Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jaipur Vignettes

Flying Solo

When I decided to spend Ayaan’s March break with my mom in Jaipur, I considered taking my maid. But then I remembered that my mom had retired and the two of us could manage the kids between us. So I told Jai to go ahead and book tickets just for the three of us.

Life was cruising along just fine till a dinner with friends, about a week before I left. When I happened to mention that I was travelling alone with both the kids, I was told that I was being awfully brave to attempt travelling alone with two kids. Now, that got the alarm bells ringing in my head. Because it is a known fact that when your parenting choices are commended as ‘brave’, it is very likely that you are actually doing something monumentally stupid.

So then I proceeded to get tense. Was I being silly? Should I fork out money for a criminally expensive last-minute air ticket so that my maid can come along and help? I thought about it and decided to take my chances. And I am glad I did because none of the stuff I worried about came to pass.

My biggest worry was that Tarana would bawl her head off. Now, this is normally not something that gets me overly anxious, being a second-time mother and all, but there is something especially nerve-wracking about being the sole adult in charge of a screaming infant in a confined, public space, while other unencumbered adults shoot daggers at you with their eyes. But thankfully, all of her crying did not total up to more than ten minutes and never more than a couple of minutes at a stretch. On the way, I carried a bottle of expressed milk and some pacifiers (which she will only deign to suck at in a desultory manner IF you hold it for her), which were popped into her mouth at the first sign of trouble. And she also napped for about twenty minutes, so all was good on that front. On the way back, I didn’t have a bottle handy (not having carried my trusty breast pump), so I managed to nurse her in short bursts since she finds the nursing cover a huge distraction…

The second major worry revolved around Ayaan having one or more of his famous nuclear meltdowns. But he was remarkably well-behaved. On the way to Jaipur, I could give credit to the cartoon channel on Kingfisher but on our return flight, we were on low-budget Indigo and he was totally cool on that as well. The fact that we bought him a special only-for-the-flight sticker activity book helped too.

Other smaller worries like managing the diaper change (I just took Ayaan along and made him go as well so that I didn’t have to make a separate trip) and managing luggage (handed kids off to mom/ Jai waiting outside before collecting it) were barely blips on the radar. Overall, I was mighty proud of the three of us :-)

De-girled…. and Re-girled

I decided to finish of Tarana’s mundan while I was in Jaipur since I wasn’t quite sure when I would be back. Getting it done there is so much easier since there is guy who comes home and does it. With Ayaan, I waited till he was just over a year old and it was a VERY bad decision. He cried loudly and pitifully through the whole procedure and has to be physically restrained by two people while his head was shaved. It wasn’t that he was in any pain – he was just indignant at being held down against his wishes. At five months, Tarana was quite happy to sit peacefully in my lap through most of the procedure (you can actually see her grinning in the picture below)

and then the finishing touches were put as she rested on my mom’s shoulder.

I had another, somwhat less rational, reason for doing it early. And that has to do with the fact that she is a girl. I wanted to get this bald phase out of the way as soon as possible so that I can get on with the prettifying of her head with clips and suchlike. In fact, I actually had second thought about doing it all, given the lovely crop of hair she was born with. But then everyone says that it improves hair growth and I didn’t want to regret not having done it if she grew up to have fine or sparse hair. So anyway, all’s well that ends well. Other than the fact that she has a pretty substantial bald spot at the back of her head. I fussed over this for a bit but collective wisdom says that this is normal given how much time they spend on their backs and that it grows in eventually so I am cool now.

The other transformation we effected was piercing her ears. After asking around, I figured that you could either get them pierced when they were babies and didn’t really feel much pain. Or wait till they were old enough to want it and didn’t mind the pain. I decided to go with the former because like the clips, I was dying to get started with the earrings (Yes, I really am that shallow :p).

We got it done at one of Jaipur’s oldest and most trusted jewellers. My paediatrician suggested that this was a better option than going to a doctor since these guys were more experienced. The earlobes were pierced with a thin gold wire, which was then tied into a kind of knot. It took all of five minutes and she didn’t cry above 30 second per earlobe. The post-piercing care we followed was also recommended by the jewellers – we applied a paste of turmeric (known to be a natural antiseptic) and ghee for 3-4 days and kept rotating the earring so that it didnlt fuse with the healing skin. And that was it. Now for the picture…

The Busy Brat

Keeping Ayaan’s, often destructive, energy under check is no mean task so, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, we decided to keep him super busy. His daily schedule was something like this:

6.30 – Wake up, milk, feeding the birds in the garden, general floating around
7.30 – Daily dose of cartoons for an hour
8.30 – Breakfast
9.00 – Splashing around in his paddling pool for an hour
10.00 Bath time
11.00 Painting and craft class for two hours
1.30 Lunch
2.30 ‘Quiet time’ for an hour – afternoon naps are a rare commodity these days but this is my way of ensuring that he gets some down time and I get a break
4.00 Book reading class
5.00 Hanging out with the kids at the NGO my mom is involved with
6.30 Back home
8.00 Dinner
9.00 Bedtime

