Showing posts with label mommyhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mommyhood. Show all posts

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Of saying goodbye and savoring life's special stuff

We've spent the last two days hanging out with my sister, Nikki's C Paachi, who flies out to the US today for higher studies. While I restricted my goodbyes to a semi hug and a rather eloquent grunt in my characteristic expressive style, I'm sure C knows that we're all going to miss her lots. What makes this whole going away business a little better is that she's going to be back in under six months to get married (hurray!), an event everyone in the family is quite looking forward to. Nikki had a fun two days spending time with C Paachi and her grandparents which got me around to thinking about how important it is for kids to spend time with family growing up, to know that there are other loving, dependable adults they can confide in and look up to, apart from their parents. I'm hoping Nikki gets to spend a lot of time with close family as she grows up and have been making an effort to get together with family I have in and around town whenever I get the chance. It is specially fun and also a little touching to see Nikki bond and thoroughly enjoy herself with my little nephew R, who's a couple of years older than her. I have a photograph of C Paachi with R and Nikki in which C is holding Nikki and R is standing next to her. The snap beautifully captures R grinning mischievously at Nikki while she grins right back with an equally saucy, exhilarated expression on her little face, a testimony to the fun times they've shared. We're lucky that P also has a large extended family, with lots of kids close to Nikki's age and even though she was too small to really interact with them the last few times we met, I'm sure she'll enjoy her time with them as she grows older.

I shared these thoughts with P last evening as we drove back home after saying goodbye to C and we got around to talking about what we'd like Nikki to grow up with, the important stuff, the stuff that really matters. We were both agreed on the importance of family and close friends; I hope Nikki has a wonderful, loving set of friends she knows she can rely on and turn to anytime as she grows older. Growing up, we were always moving cities and I would often be the new girl in town or in school or in the park, the girl who was left out of birthday parties and sleepovers and movie nights because nobody knew her well enough yet. Sure I would settle in eventually, get to know people and make friends but it was always difficult those first few days when everybody was comfortable in their own little groups and you were the only outsider who didn't fit in any where. In retrospect though, I feel this has always made me appreciate my friends more and I am truly thankful today for the wonderful group of friends I have.

A love for books and reading is another thing I hope to pass on to Nikki, followed closely by a love for music. There is no greater joy than losing yourself in the wonderful world of a beloved book, retracing the adventures in an old favorite, the thrill you feel when you connect instantly with a new book or the quiet anticipation of an evening tucked up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book left half way. Except perhaps, the joy of waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the strains of a ballad by Richard Clayderman on a Sunday morning. Or some smooth jazz or perky funk beats on a Friday evening as you wait for dinner guests to arrive. Or the instant mood lift as you listen to an old favorite on a rainy afternoon or on a long drive back home. So Nikki gets a generous dose of  Floyd and U2 along with Wiggles Dorothy the Dinosaur and she seems to enjoy both equally well! Of course The Papa Man ensures that there's a generous dollop of 'Tere Liye' and 'Singh is King' thrown is as well and both those numbers have little Miss Nikki doing a vigorous shake-that-booty each time!

I am hoping to celebrate all of the major festivals in a big way now that Nikki is here. Before we had Nikki, festivals were equated with days off, a chance to get away from the stress and pressure of daily life but now I look forward to spending these special days in a leisurely manner with Nikki. Enjoying the beauty of colors on Holi, basking in the warmth of family and togetherness on Diwali, always a gala family event, discovering the magic of Santa Claus at Christmas, making modaks together for Ganesh Chaturthi and beautiful jhankis for Janmashtami. Festivals, also mean holidays and holidays are another important part of growing up happy! Long and lazy summer holidays, short winter breaks, even weekend getaways, I want to ensure we take some time out every now and then to get away from our regular routines and travel the world and spend time together, sometimes to meet new people and do different things, sometimes to just enjoy a slice of solitude.

Which brings to me to the importance of enjoying  your own company and being comfortable with yourself. That wonderful place where you know you can step out and have a great time over coffee with friends knowing equally well that you can go right back and have just as wonderful a time all by yourself. I hope I can teach Nikki that. Along with the power of dreaming big, beautiful dreams, believing in them without being afraid of failure and taking risks. Living the most exhilarating life and being the best person she possibly can be. And always knowing that two people, mom and dad, will always be there for her no matter what.

This list could go on and on so I thought maybe I'd leave it at this. Or maybe I'll keep coming back and adding to this if I feel I've missed out on something that really should be here. What about you though? What are those special things you know you want your children to grow up with?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cloud Nine

This morning Nikki was up as usual at the crack of dawn and merrily prancing around on our bed, as P and I lay there, caught between that state of deep slumber and impending wakefulness, trying to grab those blessed last five minutes of shut eye before the child decided to attempt her standard early morning deep dive off the bed stunt. Suddenly Nikki bounded over to my side of the bed and began peering at me closely to see if I was awake already. I opened one eye groggily, bracing myself for a possible nose tweak or a punch in the eye, our daily morning 'let's wake The Mommy Woman up' greeting. Instead Nikki suddenly bent over, gave me a soft kiss on the cheek, then put her arms around me in a hug, buried her face in my neck and babbled something softly in my ear. I just lay there, stunned initially, then overwhelmed, holding her, wishing I could hold on to the moment forever too.

Guess who's been walking around the house with a beatific smile plastered on her face today? :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

If The Mommy Woman is not alert AT ALL TIMES.....

......she may find herself drifting into gentle slumber as little Nikki plays nearby, only to awaken to the feel of some strange sort of scraping on her posterior. On closer examination she may find that the source of the gentle scraping is little Nikki herself, busy doing up The Mommy Woman's  posterior (in need of renovation, yes, but this may not quite have been what The Mommy Woman was thinking) with The Mommy Woman's favorite lip gloss. Further inspection may reveal that little Nikki is quite the budding artist and has generously given of her talent to paint the bedspread, the pillow covers, several patches of the floor and The Mommy Woman's new handbag as well. Just as The Mommy Woman is recovering from the effect these startling sights are bound to have, the doorbell may ring to announce the arrival of the not so friendly new neighbors, stopping by to ask some questions about the neighborhood. The Mommy Woman may ask them inside and offer them a cup of tea but as she walks into her living room she may hear some strange sort of squeaks and snorts and the new neighbors may quickly excuse themselves citing that all important purchase of groceries as the excuse. The Mommy Woman may feel a little perplexed at this strange behavior until she catches sight of herself in a mirror as she turns a corner and sees that her posterior, encased in white tracks, is now a brilliant, shiny, glossy PINK. Did you know that on a pristine white background pink stands out really well? Well it does. Vivid.

And to think this is a child who eschews crayons unless it is to generally toss them around.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Conversations with my daughter

Its a pleasant evening and Nikki and The Mommy Woman are out for their evening stroll. As they saunter around in the park, they run into the unfriendly neighborhood Grumpy Grandpa. Nikki fixes Grumpy Gramps with an interested eye. The mellow evening sunlight bounces off Grumpy Gramps shiny, bald pate. Nikki leans out of her pram and gives Grumpy Gramps a friendly wave. Grumpy Gramps, true to his nature, ignores Nikki and tries to walk past.
Nikki: Tak-loo!
GG (glaring at The Mommy Woman!): Cough! Splutter!...
Nikki, in a louder voice, pointing at Grumpy Gramps: TAK-LOOO!
The bright red human tomato, earlier known as The Mommy Woman, wheels the pram away at top speed, mumbling incoherent, apologetic sounding somethings under her breath.


