Thursday, February 28, 2008
With your typical need to be objective and give yourself feedback about everything, I'm sure you can think of lots of things you're not doing for your kids - you don't always remember their medicines, you love it when they've gone to sleep and the house is quiet, you yell at them and lose your temper and sometimes you make them cry. You forget to make Chubbocks do his school assignments and sometimes you're not organised enough to produce on-demand whatever the school has asked for. You missed the admission deadlines to start with for Chubbocks' schooling. You not only go out to work but enjoy it and forget about C and P for hours every day when you're busy.
On the plus side, though, you do have a few things going for you. The first is that despite not being gaga about kids and frankly nervous and unwilling to start with when you heard you were pregnant, you not only went through with but enjoyed the process of transformation - the rush of hormones that made you feel like a mom, the operation, the turning-into-a-human-pincushion with all the bloodtests (well, ok, maybe you didn't enjoy the last two, but you did it. Not once but twice!). Not only that but you let that little drooling 7 pound bit of mush turn you from a gung-ho career woman into one who couldn't bear to let the baby out of her sight for the first six months and who actually down-shifted and worked parttime and took up an easier job so it would free up your mindspace for the baby.
You're not always up there with teaching the kids their alphabets and numbers and stuff ( thank God for your mum, else they'd be little illiterates). But you do like to teach them the art of whimsy - knowing the names of each flower in the garden and kissing them in the spring, dancing like loons to any and every song, giving answers like four hundred and eighty six when your son asks how old you are, not squashing ants but carefully observing how the mother ant is carrying food home for her babies and helping her by brushing obstacles away...You teach them to laugh and have fun, and everyone who's ever met your kids comments on what happy children they are.
You don't teach them about ambition and excelling and any of that, but you do teach them kindness and respect and how to laugh and enjoy the world around them every day. You let them fall down and bump themselves a few times and not get up to cry but turn to look at how badly they bruised the floor. You teach them to let go of dignity and 'face' and just be themselves. You encourage their creative and artistic sides, even as you don't focus too much on what they are 'supposed to be learning'.
You're determined to do the best you can for them. I remember...how you drove yourself mad with guilt when C didn't breastfeed. And how much effort you put in to ensure P did, from eating herbs to researching on the net to staying up late pumping to taking medicines and lugging the pump to the office which didn't even have a space to do it in. How many nights you cried about C's terrible Two Tantrums and how much research you did and all the books you read to figure out how to cope. How from someone who used to be so finicky, you're now even ok hanging out with babypuke on your clothes while they nod off to sleep. And how you fight even with their father or your parents or inlaws for the right to choose how they should be brought up.
Most of all, you've made the key transition that every parent needs to make to become the best parent possible - you've learned to put their needs ahead of yours, in big matters or small. You learn to wrestle with your own temper, with your emotional needs to hold your babies close, with your fears and demons, in their better interests. When you hurt them, you cry right along with them. And you know no one in the world could love your two more than you can. Most of all, I think the kids know it, judging by the way their faces light up when you walk into the house, and by the way they'll even miss going to Ajji's house if you happen to be home from work. I think that makes you a good mom.
PS. Do you think you could work on the temper a little?
Cross-posted on Rainbow Days
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Thank you, Poppin's Mom, for a wonderful theme for this month. We do need this, don't we? :)
Stand up, and take a bow. You are doing beautifully.
You didn't think, did you, that you had so much patience, so much love, and so much tolerance in you?
Did you ever think that you would, without a moment's hesitation, put someone else's needs before yours, and not grudge it, or expect anything in return?
Did you ever think that you would spend sleepless nights and have excruciating backaches because of a certain someone, and yet, love her to bits?
You are not too far into mommyhood yet, and there are a thousand challenges ahead. But hey, you know what, having watched you these nine months, I can confidently tell you that you will handle it all with ease.
Follow your heart, go by your instincts, and do what you think is right. You want to bring up a responsible, mature individual - don't worry, you will do just that.
Shruthi, you are a wonderful mom, and you know that. So don't let anybody convince you otherwise.
Ohh and its OK to lose your head sometimes... don't feel guilty every time you get angry-You are a mom but you are human too...And don't feel guilty every time,she cries when you stop her from doing something...its OK,its for her own good.After all you are the first one who rushes to pick up and hug her,when she needs something or is hurt. For all the times that you are strict with Aadya,for all the times you stop her from doing something and she breaks into tears,and you hold back your tears- Good job! For I know its not easy for you to not break into tears.Just keep up the good work..And if you need a breather,crazy old me is always around.
You are a great mom, be good, take care of Aadya and her papa but don't forget to take care of yourself!
Love and hugs,
Cross-posted at My Sunshine
Monday, February 25, 2008
Roopa Unnikrishnan, a very talented Mom of 4 year old twins, a Rhodes scholar currently residing in NYC, a world class rifle shooter and India's prestigious Arjuna award recipient among several other honors is going to do a column on "Modern parenting: nurturing and educating in the context of the news cycle".
In a single sentence she says "I'll most probably reflect on something in the news that makes me think of the role of mothers in the family and in their childrens life."
You can know more about Roopa at http://www.roopaonline.com/
Kiran Manral, the charismatic and glam Mom of a energetic 4 year old, lives in Mumbai and is very involved in her son's education and activities. Her column will involve the various aspects of edication, trends for kids in India. Her first column on Nursery admissions is already out at DMC
You can read more of Kiran at Karmic Kids
Please welcome these members and give your inputs to their columns.
mummy, .....you are now the proud mother of a lovely 3.5 year
A-junior! The thought of Motherhood was never so difficult for you... you
always had the "very good with children" reputation. Wherever you
went, children just loved you, wanted to be with you, fed by you,
listen to your stories etc etc.You always loved children and
handled them well.