In spite of this packed schedule, he managed to find the time to drive the dogs crazy, break the birds’ water bowl, write on one entire white window pane with a black marker, have many meltdowns, and other such stuff too numerous to mention. And was protected from the worst of my wrath by his grandmother’s love…

My birthday

I turned 34 while I was in Jaipur. I wanted nothing better than a chance to sleep in late and generally relax. But the son had other plans. He told my mother that we must have a party with streamers and cake. And since she can’t deny her precious grandson anything, a birthday party was planned and executed by the two of them. Ayaan went to choose the cake personally. He apparently dismissed all the cartoon character cakes because 'those are only for children' and all the chocolate cakes because 'chocolate is unhealthy and Mama does not like unhealthy things' and chose a square-shaped pineapple cake. And made my mom put up streamers and balloons. The invitees were the kids from my mom's NGO who had a complete ball as pin-the-tail and passing-the-parcel was played and I funded a set of new clothes for them all as return gifts. Nice :)

In other news, we had a monkey invasion. Two monkeys entered the living room and started doing battle. Thankfully they decided to take it outside before anyone or anything was harmed but those were some seriously scary five minutes…


  1. Birthday greetings Rohini! Ayaan looks like he had a blast at his grandmom's and you must have had time to relax.

  2. Oh Ro! Her beautiful curls! (I love how Little Women-ish that sounds.)
    P.S. I don't get this mundan thing. Why is it mandatory? I'm curious.

  3. Nice post....enjoyed reading abt your shallowness w.r.t Tarana's curls etc :) (And belated happy b'day)

  4. happy birthday ji.

    and if people say you are being brave it actually means that they have not tried out what you are doing.... i cannot believe people say such things. i have travelled alone with my kid since the time she was seven months, and by then time she was past one i ventured onto the train and the bus, alone with her. our parents have done it all the time, how come our generation cant/
    kids mostly step up when needed, and people always help if you are having a bad day.

  5. A belated happy birthday to you, Rohini! This was a super cute post.. loved the "De-girled and Re-girled" caption :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. You surely had a great time in Jaipur...must say you too have grown up with the kids as you can now handle them better

  8. What an action packed, fun filled trip! Your birthday party sounds so wonderful. Such a considerate son (when he isn't having meltdowns:)!

  9. Glad to know you and your kids had a great time. I am surprised your friends thought you were brave - this is just a domestic flight you took. I've had friends do this on long international flights (travel with 2 kids singlehandedly). It all works out if you want it to.

  10. She is soooooooooooo cute!!!! (had to say this under the 'most imp' column)

    Happy Birthday Ro! - Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy year ahead :) .... and yes with oodles of girly fun too ;p....

    Btw.. the shaved hear did make me go awwwwwwwwwww... I hate babies that way.... it makes me wonder that out there in the west they never really care for such stuff yet have silky long hair!!! .. but then guess it was... is and will be done.. in my household and yours :)

  11. Oh hey, I just did a post on piercing Tara's ears too! Good work on the mundan... I think I'm too late with Arjun already. He's almost 9 months and zippy as hell on his knees, can't hold him down at all. Will try to get it done ASAP now that I've read about Ayaan!

  12. Tarana looks so cute with the pierced ears. Wish i had not delayed so long with Sumedha, but too late to get it done now.
    Your Jaipur trip gives me inspiration- i need to fly into Bombay alone with Aditi and back to Bangalore for her US visa! I know people say that others will help, but i remember on our US trip last year with Sumedha, not only were people non-helpful the stupid airline did not give us seats together though we had a small baby and we requested one lady to move to another seat so we could sit together and she was going from a middle seat to an aisle seat which i assume is better, but she made a big fuss about it, and throughout the flight kept commenting loudly about how people with children get away with bullying others and others like her are made to feel guilty! and then of course there were tons of stares from neighbours when Sumedha started crying. All in all, i dont enjoy air travel with the kids!!

  13. I love bald babies. I feel the mundan pronounces their facial features, esp their eyes.

    And nice gesture on getting clothes for the NGO kids. Kudos and wishing you a great year ahead.

  14. [HGM] No relaxation really since Tarana's night habits have totally gone to the dogs :(

    [OJ] Read the link in my post. I personally didn't do it for the religious/ superstitious reasons mentioned there though. The mother and others believe that it stimulates hair growth. And since it's neither painful not permanent, unlike say a circumcision, I said why not.

    [Apu/ The Soul of Alec Smart] :) Thanks

    [Sur] True. We are generation of wimpy parents. My mom traveled by train from Calcutta to Jaipur when I was a 3-year old and my brother was a baby :)

    [Pesto] I think the second kid makes you grow up in a way the first one doesn't :)

    [Dipali] He definitely has his moments :)

    [Divs] That's what I told myself. That women do this all the time and across ocean no less...

    [Sagarika] You are like the husband. He things bald babies are 'creepy'!

    [Manjima] Yup, do it asap. And keep loads of entertainment handy.

