Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The under pressure cook(er)

My son has had a lot of things to eat - crayons, paper, lip stick, vaseline, cement rocks, soap, his own poop (hey, dont judge me, before you know what happened*) 

When A was about a month and a half, he went 22 days without a bowel movement. No, that was not a typo, he did go twenty two straight days without poo-poo-ing. If there was a world record for this sort of thing, he was sure going for it! BTW, he holds the next best record too... 18 days. (Talk about all fart and no shit!) Both V and A have had tummy troubles from day one. Three years and six months later, I am still nowhere close to finding the solution that works for my kids. And I think, in some measure or other, nutrition is a big question in every parent's mind.
Getting fussy, picky kids to eat a healthy-balanced diet is not at all easy. Lately, I have been learning to hide veggies into treats that kids love to eat, and in ordinary everyday meals.But our biggest mistake is that we have grossly underestimated the strength, importance and effectiveness of eating together as a family. 
So, instead of trying to shove veggies and fruits down the throats of my uncooperative kids, our (family's) challenge now is to set aside busy schedules, taste differences, the absolute necessity to eat junk, and sit down together to eat a well balanced meal. If this doesn't encourage our kids to be curious about healthy food, probably nothing else will.

So, here is to all those moms out there, juggling numerous things, nutrition being just one of them.... cheers!
Pic of the day -  Allez cuisine!!!!
Iron chef is long gone. Say hello to - Samurai Chef! 

* what happened - it was one of those days, we had just moved in to a new apartment, both kids at home, my head was almost a pressure cooker and A did his business in his diaper. Usually, I let A be diaper-free for 30-40 mins after an incident. So, as I would normally do, I cleaned him up, pants on, no diaper. And off I went to to the bathroom to dispose the soiled nappy , wipes etc., when my daughter came running after me saying "baby boy make carpet dirty". I didn't think of it much, assuming he must be pouring water/juice from his sippy cup all over again. As I walked out of the bathroom, I saw him standing, a brown lump in his palm, tongue out and eyes rolling, lips twitching as if to say "damn, I  shouldn't have done that" . My heart was hoping it was a chewed up coco puff that he just spit out into his hands, but my gut knew what it really was. And I found more evidence to the truth on the carpet. So, that's how he ended up doing the unthinkable. 

Pic Taken on - 28 Jan 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A race to the finish

The pre-pregnancy body, that glowing skin, the perfect profile picture, a rocketing career, 100s of 'likes', to be a short order cook and to run a marathon....we want it all. We want to BE IT ALL! That's us, the new age mommies. Its vile, its addictive, its even a bit shameful. But we do it...we are all in the mother of all competitions....the mompetition! 
We weigh ourselves and (sadly) our kids against (what we perceive as) acceptable standards in all dimensions possible. From birth weight to middle school grades to shoe size, all the numbers are in there, in our heads, spinning around like a whirlwind of unwanted plastic bags.
Its said that competing with peers brings the best out of us. But it doesn't stop the worst from coming out either. So, the best thing to do is to leave the arithmetic behind when raising kids. It will be a lot easier on us and the kids if we could concentrate on encouraging them to do what they are best at rather than what the world thinks is best for them. 
And in some cases, quitting the race is sweet victory in itself. 

Pic of the day - Race with grace... how the baby beat the bunny!

"Mr. Bunny, its ok to take a nap during a race, as long as you know when and where to do it :P muhhaahhaaa"

Pic Taken on 23 Jan 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to train your dragon, daughter and the dude

Don't complain they don't sit long enough on the potty. Soon, you will not be able to get them out of the bathroom.

Sleep training, eat-on-your-own training, brush-your-teeth training, let-go-off-the-pacifier training.... and then the mother of all trainings - potty training. There are just so many, many things parents have to train their kids for, so as to be acceptable fellow humans in this society that we have designed. I am well in the crux of that  battlefield with my first one now. And its EXHAUSTING. Its as if they have an infinite source of energy to fight any form of discipline you try to instill in them. When the well trained mind of an adult collides with the free thinking, "why" asking, rules hating mind of a young child, its the true battle of wits. After 2 months of failed attempts at bringing V to the potty, the most valuable lesson I have learnt is that - the person that needs to be trained is me. Not her, but me and my dragons. 

I need to learn to be patient. Prepare and then try again. Its a war out there and a disturbed, unfocused mind could never win. 
I have to be assertive, not scary. 
Let go of the accidents, focus on and celebrate the successful attempts.
Show by example. Always works. Kids would easily follow your actions than instructions. 
Have to get her to be around older kids. At home or play school. Kids love aping their "role models".
Finally, I will always remember my uncle's golden words - "She has your DNA. She is bound to be slow :) "

We rarely get trained to be parents, its an on job training that will go on for our lifetime. Its scary and quite understandable that sometimes we overdo it or over expect from ourselves because this is a tangible future that we are trying to nourish. Growing up around technology that has made everything smaller and quicker, kids come to us as puzzles with no cheat codes. And we get stuck. We are not used to not knowing what to do and it throws us off balance sometimes. (We being insufferable know-it-alls of varying degrees (thanks to the information revolution) doesn't help either). So, I have learnt that while I can threaten, cuddle, bribe, use stealth etc to bring them to a routine, I have no control over the results. 

