Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Naturally weaned at ten months

The Seniol always reminds me on one thing about LG : "He does everything naturally at the right time. So, don't try hard." Which is true. He took to the bottle without any fuss, had no problems in starting solids at five months, did not form any habits such as expecting to be carried all the time, no sleep issues etc etc. Mom has been warning me of weaning him early so that he doesn't continue to nurse until two years old and form a habit that's later on difficult to break. I wasn't too hassled and I didn't want to wean him forcibly. I wanted him to nurse so long he wished to. As it is, I carried the guilt of not exclusively feeding him until six months; so I wanted to carry on. But, LG had other plans. He started self-weaning on our trip to Amritsar, the nursing patterns started changing because he was excited there with so many people around him. Once, we got back mom-dad were here and during this period he totally forgot about nursing. I tried hard at nights but he neglected the offer. I was disappointed and dismissed it is a temporary phase. Turned out it was forever; he now finds it funny, so I've given up. I find it hard to believe that kids can be demanding to be fed even at 18 months. But, I know it's true; I've seen a few friends do that and are totally frustrated.

I have a sparkling clean kitchen floor, thanks to my eleventh month old son. Once I cleaned the kitchen floor with soap water ( I can't remember the last time I did that in the past two years), I am amazed at the shine on the floor which just speaks volumes of the dirt gathered there and what a wonderful job my maid does!

Ever since my cook got married and quit last week, I've been making dinners everyday. I try and get everything done before my evening walk with LG and before The Seniol is back home. So far, the schedule has worked great with me starting to prepare dinner after LG wakes up from his afternoon nap and finishing just in time for our evening walk. But, today was one of those days when nothing goes per your plan. You plan and your kids dispose; LG decided it was such a waste of time to spend the afternoon sleeping and was on an exploration mission crawling room after room. After all my attempts in putting him to sleep went futile, I resorted to cooking. The sweet boy that he is gave me company in the kitchen pulling vegetables off the shelf, food processor off the rack and the masala bottles from the cupboards. So long as it is safe I let him play with all of it.

I must have been multitasking when I failed to notice that he had managed to crawl inside the huge bottom shelf - yea, the wood work in the kitchen of this house is amazing and was done 12 years back, so you can imagine! It was too late; he had already laid his hands upon the home made hair oil my nani had given me. I had saved it for the past three years; it is one of those things that gets better with time. With my receding hairline, it was my last resort to get all my hair back that I lost post pregnancy. Made from 17 herbs I'd saved it carefully (yea, keeping it in the bottom shelf with a monster at home speaks tons of how I care about things I love) and transported it from Bangalore to Pune during our move. In a moment of carelessness, it was all gone; shattered to pieces with Lil' General holding the big cracked piece of bottle in his tiny palm. Thank God! he didn't hurt himself. For the first time in my life, I didn't show any reaction; behaved as though it was normal; just picked him, took his bottle of milk and walked out of the kitchen. Finally, after putting him to sleep I cleaned it all up and now, my kitchen floor is sparkling.

The oil and the bottle is neatly wrapped in a plastic bag inside the dustbin. Granny is ailing, so there is very little chance I will get to know the secret behind that oil. My life is exciting now; I can't imagine how boring these past three decades have been before he came into our lives.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why are kids so averse to dressing up?

LG wets his pants a million times between dawn and dusk..I'm not kidding, seriously! The weather has only made it worse. I don't believe in putting on diaper while we are at home, so that explains why I'm always checking every 5 mins if his pants are wet and 9 out of 10 times, I'm right.
If it was just his pants, it's an easy job. Remove the soiled one and put on a new one. But the problem is it doesn't stop there, it goes way beyond that. In the process of crawling and standing and hanging from the furniture, he makes sure that his shirt and socks also get wet in River Nile.
Removing the wet clothes is easy but putting on fresh ones requires the strength of two well-grown adults, which I presume the The Seniol and I are. While The Seniol usually holds his hands, I change him. Believe me, its a battlefield and to any outsider it would seem from LG's antics as if we are torturing him by getting him dressed.
We've come to time ourselves like the Formula 1 pit stops and I have miles to go before I can reach the Ferrari standards..still on Minardi levels.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Passionate about pillows

Every child has a favorite object - a soft toy, teddy bear, blanket, pillow. Mom got him two pillows - a red one and a blue one even before he was born. I found it funny that small kids would need pillows. No doubt, they looked cute and the person using them will be cute too, I thought then. Never imagined those tiny rectangular things will become LG's favorite belongings. He is so possessive that if I take one of them, even in the middle of the night he will crawl up to me to snatch it, hug it, go back to his side of the bed and then sleep. He is particularly fond of the red one more than the blue one.