With that confidence in yourself you set forth on this way..little A was born.
The moment you heard him cry for the first time and held him in
your arms, all memories of a difficult pregnancy and delivery just
vanished like magic! This little thing was ALL YOURS!!With the help of a wonderfully supportive husband (A+) , you are doing great till date! Well done!
Like all other mothers, you love your son with all your life.
It is no filmy dialogue when you say that you feel the pain when he
gets hurt!(you automatically say OUCH),
You know that he is hungry or sad just by looking at his eyes(He need not say a word),
You know the silly little joke that makes him laugh (Currently he giggles if you imitate papas snoring),
You can EXACTLY understand what he says in his 3.5 year young mixed up language vocabulary (I am now fluent in a new language called DUNGLA ..Dutch+ Bangla),
You know when his stock of choco cookies are about to finish ,
You have said this story to him now for the 1087th time without feeling bored (he just loves this story....),
You know his innocently-crooked smile when he has done something wrong (Yesterday he stuffed the toilet with a full roll of tissue paper)
....and the list goes on...
let me tell you, this is no ordinary job...you are doing great...you are a wonderful mom.
Keep going...this is one such relation which asks for nothing in return..."parents love is unconditional".
PS: loosing temper once in a while is just NORMAL.....its your birth right!!
It’s a battlefield out there, and the foot soldiers are two and a half to three year olds, goaded by their parents’ anxiety for them to make the cut. After all, if they manage to make the grade into the ‘hallowed and preferred school’ they can then take it easy till they pass out of their tenth standard and then struggle for admission to their ‘hallowed and preferred college’. The rat race begins early here.
I got my first taste of it, when the brat was born. “Where will you get him admitted to playschool?,” asked a wellmeaning friend. “Ehhhh?” I went, typical of my total lackadaisical attitude to most competitive things in life. Yes, the brat inherits that from me, he’s not about to win any races, much to his father’s disgust. But then I digress. “You have to register in a good playschool right now,” she informed me. “Or their batches will be full up by the time he needs to start.” And when would that be? I wondered aloud. “When he is one and half years. In June. Regardless of his actual age.”
True to form, I didn’t bother. Until various issues (his speech lag, suspected autism spectrum disorder, which thankfully has been ruled out now, and his other developmental delays) had the clinical psychologist evaluating him tell me that I should put him in playschool for him to be able to interact with other children his age. Yes, he didn’t get a chance to interact with children, the building we lived in had no children, and all his cousins were in different cities. We went to the parks and the malls, where he clung to me for dear life and refused to be set on the ground.
Therefore, I trotted off to the best playschools in the vicinity. “Sorry maam. You’re too late. We registered for this batch last year. We had our interviews and everything last November.” I flipped onto the rubber floor in sheer shock. Interviews??? Nonetheless I kept trying at every reputed place, and school in the radius of one kilometer, until I settled on a playschool and nursery run by an elderly Parsi lady, which wasn’t one of the fancier ones, but a simple one with no place for the kids to run around. And benches and chairs where she expected two year olds to sit and sketch and repeat nursery rhymes. And identify fruits and vegetables. It was horrible. My mistake. My only criterion for selecting it being it was two buildings away from home.
Then, the realization that I needed to get the brat into someplace nice, where trained and professional teachers could handle him with the kiddy gloves and care he needed. And the search began again. The parents around me were enrolling their kids in classes that conducted mock interviews to help the child get through the interview process for nursery admissions in reputed schools. My son wasn’t even talking coherently. He had a chance in hell of making it through the interviews.
I applied to five schools. The procedure was standard.
The kids were taken into a room made to play with random toys placed before them, we parents were asked to stand separately, a teacher asked them some questions, they were expected to answer correctly and rapidly.
They were evaluated on how they played with toys, and how fast they put together three to four piece jigsaw puzzles.
We were called in, and interviewed. Our educational qualifications attested by our certificates. Our fluency in English judged. Our current professions scanned and we sitting through an interview with some random pre primary coordinator who must have never gone beyond graduation and teacher training. It was ridiculous.
Finally, one school granted the brat admission. Only because he had gone for the interview running a fever and his disinclination to be a performing monkey gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was two and a half. He didn’t even know the meaning of the word vehicle, how could he be expected to sort out the vehicles from a bunch of random picture cards. All he did was fling them around. Kids of friends were mugging up the alphabet. Learning the names of the President and Prime Minister of India. Learning about the solar system and the planets. Anything could be asked. One child I know was asked “What is Reliance?” The mother, a dear friend tells me, “I stood up and took my child and walked out.”
Learning the recitation of nursery rhymes. Getting a crash course in training for the ‘nursery interview’, in fact some classes even surreptiously claimed that they had an insider connection for guaranteed admissions. Classes. For training to get through nursery interviews. I was in total and complete shock and disbelief. But then, the school we got admission into had us pay a donation. And when I went to collect the receipts for admission, I saw a child from Mont 1, the class the brat would be in when he would join, being made to stand outside the class as a punishment. The tiny fellow was roaming around unsupervised and no one watching him.
I reached home and cried, and asked the husband to try again at the school I wanted. We had been summarily rejected here already. Needless to say, we had already spent a pretty packet on all the application forms, registrations, etc. I wondered how a salaried person would cope, just filling out forms was so expensive, forget the paying of the fees.