I am going to train my dragons and demons to understand that, there will be stories about babies that got potty trained in 3 days, toddlers that gave up their pacifiers without their parents having to bat an eyelid, kids that eat all their greens and fruits on their own. But V is not one of them. She is the one who calls herself Dora and Amrit as Boots. The one that comes out of her comfort zone, leaving her dear papa behind to an entirely new world and settles herself well. The one that laughs out like a maniac at her mummini's silly faces. The one that never fusses to drink up even the bitterest of medicines. So, I will give her time. That is probably the most important thing my kids want from me - my time. 

Pic of the day - Drag on, dragon.

I might breathe fire, but I can be tamed :)
Pic taken on: 13 Dec 2012

P.S : Moms keep assuring me that this "training" effort doesn't have to be duplicated for A. It better be so! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I came. I cried. I conquered.

A little boy came home to us on June 16th 2012 at 12:55 pm and these are the events that lead to that one marvelous moment.

Feb 2012 - we made our big move to UK. I was about 5 months pregnant and was trying to manage a thriving toddler and pack our stuff at the same time. Friends in Parsippany were a great help. From packing to cleaning the apartment. Without them, I cant imagine what an ordeal it would have been.
Apr 2012 - We finally get to move into the home we loved so much. Prabhu and I got the house up and running in a weeks time. V started play group. We started work on mom's UK visa. 
May 2012 - Many, many issues with mom's visa. We got mentally prepared to take care of 2  kids, a home and a career all on our own. V settled down better at Day Dreams (the nursery/day care)
June 2012 - Tickets booked for mom. 
              15 June 9 pm - Mom comes home to Manchester. Its a great sense of relief and  happiness for Hari, prabhu and me. 
              16 June 10.30 am - After a sumptuous breakfast of puri and aaloo palya, I sit down to watch V play with her granny and uncle. Contractions. And the pain doesn't go away which ever I sit,lie down or twitch. I begin to wonder if this was it.
                         11.15 am - 3 contractions have come and gone. I called triage. 
                         11. 30 am - I am sure something's up. We decide to leave for the hospital. We picked whatever little I had in my partially filled labor bag and left quietly without V not getting the wind of what was happening.
                         12. 00 pm - In triage waiting room. I was thinking - "what if this just turned out to be false labor. And if this DID turn out to be false labor, then God help me with the real one."    
                         12.15 pm - Pain. Screaming. Water broke. Nope, definetly not false labor. I am in tears saying "I am the only one crying. Everybody else is so calm" Hari laughs his guts out. Apparently, I am amusing even when in pain. Moved to delivery room. Screaming and twitching all the way. 
                         From here on, the next 20 odd mins are a blur of events. I was given some sort of nitrous gas to breathe in, which was supposed to make me feel dizzy and hence soothe the pain out. But it was making me heady and I didn't like it one bit. I kept biting and pushing the pipe and screaming my lungs out. I remember wanting to get it done with. I also felt that the gas was making me to lose control of my vigor. I very very strongly wanted to do exactly what my instincts were telling me to. Hari was there, holding my hands, suppressing his laughter (I know!) trying to put sense into my head (as he saw fit) and telling me that the gas really helped. But I was in mood to get 'gassy'. 
                        12:55 pm - All is well. My little boy is up against my heart and I said " Nin tarah ne idane" (he looks like u) to Hari and smiled. 
                        4 pm - First visitors for Amrit. Prabhu, mom and V came to the hospital. V was not at all interested in the baby. She was running around the ward, checking out the equipment and just having fun in general. 
                        7 pm - Everybody left. Amrit was fast asleep, I rested and of course typed some smart-ass-quip on FB!

Pic of the day - Ball(s) Park(ed)

Our Baby Boy! Love you loads :)

