Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Five Minutes in the Life of an 11-Month Old

Most-Important-Person is carrying me around. I hope this lasts forever…

If only – it looks like she is going to put me down on the hard-thing-that’s-everywhere. Maybe I can convince her to keep carrying me if I hold on real tight. Nope, I am down on the hard-thing.

I make another attempt to get back up by making my about-to-cry face and letting out my about-to-cry sound. But to no avail. Most-Important-Person responds by waving something in front of my face. Hmmm… that looks interesting. Let me grab it.

I turn the thing over in my hands to see if anything happens. Nothing. Maybe if I bang it on the hard-thing? Still nothing. Let’s see what it tastes like. It’s boring. I throw it as far as I can and pick up another thing. No taste here either. But it sure makes a lot of noise. Bang bang bang bang bang bang bang. Ok, this is getting old.

I look around to see where Most-Important-Person went. Ah! There she is. What’s that thing hanging down her back? Let’s see what happens when I give it a hard yank. Ooh that’s a sound I never heard before. I come around to the other side of Most-Important-Person to check out this strange sound and she doesn’t look too happy. Let me try that again just to be sure. Hey it is moving from side to side. Giggle! That’s funny. Let’s see if I can catch it…

Ooh wait a minute - what’s that thing on the hard-thing? Maybe I should put that into my mouth. Another strange sound from Most-Important-Person as she grabs it before I do. Ok, what next?

I see Person-Who-Throws-Me-Up. I go over to him and ask him to do what he is best at. He doesn’t seem to get the message and hands me something. Ooh what’s this? I know - it’s the thing that goes up and down when I throw it. I throw it at Most-Important-Person. She throws it back. I throw it back, she throws it back. Ok, I am bored. Now what?

I head towards Most-Important-Person, arms outstretched – telling her I want to be picked up. She puts her arms out and pulls me to herself but still no picking up. I am beginning to wonder if these two are stupid. I tell them what I want in no uncertain terms and they just don’t seem to get it.

I go across to the high thing and try to get my hands on the interesting thing near the edge. Person-Who-Throws-Me-Up sees me and pushes it away. Damn! That was close!

I walk over to the big-black-thing-that-makes-nice-sounds and point at it. Person-Who-Throws-Me-Up figures out what I want (finally!) and comes and starts the nice sound. I shake myself around a bit. I don’t know why I do this but the nice sounds seem to demand it of me. Most-Important-Person bangs her hands together and shows me her teeth. I show her mine in return.

Now, Most-Important-Person and Person-Who-Throws-Me-Up seem to be making sounds at each other. Hello, People! I make loud, shouting-type noises to get their attention back where it belongs – on Glorious-Fabulous-Me. There they go showing their teeth again. I reciprocate. I wonder why we do this…

Enough of this. I want Most-Important-Person to pick me up and I want it NOW! I go over to her, catch her leg and make the-sound-that-always-gets-me-what-I-want. I am picked up and she’s making the same noises as the black-box only it’s so much nicer when she does it. I put my head on her shoulder, turn my face into her neck and take a deep breath. Heaven!

Monday, April 24, 2006

The End of an Era

As of today, I am done with nursing Ayaan. I had originally planned to continue the early morning feed till he turned a year. But what with his teeth sprouting and his gums being really tender, he has decided to put a spanner in the works by rejecting my attempts to feed him for the last three days. So as of today, I have officially thrown in the towel and Ayaan stands fully weaned.

This is a huge milestone in Ayaan’s independence from me. Breast-feeding was the one thing that I was completely indispensable for. I could never take a trip without him for this very reason. And now I can - since none of his meals are actually produced and delivered by my body…

Still, I am having mixed feeling about this. I thought I would be thrilled about it because feeding Ayaan comes out tops as the most difficult and frustrating experience of my entire life.

The first few days were really tough, as I got extremely sore from the whole experience and each of the 20,000 feeds a day was a lesson in managing toe-curling pain without screaming out loud to avoid startling the baby.

Followed by that, Ayaan decided that it was no fun just going with the flow. So every few minutes in a feed, he would cry and cry and cry. And then I would have to get up and walk him up and down till he calmed down before continuing the feed. And this would happen between 3 to 10 times at every nursing session depending on Ayaan’s mood. I talked to three paediatricians and two gynaecologists and they could see no reason why he should be doing this and advised me to keep at it. To add some tension to this already frustrating situation, his weight gain was less than ideal all the way till he started solids at 4 months and even then it was only after 6 months that he really started putting on weight in line with that dreaded growth chart. Oh thank God those days are over!