So we tried again. Digging out all the connections we could find. And admission was granted. Thanks be to the Lord. But my blood still boils.
Taking two year olds away from their parents and making them answer inane questions in English which is probably not even their mother tongue is laughable.
And why do all the schools assume that a docile child who sits and does the activities asked of them is an ideal candidate for admission? Are they looking for dispirited zombies.
And worse, and to my mind, the most blasphemous of them all, how dare they judge such little children? How dare they assume they have the right to divide the children and reject some and take in some others based on some arbitary concept of guidelines?
Yes, the law has banned interviews in Delhi, but they continue under the guise of interactions, which are nothing more than interviews under another name. Mumbai parents aren’t so lucky.
Here are some links which I am sure will get your hackles up too.
Let me know your experiences. Your opinion. And what you feel about this.
(This post by Kiran of www.karmickids.blogspot.com)
Sunday, February 24, 2008
You know what I like about you the most ? Your motivation to get what you want. To the point of being ruthless. I mean, you consider yourself not very good at dealing with emotions, and yet the desire for a child was almost a primal need wasn't it? Let's see, when did you decide you wanted a child ? Really, wasn't it while you were still playing with dolls ? I mean it wasn't a conscious desire to have children at that age, but the thought was perhaps there all along.
But you never imagined to be so hard. That that decision would demand so much sacrifice on your part. You had to give up - let's see - your career, in some part your friends, your time, your Love - really a part of your very identity. And yet, you never regretted the birth of your child. You may have regretted a lot of things, but never that. The realization that another life depends on you came - when ? When you realized that before she was born, all your dreams were about you. You winning. You realizing your hopes and dreams. And after she was born your dreams began to include a little one along with you in all your fantastic victories. And eventually becoming all about the little one.
Do you consider yourself a good mother ? I don't know. I mean considering the handicap - crazy family, bouts of depression, unhappy sibling, upbringing that zig zagged erratically between Confirm to Male Chauvinistic Society and Militant Womens' Lib, struggling to fit in - maybe you are not that great a mother.
But you do your best. You are determined not to repeat the same mistakes that were made while you were being raised. You arm yourself with facts and make rational decisions when it comes to your child. You wonder how things came so easily to your mother, and you try that much harder to outdo her in mothering. You make sure your child keeps in touch with her language, her people. And you try most of all to help your child accept herself for who she is without any negativity.
The first week of motherhood taught you that its not what you thought it was going to be. Eventually you understood that it was all about dirty diapers and waking every two hours and fevers that scared you and booboos that made you cry and spit ups and crying and grown up worries about finances. That the worries never really end. Now you know that the big deal about motherhood is that its not about the kid growing up. Its about how you get there.
And even though your nature is to rebel against everything you can't control and try to master it - you took this - the biggest risk in your life - and learnt to deal with it. Even to enjoy it. Most of all, you learnt to say "No" to your child when you knew she would hate you for it.
So while you may not be the best mom, you are the best mom you can be. And if you can teach your child just that - to be the best she can be - then perhaps you can call yourself a good mother.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I tried to write a letter to myself patting me on the back, but this is how it turned out. In all honesty, Sandeepa and Poppins, I did try!
To be honest, I don't have a very high opinion of you as a mother. You're somewhat carefree, your "schedule" is chaotic, your housekeeping skills stink, you forget important deadlines, but worst of all is how you alway focus on the negative.
You constantly compare yourself to your mother (her good points), your aunts, your cousins; how well they seem to manage their house, cook fabulous meals, and are generally on top of things. While you spend your time fretting about how you're falling behind on so many jobs. You think way too much about how well you could have done this or how badly you handled that?
And yet, you try so hard.
That is perhaps the root of the problem. You're trying to be perfect, and every time you stop to look back at yourself, you realize how far from perfect you really are.
At least once a day, you catch yourself thinking: "I just wasn't cut out to be a mother. I shoulda stayed in the hospital and looked after other people's children and never bothered to have my own."
You didn't know a thing about children. Real children, that is. Sure, you knew how to treat the sick ones in the clinic and ICU. You loved all your patients, didn't you? But you knew zilch when it came to normal, healthy children.
Your in-laws and parents, naively, thought that because Paediatrics was your very own specialty, you knew everything there was to know about children and would happily breeze through motherhood! And you, in your stupidity, thought likewise. Haha! what a joke!
The first few weeks with Apya saw you tossing those expectations into the bin. Screaming, fussing, high-need Apya. Feisty and spirited, attention-seeking Apya, a refluxing, grumbling and colicking Apya - a baby who settled to sleep only after completely exhausting her parents - she kept you on your toes from day 1.
When you heard her first lusty cry in the operation theatre, you thought to yourself, "Wow! That is the most enchanting, most musical sound I have ever heard! I am a mother!" That one sound is permanently etched onto your memory. Now, whenever that track replays in your head, you mutter to yourself, "Drama queen right from the start! Wants the whole world to run to her."
You hadn't grown up seeing babies and children around you - you were an only child and had no siblings. You lived abroad in a nuclear family and had never even seen a baby at close quarters, except for now and then during social visits.
No wonder then, it was so difficult for you to look after her all by your lonely self - no mother or MIL to guide you, no neighbour, no friend, no husband (he was often away long hours). Amazingly, you pulled through - even though you had an encounter that dreaded monster ("depression") along the way. If it hadn't been for the kind midwife who visited you regularly in your home - your only contact with humanity - you would have gone insane.