The attachment to the pillows started when he was just a little over six months old. With time, the bond became stronger and now the pillow goes with LG wherever he travels overnight.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Standing milestone and single word vocab

Today Lil' General stood without support for a good ten seconds before sitting on the floor again. And, he also managed to climb with the support of a pillow over to the cot. So excited by the climbing exercise that he kept doing it a number of times before getting tired and calling it a day.

His vocab wasn't extensive earlier but atleast it meant something - the word papa that he distinctly said. He has forgotten all about it ever since Beethu came into his life. Now, it is just bow, bow and bow

The mercury has dipped to 8 deg Celsius in Pune; and LG sleeps for anywhere between 3 and 5 hours during the day distributed over 3 naps. This new sleep pattern has been estbalished over the past 10 days; I can't quite figure out if it is a result of his growing up or the effect the weather is having on him - not that I'm worried too much because he is active and cheerful as ever while awake. The only that's bothering is the change in his appetite, which has gone down considerably. Oh! and one more big consequence of the sudden weather change is that I often wake up in River Nile at 3 a.m. - thanks to susu aunty doing overtime and the pile of laundry now reminds me of the first three months when the room smelt pleasantly of potty and urine - not so pleasant anymore :)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

An infant-proof cellphone

An acquaintance of ours is very fond of cell-phones; she keeps changing them quarterly - more out of necessity than out of choice. Her infant daughter keeps tossing the cell-phone into a bucket of water or throws it like a saucer - with the mother left to search for the parts and see if it can be fixed. More often than not, the phone is reduced into a vegetable good enough for nothing; sometime when they are lucky calls come through though outgoing gets disabled or the ringer doesn't ring and the voices are all muffled. On a lighter note, it is fine once in a while as it keeps the phone bill under check :)

I'd been fortunate enough until this morning as far as cellphones go. While I was busy packing The Seniol's lunch, LG found the prefect moment with no one keeping an eye on him to reach for my already half dead phone on the table and pull it down. You gotta see the look on his phone - what an accomplishment!

I did not inspect the phone immediately for the damage - you know how busy mornings can be. Later during the day, when the phone rang and died all that was left of the phone was a bright blue screen with no signal coming in. Great I thought, but I trust my old Nokia so much to have given up hope. And lo! the old guy started up alright after reinserting the battery, so what if the keypad is about to come off. It serves its purpose. Maybe Nokia should capitalize on this in their ads - an infant proof cellphone!

Lil General's First Birthday is less than a month away. We are still living up to the slacker image - yes, even after a baby. Haven't zeroed in on a place to have the party or made guest-lists or know what we want to do. We've been thinking about this for months now; the plan is all in the head and this week, we also figured what we don't want to do. So, that just brings us a step closer; if you know what you don't want, maybe it's easier to figure what you want. So, you might think?

Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions on a theme for LG's first birthday party. The boy rocks; he is aggressive and loves orange color. We don't want to have the regular run-of-mill birthday parties which is more a get-together of whom you know and who you haven't met in a long while and this was just a good occasion to catch up.

Wear your creative cap; go ahead and leave a comment with your suggestions.

Monday, November 19, 2007

LG's hair : to trim or not to trim!

Some traditions puzzle me, what makes following them difficult is there are so many of them; some cultural; some family practice and some religious. I'm sure there are reasons for each of them or atleast that's what I would like to believe. I don't follow most of them, yes, I am aware of many or make an effort to keep me aware in the least.

One such traditional practice is to cut a child's hair for the first time in temple, the practice itself being called mottai or mundan. Now, there is no hard and fast rule; the practice varies according to the different regions and religions in India. In some parts, it is not a practice to remove a girl child's hair (I had mottai done twice by the time I was two years old), in some places they do mottai by the time the child is six months old and in some not until the child is a year old. In ours, the practice has been to wait the child is a year old.