The Mommy Woman, overcome with love for her only child, envelops Nikki in a bear hug and plants a big kiss on her face.
Nikki, looking thoroughly disgusted and shoving The Mommy Woman away with an indignant look: MIND IT!!! ( pronounced Mann-dayyy!!! in Nikki- speak)


Nikki's evening snack is finally ready. The Mommy Woman is feeling rather chuffed with her own concoction of bananas, soy milk and litchis and can't wait for Nikki to sample the stuff.
The Mommy Woman: Nikki! Something yummy for your tummy! Your smoothie is rrrrreaddy!
Nikki(looking supremely disinterested): Ohhh maaaan!!


The Papa Man: Nikki, I LOVE you!
Nikki: Aaa WUV ooo!
The Mommy Woman, jealously hovering around: Nikki, I LOVE you!
Nikki: YAWN!


Its a busy evening in a crowded suburban shopping mall. Nikki, The Papa Man and The Mommy Woman are shopping and hanging out. Nikki is looking particularly cute in a pink Tokyo Baby t-shirt and corduroys and is attracting a lot of attention from passers-by, especially young college girls who are thronging the place in hordes.
A group of hot, young college girls: Awwww SO cute!
Nikki, with a shy smile: Hi!
Hot, young college girls: SCREECH! She spoke to me! She said Hi! Awww I wanna KISS her!
Nikki: Kisssssssssssss 
Hot, young college girls surround Nikki and the fortunate Papa Man who's holding her and take turns hugging and kissing Nikki. Five minutes later...
The Papa Man, with a blissful smile: We should go shopping with Nikki more often!
The Mommy Woman: Hmph!


The Mommy Woman, back after a much needed trip to the salon, is overcome with separation anxiety at having left Nikki behind for TWO WHOLE HOURS.
The Mommy Woman: Nikki! Mommy is BACK!
Nikki and The Papa Man, looking up from a mess involving crayons and a copy of The Mommy Woman's latest copy of Mother & Baby: AIYYO!

Footnote: Nikki's conversational skills training and enriched vocabulary courtesy The Papa Man.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Its been a long break...

...and it feels good to be back! A personal mini-crisis, coupled with multiple disasters on the domestic front of the boy, oh boy, oh bai! kind (strange how this stuff ALWAYS hits you all at the same time), added up to the long absence from the blogging scene thus far but I'm back and I've promised myself that next time round, crisis or no crisis there aren't going to be any more long breaks.

So anyway its been a crazy, crazy couple of weeks and a LOT has happened in the last one month that I was away from the blogosphere. My last post was just before the trip to the in-laws and I was bubbling over with a strange combination of dread and anticipation over the impending mundan and ear piercing, given that there was no running away from either. Well all the bubbling over was rather pointless as it turned out, because we ended up doing neither! The trip to the in-laws came and went sans mundan, with the in laws averring that the numerous merits of a bald and shiny pate notwithstanding, it wouldn't look good on a girl on the eve of her first birthday. And so it was put off till the birthday party had come and gone. The ear piercing met with a similar fate. Now this whole ear piercing thing is custom in my part of the family but not so much in P's. The mother in law looked suitably aghast when I mentioned that we were considering getting Nikki's ears pierced, reacting rather like I'd just mentioned the French guillotine and proclaimed that her own ears had been pierced on the eve of her wedding! And so, given that the in-laws were to return with us to celebrate Nikki's first birthday, and stay on for a couple of weeks, the ear piercing too was postponed till after they had left. On the basis of that happy principle that what they don't know won't hurt 'em and we could always get it done later and present them a few months down the line with a pair of happily pierced ears. Yes we are very adept at dealing with situations like these, P & I. And so a month down the line I find myself once again faced with the prospect of an impending mundan and ear piercing yet to happen. Sigh.

The trip to the in-laws went off fairly well, albeit hectic and a bit tiring, given that Nikki was down with a touch of fever. The mundan ceremony turned out to be pretty good fun, since tonsuring of the scalp had been wiped off the agenda. Just a lock of Nikki's hair was snipped off, which she didn't even notice being busy trying to shove some grapes down my throat at that moment, and that was that! Afterward we feasted on halwa and aloo-puri, bought some toys- a drum playing monkey, a large yellow inflatable ball which Nikks instantly fell in love with and some wooden blocks and went back home happy and well-fed.On our way to the in-laws home I had got the chance to catch up with an old and dear and verry pregnant friend in Delhi and on the evening of Nikki's mundan we got news that she had delivered a bonny baby boy. What's more he had been born at pretty much the exact same time that Nikki's solitary lock was being chopped off, making my friend and I believe this is surely a sign from the Lord ordaining a long and beautiful friendship between our offspring!

We got back home a few days later, just two days before Nikki's birthday. Her birthday was on a Tuesday and we had planned the party for the weekend following it so that friends and relatives from out of town could be there too. A couple of them chose to come down earlier, on Tuesday, staying on for the party over the weekend, making it more of a celebration week rather than just one day! We celebrated at home on Tuesday with friends and family. I baked a special cake just for Nikki, made with the stuff that she eats on a regular basis: atta, ghee, bananas and powdered dry fruits and my mom got one of the more sinful cakes for the rest of the crowd from a local bakery. I'd wanted to make the day special for Nikki and so taking a break from her usual porridge- khichdi we had special food for her that day: eggy bread for breakfast, pasta with cheese sauce for lunch and rice kheer for the evening snack. She loved all of it except the cake, which she refused to even take a nibble of, preferring instead to squish it around on her high chair tray but the rest of the group loved it so it was worth the effort! The day went by in a bit of a whirl what with all the people around but I took some quiet time out with just me and Nikki at 4.08 pm, the exact same time she had been born a year ago. We went for a quiet stroll in the park and sat in the grass for a bit, Nikki frolicking around, me just trying to soak in the overwhelming feeling that enveloped me as I relived all the experiences I've been through over the last one year. One year of being a mommy, the most beautiful one year of my life :)
Later that evening after P was back, we had a small pooja and celebration at home and after Nikki had gone to bed we spent the rest of the evening poring over all the pictures and videos taken over the last one year.

The birthday party (Hallelujah, its FINALLY over!) a few days later was a big hit too. It started on a less than pleasant note with Nikki having a major meltdown as soon as we reached the venue. The house had been buzzing with guests for a few days and the morning of the party had been particularly hectic as a result of which Nikki's nap schedule had gone awry, making her terribly cranky at the start of the party. Thankfully she calmed down before the cake cutting ceremony, making for some splendid photo ops and even obliged the cheering crowd by smearing the cake generously into P's hair and shirt. From then on she got progressively cheerier and by the time the last of the guests had left she was positively having a blast. A few snide remarks were passed about how she seemed to have inherited my anti-social gene, given that she was horribly cranky at the start of the party and then got progressively happier as people started leaving, but I overlooked them all. After all, the last one year has been all about The Maturity That Comes With Motherhood, and I am nothing if not changed by the experiences the year brought with it!
Anyway, getting back to the party, it really was a smashing success even if I do say so myself! We had changed the venue rather last minute to a new place we chanced upon quite by luck and it turned out to be a superb venue for a birthday party. The ambience, the food, the music, everything rocked and there was even an exclusive children's play area for the little guests. The service was super fast, with all the waiters making it a point to whisk my plate or glass away if I so much as put it down for an instant, so what if I was still midway through my meal, but I managed to stuff myself to the gills with the good stuff nonetheless.