Your first-born had severe tongue-tie. That, in itself was not an issue; however, neither you, nor your midwives ever correlated that with the excruciatingly sore nipples you had for all of 5 weeks. Only when her mouth got bigger and she could curl her tongue around the areola properly, did the soreness and bleeding stop. Until then, you bit your lips and cried with agony every time she fed. You yourself, in your sorry state, didn't realize the sore nipples could be related to her tongue-tie until much later, when you read about it at La Leche League. So much for being a doctor. If there was anything you learned in the first year of motherhood, it was how little you actually knew.
I am proud of you for a few things: how you pulled through that difficult first year, mostly on your own. You more or less learned "mothering" on your first-born. It was tough, for you and your baby, but you survived.
I'm also glad about another thing: you wanted to breastfeed her (and you prefer the term "nurse" to "breastfeed", incidentally) for 2 years and you did. Even though your colleagues said it would be impossible once you began working. That she was weaned onto solids at 11 months made it easier, but I'm glad you continued to nurse her. She would wait for you all day at her minders', and the first thing she did when she saw you was to jump onto your lap and demand, "Peeti peeti hona!". After nursing her on the sofa of your child-minder's living room, the two of you would go home. Once home, she nursed half the night. I think, by cuddling up to you while nursing, she tried to bridge the distance between you and her in the day-time.
I also like the fact that you consider yourself your daughter's friend - someone she can play with and talk to. It will be a challenge to continue this, as you try to strike a balance between "authority figure" and "chum". I know the reason why you are not strict with her - it is because you are still haunted by painful memories of your own highly authoritarian, inflexible, perfectionist mother. The fact that you could not talk to her openly without getting into trouble is still a very sore point for you. It keeps intruding into your own relationship with your daughters. You're terrified of becoming strict like your mom. You know all you ever wanted was for your mother to give you a hug and forgive you for all your perceived "short-comings". But she was very averse to displays of affection and associated that with "mollycoddling". So you do hug and kiss your little girls at every opportunity. And you tell them that you love them very very much.
You will have to work on your temper and patience a bit more - you have improved tremendously over the last 4 years - but I think there is room for improvement still. I know you were the most impatient human being in the whole world. It is impressive how, for the sake of your children, you have actually tried to change your nature - simply because you do not want your daughter to pick up your impulsiveness and fiery temper. If she has inherited your explosive temper, then there is little chance of her turning out a calm and cool person :), but if modifying your own behaviour can help, then I am glad to see that you have tried. Keep it up!
In closing, I can't say you're the greatest mom on earth, but I'll give you credit for this much: you do really, really try. If your girls learn that much from you - trying your best, being honest and true to yourself, having kindness in their heart towards one and all, I would suggest you stop worrying about the burnt dinner and the unsorted laundry.
That is all.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Since its been a while since I wrote a post for DMC and in the fear of getting banished from my own blog, I thought what could be a better come back than some “Pats” on my own back. So here’s my “pat on my own back” for this month’s lovely theme.
Before I go into it though let me say one thing, that Moms are always A+ as Moms i.e. they can be lousy as neighbours, as colleagues, or as any other entity but as Mothers to their kids there is no one better.
In Bengali we have a saying “Ku Putra jodi ba hoy, Ku Mata kabhu she noy”. Loosely translated it means a son/daughter can prove to be a bad son/daughter but a Mother can never be a bad one. Have heard this so many times when I was in the receiving end, during the tumultuous teenage years that its sure feels to be great and secure to be on the other side now.
I think whatever I have done for little S till date though, was more for my own comfort, my own happiness and so I cannot really take credit as a “good mom” for such things. If I didn’t want her to be with a stranger or at the daycare till the age of 2, it was solely because of my own comfort level. I don’t really think I did her any good by my decision, but yeah it did me loads of good.
Again if I have let her taken precedence over my career or my desire to go out and watch a movie or do something else, it is because of me more than for her. And again there have been times when I have gone off to watch the latest SRK with my friends, the little baby safe at home with the hubby, but I haven’t really felt the guilt.
However there are two things which I want myself to remember (of course when she is a obstinate teenager, I can tell her about the sleepless nights, the cradling and the walks every night around the house to make her sleep, the constant entertaining, the career put on hold, the constant chattering that I have to hear, the book that lies un read, the potato fries that she wants just so ….and she is going to turn a deaf year to such rants)….as things I should get the “Good Mom” scroll for.
Pat, Pat 1
Being from a state where every other house takes out their harmonium every evening and belts out Rabindra Sangeet, I am severely lacking in the singing & dancing dept. So when my little daughter can recognize tunes and even songs from the prelude I am visibly thrilled. When this little one expressed her desire to learn dance I was determined to make it a success and tracked down a teacher who taught Indian Classical Dance and promptly enrolled her.
Once in the class however the little dancing diva lost interest, grew shy and refused to move a feet to any of the beats. This continued for the first two classes.
I just wanted to chuck the class and thwart any further dancing attempts but she insisted that she wanted to dance but also wanted me to do so with her. Whoa…ME !!!!!!! Me with the two very out of beat left feet…dancing with a bunch of 4 – 6 year olds to some “ta ta..thai thai”. No way…I thought.
Next class, there I was holding my little girl's hand and trying to match steps with 5 other kiddos. After my several such miserable attempts she got the hang of the place though and left me alone and now enjoys her class even If I am not sitting & watching.