But somehow, in spite of many moments when I wanted to tear my hair out, I am actually going to miss feeding Ayaan. I am going to miss the physical and emotional closeness that I felt when his little body was nestled into mine. I will miss the steady eye contact, which almost never happens otherwise now that he is so mobile and restless. I will miss the way he played with my face with his little fingers while he was nursing and the toothless smile of satisfaction when he was done.

And most of all, I will miss being indispensable…

Friday, April 21, 2006

Aaaahhhhhh...

There is just something about going home to your mother’s place that makes your body and soul go aaaahhhhhh… Suddenly, you feel relaxed and all the stress just vanishes in an instant. I have been thinking about why that is.

At a very basic level, there is complete freedom from all domestic chores and worries of any sort. You just put the clothes in the laundry basket and they come back all clean and ironed. Buying groceries is not your problem and your input into the meal preparation processes is limited to showing up at the table when called and stuffing your face.

Also, this is a place where you can just be. There are no expectations, no plans, no hassles. Before I had Ayaan, my visits home just consisted of eating, reading, watching TV and sleeping all day long. You don’t even have to talk to your parents that much. They are happy enough with your presence in the house even if said presence is uncommunicatively mesmerised by the television.

This time was different because there was clingy, possessive Ayaan to look after so I didn’t really get the usual break. But I could just be. For months now, I have been losing out on atleast an hour of sleep everyday and not feeling the pinch. But the minute I reached Jaipur, I suddenly felt completely and utterly exhausted. It was as if I finally felt it was okay to not be the indefatigable super-mom and admit that I was tired as hell. And then I came back to Bombay and suddenly I don’t feel so tired any more – even though I went for a friend’s wedding and was up past midnight on two consecutive days. So I guess I back in my role as never-say-die wife and mom…

Other news from the trip:
  • Ayaan is finally sprouting a tooth. Both his lower front teeth seem to be on their way out. So far, teething has not been accompanied by more-than-usual crankiness (crossing my fingers and knocking on wood as I write this).
  • I absolutely love Ayaan’s new travel cot. He slept so well in it and I didn’t have to worry about him falling out or anything
  • I realised what an asset my high chair is after a few days of trying to feed a mobile Ayaan. Each meal lasted a frustrating half hour and I got a backache from following and bending with every spoonful.
  • The dogs met Ayaan. Beanz hated him and kept growling menacingly every time he toddled towards him. Buddy loved him and tried on many occasions to show his affection by attempting to lick his face clean.
  • For the first time, I let someone else (my mom) put Ayaan to bed (while I was at the wedding) and he went down without much of a protest. This is a big milestone as it means I can now think about nights out and nights away from home.
  • Ayaan started wearing shoes (actually sandals). He completely rejected them at first. But I put them on at the airport (which was a fascinating place for him) and he was so pre-occupied that he toddled around with them and then didn’t give any trouble after that.
  • The two air trips were a nightmare as Ayaan alternated between hyperactive and cranky. I honestly do not understand how people do long haul flights with their babies. Before I became a mom, I used to look at travelling moms and wonder why they couldn’t control and discipline their babies, especially in public places…I guess this is what they call poetic justice.

    Good to be back home…

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My First Two Babies

Before Ayaan came along, we were already ‘Mama’ and ‘Daddy’ to two little bundles of joy – Buddy and Beanz. They were our two miniature dachshunds and all those who cannot fathom how I can compare dogs with children, stop reading now! This post is about our life with them before we had to give them away to my mother (a sad story that I will reserve for a separate post).

After a couple of years in Mumbai, I began to really miss having a canine companion. Having gotten used to the loving welcomes of the dogs we had at home in Delhi, the house seemed kind of empty without one. If you have ever been greeted by a dog, you will know what I mean. The delight and enthusiasm with which they greet you after even a twenty-minute separation is so gratifying. So, after much discussion on whether our lifestyles and our flat were ready to take on a dog, we finally decided to bite the bullet and get one.

The first to arrive was Beanz. My mom and brother gave him to me as a birthday present and my mom brought him over from Ajmer in a little blue basket with a red bow tied on it. Check out how tiny he was when he came to us – all of three months old…


With Beanz, our lives changed completely. We had to get a full-time maid to care for him while we were away at work, out-of-town travel required detailed planning and late mornings became a rarity as he would get up bright and early and demand that we did too – making it impossible for us to continue sleeping with his incessant licking and barking!