Other notes:
Nurse Kimberly kept asking me if I was alright the whole time and I was politely nodding at her while actually I wanted to scream at her and ask her if she was blind? I was in hell lot of pain...asking for pain relief and screaming and writhing and all she had was - " Are u alright?" And she asked me this not once, not twice but like a million times in that hour or so. Had I not been a decent woman, I would voiced all those foul words that were running through my head at that moment. I really liked the lady doctor who did my stitches and after labor clean up. Nice lady. I hated the common ward I was shifted to, later that afternoon. They didn't let anybody stay with me after 9 pm. The night nurse service was pretty poor at Wythenshawe. It was really difficult with nurses taking well over 20 mins to respond to help calls when you have a hungry, crying new born in a cot next to you. Food was crappy too. I didn't get breakfast next morning as nobody told me that it was served in the common room and not brought to bed.  My vericose veins were in awful shape. But even after 14 hrs (yes, really) they couldn't get hold of a doctor who could check me up and sign my release papers. I was in no mood to spend another rotten night at that hospital all by myself, so we signed a waiver saying that I was leaving the hospital against doctor advice (although, I got no "advice"... there was no doctor) and left the place on the 17th at about 5.30 pm for home with Amrit by our side. V had no clue what had happened. I was glad she didn't miss me much. She was much too excited and happy to play around and be the center of attention for her uncle and granny. She was brave for mommy.
Names considered - Akshay (My fav), Atul (my mother's fav), anirudh (madhu's pick). We settled on Amrit (Hari's pick) as it sat well with his sister's name. Together, they are Amrit-Vrishti !                            


Sunday, December 16, 2012

All in good time

Kid to pregnant mom " So, why did you swallow the baby in the first place?" 

The first few weeks are usually the worst. And with two tangoing around me,I constantly prayed for the first 3 unsettling months to be gone like wind and for Amrit to chalk out a routine for himself asap. But as my luck would have it, it took him longer than 5 months to feed and sleep following the clock. It took a lot of patience and hard work to manage two very young kids both at a highly diverse yet undeniable levels of dependence on me. At those disturbing times, I often took courage from my friends - the Narkars, who also rode a similar ride a year ago. Now that A has finally set down a predictable routine and V has accepted him as "My Baby Boy", things are far better compared to how life started out in June. 
Given that I am a mommy of two now, I often get one anxious mother or the other asking me if there was a right time to go for the second. Quoting a wise friend - Now or then, its going to be tough. Only the issues you face will be different. 
And there in lies the answer and the question too. Which sort of issues are you more equipped to handle? Very young firstborns (like V) are extremely dependent on the main caretaker (mother,in this case) and do not easily accept food or care from another family member. But they will quickly fall in love with the new baby, grow up with the younger one and the siblings will be tightly coupled without us trying to build a bond. When children grow older, they are far less dependent for care, but are much more possessive, cannot accept sudden changes and sometimes the kids may even grow apart due to huge age gap. Anyhow, the idea of this gyaan session was to let parents know that they can actually analyze this seemingly evasive problem and come out with an answer well suited for their family.
What about us? Well, as close friends would know, we (H and me) can be footloose and even reckless at times. And in a fashion true to ourselves, we did something stupid (and beautiful) twice; with not much planning. But we are sailing through and so will all of those who spill the beans too soon :P

I do wish for lone time now but I am sure the kids will be off to minding their own worlds sooner than I reckon. When that moment finally does come, I know I will miss being needed so badly. hhhmmmm....

Pic of the day - Flutter by, butterflies. 
Me, me. I am next!
Pic taken on 8th Aug 2012

P.S: Brain-cud for those who are married, but not parents yet - Everybody loves high school days. But nobody stays there forever. Right?  So please come join us in Nappyville, for its not fair that some people have all the fun (by 'people' I am mean - us, the parent folks :P )

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mary had a little lamb curry, bolognese...

 ...chops, risotto etc, etc. Well, at least our own little Mary has been trying these delicacies out at her nursery. 

Early this year we made our big move to the UK. Soon after settling down, we realised there weren't many children around here for V to play with. Our best option was a nursery about quarter mile from home. After an initial struggle (that lasted 1.5 months), she fit in well with the other kids and her teachers. Packing off to school is one of her favourite things to do now. Meanwhile, we welcomed a new, tiny addition to our family. Our little baby boy - Amrit. Having a new born and a toddler under the same roof is not exactly a perfect setting, but its got it's "charms" :) 
I have heard from many parents that kids tend to imitate their older siblings and that's how they learn, compete and grow. Guess older siblings/cousins are everybody's first role models. My younger brother and I are about 2 years apart in age. I don't remember much about our early childhood except that he used to follow me around everywhere I went, did all that I did, wore my clothes, wanted everything I touched and all that annoyed me a LOT! Until about high school days we were sworn enemies and spared no method to demean each other. I think we bonded over the common goal of sneaking out of the house or the need for an audience to share each other's daring adolescent adventures later on. I am sure I speak for all elder sisters when I say that younger brothers can get into our nerves at all the wrong times. There were times when I wished I wasn't born in the same family as my brother and I am sure I drove him to higher emotional extremes quite often. Hair pulling, biting, cold water on sleepy eyes, eating chocolate bar/ ice cream slowly to tease the other person, playing shadow, spilling secrets to parents (sometimes helping keep secrets in return for goodies) sleep-time pranks, the jealousy, the possessiveness, being protective , sharing, caring and always loving.  All in all, its great to have a friend in a sibling. And we hope V and A discover each other's lovable side and grow up to be good friends. 

Today's pic of the day - "Mary and her little lamb" is dedicated to all the first borns.  