And oh, I almost forgot, we had our verrry own caricaturist! We did too! After all that mindless dithering over magicians and tattoo artists, we finally discovered a caricaturist who could entertain all- young and old, and so we hired him for the party where he proceeded to do just that. He soon had a crowd gathered all around him with people waiting patiently in line for their turn and soon almost everyone had gotten their portrait made. I got mine done at the fag end too and was rather upset by the sketch; he'd made me look like an angry, old she-bull who's just discovered that she's been gypped by the matador in the bull fight but what made it much, much worse was that everyone promptly began oohing and aahing and saying that it looked just like me! Thankfully the party ended soon after giving me time to rip the travesty of a sketch into itty bitty shreds and we drove back home to the much awaited gift opening ceremony.Much awaited by me that is. Yes I shamelessly admit it, I was looking forward to the gifts more than anyone else! Definitely more than the budday gal who was quite happy playing with the scraps of gift wrapping paper instead. We spent a happy evening, Nikks and I, me lovingly unwrapping each gift and Nikki playing with the assorted boxes and gift wrapping paper they'd come in. There were some pretty neat gifts but my pick of the lot was a red Minnie Mouse swimsuit and pink sunglasses that a friend had gifted Nikki. She took to the sunglasses almost immediately, putting them on and taking them off with a one-handed flourish, like quite the seasoned diva and had all of us cracking up for the better part of the evening. One of the other gifts was an inflatable swimming pool, so we're all set for some summer fun now that all the gear is in place. That is, if I can get the child to overcome her fear of water anytime soon.

Life is kind of back to normal now with the grand first birthday with its ensuing chaos and excitement having faded away into the backdrop, leaving us instead with some bitter sweet memories. For the next few birthdays though, I'm thinking a quiet holiday someplace nice will do just fine. That is of course until Nikki grows old enough to start demanding Hannah Montana themed parties replete with birthday planners, personalized invites, farmhouse venues, party favors that cost a bomb and a fleet of entertainers. Gulp. Maybe I should start planning for them already!

Monday, February 15, 2010

All about my baby...

...who's inching towards toddler-hood with a rather alarming alacrity these days. *Warning: Long barmy parent post ahead!*

Ten months, three weeks and four and a quarter days, 'Circle of Moms' wisely informed me as I logged on to Facebook last night. 46 weeks!!! screamed the thousand newsletters that regularly flood my mailbox every week (they would of course, given that 46 weeks ago, awash with the maternal hormones raging through my system I signed up for all the newsletters of all the parenting sites available like a perfect chump).
46 weeks!!! I repeated to myself in wonder. She'll be a year old before I know it! So I decided to do some serious introspection on whether this blog is doing justice to its raison d'etre, namely, capturing Nikki's babyhood and I've realized that if there is one area where I fall woefully short it is the updates.

I suppose ten months, three weeks and four and a quarter days is not the best time to do an 'update' update, but address this chink in the blog armor we must and I'm going to settle instead for chronicling a typical day with Nikki, given that we seem to have fallen into a rather nice routine these days. Dear God, please let me not hex myself by writing this.
Anyway, getting back, when Nikki was about five months old I set out on the path of getting her into a routine with an uncommon zeal and vigour. The well spaced out daily feeds, day time naps(we know how that went, but you can't blame me for not trying!) and evening bedtime routine were all given a valiant shot after extensive perusal of the omnipresent newsletters that were only too glad to tell me how it should be done.
It all blew up in my face of course, but you already knew that didn't you? After a few days of wiping Cerelac out of my hair at 11pm (which is when the baby was supposed to be in sweet slumber, nicely tucked in her crib) and being rudely kicked awake at 3am for a feed (which of course the baby shouldn't be demanding at all, having settled rather well into her new routine)I threw in the towel with a disgusted scheduling, schmoodling and fell back into the easy life, where days have no set pattern. And then, just like that Nikki fell into a routine! And with the exception of the occasional off day when she awakens at an unearthly hour or insists on not taking a single nap though the day, just to ensure that the old parents don't get too used to the easy life, the routine pretty much seems to have stuck on. Dear God, please let me not hex myself by writing this.

We begin the day to the sound of gentle coos and babbles if Nikki awakens with mild stirrings of hunger or more vigorous ma-ma-maas! if the hunger pangs are more pronounced, anytime between 6 to 8am. After a quick (sob!)nursing session, Nikki literally shoves me out of her face and gets on with the significantly more enjoyable activity of kicking P awake if he happens to be dozing nearby. Mission accomplished, she spends the next half hour playing with P while he gets ready for work and generally zipping around the house on all fours trying her best to get close to those fascinating objects worthy of only the most reverential pursuit: the shoe rack and the dustbin.
I try and get another nursing session in midway, more to soothe my own battered ego than anything else and am more often than not curtly told where to get off by an indignant Nikki, angry at being diverted from the riveting activity of attempting to chew the broom.

Humbled, I make Nikki's breakfast and at 9am she has her first solid feed for the day:a bowl of Cerelac with a mashed egg yolk. The twin onslaught of a well fed tummy and a feeling of tiredness, what with all the pre-breakfast activity, augurs well for the battle weary sleep fairy and Nikki takes her first nap soon after breakfast. The nap ranges for anywhere from twenty minutes on the tough days to an hour and a half on the truly blessed ones. Post nap Nikks is up and about again, so we either go down to the park for some lolling around in the sun or stay home and play with the ever growing collection of toys that is threatening to overtake our home. At noon Nikki's khichdi is served up for the midday meal and we begin the onerous task of feeding her; who wants to eat khichdi when you can instead explore the wonderful contents of the shoe cabinet? My household help S, who otherwise is remarkably competent at getting on my nerves, redeems herself each day at lunchtime by staging a (screechy, but helpful nonetheless) song and dance performance for a sulky Nikki while I quickly shovel in spoonfuls of khichdi. A bowl or two later, we're done and I plonk myself in the balcony with a well fed and content Nikki in my lap. We spend a blissful half hour in the mellow afternoon sun before heading inside for Nikki's daily massage and bath.
The massage bit is usually full of activity as Nikki rolls over as soon as she's placed on the massage mat and trots off speedily in the opposite direction, with me scrabbling around trying to get a grip on her, no easy task at the best of times and even more tricky with hands dripping with oil. The relaxing, warm bath that follows post massage is relatively easier with Nikki firmly ensconced in her bath seat (thank you Carter, how about a large bath seat for toddlers next?)and we follow this up with some fun time in her baby bathtub. Much splashing and giggling later I fish Nikki and her plastic fish and ducks out of the bath and attempt to towel her dry. I say attempt, because as soon as she's placed on the bed, Nikki does a replay of the roll over and trot off activity, protesting vehemently against all attempts at being dried and clothed. Did I mention that the bath is intended to relax Nikki to the point of sleep? Important point that, because it tends to have the exact opposite effect in Nikki's case. While sleep may be the logical next step for other babies after a massage and a bath, all it seems to do for this child of mine is make her bounce off the walls. It does have a lag effect though, for half an hour or so later we do manage to settle her down for a nap and this one usually lasts for an hour, sometimes two! Dear God, please let me not hex myself by writing this.