Some achievement that I would say, given that my own Ma had not been able to get me dance at the neighborhood dance school
Pat, Pat II
The next reason I take part credit (ok, the hubby deserves the better part of it) is for my daughter still speaking our mother tongue. Strange as it may sound, but many of my friends insisted that she would stop speaking Bengali as soon as she would start day care/pre-school.
She hasn’t done so yet. We do not speak English at home and in fact her Dad insists that he doesn’t even understand English, so she has to translate stuff that her friends or teacher has said for us. The translations turn out to be funny but her Bengali is impeccable. This is very dear to me because I love my language and my every visit to Kolkata ends up with loads of Bengali Fiction books being carted to the US. The fact that I could pass on the language to my own makes me feel maybe I did something good.
But then again she is only 4 and it is too short a time for me taking credit for anything at all. All I want her is to be a compassionate, kind, honest, happy and a good human being when she grows up and if she ever becomes that maybe I can deserve a small pat.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I thought I had a patent on guilt before I met all these wonderful mothers on the internet. My biggest guilty feeling was that I didn't enjoy babies. I never cared much for kids, never hated them either. Just that they were not on my radar. That was the crux of the working mom's guilt for me. More than the typical "I leave my child for another to raise" sentiment, my guilt was that I enjoyed my time away. What kind of a mother enjoys being away from her own child?
You know what I DO like about you? That despite the fact that selfishness comes easier to you than not, despite the fact that you STILL don't have a way with babies, you have dug in deep and sought out the maternal instinct in you. You did not merely fulfill your duty to your husband when you birthed a baby, but you strove to be the best mother you can be. Best not in the actual act of parenting, but in the emotions of parenting.
I remember how you were on the day you delivered your baby prematurely. Via the dreaded C-Section. It was sudden, your husband was not around, Poppin was in the ICU with low birthweight, there was worried family milling around, your milk hadn't come in and worst of all, you were slightly disappointed that you didn't get the boy that you had wanted.
But you showed a temperament, a calm and patient one, that is not your nature at all. On that day. And in the weeks that followed. You surprised and delighted me with your acceptance of the situation. Rather than ranting and raving about how life is unfair (as you always do otherwise), you calmly set about dealing with the situation. You put, maybe for the first time in your life, another's needs before yours. And you did it without any forethought, without feeling like a martyr, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. You loved your child instantly, and you focussed relentlessly on her wellbeing. All this very calmly and naturally. There were many moments later when I wish you would show this calm always, but that would be asking for too much huh?
Rest assured, whenever it has been crucial, you have done well. Remember the time when you had just moved back to India and a week after you started work for the first time, Poppin fell seriously ill? Do you remember that horrific moment when she just lay limp in your hands and you did not even have a paediatrician to call? How you and your FIL rushed into a Doctor's clinic. How you saw the innumerable people waiting outside, but just barged in anyway and pleaded to the Doctor, a little dramatically perhaps, to see your baby immediately? That day it was not your calm that helped you but your more natural intuition and flair for the dramatic. And your stubborn streak.
And then there are those everyday moments. Coming back from the office, always early, never late. Not just because you didn't want your child to feel deprived of your presence, but because you wisely knew that you are not indispensable at work, only to your own baby. And the night wakings. Despite all your complaints about the late night wakings, you always did it yourself. Never sought the help of another, because you viewed it as another chance to bond with your baby. Who knows maybe a long time from now, she will remember how she woke up in the middle of the night but you always attended to her. How when she was sick you slept with her on your lap? Maybe she won't remember that or the feeling of security, but you will and will be glad for it.
You work outside the home, but you know why you do it. You don't have to perhaps for the money, but you have to do it regardless. Maybe you do it because you want to be a role model to your girl. You don't want her to think that working outside the home is something only men do. You have gone through a lot of soul searching on this topic and I now concede that you know what you are doing. I know that if you ever felt that she was being shortchanged you would give it up in a heartbeat and not feel like you have sacrificed something. That's the beauty of it all. Who wants a mother who feels resentful about her choices anyway?
I like your parenting style too. You love her to death but are not afraid of being the unpopular parent when it comes to discipline. You get angry but never nasty. There's a difference. I think there is nothing more damaging to a child than a nasty parent. Without ever having thought much about babies and parenting before you had one, you surprised me with your clear picture of the kind of parent you want to be. And you know what, I think you will get there one day !
In the meantime, just don't forget to love yourself too.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Hand prints are a simple way to engage the little toddlers in creating something fun. I am sure there are several ideas around the web, but, I wanted to share a couple that Ana and I enjoy -viz., hand-print peacock and hand-print butterfly.
Items used: acrylic paints/finger painting paints/tempera paints, glitter(optional), black marker, card stock paper, and of course, enthusiastic baby hands
I load the wee hands with paints of my choice sometimes; but, at times, I allow myself to be guided by Ana's whims and let her mess with the colors she likes.
It barely takes a minute to make the actual hand-print, but, the anticipation and preparation seems to build up the inspiration :)
Once the hand-prints are fairly dry, I just sketch the required body parts to suggest the creature we intended to present through the hand-print.
Around the holidays last year, we made hand-print turkey and hand+foot print moose (sorry, no pictures handy at this time).
Hey Moms! (And Dads! And everybody else!)
I need a bit of advice from you all.