Mary, err... umm.. can I follow you on twitter instead??  

Pic taken on 9th July 2012

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gaga over GooGoo

kuzhalinidu yAzhinidu enbaam makkaL
Mazhalaich choR kELAdavar.
                                                              - ThirukkuraL. Chapter 7, couplet 6.

Flute is sweet, lute is sweet, they say alone
Who haven't heard the prattle of their children own.

It seems so cliched to say that her aaahh(s) and ooooh(s) sound like music to me, but thats how it is. 
There used to be nights when she would cry non-stop, my arms and legs would give up on me and just when I would be at the very threshold of my boiling point she would put her head down on my shoulder and let out a small sweet sigh of relief or a tired cry of pain and all my anger,exhaustion and exasperation would melt away in a second and I would take up soothing her all charged up like a new woman. Such is the sweetness, power and depth in a child's voice. Now she says amma, appa, aththai, tha-tha, mama, apple, hello, bye ….and a range of other cute noises that very closely resemble actual words. So much so that we are constantly extrapolating them to be real responses to our lines. 

Baby smiles are the best mode of communication ever! Not considering smiles in deep sleep and happy lip curves during farting, V's first real smile appeared when she was 1.5 months old in mid november. In early december one day (ok..ok..i accept, i do know the exact date .. it was dec 4) my MIL was singing and dancing in front of her when in one sudden magical moment, V simply burst out laughing. And we never missed a chance to make her laugh out loud ever since. Figuring out what would make her laugh is one of favorite games any day :) And coming to music, all babies respond better to music than anything else. As a matter of fact, V sang (actually, she used to hum) before she could say anything. And I loved the fact that I didn't have to sing only in the bathroom anymore as I had an attentive audience in V. Singing and talking loudly to babies works wonders for their development (It definitely helps if mom's chatterbox DNA is already in place) 

And here is a weird thing that happened a couple of days back. My sis-in-law has a 4 month old and he has just begun making sweet noises. He usually responds well to my MIL's high pitched voice especially close to bedtime. My MIL had to be away for a 3 days and he simply stopped talking during the time she was gone. Despite many attempts from his mom and me, he refused to respond the way he did to my MIL's voice. He was missing his speech partner. No matter what we sang, spoke or did, he wanted to talk to his granny and nobody else. We must try and sing/talk during feeding, bathing, changing (i know its exhausting but totally worth it) to help babies recognize us and develop interest in spoken communication. Babies never learn anything with respect to speech from watching TV or listening to radio. To them everything is noise unless they see lip and facial movements. Reading, bedtime stories, family playtime, instructive games ...there are so many more activities that will encourage a baby's talking and listening habits.  I guess I will stop yapping at this point and let you moms and dads get going with the talking. Take care all of you :) Good day!  

Here is the pic of the day inspired by the mother of all things loud and weird - Baby Gaga.

Cant stop (s)talking .... Paparazzi

Pic taken on: Jul 8 2011

And here is something for you to watch and smile for the rest of the day...
The chatterbox and the telephone.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Baby's entourage

The first time i packed a diaper bag, there were no diapers in it.

The very thought of flying with a 9 month old all by myself was petrifying. But I knew a lot women had travelled with younger babies so I figured it couldn't be that bad. About 3 weeks back my baby and I embarked on our first journey across the ocean together. It was a 20 hr trip with one stop at frankfurt. The flight from Newark to Frankfurt was completely booked and all the front row seats were already occupied by mothers with infants or people with special needs. The airline guys could not find me a seat with access to a bassinet or one with an empty seat next to it. So I had to sit in a crammed seat with V on my lap and her diaper bag stuffed between my legs. Doesn't sound all that bad until come meal time and the tray needs to be brought down. A child in my lap, tray down for food, 7 hrs of no leg room (i am very small, just 5'3" but a diaper bag takes quite a bit of space) and then came the part where I had to feed her. Lets just say Vrishti behaved like an angel, thanks to a very sweet 10 year old boy in the next seat. He had a baby sister of about 6 months of age and he was very excited to see what his baby sister was going to be doing pretty soon. He also let me keep my food/drink on his tray few times and kept V entertained for most of her waking time.

But the second haul from Fra to Blr was not so pleasant. Though we were lucky enough to get a seat in the front row with a bassinet, there was no sweet 10 yr old boy to keep V smiling. Instead there was scary mustache man. V was scared, getting cranky and just wanted to stretch her legs; and I don't blame her. The constant movement was making her throw up, she could not eat much and was making it through on cold ready made formula most times because she couldn't wait for the hot water to come. This time she was in no mood to neither eat nor let me eat. But we made it, safe and sound. I was pretty sure that I would end up losing her feeding bottle or my passport or something or the other. But thank God nothing of that sort happened. Ohh…and I carried a positively ugly hip hugging pouch for passports, boarding passes and paper tissue. Although not very fashionable, it proved to be very useful and convenient.

