Monday, April 30, 2007

Blog Happenings

It’s been an eventful week here at Mama Says So. To start with, there’s the new look. For months now, I have been enviously eyeing other people’s funky templates and feeling rather blue about my own standardised Blogger one. Since I understand as much about templates as I do about robotics (which, as you might have guessed, is close to nothing), all I could do was look and mourn my lack of HTML skills.

But that was before wonderful, generous and creative Megha came along and offered to design one for me. Since I am completely honest and believe in giving credit where it is due (backed by the fact that Megha occasionally pops in here), I have to admit that my contribution to this lovely new avatar of my blog was negligible and was limited to broad instructions (No Pink! No flowers!), vague guidelines (must look like a mommy blog but not overly so) and creatively flawed comments (thankfully she vetoed my suggestion that the red be toned down). Thanks Megha! I love it! You should really start charging for this! I am sure you're going to get a lot of requests after this.

In other news, the blog has been getting some attention.

  • To start, I finally got my hands on the 14th March issue of Femina, which has done a two-page feature on moms who blog. Femina doesn’t have an online version but I think the article there is an altered and edited version of this one. Thanks for the heads-up, Sapna.

  • Then was a write-up that appeared a couple of weeks ago on the Sunday edition of the DNA newspaper. Here’s the link – it’s on Page 18. Thanks for the link, Janaki.

  • And finally, Mama Says So got listed in Amit Aggarwal’s list of the most widely read Indian blogs in the ‘Mommy Bloggers’ category.

Good week, wouldn’t you say… :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I’ve Been to London to See the Queen

Last week was spent in the UK for a training course. It was quite hectic with sessions going on till late in the evening so I didn’t really get to se much during the week but I did stay back with my cousin on Saturday and hopped across to Oxford Street for some heavy duty retail therapy. Some reflections:
  • Travel is no longer that simple. When I went away to Brazil, my mother came to stay with Ayaan but this time, she couldn’t make it. So I had to first fly to Jaipur and drop Ayaan there. Then I flew to Delhi and took the London flight from there. On the way back, Jai went to Delhi for some meetings and then hopped across to Jaipur to bring Ayaan back while I flew directly from Mumbai to London. Phew! The planning was exhausting and we spent a small fortune in air tickets.
  • I got to realise how much Ayaan has moved on from being the clingy, stranger-allergic baby he used to be. I majorly built up his week away long before we actually left and I could see he was pretty excited about it. From the moment we reached the Mumbai airport, he would look across at me every now and then to questioningly ask ‘Patti?’ He took to my mom instantly. What’s more, while my mom was away at work, she got my old nanny (who lives in Jaipur) to come across and babysit and Ayaan had no problem with hanging out with her either. My little baby is growing up!
  • Kingfisher is absolutely the best domestic airline to fly with kids. They have individual TV screens for each seat, invaluable for keeping restless toddlers glued to their seats. The not-so-fun part was hitting turbulence in the middle of a diaper change in the loo – but I will not gross you out with more details on that.
  • I was told that England would be chilly and carried loads of warm stuff but it was actually sunny all the days that I was there. I didn’t need a sweater at all during the day. It was quite a shock to step into the hot and humid Mumbai weather after that.
  • You have so much more choice in terms of baby wear and toys abroad. I wanted to buy the entire shop for Ayaan but restricted myself to a new Noddy (the old one looks pretty bad now), a few books, magnetic alphabets and some cute trousers and socks from baby Gap.
  • My separation anxiety (please note that Ayaan showed no such symptoms and barely mentioned my name a couple of times) kind of followed a bell curve. I was really upset and depressed when I left but then my mood kind of picked up once I reached and I quite enjoyed myself – I felt almost liberated for a while. But then towards the end, I started craving for home and Ayaan again. I think a week is at the limit of how long I can be away from him without feeling sad and/ or guilty.
  • There were a lot of international participants at the course and a few other moms as well. In discussions with them, I was shocked to note the difference in maternity leave policies across the world. The UK is the best – with 9 months of paid maternity leave (wow!). But I was shocked to find that in the US, you get only six weeks of paid maternity leave and then another six weeks of unpaid leave, should you decided to avail of it. Six weeks! That is just ridiculous. And this from the country that is the most vociferous about the fact that children need to be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. How is that even possible with a maximum of 12 weeks?

Anyway, that’s all from me for the moment. I will be back soon.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Welcome to my World

Well, it's been over three months since we moved into our house. Once Again has been shouting himself hoarse (actually he left two comments on the subject but that doesn't sound as good does it?) to get me to post pictures. I have been dilly-dallying because I wanted everything to be just perfect but I have come to realise it never will be, so I might as well get on with the show-and-tell. There are still things to be done and some things that were done have started to come undone but here is the first round of pictures anyway, imperfections and all.
Given that this is a mommy blog and Ayaan is the star of the show, I thought I would kick this off with his room, which is also my favourite room in the house.

This is what you see of his room from the door. Sorry for the dark picture but for this one, I had to directly face the windows and the sun was streaming in. The windows are full length French windows (with a full length grill that keeps Ayaan safe but the same cannot be said of numerous toys that have met with an untimely demise after being thrown from this very fifth floor window). We wanted to do some wall-paper in his room but decided to limit it to the wall behind his cot – I think that way the room looks more spacious.

This is where he sleeps, with his Noddy for company. The cot used to have a lot of other stuff in the past – bumpers, bolsters and stuffed toys – but not any more since he can use them to try and climb out and also he’s getting pretty big now and there’s not too much space for much else, once he is in. The space below his cot houses his booster seat, which is a useful foldable chair that can be strapped on to any chair – we use it when we take him out with us to a restaurant.

This shelf started out as a place to keep the baby monitor (extreme left) – near enough to pick up his voice and other sounds but far enough from his cot to be out of Ayaan’s reach. Next to that is a little cross that should actually be nailed up but we haven’t quite got around to it – it’s a gift from my mother-in-law and it has a cute little poem on it about God and creation. Then there’s a coaster, a bottle of bubble liquid, a couple of books and one of Snow White’s finest gifted to Ayaan by Jai’s cousin, Sameer.

This is one of the imperfections that I have been harping on. We don’t have a toy chest and/or a bookshelf for him yet so everything is just dumped in this corner in that large, ugly laundry basket. I am not having much luck with finding something either. I think having a separate bookshelf and a toy cupboard would really crowd things up so I am looking for something that would work as both and yet look good in a kid’s room. Any ideas?

This is where we read. Depending on the time and his mood, Ayaan will sit either on the chair, the stool, the potty or the floor. He is usually pretty specific about where he wants you to sit as well – pointing imperiously and saying ‘Sit Domm!’ The chair and the stool are a typical North Indian informal type of furniture called Moodahs. They are made of cane and rope, I think. These are kid-sized versions of the same.

And finally, there is the wardrobe. The right side has his clothes and linen, the drawers are full of his books and the left side of the cupboard is just piled high with random stuff that I have no other place for. One of the flaws of the house is that we don’t have any real storage space so we have to use the tops of all our wardrobes to store rarely used stuff. That big grey bag on top is Ayaan’s travel cot that faithfully follows us when we travel to maintain the sanctity of Ayaan’s sleeping schedules and habits. Next to the cupboard is his beanbag, presented by my mother-in-law. He loves flinging himself on it.

That brings me to the end of my first episode of my series of showing off our very own house. Expect to be bored by more soon…