LG was all of seven months when his hair touched the top of his nose and it was all over his eyes; he used to sweat a lot too. So, I had to make a decision being practical versus adhering to family practices. It is a common practice to tie the hair with a band but that didn't sound good to me; imagine LG with a orange color band - he would have looked like a hippie. So I trimmed his hair and saved it for the real mottai occasion. The first time is always difficult. Once the rules are broken, then you don't think much afterward, right? I tried not to do too many times, the foremost concern always being LG's convenience. I've saved all the hair (yuck! you think?).

Anyways, the whole point of this post was that there is such a thin line between being traditional and practical. Sometimes, it is just not possible to satisfy everything. It makes decision-making all the more easier if you understand your priorities right!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

11th month old baby's diet

7:00 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. - 150 ml of Formula

7:45 a.m. - one black currant

8:00 a.m. - half a biscuit

9:15 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. - 240 ml of Porridge (contains 11 ingredients mixed in 200 ml of milk) or 1 chapathi and little milk

12:00 noon - 12:30 p.m. - Bowl of Mashed vegetables. Choice of vegetables - carrot, tomato, potato, beetroot, beans, red pumpkin, capsicum, peas.

2:30 p.m. - Rice/dal mixed with curd

4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - 200 ml of milk

6:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - 1 banana or150 ml of milk

7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - dinner - usually two course consisting of a fruit and 7-8 spoons of cereal mixed in milk or water or rice in milk or idli.

Monday, November 12, 2007

How to eat like a 10-month-old?

There are a few rules laid down by my mom in this how-to-eat-your-food business. Mommy's rules are way too many to remember and adhere to, so I formulated a few of my own which works just great for us. And, I hope it would suit you fine too provided you are as young as I am.

The first rule is to never display any liking for the high chair. Protest with all the force you can muster once positioned in the chair. Beat your legs against the foot-board, tap the food tray ahead with your hands until mom gets angry.

Once the feeling of displeasure has been established and communicated to all parties, show signs that you are hungry and would like food to be served. If mom leaves you alone to get the food, use this opportunity to push and pull what's nearby. Usually, I drag the dining table chair and start biting its edges. Or if there's any object within reach that can be pulled down (which otherwise cannot be reached from floor level), I ensure that the damage is done.

Let's assume the food has arrived. Now, that mom cared enough to get you something to eat, let her know your hunger has died, and you are no longer interested in eating. Turn your face away from the feeding cup with pursed lips showing interest either in the neighbor's kitchen or the passing vehicles on the road or a blank lost stare at nothing in particular.

Remember, this was just to piss off mom; the truth is you are very hungry. When you can no longer tolerate hunger for even a min, open your mouth and expect to be fed. Satisfy your hunger with the first few spoons or until it's time to have fun again. Bite the spoon and hold it tight between your teeth; don't let it go until mom begs you to leave or uses force. After letting the spoon go, make sure you grin sheepishly at her that says, "I know what I was doing!"

If no water is served after every 3 spoonfuls of food, start crying. Increase the volume if the request is not met. Use your hands and feet to good effect.

If the menu is the same ole' dish that was served 3 times the day before, convey that you would like something new which is just about the right temperature - neither too hot nor too cold. If mom forgets and keeps the feeding cup within your hand's reach, push it away and topple it over to the floor. Who likes clean floors!

Moms wish that their kids should learn how to eat by themselves by this age. So, they are likely to force you to practice eating by spoon like my mom did. Hand-mouth coordination? Uh? Never heard of that. Sure, I know how to hold the spoon alright but can't guarantee if it would reach my mouth. Ah! so sorry, food fell on my lap and my shirt is soiled. Next spoon mama, please. Mama complies. This time take it to your mouth to get back mama's trust. The next spoon with the food is all over the chair and floor.

It's easy to get bored while eating. Especially, when you have to do this ritual so many times a day. So what, if you've just been given a shower. I love to smear my hands in the food and wipe it all over my hair. I loved my naturally highlighted hair yesterday (one part was orange in color with the mashed carrot and the other half white with curd).

Throw you water bottle onto the floor atleast once. How can anyone expect you to hold a teether for so long? Keep throwing it over every 5 minutes and demand to be brought again.

Playing with water is fun. To ensure it happens remember one rule of thumb, "the more mess you create, the more water you get." Hands, feet, neck, legs - every exposed part of the body should have signs that you just finished the most difficult task of the day - eating.