Diaper bag essentials:
I carried a back pack instead of a shoulder sling.
Pack your baby's favorite food (I packed a small jar of mac n cheese baby food, rice puffs, yogurt, 2 slices of cheese and biscuits for Vrishti)
Babies don't eat much solids. Load up on milk/formula/juice. Best thing to do is pack 3 ounce bottles of ready made formula* and mix hot water to it during feeding. I did see ladies fix up formula on flight but I am too butter fingered to be doing that.
Gripe water/anti gas drops
Pacifier - it will ease the discomfort due to pressure change (and any other thing your baby loves to carry around like her blankie or favorite teddy etc).
Teether, bibs, burp cloth, extra pair of socks, cap, rattle/toy, change of clothes, facial wipes, pacifier wipes
Diaper changing kit - pad, diapers, wipes
Feeding spoon (You can borrow a plastic spoon from the stewardess but best to carry your own supply), bottle, extra nipple
An extra T-shirt for yourself (in case baby throws up on you. might happen, never know.)

Bidding you a happy journey, here is the pic of the day - The princess's palanquin

Whoa! that was bumpy. Should ask for dad's elephant next time.

Do we get our stroller during transit or not? -  Many friends I spoke to told me that strollers are not given back to us during transit but given only at the end destination. I got my stroller when we got off at FRA, where we had to take a bus to get to the terminal. I am guessing that is why they gave us the strollers. Or it could also have been because I was traveling on two different airlines hence the strollers needed to be taken along to be given at boarding gate of the second airline.

What will the airline provide us with to keep the baby in? - In case you buy a ticket for your baby, you can carry a child/infant car seat and attach it to the airplane seat using the safety belt. But in case you carry your baby as a lap-child,then you can request the airline to give you a seat in the very first rows where a bassinet can be fixed for the baby. You can make this request at the time of booking the ticket but make sure you do get the seat of choice while getting the boarding pass. Most airlines try their best to accommodate requests from parents traveling alone with a baby.

Can I carry a thermos with me for hot water? - No. Hot water will be given at request on board. But make sure you ask for it well before your baby begins a hunger fit, as such requests can take a while.

Should I give medicine to make my baby drowsy on board? - Not needed in my opinion. Babies already feel drowsy and sleepy when in motion so I personally would not recommend drugging them in flight. This will also result in them missing meals. Keep your baby entertained by talking, playing, taking walks down the aisle or letting them play around with the in-flight TV. Crying babies may be a disturbance to other passengers. But hey, isn't that why they are given headphones to plug up and movies to watch?

Can I change my baby's diaper in the basinet? - No. Be courteous to your fellow passengers and future users of the basinet and take the baby to the lavatory. When inside the flight, locate the lavatory with the changing station. Not all of them will have it. You don't want to wait for 30 mins only to find out you were in queue for the wrong one.

Will they have extra diapers on board? - Long shot. Avoid risk and carry more then the usual number your baby uses.

What can I do to ease any ear discomfort for the baby during flight? - Ask your PD if infant ear drops can be administered to ease the pain that runs through our ear canals to the jaw during take off and landing. (I believe most babies can feel this pain but not all adults) I gave her a drop in each ear just before taxi for take off and she was definitely calmer than all the other babies in the flight during take off, landing and pressure change. The drops usually work for 12 hrs.

* Ready made formula come in 3 oz bottles made of glass and 8 oz bottles made of plastic. Though glass bottles are heavy and might not seem like a good option for travel, it worked best for me because V drinks only 3-3.5 oz at a time. The bigger bottles would have been wasteful.

Pic Taken on : Jul 7 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fire in the belly…run,run,run!

A baby's tummy troubles can range from simple flatulence to constipation,colic and even severe acid reflux. Spit-ups and throw-ups are a part of healthy growth cycle. Vrishti had a bad case of gas, colic and constipation all through the first 4 months of her life. She wouldn't have bowel movements for 4 continuous days or even longer. I remember I used to mark the days that she pooped on my wall calendar and it showed once in 4 days for almost 3.5 straight months. The 4th day would be especially tough for all of us with her crankiness touching heights and the non-stop crying and whining in the evenings and not to forget miss.farty pant's misadventures with our olfactory senses. 
Our treatment would start on a mild note - gripe water followed by a meal of formula for fussiness and gas. Then we would give her about an ounce of prune juice. If she didn't have a bowel movement within 2 hours of this, then my MIL would perform an enema using glycerine suppositories or a small piece of bath soap. She would cry and writhe in agony but it was better for her to suffer 10 mins and get rid of her wastes than cry all day. Trust me, it is a 100 times more painful to watch a baby go through enema than to read about it. I will never ever forget the way her little eyes would well up, when I held her tiny hands as she went through her ordeal. She would pull my sleeves and wail as though she was in labor. Anyways, all that is a thing of past now and I know mothers who have seen their babies go through much worse and come out smiling. 
Moral of the story - "that's what we moms do when things go very bad… push it up yours!" :) 

