Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Letter to a Worrywart Circa 2006

Dear Rohini of 2006,

The other day, I happened to catch up with some of your posts, especially this one. It lists down all the things that worried you as a mother. Gosh, were you paranoid or what? Well, worry not (if that is at all a possibility given your current frame of mind). Six years of motherhood and a second baby (yes, you will want another one some day) will cure you of most of these fears, though you'll probably have a new list of stuff to worry about.

Firstly, what is with all the germ phobia? Get this. Germs are everywhere and there is no way to protect your kids from them entirely. In a year from now, Ayaan will be diagnosed with enlarged adenoids and months and years of chronic coughing will make you lose your fear of them. You will grow to ignore minor coughs and colds and use only home remedies unless the kids are in active discomfort. You will realise the inefficacy of most OTC medications and learn to hold off on antibiotics till it is absolutely necessary. You will leave your current paeduatician and find one who thinks the same way. You will even buy into the 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' philosophy and accept that most childhood illnesses are a necessary evil for your kids to build their immune systems.

Stop fretting about your childcare support system. You have been blessed with rare good fortune. The nanny you hired three months ago will turn out to be just the right person for the job and will stay with you till you leave the city. She will be reliable, dependent and affectionate. She will never, like many others, take a day off without adequate notice and will show herself totally up to the task of managing your mischievous, energetic son through infancy, toddlerhood and early boyhood. This will enable you to keep working till the birth of your second child, pay off the home loan and therefore have the option of taking an extended break after that.

No kid learns to crawl and walk without hurting themselves, obsessive child-proofing notwithstanding. You have cleared your house of all the dodgy furniture and put sturdy grills on all your balconies, so now relax. Your son will get his share of bruises, cuts and bumps but there will no serious injuries. When your daughter comes along, you will let the tablecloth stay and forget to use the corner cushions and door stoppers, and she will be just fine too.

Thankfully, you will learn to relax about the food. You will come to terms with the fact that you seem to be destined to have skinny kids. Your reward will be a relatively non-fussy eater. With your daughter, you will discover baby-led weaning and just let her take the lead when it comes to food and be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Your heightened sense of your mortality will stay with you though. You will fret about leaving the boy alone at night (even after he is fast asleep) with the less-experienced full-timer and will finally find the courage to go out for dinner on your seventh anniversary. It will turn out to be 26th November, 2008 - the night of the terror attacks in Mumbai. All those stories about children orphaned because the terrorists killed the parents while they were out for dinner will haunt you and it will be over two years before you will realise how irrational your behaviour is and start going out together again. And you'll wish you had done it sooner. You will never get around to making that will but it is about time that I did.

There are some things that you didn't seem to be worried about as much back then but will be worried about as time goes by. Teaching your son to rein in his energy and behave safely while walking on the road. Keeping him safe from sexual abuse. Protecting him from what you believe are inappropriate and violent children's shows, even though all his peers seem to be watching them. Keeping him from developing the sense of entitlement that is an almost-natural outcome of having affluent parents.

We will worry, you and I. Much of what you worried about then seems silly or downright paranoid to me today. But it's hardly as if I am worry-free. Rohini of 2020 will probably pooh-pooh at my current fears but I guess a mom's got to do what a mom's got to do.

An older and hopefully somewhat wiser Rohini of 2011


  1. Awww! What a sweet post..guess all first time mothers were the same as you were in 2006 :) My mom always said that she was never ever worried about anything with me as she was with my bro who is three years elder to me :) I loved both the 2006 and the 2011 Ro equally :) Hugs

  2. Seriously! This is a good tag to take up...what a crazy mom I've been, so worried about things, so sensitive to criticism and convinced I've ruined the children forever with my experiments in parenting.

    Ditto R's Mom. We love you now and will love the Ro of 2020 too!

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  4. Thats a mom speak from the heart :)
    I worried till a few months back that mjy full timer would walk away with the lil one and wouldnt sleep if we were alone :) Crazy crazy and here I see 3 mtnh old in the parks with just their ayaahs.... yes i am a tad bit mad too and hopefully will write just a post 5-6 years from now.

  5. I have loved every single post of yours Rohini!

    But I love this one the most! Touching, funny, inspiring, reassuring, positive and so true to what all mothers, your age go through. 6 and 2 yr old in tow, I am travelling too.... and will reach god knows where. But there won't be any regrets.

    Ayaan and Tarana are so lucky to have a mom like you!

    Go girl.....cant wait for your next one!

  6. Oh My! I read that post you've linked to, only to realise I had read it during the time you posted it! Which means I've been reading you for so many years! And you've hardly ever heard from me. Sigh. I should speak up more often.