My daughter is nearly nine months old. When we started her on solids, she took to it beautifully, eating heartily. She then graduated to simple adult food, which she liked for a while, but then she rejected it and went back to baby food. Now she is going through a phase where she just doesn't want to eat anything solid. Very occasionally, when she is in the mood, she eats a load of fruit or vegetables (mashed banana, stewed apple, boiled peas), but we cannot even rely upon her to eat that regularly. She doesn't take any liquids either(except breastmilk). No juice, no formula, no dairy milk. A few days, she goes through the entire day with just a few nibbles here and there, and breastmilk.
Everybody tells me that I shouldn't worry and that I shouldn't force-feed her and that she will grow out of this phase. (We don't force feed her - just try a variety of foods to see if anything catches her interest). But the problem is that she starves through the day and wakes up nearly every hour at night and asks to be nursed.
I am told that I should limit nursing at night so that she doesn't get into the habit. But when she cries at night, I am not sure if she is really hungry or just wants a comfort feed. So I end up nursing her.
The doctors said that as long as she is playful and active, I shouldn't worry. But still I worry :)
Have any of you faced any such problem? What did you do?
One more thing. What kind of food did you feed your kids at this age?
Before I end, I have to mention that she is teething - four teeth are already out, two of them have just come out. The other thing is that she is extremely playful, restless and a very active child.
All inputs welcome. Thanks in advance!
It has been four years and a couple of months since life as you knew it changed irrevocably. That is the word. Irrevocably. Nothing is the same anymore. It starts from your body which is now that of a mothers. No sleek concave belly allowing for a S shaped silhouette. Silvery lines crisscrossing the hips, thighs and abdomen. Breasts that have long been divorced from the word pert. And a lap that is meant for a little head to snuggle and sleep on. This is a mothers body. And you carry it with pride. You dont go around making excuses for not being perfect, because you are. Within you, you are now perfect and complete. The odd vaccuum you had within your soul has been filled. But now your heart and soul walks outside your body. And you are so proud of this little miracle come from you that your heart swells up and bursts with pride everytime you see him.
How you wanted a child, how you harrassed the husband. If there is one thing to be said about you, it is your determination to get what you want come hell or high water. You blinker out every possibility of a no. You switched doctors, you went to every specialist possible, you went through excruitiating tests and medical procedure, before finally, the two pink lines consented to appear on the urine test. It was shocking. The realisation that you were responsible for another beautiful human being growing inside you. That you would now, henceforth, never be able to think of yourself in isolation. That your identity would now change forever. You would be someone's mom. And you were grateful, that a soul had decided that your womb was worthy of nurturing it through to life.
When the brat was born you were terrified. Motherhood didnt come naturally to you. There were hiccups. You didnt know how to handle such a little child. You were so very afraid of doing anything wrong. And there were the issues at home. Prickly issues. You almost went insane with depression. But you pulled through. You soldiered on, because you were needed. For the first time in your life, you felt indispensable. And you knew you were.
Such a beautiful child. You felt you were not doing enough. You were a lazy mother. But in reality, you were an obsessed mother, your every minute revolved around the brat. His meals, his play, his bathing, his clothes, you supervised and did everything. You have friends who have hired maids to do everything for their children and suggested you do the same. To give yourself more time. You found that blasphemous. The child was your responsibility completely. Till today, you do everything, bathe, feed, clothe, pick up and drop to school, to therapy, to the park, to the mall, to birthday parties. You have devoted yourself 24 x7 to the brat. It isnt being insane and obsessed, and being a helicopter mother, it is knowing that no one will be able to handle the brat as well as you do. And you do it without even thinking about it, until someone points out that you have put your life and career on complete hold. And once the brat grows up a little, he wont need you as much, then what will you do with yourself. You will cross that bridge when it arrives, you say. Right now, he needs me. Right now, he gets all of me.
You sit and calculate whether he's got the recommended dosages of vitamins and minerals in his daily diet, whether he's got enough play, whether he seems happy and content in his sleep. Is he sleeping well, eating well? It isnt easy to put yourself second and you've done that without a murmur. So have most moms you know. And it is how it should be.
But yet, you are a strong woman. You fight for the brat. You believe in him and his abilities. His innate intelligence. His charm despite his tantrums. You believe you have a child who is a rough diamond. And you are doing all you can to polish it to a brilliance that will blind the world.
And at the end of the day, you know that all you are really doing, is repaying your debt to your wonderful mother. And still falling short.
You are a great mom. Even if you lose your temper a couple of times a day.
(This post by Kiran of www.karmickids.blogspot.com)
Monday, February 11, 2008
So, hello everyone. I have been a silent onlooker of DMC for a while and really enjoy reading the posts, the tips and all that is close to the heart of all the members. Now for a bit of introduction. Originally from Calcutta, I have been in England for the past 5+ years since my marriage, had a baby girl there a year and a half ago, and have recently moved home across the pond to this very large country and spent a very busy 2 months settling down, settling my daughter into full-time montessori - AND just got a full-time job. I head back to an office environment after a very very long break (or so it seems despite being a 20 month gap).
As I am not quite sure about what exactly to start off with as my very first entry at DMC, I will take the easier way out and point you to my own blog site - which I infrequently update at Mimi's Space. In particular, I want to share my first entry on my blog site on Motherhood, as this was the column that got me started. I guess I wrote what was closest to my heart and this would probably give you a better idea of me 9 months into being a full-time mom at home! I have come a long way since then and probably gained much more confidence as a mother (or so she says!). But the feeling of wonder when I look at my daughter fast asleep or doing head stands, still leaves me thinking of motherhood as a huge achievement, a responsibility that always grows and an experience that simply cannot be beaten! I am loving it. So here goes (with apologies for being a rather long post!):
The transition from being a full-time career woman to a full-time mother was more difficult than I had imagined. Like many women stepping into their 30s, the existence of the dreaded 'body clock' and its ticking seemed to suddenly hang over my head. The idea of having a child didn’t come naturally to me - even with my awareness of the fact that the time to start a family was probably coming close. I had always cooed at others’ babies and been happily willing to spend time in the company of little people. Yet somehow I was always stuck in that groove between ‘not sure if having kids is my thing’ and imagining the worst possible medical misfortunes that could befall us as parents.