(Though she has mild discomfort these days, V has regular bowel movements once a day or worst case, once in 2 days. )

So, with whatever little I have learnt, here are a few food ideas to ease release of gas, constipation and improve digestion: 

New born - 5 months (or until baby begins eating solid foods, whichever is earlier)
                               Gripe water, anti-gas drops 
                               Vrishti had a hard time digesting breast milk. She started doing much better after introducing Gentle formula made for fussiness and gas to her diet.  Determine what percentage or number of feeding per day helps ease your baby's tummy troubles. For V, it was a 50-50 regimen for about 2 months. 
6 months (or when baby begins eating solid foods, whichever is earlier) onwards 
                               Boil a small piece of garlic or ginger (about the size of the finger nail on your little finger) in about 7-8 teaspoons of water. remove garlic/ginger and feed 2-3 teaspoons of the extract to the baby once a week. Increase the size of garlic/ginger slowly over time to about size of nail on your thumb when baby is 12 months old. 
                                About 10 cumin seeds or 5 raisins in about 7-8 teaspoons of water and feed 2-3 teaspoons of the extract to baby everyday, 2-3 times a day. Increase count of cumin seeds to about 15-20 and raisins to 8-9 as baby grows and turns 12 months old. 
                                While making vegetable soup, add a pinch of asafetida (hing), turmeric (haldi) or cumin powder (jeera powder) (or any combination of the 3) and cook along with the vegetables. 
                                Pulped fruits - banana, prunes and pears specifically help reduce constipation. (Reminder : Always cook fruits (except banana) before pulping them if baby does not have teeth or does not know to crush food using gums and jaws) 
                                Try giving the baby more milk compared to solid food. Vrishti had better results when her total liquid intake was more than her total solid intake. 

Pic of the day  -  The firefly's fiery tummy!

Pic taken on: Apr 8 2011

P.S: If a baby is throwing up every single meal and cries and remains fussy for hours together the whole day, then it might be a deeper problem of acid reflex. 
Always consult your PD before taking up formula, solid foods and other home remedies for your baby. All home remedies have to be started in very small doses, checked for allergies and increased with time. On the up side, home remedies have no side effects, you are not adding chemicals to your baby's diet and are usually very safe. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Harmone Attack

One day I am irritated and swearing to God that I would never ever set my feet in the kitchen again and the same evening I am la-la-la-ing myself to fish fry. One moment I am sick of the monotony of cook, wash, laundry, bathe, vacuum, clean, again cook, wash…that has ended my life as I knew it and another moment I am happy as I can be cuddling and kissing my baby. And one day it suddenly dawned upon me standing in front of the stove that I was under attack; by the hormones. And funny thing is, you never know it yourself when it happens. I would have sworn I was never hormonal during my pregnancy had hari not pointed out otherwise. Even when he did tell me that I would be hyper one moment and cranky the other, I secretly thought he was just exaggerating. Well truth is ladies, we get all diva-like during and after pregnancy. Whether you want to let the high-queen-turned-bitch let loose or not is up to you…well partly at least. While I was having revelations like these, V was under a different kind of attack. A viral attack. Her first cold, cough and fever trilogy struck about a month back. As of today she is again sick with cough and congestion :( She is going to be on antibiotics and probiotics (hmmm…what a play of words) Sleepless nights are followed by cranky days for both V and me. Babies get clingy and lose interest in food. Which did not at all work well for V as she is already underweight :( V was doing fine when we travelled but exposure to kids seems to be her problem. Kids (2-4 yr olds esp) love babies and always want to kiss and hug them. And its not possible for parents to keep loving, curious kids away from our babies all the time. One time or another, this is bound to happen. I know parents who don't bring their babies in contact with other kids at least until they are a year old. And I also know babies who grow up in care centers surrounded by kids. And not to mention, the way we (our generation)  were brought up practically in our neighbor's front yard. Will isolation guarantee better health? Or will it stun the social skills of a baby? I am not sure what the right way of doing this is. Maybe a little more input from other mothers might help us figure this out better. But for now, I am going to slow down V's social life for at least a month and a half so she will be fine for our trip to India. And later on, I will have to politely ask kids not to kiss her. 

Hmm..hoping V will get back to her old self soon, here is the pic of the day - Under Attack

Silly lilliputtans.
Pic taken on : Feb 28 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

All moms are supermoms!

For most things we needed 2 hands to do, we need only one now.
We take a million pics of the same baby-moment, promising to delete the duplicates later. "Later" never comes.
We dont have to sing in the bathroom anymore. Now we have an attentive, dedicated audience.
We long for some peace but worry the most when its too quiet.
It always feels like we have forgotten something.
There is a baby at the wheel, personal care in the back seat and socializing is in the trunk.
Every night, when we kiss them 'good night', we kiss our sleep ...... 'good bye'
Walking to the fridge is only form of exercise we get. (oohhkay... is the only exercise we "do"...happy??)