Refreshed yet again after all this napping, Nikki awakens to some porridge or a fruit smoothie at 4ish. Much excitement follows soon after as we wheel out the pram and Nikki figures we're going out and we make an appearance at the park amid much squealing and merry shrieking. That would be Nikki & S of course, I follow them at a respectable distance, maintaining only the highest standards of decorum. We spend some time strolling around the park and while we're at it try to bung some formula into Nikki from her new sippy cup. A few rounds of the park later we perch ourselves in a shady spot so Nikki can watch the other kids play and run around. I send my daily request to the Almighty that Nikki will start walking soon so that she and I can run around the park too, in spite of warnings from older, wiser and significantly more weary mums who insist I will look back fondly on the days before mobility descended on us. Then its time to head home again for some story telling or listening to music, before the last feed for the day followed by bedtime. Nikki has settled into the happy practice of going to bed by 8.30ish and these days is quite content to sleep though the night. Dear God, please let me not hex myself by writing this.
If P gets back before Nikki goes to bed he usually spends some time playing with her and puts her to bed himself, and we then pretty much have the evening to ourselves. This, combined with the sleeping through the night bit has significantly reduced the anti social, snappy behavior observed in these parts earlier and the 7-8 hours of sleep (hallelujah! I did live to see the day!)I've been getting has revived the rusty resolve to get back on the fitness bandwagon.

So all in all, with this happy routine we seem to have settled into, life in Nikki-dom right now is pretty darn good. Dear God,... um you get the drift right? Please let this last!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Snippety Updates

I was re-organizing Nikki's wardrobe today and I was stunned to see the number of clothes she has outgrown. All the pretty little summery sleeveless frocks that I'd packed away for later because its too chilly these days. Several bodysuits I hadn't pulled out for a while. The frilly bonnet she looks so cute in. She's outgrown them all! It broke my heart to see how tiny the clothes seem in comparison to what seems like just yesterday, when they were a tad over sized. I tell you I'm SO not prepared for the way Nikki is just growing up on me overnight. It'll just be a matter of days before she leaves home for college and I sit by the window weeping wistful tears and reminiscing about her babyhood. Sniff. Maybe I should just change the name of this blog to goodbye babyhood.


The blissful ease with which Nikki used to fall asleep on her own in Goa has become a thing of the past but the sleep struggles are a lot easier to deal with now. On most days that is. Over the last couple of nights Nikki has taken to waking up every 3-4 hours screaming blue murder. Her frantic shrieking has an instant effect; P & I spring out of bed and leap to her cotside to soothe and pacify. Except that no amount of soothing and pacifying works. Or even rocking, singing or even that erstwhile instant pacifier: nursing. After what seems like hours of walking up and down, patting and comforting, she finally nods off and if we're lucky stays that way for some time. She wakes up at 6am like clockwork of course, all bright and sunny smiles and demands to be fed and played with instantly.
We met the good pediatrician today and I hopefully asked if this night waking could be a result of teething and if there was anything we could do about it. Oh its just a passing phase, could be due to anything, some kids behave like this till they're 3 or even 4, she told P & I cheerfully, leaving us reeling in our tracks. The thought of a few more years of sleep deprivation has convinced us that some serious sleep training is probably due. Dr Ferber, here I come.
While on sleep, Nikki has figured out what methods normally work at putting her to sleep and has devised several smart stay awake strategies. Like rocking herself vigorously while nursing, or pulling her own hair while she is being rocked and the most ingenious one of all; clutching tightly at my clothes or managing to entwine her fingers with mine as I put her to sleep. It requires Houdini like manipulation to get myself un-entwined, offering ample opportunity in the process for the child to be all bright and awake again. Maybe Dr Ferber will have some tips to handle this as well.


Yesterday P & I decided we needed to be a little more adventurous and experiment with pizzas other than those of Dominoes and Pizza Hut. We'd tried Garcia's and Smokin' Joes once each in the past so we decided to go for Papa Jones. Bad decision. The pizzas tasted like cardboard cutouts with sawdust toppings. Quite surprising, considering so many of our friends had spoken quite highly about the place. Maybe they were just having an off day.

Have you noticed how the service quality of these pizza delivery guys is directly correlated to the cost? Here are a few sample conversations to illustrate:

Scenario One: Dominoes/ Pizza Hut

Delivery Guy: Good Evening Ma'am, myself Hercules (I swear that's what he said), this is your order one large chicken supreme pizza with garlic bread and cheesy dip and some extra oregano and chilly flakes and paper napkins and one copy of our menu. Thank you very much for ordering from Dominoes/ PH, enjoy your pizza, good night!
You, somewhat dazed after the verbal onslaught: Err..righto, yes, thank you, good night!

Scenario Two: The relatively cheaper Smoking Joes

Delivery Guy, gruffly: Smoking Joes Pizza. Your bill.
You, after making the payment and still impressed by the Dominoes/ PH guy: Thank You! Good Night!
Delivery Guy: Snorts and walks away

Scenario Three: the relatively cheapest Garcia's

You open the door. Delivery Chappie shoves the pizza and the bill, in that order, in your face.
You: One minute, I'll get my wallet.
Delivery Chappie: Grunt
You hand over the cash and are about to shut the door when the delivery chappie barks: Coupons!!
You: Huh?
Delivery Chappie roars: COUPONS. You have taken our Friday Special offer today because you had the discount coupons. Now Gimme!
You, scrabbling nervously in the drawer: Yes, yes one minute, here it is.
Delivery Chappie, now in a really menacing tone: This coupon has the wrong date, do you have the right coupons or not?
Thankfully you find the right coupon soon after and hand it over. Delivery Chappie grunts while you are doing the finding and finally leaves with one last menacing stare. By now the pizza is cold and you've lost your appetite anyway.
I think I'm just going to stick to Dominoes/ PH from now on. What with the lack of sleep and resulting frazzled nerves, I can do with all the politeness and friendly service I can get!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The 8 month old Big Girl

I'm convinced I'm suffering from a rather premature attack of the empty-nester syndrome. What else explains the fact that all I can think of these days is how my once helpless little bundle has been permanently replaced by a hyper active little critter with multiple arms and legs and a mind all her own.
So Nikki turned eight months old last week and its time for another one of those barmy parent updates. The idea was to wait until nine months for the next update, but so much has happened in the last two months, that I really feel the need to document it now, lest some priceless Nikki-nuggets slip my sorely sleep deprived mind!

Sleep (as always!) tops the list, being a scarce and therefore highly valued commodity. Overall we've been having better luck with the quantum and patterns of sleep, but still more often than not, the sleep fairy continues to be vanquished from Nikki-dom, cowering and defeated, as Her Majesty valiantly battles on against this most useless (in her opinion, I think otherwise!) of activities. What has changed radically though is Nikki's style of sleeping. No longer is the arms akimbo, on her back, the preferred sleep position. Instead she rolls over oh so cutely, on her side or on her tummy and covers her face with one hand a la Manoj Kumar before drifting off into dreamland. On weekday mornings as we dash in and out of our bedroom on our always ongoing, but never quite accomplished 'get P to work on time' project, the still fast asleep Nikki often opens her eyes, smiles a million dollar smile on catching sight of her beloved Daddy and drifts right back into sleep with a look of complete bliss on her face.