Parents always empathize with us at this age as teething occurs. They know we like biting on chilled fruits and vegetables. When I am offered a chilled Pear, I bite it and then spit it. Mom doesn't appreciate this behavior, but I don't like the taste of Apples and Pears to swallow them. This works fine as it soothes my gums.

Don't worry. You did not piss off mom. She is proud you are learning how to eat. On the brighter side, you are keeping her busy, exercising her naturally and creating work. This was a job WELL DONE!

Friday, November 09, 2007

LG's First Diwali

So, this was Lil General's first Deepavali yesterday and first Diwali today. Yes, some advantages of being a multicultural family is that you get to celebrate Diwali for two days. We did the traditional oil bath-pooja-legiyam-sweet eating-new dress ritual yesterday morning. Distributed sweets to friends and tagged LG along. We fired crackers and lighted diyas today completing the Diwali celebration. It was fun all the way except this evening due to a minor misunderstanding with a friend that deserves no space here..

The highlight of the day was the sweet and memorable encounter with Caesar aka Beethu this morning. We have lately started taking LG out for a walk in the mornings as well. Just as we stepped out of the house, Beethu was right there..on our porch. I called out for him and within minutes he was all over LG. Lg on the other hand reciprocated Caesar's love and stretched his hands and put his fingers into his mouth showing no signs of fear. It was touching to see the affection between the two and how they've become fond of each other in a short span of time. after letting the two play for a few mins, we bid goodbyes. Lil General all the way kept looking back from his pram while Caesar had to be beaten by a stick (which I don't approve of at all :( ) by uncle and dragged away from our front gate. He insisted on sitting by our gate even after we had left. The Seniol said, "dogs are like human kids; only that they are more loyal". Well said! So, that was a good start to the day.

In the evening after a long nap, I started by dressing LG in another set of new clothes - a Gini & Jony one. Then, as The Seniol held LG, I lit diyas on our balcony. LG was very excited,jumping, and beating his chest to show his happiness as he saw the candles lined up beautifully on the balcony. Later, we took him down to show the fireworks while we also lit a few sparklers; the noisy ones were kept to a minimum this year. There were moments when he enjoyed it; times when he grew restless and times when he seemed withdrawn. On the whole his sleep-hunger routine interfered with the firework session and he was not for it. Kids this age don't experience fear I guess. Atleast, there were no signs of that and neither was he alarmed at the excessive noise level today. We kept the fireworks session short and got back home.

Last Diwali, he was kicking inside me. This year, he was amongst us and life can't get any better.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Meet Lil General's new friend - Beethoven!

This was a chance meeting that will forge a friendship for a lifetime, something that LG will cherish as part of his growing up in Pune. The place where we live in Pune has a lot of bungalows so there's a dog in every one of them except a handful. since the dogs go on a walk every morning and late evening, we know almost each one of them; come on we've been seeing them everyday for the past two years. So if there's a new dog in the neighborhood, it's not hard to know.

After we got from our vacation to Amritsar, we spotted this new pup who was very cute - there's was no other breed like his here. He is a St.Bernard and looked so much like Beethoven that we named him Beethu. LG loved seeing him. Then one five evening last week, while we were on our customary evening walks so was Beethu. LG and Beethu met and instantly loved each other. Beethu reached for LG's legs and LG wasn't scared, he leaped forward to touch him. I am scared of dogs and pulled him back. I learned from Beethoven's owner that his name is Caesar; he is two months old and was sent as a gift from Delhi. The lderly gentleman who takes Caesar for a walk has promised to stop by everyday so that LG and Beethu can bond.

Accessories are an essential part of a child's life and growing up these days. We bought what we thought was absolutely essential and made my life and LG's comfortable. For instance, we invested in a high chair but did not get a bouncer or rocking chair, though there's a separate room for LG we co-sleep and don't have a crib, he has a bathtub and two potty chairs but not a swing. I tried balancing between the old school of parenting techniques and the accessories available these days all the while keeping in mind not to get him into a habit that would be a problem for us. I'm told kids who get used to bouncers at a young age demand rocking even when they are over 5 months old , so I consciously avoided doing that. As far as potty training goes, sure, when we grew up, our mothers had a different technique of placing us between her feet during our bowel movement. Since potty chairs are easy, comfortable and makes sens these days, I invested in one. Again, high chair inculcates good eating habits in a kid. I did not straight away go for this one. When LG started crawling he was all over the place and my dress was multi colored by the time he finished eating. His eating habits have drastically improved ever since I got the high chair and I make it a point to feed him only in that.