    [MD] Let me scare you some more. Zen says she felt like piercing her ears only in Class X!!! And I have found people to be pretty unhelpful too. Also, air travel with kids is not about enjoyment, it's about survival ;)

    [Print Lover] Yup, bald babies look a little more like babies somehow :)

  15. Hey! Many happy returns... have a wonderful year.

    Looks like a good time was had by all (mostly) in Jaipur. Can totally empathise with the mundan thing and wanting to put the clips and whatnot. In our family, mundan is done not once, not twice, but THRICE. But in the case of L, got so tired of waiting for her hair to grow out, put my foot down after the second one:) And good the piercing also worked out, cos again, in the case of L, we did the same method, and she devpd infection and was pained for quite a while. So with second one, we are going for the 'gun' method. BTW, Tarana looks ADORABLE bald and pierced:)

    And air travel with two kids - solo - not something that I would want to try, so great that it went well.

    When do u get back to work? Are you gearing up for that? All the best with that.

  16. Hey couldn't keep the curious cat in me silent any longer - where do u live in Jaipur ??? - have lived in jodhpur for 5 years of my life and Jaipur was a regular joint so just asking... and yes not to mention I miss that state way too much!!!

  17. Belated Happy Birthday!

    You make being a Mom of two kids seem so simple , I am trying to not get tempted :)

    Good to know that you all had a good time.

  18. like sur said - they are okay if you expect them to be. so says another veteran traveling mommy.

    happy budday. what a thoughtful party planner you have there!

    i love how you structure everything - something i only wish i'd do.

    and that pic of tarana on nani's shoulder is priceless :)

  19. tarana looks so cute in those ear rings
    i wish i could get it done faster for aditi...need to wait for the ayush homam i guess

    happy birthday- will be 34 myself shortly:-)

  20. Hey Ro, baby T looks lovely with her new set of earrings. And what a lovely cake, Ayaan selected for you (slurp, slurp)

  21. Ro! Happy Birthday and many congratulations on managing the trip so well... My family has been doing that type of earring/piercing for generations, its very handy. although she was pierced with something else i quickly moved her to this and my daughter (much to her disgust) still has the same thing at six years of age...
    (To OJ: The claim is that the hair that is on a child from the womb is somehow unhygienic. I strongly objected to that on the grounds that in that case what about eyebrows and eyelashes etc/ My head was never shorn and neither has my daughters)

  22. and you manage to pack in so much in a post!! and you must be very proud of 3 of you! i have never even flown alone with Cub! M has when we decided to send Cub impromptu to my parents place since M was going there for work!

    and mundan and piercing done! awesome!! and yeah i think the traditional folks are the best to these two things! :) hope she gets a gorgeous thick mop of hair for you to style it! :p

    and Happy Happy to you!! sounds like a wonderful birthday! to think A has grown up enough to organize a party for you!! You must be very proud and happy! :)

    and you woke him up at 630am during holidays???!! he will like our parents who will wake up at that hour even on sundays and holidays and curse you for it! :p

    LOVED reading this!!


  23. [Preeti] Three times??? *faints* Technically, I am supposed to be back to work early May but still figuring some stuff out.

    [Sagarika] Hey. I'd rather not give out specific details like that on the WWW, if that's ok with you. I'd tell you if you mailed me :)

    [Munchkin] I do? I think it's time for an angsty post - can't take the responsibility of being the reason for people having second kids :)

    [Chox] Structure? As in my posts? Probably the results of the infinite number of PPTs I would have worked on :)

    [Art] When did you get it done for Anush?

    [Sscribbles] :) thanks

    [KPBM] Thanks. And that is what the jeweller said to me too. He said don't remove it till the earlobe grows and it becomes tight...

    [Abha] You are hardly one to talk. Your posts are usually pretty power-packed to.

  24. No no I meant structure in your life. Seeps into your blogposts naturally!

  25. Ro! Your birthday this year is the best I've heard of - ever! I love how chill T is through her mundan - such a rockstar. The earrings are adorable, too.
    And lol, you gotta love Ayaan's energy!

  26. Hey Ro! Belated happy birthday. Was it on the 9th? Robi's was also recently and I so totally understand Ayaan's eagerness to throw you a party, cos for Robi's birthday, inspite of cake cutting, us gifting him a PS3 and a meal out, Karan sadly says at the end of the day that we didn't celebrate Appa's birthday!

    What plans for the rest of summer?

  27. Oh wow!! What a super birthday party you had, Ro! Well done Ayaan and Paati - and you, for the lovely return gifts. You are a good egg, Ro :D

  28. I wish I could go to your Jaipur jewellers and get my nose pierced. Have had such nasty experiences thrice, I'm scared to go again.

    Tarana looks lovely. Somewhere in Madras my father is cheering Ayaan on at the marker antics. Did I tell you Ma's planning to make an entire small wall over into a chalkboard for the Bhabs? Grandparents.

    Seriously, Spidey looks most edible. That nose, I think.

  29. Sounds like you had a perfectly lovely and relaxing holiday! I so wish we could have met while I was there :-)

    Khair...next time, hopefully.