I was my father's daughter all along but during pregnancy I developed a second string of connection towards my mother and I have time and again been wondering at and appreciating all the things she would have done bringing us up. We all love our parents but parenthood definitely takes the respect to an entirely new level. And I have been lucky to see and learn from 2 such supermoms - my mother and my mother-in-law. 

So, here is the pic of the day to all supermoms and superdads out there
So, only "he" is allowed to show his underpants is it??? I see....

Pic Taken On : Feb 24 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Surprise! Look who is playing cupid this year.

Papa, will you be my valentine?


Love you baby! :)

Pics Taken on : Feb 8 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You Drunken Monk!

Droopy eyes, pouted lips, hands down in surrender…there are few things cuter than a drowsy baby high on a full stomach. And when V goes to this zen like state, I call her "the drunken monk" (after Mr. Goundamani's famous line…"you drunken monk") V has been having tummy troubles from the beginning. She is doing much better now, though there are bad days and then there are very bad days at times. Here is me hoping she will eat well and I will get to see many more of these cutesy drowsy monk looks. 

Pic of the day - The monk who sold your ferrari 
What??? hic…That was your car?? hic..hic.. sorry man…hic
Pic Taken On: Feb 1 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Count 1..2..3..

2.20 am. situation song for baby…"volume kam kar. papa jag jaayega"

How do you put your baby to sleep? Wish there was a fool proof (rather baby proof) formula for this. Vrishti is 4 months old now and she has had many varying sleeping patterns so far. From the beginning all our efforts were focussed at making her sleep by herself in her crib. Sometimes we made it and most times we didn't. I soon realized that mothers needed to co-sleep more than the babies did. It was difficult for me to leave her on her own to fall asleep. One out of a 100 times she would get exhausted enough to not care if I was around or not but I would suddenly want to be looked for. There have been times when I have pulled her too close and woken her up :/ I think after a point it is we who are looking for comfort from cuddling our babies. 
I remember the initial days when Hari was so particular about her sleeping in the crib. I used to wake up at every small noise to check her, to pat her back to sleep when she got disturbed, and this was besides the number of timesI had to get up to feed her, check her diapers… it was really too difficult to wake up every half hour and walk to the crib. Soon enough she was sleeping in between hari and me on our bed. She was so tiny, we both were scared we could crush her or hurt her. We would sleep hanging on the edges of the bed on our sides. And woke up with horrible body aches because of the weird sleeping positions. Hari was at great loss of sleep (I could take a nap in the afternoons but he had to go to work) but nothing would deter him from sleeping next to his daughter. After lot of pestering he started sleeping in the living room after about one month.
When it came to V's sleeping habits I had only one rule - If I had the energy to handle things, then put her to sleep in my arms and then slowly put her in the crib/bed and move away . ("Hug and roll" as Ross says in FRIENDS). So if she woke up and cried, then I would pacify her and put her to sleep again. 
If I had no energy and was in need of sleep myself, then simply pacify, cuddle, put her to sleep, put her in the bed next to me and give the gift of deep sleep to myself and my daughter.
It was best to go downstream when it came to sleep needs. 
From sleeping for only half hour between meals to sleeping 5-6 hrs in the night time, we have a long way now. Its 2.28 am and even as I am typing this, she is making soft sounds and playing around waiting for me to help her fall asleep. Gotto go. 

Pic of the day - ZZZZZzzzzzz 

Now, this wont work silly. I cant count yet.

P.S. And also, I realized while singing to her that the nursery rhymes - A.B.C.D, Twinkle Twinkle and Baa Baa black sheep sound the same. And same goes to Mary had a little lamb and London Bridge is Falling down. 

Pic taken on Dec 12 2010

Sandai Kozhi *

She is teaching me to talk with just vowels and I am having the best conversations of my life.

Vrishti started cooing and making sweet noises around her second month. She would mimic any high pitched high volume noises we made. When she was in good mood, all we had to do was lock eyes with her and start talking. She would speak very softly and slowly to me, in very excited high pitched tone with my MIL, and quietly just stare in astonishment at Hari. 
My MIL and V made a great pair speaking loudly and complaining to each other about me. (he he) Somehow she would get very responsive when my MIL said things like "Don't worry kanna…i will scold your mom. I will give her a good beating" And even the way she spoke to my MIL sounded like she was complaining on me. And most other times, she was plainly giving one-ka-double replies to my MIL, locking eyes with her in a battle of words. 

Pic of the day - Bull's Eye! 

Not me mom. It was the hen. She started it first.  
(Psst...hey hen...keep ur funny side up!) 

* Sandai Kozhi - Means "fighting hen"

Pic Taken on : Dec 24 2010

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's in a name?