Which brings us to the subject of how this child of mine, whom I nurtured for nine months and gave birth to, is a complete and total daddy's pet. I cease to exist as far as Nikki is concerned as soon as P walks thru the door, and any delusions I may have of being indispensable are rudely shattered on weekends when he-who-reigns takes over Nikki-dom. But, envy apart, it's truly a joy to watch Nikki and P bonding during those precious Daddy daughter moments. Only P can make Nikki burst into squeals of delighted laughter, loud giggles and excited shrieks. And her eyes follow him around everywhere, her neck twisting and turning into previously inconceivable angles when he goes out of sight. Even feeding becomes a chore, eating away into precious time with Daddy darling.

We amble on through the land of solids, with days when feeding is an absolute delight, and I pride myself on being a cordon bleu chef so what if the fare is khichdi! And then there are days when I sit there, with a Cerelac face pack (anyone know if this stuff is any good for the skin?), feeding Nikks for HOURS as she does a detailed analysis of the surroundings between each bite and chomps her way (or sprays out, depending on the mood of the moment) thoughtfully through every morsel. And of course the days when the spraying and spitting out begins even before spoon has touched base with lips! I'm still feeding her too, but the days of long nursing sessions are long gone. And I miss them! Now its very wham-bam-thank you mum and Nikki throws herself back with a dramatic flourish, reminiscent of the Bollywood heroines from the 70's, making it very clear that she's done. Oh and breastfeeding on the go, which used to be a piece of cake with me and Nikki snugly ensconced in a stole/ shawl/ dupatta is very much a thing of the past now. The stole/ shawl/ dupatta is immediately thrown off with the same dramatic flourish, Nikki-ishtyle, and made use of to play peek-a-boo instead!

On the activity front, we are zooming towards the crawling and sitting up stage with death defying speed. A few months ago, I used to worry that Nikki didn't seem terribly interested in rolling over and was quite content playing on her back or being on her side. I needn't have bothered as it turns out. Now even two large mattresses aren't enough to contain her as she rolls, turns and creeps her way all over the place. No more can I leave her unsupervised in the center of my very large bed even for a minute, she's at the edge within the fraction of a second. And the supervision needs to be sharp too. Last night as I lay down on the bed, sleepily watching Nikki, she rolled over and scooted backwards at the speed of light. I caught her just in the nick of time.
We even had a fall off the bed recently, which was quite a scare, but no damage done. My grandma reliably informed me later that I used to regularly roll off the bed as a baby and I turned out ok. * Except for the occasional bouts of madness when the full moon is out. Ahahaha!- P*
Peek-a-boo continues to top the list of favorites as far as games go, and the love for the game has led Nikki to develop her very own variation. She hides her face with her comforter and then peeks out slyly; an adoring audience adds to the fun of course, but she can even play this all by herself for hours! I keep vacillating between waiting for her to start crawling (what fun!) and dreading it in equal measure- my limited peace of mind will be drained completely when she does, I'm sure.

Much progress has been made on the linguistic front, and my little chatterbox is displaying several signs of being a great orator as she holds forth confidently while her spell bound audience gapes on. Unfortunately her preferred time of holding forth is often 2am which is not great for us, the chronically sleep deprived. Then again, maybe the tired raccoon look will just grow on me.
I'm hoping I get some rest over the next couple of days when my grandparents (Nikki's great grandparents!),come to visit for a few days. They pretty much raised me when I was very young, since both my parents used to work, and meeting them always brings back fond memories of my childhood. With them around, its going to be a time of nostalgia and joy, a time when memories are made. Most of all I can't wait to watch them with MY little girl, while, just for a few moments, I get to be a little girl again :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nikki's first Diwali

This Diwali was really special for us as it was Nikki's first. It was also one of the few times we've celebrated Diwali at our own home, Diwali usually being a time in the past, when we would scoot off to either of the parents' homes for a much needed break from the grind. I was determined to ring in Diwali day in style, and forced a grumpy P to rise and shine at the crack of dawn, well actually more like 7am, for the traditional ubtan bath for us and the not so traditional top-to-toe one for Nikks. That done we did a small pooja at home and proceeded to decorate various nooks and corners with the collection of diyas we've acquired over the years, paper lanterns, string lights and even a traditional rangoli replete with Goddess Lakshmi's feet drawn just outside the main door. Lunch was at the parents, so we zipped off there and proceeded to gorge on the traditional spread of aloo gobhi, rajma, matar paneer, rice kheer and the not so traditional ones of cheese balls and baked vegetables contributed by my dad, a recent convert to Nigella Lawson's 'style' of cooking.

Some of my aunts & cousins had also come over so we got to catch up with them after ages. Or rather they got to catch up with Nikki, since post her birth nobody seems even remotely interested in me or P. Her Majesty was plonked down on a mattress expressly deployed for her repose and surrounded by a circle of her admirers, who then proceeded to entertain her with a variety of weird noises and facial expressions. I overheard one of my uncles wryly remark to someone that the cacophony took him back to his recent trip to the Amazon rainforest. But it was great to watch Nikki bask in all this affection, as she bestowed benign smiles at a particularly impressive cluck (the eldest aunt) or facial expression (cousin M doing her rendition of a baboon).

The love fest had to be wrapped up soon though coz we had to head back to our own place for Lakshmi Pooja. On the way back P insisted on spending the better part of an hour shopping for all kinds of ghastly crackers, and we reached just in time to light up the house and all its diyas and then do the traditional pooja. It was Nikki's first pooja but the young spitfire was way more interested in the crackers. I was a little worried she'd get scared by the noise but she was enthralled instead by the spectacular show of firecrackers on display, courtesy several society residents. As a rule I detest crackers but the thrilled look on Nikki's face as she gaped at the crackers going off, mouth all agape, made me forget my usual anti cracker rant and I found myself joining in her wide eyed joy. The noise and smoke that all those crackers were generating however killed our plans of venturing out for a stroll, so we spent the rest of the evening at home. Then Nikki sprung the big surprise of the evening by falling asleep on her own (!) and staying that way in spite of all the noise! Must've been my Diwali gift from someone up there!


P is extremely cheesed off about the fact that he didn't get to burst any of his lovingly purchased crackers and is threatening to make up for it next year, along with 'his girl' who will be a sprightly almost-two-year old by then. Time to start planning a vacation for this time next year, in a cracker free zone!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boss kaun hai, maloom hai na?

Ten reasons why, in the last couple of months, I've begun to see my ex-boss in a new light:

1. My new boss is one of the most demanding people I've ever met. I'm expected to be on call 24*7. 365 days a year. For the rest of my life.
2. My new boss keeps erratic hours.Picture this: Its 3.45 am after a long, tiring, never ending day. You collapse into bed desperately hoping for a few hours of shut-eye. Only to be awakened by an urgent call from the boss. Tough luck baby. The boss needs you. NOW.
3. As may be obvious from point number two, my new boss thinks life is too short to be whiled away sleeping. Awake and active is the boss's preferred mode of operation. Sleeping on the job is heresy!
4. Face time is very important with the new boss. You gotta be around if you want the boss to be happy. And you DO want the boss to be happy. Trust me.
5. My new boss hates structure. Or scheduling. Needless to say there's no point in my making any plans. You just have to take it as it comes and hope it doesn't blow up in your face.
6. My new boss has a unique style of communicating which I am yet to become proficient at. So I currently try to make things work through trial and error. And the boss doesn't like error.
7. Hell hath no fury like the new boss in a bad mood. The boss's expressions of displeasure are enough to peel the plaster off the walls. I work very hard to keep the boss happy all the time!
8. I used to have a life before the new boss entered into it. P used to have a life before my new boss entered his life as well. Now what's left of our lives revolves around the new boss.
9. My new boss is not toilet trained. And one of my future assignments will involve doing the needful. Sigh.
10. I'm in love with my new boss. So everything is personal, even though nothing is official.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Of this and that

One of my closest friends, D, who's in the US ( I think I now have more friends per square foot in the US than in all of India), is expecting her first baby next month and is in a tizzy over what to name the child. What has D & her husband all het up is the fact that they've been pondering about the perfect name for eight months now and are nowhere close to short listing even the top twenty. To add to their pondering woes, they need to have TWO names in mind coz they have opted to keep the sex of the baby a surprise for when D Junior makes an appearance.