And then of course there was the big issue of career. I had worked hard to get where I was... changing my profession and moving from print journalism to the business of academic journals - and that too in a different country altogether, following my marriage and the move to the UK from India. My work also took me to different countries, and I loved the opportunity of being able to squeeze in some 'touristy' outings in between my conference and meeting attendances. Not that I didn't complain often about the number of hours spent in front of my laptop or having to handle the temper tantrums and quirks of authors and society board members. Yet it all felt like the end of the world whenever I thought of having to put all of this on hold - albeit temporarily - to have a baby. How dearly would the hiatus in my work cost me?
My husband and I loved travelling and made sure we went away on regular holidays. I knew that packing our bags and leaving on a whim wouldn't be possible once we had a little one. We had been to Hawaii with friends who had toddlers and I remember the entire trip (almost) being shaped and changed according to how the little ones were doing. It was not easy.
So when was the 'right time'? Was there ever a right time to have a baby? Looking at those friends who had children I could only feel that they looked so right with their babes in their arms - though hugely changed! I remember a friend of mine telling me that all she could smell for the first four months of their first child was throw-up and poop... somehow clinging to her being like a badge proclaiming 'motherhood'!! And then there were other friends who firmly believed that having pets channelized all their maternal instincts and energy positively - without bringing about changes to their professional or personal lives.
But five years into marriage with a wonderful man who would make a great father, one couldn’t postpone the baby-phase for long. And then there came the day when the thought literally took seed. I knew my husband was ecstatic and just seeing him made me happy. It took me quite a few months to digest it all!! Was I happy? Yes and no... I was scared out of my mind. Now it was a reality and I was afraid of everything that could go wrong. And these days there were tests for so many things that could be done while the baby was in-utero. So we did...
We were told we would be having a girl. Somehow, it was the day I first saw the black and white scanned profile of her floating inside me that my feelings changed. Now I prayed that all would go well and our baby would come and fill a special place in our lives. There was also a shift in my attitude to work... yes, there was work and there would always be work, but there was probably a time for everything in life - all at the right time and in its own place. I knew I would get back to work sometime, but first there was a very important bundle to handle. The package arrived on 17th July 2006. She ruled our hearts from day one and lived up to her name - Ankita, the queen.
I won't kid you... it hasn't been easy. For all the love that I have for my baby, there are days when all I can manage is cry and sigh with relief when she has fallen asleep at the end of a rough day. I have swapped Powerpoint presentations with baby nursery rhymes and have taught myself to entertain, feed, clean and cuddle her all day long... and that can be exhausting (given that in this country one has to do every other household chore by themselves). At times I dream of taking off on a sudden trip, catch an afternoon movie - or simply go back to my old office to fill myself up with some grown-up conversation! But now, at 9 months of age, Ankita has started calling me 'mamma' and that's enough... that gets me going again! I know there is so much more to come - the list of challenges of child-rearing is long and bulleted (and sub-bulleted), but hey, so far what a trip it has been!!!!!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
(Also posted on Dreaming in Suburbia)
What happens to our imagination as we grow up ? I mean, yeah, we keep imagining terrible life scenarios - you know the irrational "what if" questions - but creative imagination - what happens to that ?
The other day, my Kid drew a picture. Well, squiggled anyway. She had skies that were purple, and blue trees and yellow water. So I asked her why her colors were wrong. She looked up at me like I was crazy and told me that those were the right colors. That's how she wanted it to look. It just made me think, as we grow up, does our creative imagination slowly morph into whatever is the generally accepted public opinion ? (Sky has to be blue, trees have to be green etc). And does that extend to non-creative imagination as well ? I mean, do we, as adults with responsibilities ever really have thoughts or opinions that go against society's accepted norms ? (I'm talking about opposing society within reason here - NOT going-to-school-with-guns-to-fight-the-bully type things). More importantly, if they do exists in our heads, do we ever act on these ideas ? Aren't we supposed to call such people "crazy" ?
I've begun to believe that our creativity is slowly but surely replaced by cynicism as we grow older. Who has time to worry about whether the sky should be colored purple or blue in a world that confirms to Murphy's Law.
That's another reason why I'm thankful I have the Kid. For giving me a second chance to visit the lost places of my childhood, now buried somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind. Through her pictures. Through her innocence. Through her imagination.
A long time ago I promised Sandeepa that I would do the theme for February. And then I promptly went and got pregnant and forgot all about it. Until the gentle nudge from her :) Meanwhile I see that there's another interesting theme for February already floated by Priya (of priyainsuburbia.wordpress.com)
Well why don't we do both?
Here's my idea and it seems especially appropriate this month. Write yourself a love letter. A real honest to goodness love letter about what a wonderful mother you are. What a wonderful job you're doing with your kid(s). Whether you've given up a career to take care of them or whether you're balancing a hundred eggs all at once, you KNOW you are doing a terrific job. Sure, there's always something that you could've done better. There's always something to feel guilty about. But in the end, you know that you've done your very best.
