Friday, July 24, 2009

Prezzints for Mama

Having cribbed about the brat's desire to pass off his old things as presents, it's only fair that I also document the cute manifestations of this habit. On many days, I get home from work to be told proudly that there's a 'supprise prezzint' waiting for me. On a couple of occassions, the camera happened to be handy for me to document the 'gifts'.

This one is wrapped up in his pillow cover (the pillow's still there too) and neatly closed with a butterfly-shaped paper clip that he has appropriated from my stationery drawer.

I was instructed to empty the pillow case, which I did in accompaniment to much hopping, squealing excitment to find:

  • A stethoscope, an syringe and some other paraphernalia from his doctor kit
  • A cap
  • A colouring book with a page coloured in especially for Mama

And on another occassion, I got this... (the maid's help was recruited to pack it):

...which contained the following items:

  • An old book we haven't read for a while
  • The ubiquitous butterfly clip
  • A star-shaped cookie cutter from his Play-Doh set
  • A cow soft toy
  • 4 crayons
  • A wooden giraffe peg (came with the butterfly clip)

And that's not all. We've also wrapped up a prezzint for the baby - a couple of soft toys - and hidden it under the bed, to be opened only when the baby comes...

I will never know if the birthday boy from the previous post would have appreciated his gift of old crayons, but as his mother, I'm loving this habit :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Present Woes

A few days ago, Ayaan was invited to the birthday party of a good friend from school. In preparation for the same, I went to the toy store the previous day and picked up an appropriate gift for the birthday boy and got it nicely wrapped up. The brat, however, had other plans.

I came home early from work so that I could go with him and walked into a mulish Ayaan with his own ideas with regards to the gift. He had found a tattered little box and filled it up with the dirtiest and most broken crayons from his vast crayon collection and he insisted that this was the gift that he wanted to give, not the one Mama had bought.

I took a deep breath and mustered all my good intentions to get through this minefield without a tantrum. The first tactic was to give him a spiel about birthday presents and to convince him that they had to be new. I reminded him of all the new birthday presents he had got on his birthday. And that no one wanted to get old things for birthday presents. But the boy wasn’t buying.

Then I changed tactics and decided to try some trickery. I suggested that we take both the gifts and proposed that I carry the crayon box in my bag (in the hope that he would forget all about it in the excitement of the actual birthday party). But he was having none of it, the crayons would be carried in his own two hands and that was that.

And that was when my good intentions melted in the face of his stubborn refusal to be swayed. And I lost my temper and said something to the effect of ‘I said you couldn’t take the crayons and that’s that’ and then dragged him out of the house kicking and screaming, with the designated and duly purchased birthday gift in hand. He cried all the way in the car and got a smack for all his efforts. Of course, once we reached the party, all was forgotten and he had a good time... and I heaved a sigh of relief at having survived the storm without any lasting damage.

But in those dark hours of the night before sleep claims me and I critically assess and judge my parenting, I wasn't so sure I had done the right thing. Maybe the crummy crayons were worth much more in his eyes and were really his idea of a perfect gift for a pal. Would it have really done any harm to let him that gift along with the main one as well? I mean, he didn’t want me to take the original present at all but I think he would have been amenable to the idea of that being a present from me while the other one was from him…

But on the other hand, I think he needs to know that birthday parties are not about him but about the person whose birthday it is. I find it hard to believe that the birthday boy would have appreciated the gift (unfortunately, I do not have a picture to convey the absolutely pathetic quality of those crayons but take my word for it - they were a mess). In that case, wouldn’t it have been selfish of Ayaan (and me) to give him something that he, as the giver, wanted to give but the receiver would not appreciate. Isn't that against one of the very basic codes of gift-giving?

So anyway, in hindsight, I may have let him take the crayons. But I am not sure that would have been the right thing to do. What do you think? What would you have done in this situation?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

One More Reason to Regret my Caesarean

When Ayaan was born by c-section, I was disappointed and upset to say the least. Having had a relatively smooth pregnancy, a reasonably broad body structure and the baby in the right position, there was not even a remote thought of caesareans in my mind. I practised all my breathing techniques and religiously did the duck walking and squats recommended by the pre-natal class. But it was not to be. (You can find the detailed birth story here). My doctor, in her best (and in my opinion, flawed) judgement recommended and actively pushed for induction of labour, which didn’t take and then resulted in a c-section.

Now, in addition to being heartbroken at being denied the badge of honour of delivering a child the natural, God-given way, I also had to have myself cut open (with all the risks that any surgery entails) and suffer through the post-operative recovery along with the regular post-natal stuff. Even if you add to this the fact that caesareans are substantially more expensive and that they come with a higher likelihood of breastfeeding difficulties and postpartum depression, we are still talking relatively short-term effects, largely on the mother. Which is why I find this particular news story more than a little disturbing. Here's an excerpt:

Caesarean delivery can alter DNA

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet believe they have discovered the DNA mutations that explain why children delivered by planned Caesarean are at a higher risk for immunological diseases such as asthma, cancer and diabetes.

The genetic makeup of white blood cells looks different in children delivered via Caesarean compared to that of children born normally, reports Svenska Dagbladet newspaper (SvD).

An explanation for the different DNA sequences might be that those delivered via Caesarean experience greater stress than babies delivered naturally.

While stress builds up gradually during normal birth, the nervous systems of babies delivered via Caesarean are exposed to sudden stress. At the same time, some DNA genes are turned off while others are switched on.

Professor and paediatrician Mikael Norman, one of the researchers involved in the study, explained that stress occurring during vaginal birth is positive and goal-oriented:

“During a Caesarean, the baby is totally unprepared. The stress comes all at once. There are animal experiments that show that negative stress can programme offspring, something that later can play a role in terms of risk of illness.”

Ever since I got this in a mail last week, I have been brooding over the What Ifs. What if I had picked a different doctor to start with? What if I had stood firm when my doctor insisted on inducing labour? What if I had changed my doctor even at the last moment? What if I had done more squats? What if? What if?? What If???

Not a very productive line of thought, I know. But crying over spilt milk is one of my specialties…

For this pregnancy, I have changed to a doctor who comes highly recommended and I am holding out a glimmer of hope for a VBAC, but unless all the chips are lined up just right, it is pretty likely to end in a caesarean again.

Oh well, I can atleast hope that studies like this will make doctors more cognisant of the long-term downsides of caesareans as a preferred method of delivery and prompt them to be less trigger-happy when recommending them.