Got me thinking back to the days when P & I would have given an arm and a leg (P's of course, I was expecting for crissake!), to find out the sex of our baby. Thinking back now I don't know why we were so eager to find out, but there we were. We just couldn't handle the suspense. The only way we could have found out would've been a trip abroad in the second trimester, and given both our manic work schedules that didn't seem likely. As a result P had taken to asking, what he thought discreet questions to the Hapless Sonographer (HS), whom we met every couple of weeks to check on Nikki's in-utero progress. We had already gotten off to a rather bad start with the HS, when I in my new found pregnancy enthusiasm, had bombarded him with more questions than he could handle. It was the eight week scan and according to my pregnancy book, our baby was, at this stage an embryo, and embryos have tails. Everyone knows that. So I didn't expect the HS to jump like a cat on a hot tin roof when I hopefully asked if he could show me the baby's tail and sputter that it was a 'BABY' that I was having, not a THING with a tail!

I piped down after that incident but there was no stopping P. What P lacked in discretion he more than made up in confidence, and he was convinced that he was going to 'crack the sex of this baby'! A typical appointment at the ultrasound clinic went something like this:
HS, looking petulant as images of tails emerge in his memory: So here is your baby, see these are its arms and these are the legs...
P: The arms! Is HE waving the right arm Doctor?
HS (irritated): Yes, IT is. Movement is quite common at this stage you know. Now these are the ventricles of ITS heart..bla, bla, bla...see this is ITS face...
P: Ahhhhh the face! Beautiful! Doesn't SHE have a beautiful face Doc?
HS, gnashing his teeth: Grrr..and this is ITS spine...bla bla bla...placenta bla bla...umblilical cord...
P: Ohmigod Doc! What if HE has a loop around HIS neck? We had some friends who…
HS, cutting him off with a snarl: We will TELL you if ITS anything serious! Now that's IT, all for today. Thankyouverymuch. Next patient.
P, valiantly making one last effort: Thanks Doc! So we're off to do some shopping for the baby now! Ha Ha! Maybe you could give us some advice, you know, PINK or BLUE? What should Mommy & Daddy buy?
HS, looking like he was about to bawl for HIS Mommy & Daddy: NEXT PATIENT!
I think HS aged a few years in the nine months of my pregnancy. He looked positively relieved when the time came for my last scan, bidding me farewell quite cheerfully and assuring me that I had absolutely no need to return to the clinic whatsoever. When we did return a few weeks after Nikki's birth to give him some celebratory chocolates he visibly paled and looked like he'd like to mingle with the butterflies on his wallpaper. P of course only made it worse by jovially remarking that "YOU knew it was a girl all along didn't you Doc? Ha Ha Ha!"
I tried to make up for P’s faux pas by offering some words of reassurance as we left, “Thanks for everything Doctor. We’ll only come back for our second baby now!” I didn’t really get what HS said but I thought I heard a shuddering gasp emanate from where he stood. Something tells me maybe I shouldn’t have spoken those words of reassurance after all.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blast from the past

I was a naive seventeen year old when he first came into my life. With his charming smile and deep,warm eyes he soon swept me off my feet. I began to look forward to our weekly rendezvous. I loved his easy wit and debonair charm, and the way he could handle any situation with his characteristic chutzpah. It was just a matter of time before I was headlong in love. On Thursdays, our designated weekly date, I would reschedule my life so that nothing and nobody would disturb that precious one hour with him. Those were the days! But then one day he had to leave for ever, as suddenly as he had come into my life. I was heartbroken, but there was nothing anyone could do about it. He was gone, just like that, leaving only his memory behind. I occupied myself with other things and learned to cope without him. I was nearing the end of college now and there were other mounting pressures. Time passed. I went on to complete my post graduation and got a job that I loved. I still thought of him, but less and less. Sometimes though the memories were powerful and I would get a rush of nostalgia for the old days. Along the way I met a nice boy and got married, and we had a beautiful baby girl. Life was perfect.
And then last week he came back into my life! Just like that. The door opened and in walked P...with HIM! I was dumbstruck. Of course I'd spoken about him in passing to P a few times, but I never though it mattered to him. It had never occurred to me that P would go to great lengths to track him down and bring him back. But here they were. Both of them. Of course I was happy to see him but I was worried too. Wouldn't this affect my relationship with P? What with the baby, time was always at a premium these days.

I needn't have worried. P was more than eager to get to know him as well as I did. "Switch on the TV honey!" he told me with a broad grin, " I want to meet your Remington Steele!"
And so it began all over again. P walks thru the door in the evenings and immediately starts putting Nikki to bed. As soon as she's asleep, we grab dinner and plonk ourselves in front of the TV to catch one more episode of Remington Steele. He's just as good as ever of course. Some things just get better with time :) Pierce Brosnan, younger and oh so gorgeous, teaming up with the effervescent Stephanie Zimbalist in this fun detective series is a great, anytime watch. The fact that I'm seeing it after ages makes it even better. Viva nostalgia! I just can't get enough of it! Any Remington Steele fans out there?

Monday, October 12, 2009

The way we were

There's been a disturbing story in the newspapers recently about a family in Mumbai, in which the father held his wife and daughters captive in squalid conditions and regularly tortured them for reasons that defy logic or reason. What shocked me more than the story of this family itself, was the fact that none of the neighbors of this family, or other building or society residents had done anything to help the unfortunate family, even though several were in the know of what went on in their flat. Its a sign of the times we live in I guess, where all of us are so boxed into our own worlds and lives that we've stopped connecting with each other the way we used to. I'm as much a part of this as anyone else, though I like to think I've changed, or at least I'm trying to since Nikki's birth.

Pre baby our home was mostly an overnight pit stop as both of us clocked crazy hours in our mad run on the corporate treadmill. Our friends in the society we lived in were friends we knew from elsewhere, b-school or work or somewhere else, but nobody we'd made friends with just by virtue of living in the same building for almost four years. Or even on the same floor for that matter; our neighbors always seemed rather nice but nobody had the time to socialize. I remember returning home after a party one Saturday night to a loud and merry celebration emanating from the apartment opposite; it was their seven year old daughter's birthday and the party was on in full swing. P remarked wistfully about how, in his childhood home, it was unimaginable that a child would have a birthday and the next door neighbors wouldn't be invited.