Picking a name for Vrishti was a task that went on and on for weeks together in our family. Both set of parents (hari's and mine) wanted her name based on her nakshatra alphabet. In the process of picking a name, I learnt to read the panchankam and figure out the nakshatra for a day, the 4 padams of the stars and 4 alphabets per padam. There could be 16 alphabets per star. There could be 2 stars per day and we had to pick names for a range about 6 days. So, how many names did we have to pick and have? You do the math! The funny part was that there were alphabets like "Gna" and "Chna" and "loo"... discussing names starting with these were simply hilarious. More than all of this, there was this huge circus of converting time zones from IST to EST in order to correctly figure out the star .... oh my god... i remember how we spent evening after evening figuring these things out. And if I liked a name, hari didn't. If hari liked a name, mom didnt. The 4 of us could just not agree to even one single name.
Finally, we came up with a list of names starting with doable (non-funny, reasonable) alphabets. For all rest, it was going to be "Bhuvi" by default. Other names were - Anagha, Varuni, Saanvi, Isha, Ira, anoushka, kriti, harsha, lekha and trishna. 
We had names picked for days starting sep 19 to sep 23. That itself was a gianormous task. But baby was in no mood for letting us settle down at all. She decided to take her own sweet time to make her entry. So, we had to pick names for days after 23rd also. Finally, I had to get my labor induced on the 28th. Before leaving home for the hospital we were still arguing over the names (it had to start with O, Vi, Ve or Va) when Hari suggested "Vrishti". He came up with the name because it had been pouring since last night. We all loved the name instantly. 
She was born at 9.34 am on Sep 28th and her name was supposed to start with O actually. But we just loved the rain that was washing down the windows the whole 2 days that we stayed in the hospital. So she was to be called "Vrishti". 
And remarkably, it has rained or snowed every single time we have stepped out of our house with her for an outing. She is vrishti, afterall! 

Pic of the day - Its raining candy! 
Mummy....this is too weird even for a dream...

Pic taken on : Dec 25 2010
And after all the trouble, what do we call her at home? - "Pattani, kutti, ammu, bublishili, mani, thangamani, kuttiyoondu, bangaari, puttanna, buddanna..." 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Caught on tape


Photographing Vrishti for this blog and otherwise is one of my favorite things to do. But its not very easy though. Setting the props, light, getting her dressed, setting the table....takes a lot of time. And every new mom knows time is not the one commodity that comes easy. 
Baby photography is a very out-of-your-hands task. Its not like you have a set studio with background and lights and camera set on a tripod all the time in your nursery. The diaper changing table is my make shift studio. Any solid color blanket (i have used black, white and orange so far) is the background and surgeon like steady hands is the tripod. ( Image stabilizing is a plus if you have that on your camera) 
An alert baby will never stay still. They move around a lot and are easily excited by a camera over their head. V would keep knocking down props and pushing everything. Its either the sock or a shoe or a mitt or the cap or her dress lifted up or she wants to touch the camera or she just wants to suck her thumb! 
A sleeping baby poses far less challenges but that is against the one gianormic risk of waking her up. And everybody who has ever had a baby in their house knows that it is a criminal sin to wake up a sleeping baby. Its like unleashing the screamer within them. So you have to be absolutely sure they are deep in sleep and careful while placing them on the set so as to not wake them up. 
Many a times, I was not able to do all that was planned. Like for fashionista I wanted to add more bling using ear rings and beads. For Bollywood twin, I wanted to tie a scarf/handkerchief around her neck and plant a bidi (not a real one) near by. But the mustache would to tickle her nose and make her sneeze so had to drop the rest of the ideas. Rice lights were supposed to be used on Alien Abduction. An 'Alice in Wonderland' idea never even made it to the camera. I have tried it so many times that I grew tired and gave it up. 
And safety is of course the most important thing to keep in mind. Use clean and safe props and do the after shoot clean up as promptly as possible. 
Postprocessing the pics will add great value to it. Using photoshop would be great, but since I dont own it or know how to use it, its out of question. But I do use iPhoto to do some basic simple stuff like adding soft focus, glow effect, Black and white, sepia etc.

Taking videos is definitely easier but the only problem with V was that she would stop doing whatever it was that she was doing (laughing, cooing, smiling, playing) and start staring at the red blinking lights on the camera (that goes on when recording is underway).

Well, finally here she is .... Caught on Tape

Pic Taken : Dec 21 2010

What you could do:
I used a tiny camera (which did not have image stabilization) because there was no room for a bulky one on the changing table. But go for a good one if you can. I am planning on getting the big one out soon. 
We had only one light source in baby's room on the diagonally opposite side of the changing table. So she and any 3-D props would drop shadows. Black was the background of choice for most pics because of the shadow issue. 
Get help. I was trying to keep this whole thing a secret as I wanted to surprise my family with the pics. So it was a covert, behind the doors, single handed operation. But trust me, an extra pair of hands will get you better pics in lesser time.
Start clicking with minimal props first. The longer you take to set up, the worse your chances get. And having a minimal pic is better than having none at all.