Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Signs

The secret language that babies and moms communicate in:

Don't even think about it - The cry which emanates when you finally decide to stop rocking the cradle and tip toe out of the room.

Yes! Now I want it - The sudden lunge for milk after an hour of attempts to feed him.

The party's over - The unexplained wails at the end of a long laughing session.

Nap time is about to get over - Short intermittent cries with wriggling...Pick me up or I will escalate.

Ask the milk lady to get ready - Loud smacking and licking of the hand...cradle cloth...anything that touches the mouth.

I am on top of the world - The triumphant look as he inspects the surroundings while we begin the endless pick me up and walk around routine.

I love you - The pause and smile, the glint in the eye, while drinking milk.(At least I hope that's what it means)

Just the beginning. Lots of codes to decipher...

(No connection whatsoever with any claim of baby languages)

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Kurumbinte kurrupukkal (notes from the mischievous one)

Kurumbinte kurrupukkal
(notes from the mischievous one)
His thoughts...My words

This post will remain a work in progress. I will keep on adding to it. Most of it is in Malayalam. Have translated where possible.

Appi poyi happy aayi (bye bye potty I am happy)

Karmam cheyuka ninnude lakshyam....
karma bhalam tarum arjunanallo...           
(do your duty...reward will be given by Arjun)
Rock me...I will decide if I want to sleep.

Aaranda aaranda unnimama puratharanda..
Njananda njananda pushpa villa appuvanda.
(Sorry no apt translation)

Arjun Arjun yes papa,
doing susu, no papa,
doing potty, no papa,
open your diaper...ha ha ha

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Elephant's Trunk

Have you seen baby elephants? For some time after birth they have no control over their trunk. It just flops around here and there. It is so cute to just watch them, thoroughly perplexed as to the use of their overgrown nose. The trunk leads and they follow.

"A bit to the right,turn left and come right to my" Arjun seems to be pleading, ordering, threatening his hand turn by turn. Two hands dance in front of his eyes. Very tempting and teasing.

Efforts are on to tame his hands. When they successfully reach his mouth, they are tastier than the nectar of the Gods. The subsequent smacking noises can be heard across the house. Of course, these moments are short lived as the hands gain life of their own and run away to safety.

"If my hands don't work, anybody's would do...Or the pacifier can be my best buddy...hmmm these are temporary solutions."

What is the shortest distance between two points? Put one inside the other. So now his tongue and lips are his chew toy. They can't escape his mouth. Always on service.

Of course the hands have not been granted reprieve as yet. "Sooner or later they will submit to my will...Bwahahaha!

(Ok got a bit carried away at the end.)

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Myths

I was lucky or unlucky (changed from time to time) to be looked after by two moms during my post delivery confinement.

My mom with the slightly modern outlook and logical way of thinking and my mom in law with her orthodox views and native intelligence. Deadly combination. Will try to give you an idea of what it meant.

Anju feed the baby after the bath and then let him nap. You can't feed before, the bath will hinder digestion.
Anju feed the baby before the bath, he will be too tired later.
I fed him when he cried...before or after.

We don't give green chillies in confinement diet....In our side red chillies are a no no. 
She can have idli but not dosa...Why the batter is the same.
We only give dried copra. Here it is fresh coconut...all in limited quantities.
And lots of point where all agree.
Trust me the end result of this was an upset stomach.

The baby is wriggling too should not drink so much water. If he spits up take a small drop of it and flick it in the air. Don't feed the baby immediately after your meal. Don't look at him while! he is so cute. Don't drink water while feeding...yes even if you are dying of thirst.

Act like a patient. Stuff garlic and cotton in your ears, put on a scarf and sweater. Didn't happen.
Don't touch cold water or a bucket for that matter. Dry your hair completely...with my hair...all the best.
Heat up coals and take steam. All this while being fed food designed to increase body heat. I would have roasted like a chicken.
Did some of the stuff in the most diluted form and managed to scrape through.

Any excessive crying was blamed on the evil eye cast by someone. Daily some fruit, salt, rice etc was used to cast off the effects. I have to admit myth or not, my son cried inexplicably every time after a particular person visited.

The lucky part...the moms could consult each other when faced with a dilemma. They could manage the baby, the kitchen and the endless stream of guests. They split the endless washing of dirty diapers between them. I got a lot of care literally showered on me. None of us lost sleep as we 3 took turns during the night.  We all survived.

In midst of all this we laughed, shared jokes, anecdotes and discussed rituals practiced in the respective villages. We rejoiced when Arjun pooped on the other.

There maybe many women who would go through this post and say I am supposed to go through all these strict routines, pathyam and humor all the other beliefs. To each his own. I believe rest, easily digestible food, plenty of water and cleanliness are the necessities in this period. I think in midst of all the supposed care, we are not allowing women to enjoy uninhibited time with their baby. Some of the rules make sense, others need to be reviewed. Moderation moms!!

Friday, 3 April 2015

To do or not to do

Kai valarunno kaal valarunno..Is the hand and leg growing? This is supposed to be the curiosity and care with which we bring up kids. I, however, think what we look at most is something different.

Did he poop today? Is he doing enough susu...or is it too much. Is yellow normal? All this results in an inspection of his diaper a bit more than warranted.

To keep us from guessing Arjun managed to keep his daily routine not so routine. Varying from pooping multiple time in a day to pooping every third or fourth day, the possibilities are endless.

I remember my dad was worried his urine output was less in the initial days. Boy did he put those worries to rest. I never knew one could go through a week's stock of cloth diapers in less than a day.

Moral of the story - Arjun knows his business, do not mess with the mess.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Milky Woes

There were many days where Arjun would cry to be fed, cry when he was being fed, cry after he was fed..basically cry. I went through all the accusations from the moms and the self doubts & feelings of being inadequate.

You are holding him in a weird fashion...changed..still sometimes he cries..
Maybe milk is not enough..tried a top feed...accepted with glee at times and with disdain at others.

Turns out milk is not less..sometimes he just likes bahar ka biryani over ghar ki dal.
Understanding however is not acceptance. Each time I mixed a bottle, a little part of me still blamed myself.

When Arjun didn't want my milk he sure expressed it (read loud breath stopping wails). If I picked him up for a bottle feed he would cry and only stop when his ammammawould take him on her lap. I think he was afraid I would give him my milk and not the bottle. Talk about trust.

Most days though he was content with me. I think he just likes to mess with my mind.

Arjun Sahasranamam

Arjun, Appu, Putta, Chinnu, Kunju, Appu2, Potato, and how can I forget the Veerabhadreshwara, Vinayaka et al.

With a small nudge from the doc's forceps, he came into my life...well much before that...but you know what I mean. It didn't occur to me to ask the gender of my baby, I knew Arjun had arrived. The first of his sahasranama was decided many months ago.  As the nurse revealed the valiant albeit crying Arjun to his grandma he was christened again "Appu". Recognition, maybe,dawned on him as he stopped crying, acknowledged the name with a sharp look and promptly resumed his duty.

Within the next few hours he proceeded to make me understand who's the boss. I was his designated milk bottle at his beck and call. After a few days I was amused to notice that I and mom had begun to act as if we were experts on his behavior. Visitors were treated to nuggets of insight ....he always likes to sleep on his right side...he likes to be held upright...It seemed as if we knew him for ages and not 2 days. Of course he kept us in check..a few unexplained wails were enough to bring our soaring confidences to reality...ethe puthari aanu..this is new rice..unpredictable.