It used to be like that when I was growing up too. My dad was in the Navy and spent several months at sea. Since mom also worked, my sister and I spent a large part of our growing up years at my mom's parents who lived in the same city. They lived in a shady, tree lined Mumbai suburb, in a little society with two five story buildings. Each building overlooked a little garden overflowing with Rajnigandha plants, a tiny pond and a rock garden, meticulously tended to by the society residents. Being a small society, everyone who lived there knew everyone else and over a period of time it had become like an extended, close- knit family. All the kids had formed one large gang and evenings were spent playing hopscotch or hide and seek. Often, the younger kids were coached in badminton or chess by the elder, more experienced lot. On weekends we'd be in and out of each others houses all day, as a result of which weekend meals were always a veritable smorgasbord of cuisines covering the length and breadth of the country. Breakfast with the ground floor Tam Brams, lunch with the Bengali music lovers and high tea with the nice Catholic family who brought Enid Blyton high teas to life! Oh and a quick stopover at our Maharashtrian neighbors to sample Aunty's weekly pickle. Festivals were always great fun with everyone coming together to celebrate in style. I have fond memories of Holi especially, when celebrations would start a full fortnight in advance with all of us meeting on the building terrace every evening to plan our Holi strategy. The end objective was destruction of the gangs of kids from neighboring societies and hours were spent every evening filling up water balloons and stocking up buckets and pichkaris. On Holi day itself it was understood that we would be out of the house all day battling it out and return only post dusk, weary soldiers. My mom never worried about all this, and this was a time when there no mobiles. It was understood that as long as we were with the society kids and within the building premises, we were taken care of. Even the building watchman Makkhan Ram (yes that really was his name!)was part of this large family, cursing at us good naturedly as we'd climb the solitary coconut tree next to his watchman's hut on weekend afternoons and pelt the roof with marbles.

I think life was just simpler back then. I can't imagine letting Nikki go unsupervised the entire day a few years from now, even when she's old enough to play by herself. In fact I think, no I'm convinced, I'm going to be one of those mums skulking in the playground bushes. The milieu I live in today is very very different of course. Though I like the society I live in very much, even with its many amenities it really doesn't make up for the fact that few people here really know each other. Most relationships are superfluous, transactional at best. I would love to bring Nikki up in the kind of environment I grew up in, with a web of close relationships and people who knew each other acting like a blanket of warmth and security, always at hand. Maybe for that I'll have to go back in time. Back to the days when the lack hi tech, fast paced lifestyles were more than made up by the warmth of close relationships and the simple pleasures of everyday life.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Six months old !

It’s time for the six months up update! A little overdue yes, but I figured since one of the main purposes of this blog is to chronicle Nikki’s adventures, it would be incomplete without a recap of the last six months. So yes it’s been a little over six months since my life changed so radically and so irrevocably. Six months of watching Nikki grow from a sleepy little bundle who fit snugly in the crook of my arm to a sprightly and sleepless, but still little, cherub whom both my arms find difficult to contain as she tries (yet again) to jump out on the nearest available surface. Here are a few snapshots from the last six months in Nikki-land:
  • My social butterfly: Nikki was always a rather happy baby, smiling away pretty much from day one. Of course the doctor rather unkindly told us as we fawned over her adorable newborn smiles, that all newborn babies smile when they pass gas and not coz their parents are doing a good job. Thereby dashing any hopes we may have had of being naturally great at this parenting thing. Nikki soon graduated from the gassy smiles to smiling at the ceiling fan & lights. You’d think they were long lost friends, those fans and lights, as her face would light up and break out into a million dollar smile each time she caught sight of them. “Look Nikki!” P & I would yell, poking our respective mugs in her line of vision, “Mama! Dada! Give us a smile honey!” Only to be rebuffed for the fan or tube light, whichever happened to be closer. I soon developed an intense hatred for that ceiling fan. Lucky for it we moved soon and I didn’t get a chance to do it any damage. But soon enough, we found to our delight that Nikks was smiling at us mere mortals too! At first we would be the ones initiating the smiling, but very soon she was the one smiling at us first, and smiling all the time! First thing in the morning I would greet a sleepy Nikki and get rewarded with a big smile! Change of diaper (even the 4 am change), change of clothes, and feeding time, all brought out large grins. Playtime and bath time elicited giggles and delighted shrieks even. But the biggest smiles of all were reserved for when Daddy got back from work. A wide grin would radiate across her face as she caught sight of P and she would then proceed to smile and thump the nearest available surface with great gusto, thereby resulting in a rather endearing welcome home jig. This gregarious phase continues as I write this. Now everyone from our maids, the dhobi, and the mailman to random strangers in malls are treated to a liberal dose of Nikki’s jaadu ki smileys. And it works too! We’ve got warm smiles in return and strangers have struck up conversations, all charmed by Nikki’s cute baby smiles. I certainly hope this phase lasts for a long long time!
  • The pearly whites… are a poppin! Sometime between the completion of months five & six I noticed that Nikki’s baby teeth were gearing up for their debut. Soon enough little white buds were sprouting, first the top two front teeth, followed closely by the bottom two. Thankfully she hasn’t had too much trouble with teething (please don’t hex me dear God) yet so we’ve managed okay. A lot of people have been recommending homeopathy to avoid the teething troubles but I haven’t tried it so far, not being very knowledgeable about the entire homeopathy jig. Anyone out there reading this who can give me any advice? Is homeopathy recommended for babies to deal with minor ills like coughs or colds or teething troubles?
  • Personality Plus: Yup she’s got a personality all right! Maybe I sound like a barmy parent but I could see Nikki’s budding personality pretty much from the start- she showed strong streaks of being a go- getter, no nonsense taker, right from when she was a few days old, whether it was resisting breast feeding and insisting only on formula (those were dark days but I triumphed eventually) or showing her immense displeasure at a delayed diaper change. The nurses at Lilavati Hospital, where Nikki was born, had even coined a few terms for her: “yeh chapter hai chapter!”, “drama queen!” and “cute cutlet!” The last one is testimony to the fact that no matter how trying the episode, one killer smile from the little ham is always enough to melt anyone into gooey mush. She knows how to get her way, this one.
  • The daily half a dozen:
    • Sleep: The battle continues unabated. On some days I think maybe the combination of solids and massage plus warm bath are actually making Nikki sleep a little better (today is one of those days and that explains this long post) and on others I think I’m just deluded.
    • Eat: We plod on through the land of solids gingerly; applesauce, pureed peas & carrots and rice cereal have been conquered, khichdi is the next big milestone. Nikki’s reaction to these varies between eager slurping on some occasions to all out resistance and extreme displeasure on others. The evening feed is usually the trickiest but once we’ve filled ‘er up she does sleep a lot better at nights. It sure is messy though! Each feed calls for a fresh change of clothes and Nikki’s bib all crisp and clean at the start of every feeding session is always reduced to a soggy, limp rag at the end. And while we’re on the subject, administering the iron & calcium drops continues to be a nightmare since Nikki usually clamps her mouth tightly shut and stubbornly looks away each time. When, after much effort, I manage to coax her mouth open and shove the drops in, she unfailingly sputters it all out with brilliant fountain like effects. Both of us are going to need new wardrobes soon.
    • Bath: The little water baby continues to enjoy bath time! Nikki’s loved water since she was a newborn, surprising us at her very first bath time by being all tranquil and zen like and dipping her arms into the tub! It’s a lot more fun now since both she & I are a lot more experienced and fun props such as floating fish squirters have been introduced. She also really loves her massage and the daily massage and bath sessions still top the list of fun time bonding for me & her.
    • Play: The Papa Man continues to excel in this arena coming up almost daily with fun new tricks to entertain. Peek-a-boo and blowing stomach raspberries continue to be the favorites followed closely by pretend flying and swinging. The toy du jour is a new sing-a-long book gifted to Nikki by my friend N, which teaches numbers and animals with lots of song and music. Nikki’s also getting squirmier and wrigglier with every passing day, desperately trying to crawl and sitting up wonderfully with little support. I can see my days of relative carefree-ness drawing to an eminent close as she inches towards mobility.
    • Poo: Stinky but unavoidable, the poop tales demand telling. Since the introduction of solids, the innocent days of sweet baby poo have been replaced with rather more vile successors. Without getting into gory detail, let me just say that I still prefer just one a day of these, to the days of yore when we had eight to ten dirty diapers a day, no matter how innocuous. I reserve my right to change my mind however, as we progress along the path of still more solids.
    • Babbles continue to grow and delight! The latest addition to the ever expanding repertoire includes “kya hai” pronounced kyaaaiii, expertly tutored by P & the brother in law, and is now used all the time. Last night I was feeding Nikki as part of her bed time ritual (it works sometimes) when she pulled away with an indignant kyaaaiii!! She is now also saying mama, albeit sparingly. Guess my habit of speaking the M language (myou must’ve mlayed mhis min mschool?) is working.
So this is six months in a (rather large) nutshell since I got on to this roller coaster ride. And now as I look at my little sleeping angel with her long curled eyelashes, golgappa cheeks, tiny fingers curled into little balls and rosebud lips curved in the hint of a smile I know this is the fabbest ride I’ve ever been on!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bring on the munchies!