    You were out for dinner on 26th November? Hearing that made me shiver. I don't blame you for being that paranoid.

  7. What a lovely post!

  8. Anonymous6:18 pm


    delurking to say i read your blog and enjoyed some of the things you said for ex: about breastfeeding and also bookmarked the post where you made a list for MTBs.
    Could you share the alternative remedies you use for cold and cough as mine also has similar problems as you listed for Ayaan?

    Thank you

  9. Loved loved loved your post Rohini! And your previous one too! 2006 was around the time i tried to start blogging (2 posts) and then took a looong break until 2010. Would have come across your blog so much earlier if I'd stuck around then!

    Could identify so much with the transition you have mentioned, I felt the same in a lot of things - I think the change also has to do with being extra paranoid about your first child, and then by the time the second comes along you feel atleast a bit more knowledgeable :).

    About OTC medicines and coughs, I am a big believer in homeopathy since with my younger son and his allergies I prefer to atleast be giving him homeo and less strong medicines long-term rather than making him immune to anti-allergy OTC medications!

  10. [R's Mom] Awwwww.... thanks.

    [Starry Eyed] you should take this up as a tag and do it!

    [Starry-eyed Nut] LOL! I remember just about the time I went back to work. Someone told me an awful story about the maid renting out the baby to beggars during the day. That really haunted me for a while.

    [Sai] Thanks *blushes* I don't know about the lucky kids though. Have morphed into a complete virago these days

    [Pepper] Wow! You really should de-lurk more often!! We were at the other end of town from the terrorist attacks but still....

    [Manjima] Thanks.

    [Gayatri] There are essentially three things that I feel soothe Ayaan when he has a cough:
    1. Boil water with ginger and tulsi. Add lemon and honey and make him drink it while it is still tolerably hot.
    2. Roasted and ground cinnamon and black pepper and ginger juice mixed into honey
    3. Rub Vicks on his feet and put on socks. These seems like an old wives' tale but it really keeps the cough at bay at night
    Hope this helps.

    [Aparna] That is a loooooong break :) I went through a homeopathy phase but then lost faith along the way...

  11. Hi,

    loved the post, esp:

    yes, you will want another one some day- made me smile. Maybe just maybe when my son is 6, I'll want another..:-)

    You will come to terms with the fact that you seem to be destined to have skinny kids. Your reward will be a relatively non-fussy eater- I am blessed to have a non-fussy eater. And yes, he is skinny.

    Yes, I worry about what if I (or worse my husband) die suddenly!!

    Guess motherhood comes with in-built worry systems that matures or replaces earlier worries with newer ones as time passes.

  12. That was a fabulous post! Loved it! Believe me there will be a lot of new fears to come along the way as the kids grow up. Once a mother, always a mother and worrying comes with the job I guess! We'll be worrying even after our kids become adults (going by how I've seen my mom worry even now).

    Since my kids are almost exactly the same age as yours are (plus or minus a few days), we would be in the same stage of worrying. We will probably worry around the same time about our children being out on their own, of how much or how little we should pressure them to do their best, of them succumbing to peer pressure, of their hearts being broken by someone they love and a host of worries which we can't even think of today. So I'm raising my coffee mug to a wonderful worry-filled journey!


  13. Preeti9:20 pm

    Loved the post(s)! Can SO identify with both of them...

  14. I think you are so right!

    With the world full of helicopter mums and cottonwool kids, we have to let kids live a little and make and learn from their mistakes.

    It is hard to watch kids knowing they are going to make mistakes but this is a normalpart of growing up and as we micro manage our own kids, we need to step back!

    We have just posted about computers and giving children a degree of freedom (but not total!!). INteresting topic.

    Feel free to comment too!

  15. Awesome - both the Ros. And I bet also the one from 2020.

  16. Anonymous1:59 am

    Thank you for the tips.
    Tulsi(Indian one) is not available here but i'll try the other two options definitely.

    Thanks once again.

  17. "Keeping him from developing the sense of entitlement that is an almost-natural outcome of having affluent parents" - can totally relate to it

  18. [Uma] What is with all these skinny kids, huh? Mine eats like a proverbial horse these days but remains as skinny as a rail!

    [Lawyeramma] LOL! Here's to being worry buddies. *clink*

    [Preeti] Worry is a pretty universal maternal emotion, huh? :)

    [Jill] Will check out that post. My son does spend some time on the computer but is closely supervised.

    [Choxbox] Awwww... thanks :)

    [Anonymous] Happy to help. Also, maybe you can get your own tulsi plant? I have one in my balcony

    [Pesto Sauce] :)

  19. LOVED this port! :)

    its amazing how our life turns out eventually. and mostly for the better! touchwood!