is, we are generally very happy to have someone over - be it the maid servant's grand children or the cook's nieces or friends of The Seniol. He is very happy to be in the company of new people and enjoys playing with them after taking his initial 10 minutes to assess them. He would keep a safe distance look them over up and down a dozen times before inching towards them slowly. I think this is normal behavior for a nine month old who is just trying to distinguish familiar faces from unknown and understanding the difference between family and outsiders.
There is a child who is a little older than LG in the one-of-those-people category. She is a sweet child but I fail to understand what puts him off. They have had enough opportunities to bond and we visit each other's places quite often too, so it's a new face. For a child who coos at strangers on the road to attract attention and smile back at them to pulling the hair of a child much older than him at his first ever meeting, this behavior is beyond my comprehension. He is quick to turn his face on meeting this other kid and doesn't acknowledge her. Certain things are better left unexplored.

The Seniol's obsession took a new dimension today redefining how perfect the bed should be to sleep in. I have written about his compulsion to make the bed perfectly, the sheet exactly laid on top of the rubber sheet matching corner to corner; two pillows side by side; the big pillows on all the four corners; the pillows facing north etc. I could go on and on. He believes in sleeping the perfectly made bed for himself and for LG. Tonight, LG was very tired after the area surveying business, so restless that he kept tossing and turning trying to find that exact position placing his head on top of a big pillow and sometimes his legs propped up on 2 pillows. After enough experimentation he just got tired and slept between the crumpled sheets with no cotton sheet beneath him with his face facing the windows instead of the door as he usually sleeps. Not a big deal for me. I am happy so long as he sleeps and wouldn't want to disturb him for fear of waking up the lion. But The Seniol decides to lift him and go through the ritual of making his bed driving me insane. Some compulsions in life are difficult to be fought :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

People may think I'm Ms. Fart

We leave this Thursday on a 10 day vacation to Amritsar. There's something that is troubling me a bit. That people might think on the flight, in the airport and in the train that I'm one big Ms. Fart. Not that I care too much about what people think. It's a different thing to be labeled Ms. Snob, Ms. attitude, Ms. Fat etc and a totally different thing to be laughed at. It can be embarrassing to hear LOUD farting sounds - loud enough of that of a small cracker and loud enough for people within 10 distance to hear clearly. It is too real and convincing to not to be true - like the ones after heavy gassy meal full of stuffed potatoes etc.

By now, you do know who is responsible for this, don;t you? Ofcourse, Lil General. He has learned this quirky thing of placing his mouth on my arms to make fart sounds and revels so much in it. The louder and different it is, the happier he gets. Believe me, if you were not looking attentively you would think it's me for real. The Seniol (LG's cheerleader) has a great time seeing his boy at his best that he sometimes rolls over and laughs not able to control himself after the sounds that come out of me. LG was at it for a good 10 minutes this weekend. Hopefully, I might not have a lot of tales to tell about on my return.

I understand it's mean on our part to call Lil General a Python but he behaves like one after he has food and has earned the name. After every feed,he stuffs himself with water in his chotu tummy with more than it take that by the time he is done, he can barely move an inch. All the funny faces we make and antics that turn him into a crawling machine at other times are simple met with a grin after food. So, it was indeed surprising to see the Python transform into a tiger today after his heavy dinner. He perhaps realized that a lot of time was being wasted that could be meaningfully spent practicing how to stand and tripping folded clothes off the bed.

Tonight, after dinner he charged on us like a bull pulling my hair apart climbing over me and then reaching for the toys kept on top of the bed. It sure makes him a look a loser to not spend every waking minute perfecting the art of standing. It does matter a lot if you look at it from his viewpoint. From being horizontal the whole day, he now has a vertical view and the world just got better with so many new things to explore as that corner behind the sofa or the top shelf of his medicine cabinet (in Baby Center's words). There is no stopping this tiger now, he is on a destruction mode and I better gear up to match his energy.