Why don't we Desi Momz, banish the G word (G=GUILT) from our lives (OK atleast this month) and give ourselves the best valentines' day card ever? Go on, write that post, tell us exactly what you love about your parenting style! What have you done for your child beyond the call of duty? Give yourself a pat on the back (and let us do the same)
While you're at it, why not make a valentines day craft project with your child? Tell your child it is for Mamma, and be prepared to be surprised by the super enthusiastic response !
Ready? Don't forget to use the label " Theme for February"
Monday, February 4, 2008
It is a very short trip and we will mainly be shuttling between my parents place and in-laws place, travelling to 4..oh no 5 temple towns.. for various reasons I cant really begin to explain now.. and all of it within less than 3 weeks time ! Just talking about it makes me tired !
We also have a 6 hr wait between the flight connections.. ! I am planning to carry some of Rishi's favorite books and toys but I doubt that will be enough.. Does anyone have any interesting ideas/tips to keep my really energetic little one entertained at the airport, on the flight and in all our road trips ?!
Update: Setting all of this apart, I am excited about being able to see my family, eat my mom's food and do a ton of shopping ;)
For those of you who don't know me, I'm from Delhi, moved to London when I got married and then to Singapore just before Squiggles was born. I have been working until recently and after almost a year I'm looking forward to going back to work. It's a different matter, preparing a CV never took this long before :).
I'm using this break to learn the guitar which is something I've always wanted to do. But I'm pretty crap at it (though I'm not letting that stop me). I've also realised managing a household is just not my cup of tea and I would much rather be out of the house in the park, gallery or wherever, just so long as no one is asking me 'What's for dinner tonight?' In fact, husband and parents are constantly badgering me to go back to work so I will stop eating their heads!
Blogging has been fun. There are so many things which maybe I would have noticed as a mother, marvelled at and then forgotten. But the pleasure and surprise at going back and reading some of my older posts is immense. And the other wonderful thing about it is meeting (virtually) so many wonderful parents who don't mind me going ga ga over my daughter, something I promised I would never do. Ah, but changing her mind is a woman's prerogative *winks*
Here's to many wonderful moments at DMC. Keep it going mommies.
PS: I blog here.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Well, February is here and that decidedly means some craft time. And after more than a month, Winkie and me picked up scissor and glue and got down to some relaxing business. What triggered this was a cool craft idea delivered to my inbox in the weekly newsletter. This is how it goes...
Scrap bits of 3 or 4 different fabricsGlueScissorsA cardboard cutout in the heart shapeThick cardstock paper
As you can see, very simple materials. I get very excited when nothing has to be bought and everything is available from some corner of the house!
- Cut out some paper from the thick cardstock, to the dimensions of the card that you need.
Fold in middle and fold it back out again.
Glue on the fabric scraps.
Allow to dry, then fold in half again and cut out a heart shape, with the folding edge intact.
And there it is! A colourful fabric patchwork heart!
We are thinking of sending this as a surprise post to the grandparents, with a little inscription inside.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I wanted to know from all you mommies, tips on how to balance my two babies better, so that E doesn't feel left out. Since it has only been 10 days, things are going well, so far. But I want to make sure I am prepared with a plan, going forward.
Thank you all in advance and i hope to come back to my fav blog, soon.
Friday, February 1, 2008
by Priya of priyainsuburbia
I'm a WAH mom to an adorable 26 month old daughter (I refer to her as E in blogosphere). E and I live in NJ with my husband and my dog in a gigantic money pit called a home. I also make time to write random thoughts and events in my life at priyainsuburbia.wordpress.com
But enough about me.
Since a theme for February has not been chosen yet, I volunteer one: how about Home Made / Hand Made Valentines for our Kids ? If another theme has been chosen already, my apologies and by all means do feel free to correct me.
Hoping to read more from all our members,
(cross posted on Karma Calling)
I am feeling a little silly today. Not to mention uninspired to write anything of substance. By which it is implied that what I write usually has some substance in it and there will be many of you, no all of you, who will jump at this opportunity and say A-ha. Gotcha. You don’t. So, well. Scratch that.
We often write about our kids, our homes, our lives. And wise, rational, educated folks that we are, we often say a little prayer to ward off the evil eye before hitting that little publish button. Or if you are like me, you spell a few words backwards or boldly declare the jinxters to go away. So, I thought it would be good fun to be a little creative while doing it. So I created these lil graphics for ya’ll to put on your sites, posts, images to ward off all those evil eyes. Call them cheesy, campy, kitschy, but you can’t deny they are not funny! So enjoy.
P.S. I have added two more icons thanks to Gypsy and CeeKay
Also these are more like thumbnails. The images are hosted on photobucket. Please click to get a larger/better image!
Hello Momz !
As you may have noticed by now, my name is Pallavi. I have a 2 yr old son Rishi. He is full of energy, loves to play and talk and keeps me on my toes these days with his clever little pranks.. I am sure most of you know exactly what I mean. I also work fulltime.. My husband and I are both in the Technology field.
On most days, I find myself juggling between all the things that life puts in my way..(I guess thats a "mom-attribute";) ) On other days, I try to blog (All Things Yummy) which I have started doing recently, read, research and try to learn about things and topics interesting to me...and these days its all about stuff for my son... and that is how I landed here. I am still trying to catch up on the old posts.. and am excited about the prospect of finding many more interesting things.
Thanks for letting me in and I hope to be make good friends here ! and great job you guys in making this valuable for all moms ! :)