The three best buys so far for LG has been :

  1. Shampoo Hat - I totally vouch for this one. It has made washing his hair so very simple. No crying, no fear of shampoo going to his eyes or water going into his ear.

  2. High chair - has made eating times enjoyable for him as well as me. He relates to sitting in the high chair to his meal time and is quick to finish his food without any distraction.

  3. Black and Decker Kettle - This kettle was a gift from mom. water gets boiled within minutes. And it was very useful while he was on formula when I would have to sterilize bottles many times a day.

The other buys such as pram / sling, bath tub are regular which most of them anyways do these days.

The three worst buys for LG so far has been :

  1. Potty chair

  2. Air filled chair

Some useful resources :
How to select the BEST potty seat?

Friday, November 02, 2007

There's no such thing as damage control

Just when I thought I had it all figured out and that everything in the house was safe from the little naughty monster we have at home, Lil General goes on to prove how wrong his mother can be. I underestimated LG as I have always done. The house was steer clear of everything at ground level and before I could get a breather, LG was all over stuff at the 4 feet level.
The Seniol has a plan - that we should make a list of all the things that LG breaks and recover it from him once he grows up. That way The Seniol is creating employment for me; if not a full day job it sure qualifies for a part time one - the task of listing damaged things around the house starting with the sofa at my mom's place which is soaked in LG's newborn urine. 10 months later, mom says it still smells (pleasantly for her) of LG.
So, the latest victim was a beautiful glass vase on the kitchen partition. Mom was visiting me last year while I was pregnant and she planted a money plant in the vase. She loved the vase and i had two pieces of the same and gave her one. The money plant grew into a beautiful creeper in this one year - long enough for LG to grab hold of a leaf and pull the entire vase down. There it lay in pieces while I read the newspaper with my morning cup of tea - that's how we start Sunday mornings with our 10 month old. My heart broke picking up the pieces and I started wondering how many more precious items will he end up breaking before growing up. The day before he broke my thermos. There's really no such thing as childproofing a home completely. You can only do so much. Or if you want to play it real safe, empty the house totally; pack everything into cartons and transport them to your lofts and live a boring life. I choose not to do that.The new safe height is 6 feet. I'll keep you posted on LG's next victim.

Someone Googled for what to do on a Friday night when pregnant, so I decided to write a post on the same. Before LG came along, The Seniol and I had a hectic working life and looked forward a great deal to the weekend. We were lazy animals who would just lie on the carpet all weekend channel surfing just getting up intermittently to satisfy hunger pangs,turn the knob on the washing machine, going out to run some essential errands and once a month trip to the mall promising to do such trips more often (ofcourse that never happened). Home was paradise and that didn't change after I got pregnant. What a boring life, right? But we enjoyed it and still do. Not the regular party animals or the social sorts to draw up elaborate plans. We could stand each other for 48 hours without meeting another human being.

If you still think I might have some brilliant ideas on what to do on a Friday night at home, go on and read the rest:

  1. One ritual I religiously followed was listening to World Space every Friday night. After 9:30 p.m., they played some amazing numbers from the 90's that brought back memories of growing up in school. Second trimester was hard. Couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep as back hurt and leg cramps haunted me every night. Falling asleep took longer than the hours I slept. That's when we discovered the magic of World space. The Seniol would play it for me every Friday night and I slept like a baby.

  2. Eating outside made me feel nauseated and gave a lot of heartburn. So I stopped eating fried food from outside. Once in a while we would order Pizzas home and enjoy a quiet dinner.

  3. Late nights in pune are amazing - clear skies, good breeze. We would just draw up two chairs on the balcony and gaze outside while our favorite puppies in the neighborhood would be out on a walk at 11:30 p.m. Sometimes small things in life give me more happiness.

  4. When The Seniol traveled, I would just enjoy my Friday night with a book in hand. Of course, you have to be careful about your choice of books. Read stuff that makes you happy. As such, pregnancy is so very tiring physically and emotionally that you don't want it to be harder by reading sad stuff.

  5. If you are the sorts who love talking to each other, then do all the talking now. You won't get a chance for quite sometime after the baby comes along :)

  6. Though it is advised that pregnant women walk regularly after dinners so as to get a sound sleep, I found it very difficult to on working days. Friday nights was when we usually went for a long walk.