Soon we started worrying about Beanz getting lonely and began to scout around for a companion for him. We heard that a pup from the same litter had been returned and didn’t have a home. I went over to Ajmer to have a look and met Buddy. It was love at first sight. He came running to me and tried to jump onto my lap. Being rather vertically challenged (as most dachshunds are, especially of the miniature variety), he managed to just about get his front paws on to my thighs. But he hung in mid-air and looked at me with the cutest expression on his face and I knew he was coming home with me. Here’s a picture of him when he first arrived – that naughty puppy glint in his eyes is there to this day!

Buddy and Beanz lived with us for almost three years and grew into lovely, handsome dogs:

Beanz with his classic dachshund colouring and features:

And Buddy with his rare and beautiful red coat:



Some fond memories:

They figured out the sound of our car horn and knew we were home the minute we drove through the building gates. So we could hear sniffing and whining at the door even before we rang the bell. After that, they would welcome us furiously with leaps and licks. Wow! What a way to come home…

There is something so nice about waking up with your dogs in your bed - their warm, toasty bodies and little wet noses cuddled up into yours. Initially, we tried very hard to get them to sleep in their own baskets. But we gave it up for a lost cause as they would always find their way back into our bed during the night and we realized we actually liked it. The baskets became mere chew toys and whatever was left of them was eventually thrown away.

We tried to discipline them somewhat but were a complete failure at this. They did exactly as they pleased, slept wherever they wanted, ran out of the door the second it was opened and were far rowdier than you would expect for dogs of their size. In fact, if they represent my disciplining skills, Ayaan is going to be one spoilt, misbehaved kid…

They added so much colour and character to our home. Dogs have so much personality and this is really obvious when you have two of them with diametrically opposite ones. Beanz was snappy and wary around strangers while Buddy would have welcomed a burglar into the house in exchange for a pat and a tummy tickle. Beanz followed me from room to room, but Buddy was clearly my husband’s dog and would drop me like a hot potato the minute he entered the house. Actually, a friend who stayed with us for a while and got to know them pretty well has beautifully expressed this. Do check out her post on Beanz and Buddy.

I miss my babies…

Monday, April 03, 2006

An Exciting Weekend

Ayaan hit one of the BIG milestones this weekend. On Saturday, he took his first step. Actually, he took his first three steps all together before falling down. And it wasn’t a one-off either. He did it atleast 5-6 times over the weekend. It’s really cute to watch him do it. He first lets go of whatever he is holding on to and then walks in three or four very quick steps before either falling down or finding another surface to support himself on.

Ayaan got to see a really small baby for the first time yesterday. One of our classmates had a baby last week so we went across for a visit and took him along. Ayaan was really fascinated and excited. He kept pointing to the baby’s cradle and wanted to go and touch the baby. For me, it was almost surreal to see such a small baby – I could not believe that Ayaan was ever that small and delicate!!

We also took him along with us to Pizza Hut for lunch. We were quite worried as he is not a child who likes to sit in one place for long. And memories of his earlier days still haunted us – when he was 3-4 months old, taking him to a restaurant meant that one person had to constantly walk him up and down as he would refuse to sit quietly in his car seat. So we were understandably tense about this experiment of ours. We asked them to give us the high chair at our table and plonked Ayaan down on it. We moved all the crockery and cutlery out of his reach and put some of his toys in front of him. He kept throwing his toys down on the floor, demanded a taste of the pizza (we gave him small pieces of the cheese and the crust) and managed to get his hands covered with ketchup. But all things considered, he behaved much better than expected and stayed put in the chair in the entire time that it took us to order the pizza and eat it.

In non-Ayaan news, we also cooked a lot this weekend. On Saturday night, we cooked our favourite dish of all time – chicken in red wine sauce. And last night we made a spicy, dahi-based potato curry and some Kashmiri rajma.

And of course, no weekend can be truly exciting without some heavy-duty shopping. This weekend’s shopping truly spanned all categories:

For Ayaan: A friend wanted to buy us a delayed gift for Ayaan’s birth. She asked me what I wanted/ needed and we went to the baby shop and chose a travelling baby cot. It is really cool and folds up into a bag the size of a golf bag (much heavier though). I am really excited about this as we can now travel with Ayaan without having to worry about where he will sleep.

For me: AND (a clothes store in Mumbai) sent me a birthday voucher for a 20% discount. So I went there yesterday and bought a lot of stuff – a pair of jeans, a pair of formal black trousers, two skirts and two tops.

For the new house: We finally picked out the bathroom tiles for the new house. I really love the ones we picked out for Ayaan’s loo. It’s pale green and white with cute little fishes on the border.

Phew! Busy, busy weekend.