My little poppet completed six months last week and we decided to celebrate by feeding her that much awaited (by me!) first spoonful of solids. Opening night was slotted for Friday evening after P was done with work and we'd gotten a brand new weaning bowl n spoon set for the grand occasion. The cuisine of choice was rice cereal and the star of the show herself was all decked up in a brand new romper from Westside. Ok so maybe I overdid it a little but I was super excited at the prospect of reclaiming some part of my fast fading from memory old life back, by getting Nikki started on solids. I could barely contain my excitement all day as I impatiently waited for P to get back from work. P's younger brother who was visiting for a few days was officiating as the cameraman and obliged me by taking several pictures of Nikki, the weaning bowl and spoon, the new bib, the preparation of the rice cereal and end result thereof etc. I don't think he's going to be visiting us again in a hurry.
P finally walked through the door and we commenced with the grand ceremony. After watching me mash, re-mash and stir the rice cereal some more, then test it several times on the inner side of my wrist to check for the right temperature for about twenty minutes, P grabbed the bowl from my hands and offered the first spoonful of now pulverized cereal to Nikki. She sniffed at it discerningly, turned away her face and stuck out her tongue with a disgusted look. I felt my heart sink all the way through my feet and into basement parking level no. 2. It wasn't supposed to go like this! She was supposed to take a little taste, like the damn thing and then willingly gobble up the rest! I mean she'd been showing ALL the signs of being ready for solids for weeks now, even attempting to devour my ear/ cheek/ hand or whatever was closest when particularly hungry. Also being a great believer in divine justice I had sincerely hoped that she would compensate for her lack in the sleep department by being more than eager in the food arena. But it was not to be! I was all set to throw in the towel along with the cereal and call it a day when I realized P was far from calling it quits. He had, on the contrary, commenced his special brand of daddy biz and was entertaining Nikki with an alluring mix of funny faces, weird sounds and sing song voice all rolled into one. This distracted her enough for him to shovel a few bits of cereal into her mouth and very soon she was lapping it up! Hurray! This period of bliss lasted for precisely 2.7 minutes post which Nikki went back to her sniff-look away- "what is this disgusting goop?!" behavior but we were thrilled nonetheless. We had made a start! We celebrated by stuffing our own faces with some yummy dal makhani and making the brother in law upload the video of Nikki making her debut into semi solid land on YouTube for the aodring grand parents. Did I mention he may not be visiting again in a hurry?
Now that we've begun the journey I'm looking forward to conjuring up all sorts of culinary delights for lil Nikks. Well maybe applesauce and pureed peas don't exactly qualify for any top chef honors but we gotta start somewhere right?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A brief respite from the Vicious Vaccines

We took Nikki to the ped's today for her last shot for some time to come. Or till end November at least, which is a good two months away. Hurray! Given the fact that ever since Nikki was born we've had to give her some shot or the other almost every fifteen days, I can't help feeling hugely relieved.

Our first tryst with Nikki's vaccines (barring the ones she got immediately after birth in the hospital), was particularly nasty. Being pretty good at dealing with injections myself, I wasn't expecting to get rattled when we took Nikki for her first round of shots. In fact I even breezily remarked to P as we drove to the ped's that I hoped Nikki would imbibe the calm and fortitude that was my trademark in the face of the jabs.

All that changed when we reached the ped's. We were greeted by a multitude of wailing infants shrieking at different decibels and covering between them an impressive range of sounds and pitches. One child in particular was letting out such blood curdling yowls that I entered the room he was in to see if some form of medeival torture was in progress. Only to find that the child in question hadn't even been administered the vaccine yet. The howl he let out when the jab was actually delivered could've blown the roof off. Nikki however remained obilivious to her surroundings and was babbling away happily. Enter the ped with his retinue of two pimply faced nurses. He smirked at Nikki, happily gurgling on the couch. "She's happy now", sneered he, " she doesn't know that she's going to get a jab! Aaaahahahahaha!" "Abhi bahut royegaaaa!", said one of the pimply faced gumboils nodding in agreement. I paled visibly displaying a marked lack of afore mentioned calm and fortitude. "But but we paid for the painless vaccines!", I sputtered. "It won't be too painful for her right?" "Painless means less-pain" cackled the merry wit passing off for a paediatrician. "Aaahahahahaha!" One of the pimply faced gumboils grabbed my poor Nikki's legs and the other one her hands, and the ped swiftly delivered a jab in her little thigh. And then as she howled in pain, he gave her another one in the other thigh. It took all of my will power to stop myself from beaning the ped and the two gumboils and knocking their heads together like a couple of coconuts. The fact that P had a vice like grip on my arm, holding me back, may have also helped. The c & f now having made a speedy exit I grabbed Nikki and beat a hasty retreat. "See you soon!" boomed the ped as we left.

And soon enough it was, the next round of vaccinations was due a fortnight later. This time however I had a Plan of Action. As we entered the clinic the now familiar pimply faced gumboil slithered towards us. "This time we will hold the baby", I barked at her and she retreated into the corner. When it was time for the jab I held Nikki's legs while P made silly faces and kissed her, distracting her from the prick. And as soon as the deed was done we whipped out her favourite toy and began dangling it in front of her. Sure enough Nikki handled the shot a lot better and only cried for a few seconds, only to dimple and gurgle happily again at the sight of her toy.

After that our experience with the shots has been a whole lot better. We've also moved to a new place and now go to a different doctor who herself handles the vaccination bit rather well. For one she's the first doc I've seen who spends a fair bit of time engaging with Nikki and playing with her and enquiring after her general well being. She also remembers her name and the fact that she is NOT a boy! So all in all the vaccines are a lot less vicious these days and the c & f are among us again. I still don't like taking Nikki for her shots tho and I don't exactly look forward to these appointments with the ped. So am pretty kicked today knowing that we won't have to till November. Of course I know it'll only get worse as she grows older coz right now she remains blissfully unaware of what is to come and is easy to distract. But maybe by then I can figure out a way to pass on some of that c & f!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A babbling we will go

Its a bright and sunny Thursday morning. The Mommy Woman, newly inspired by the latest expert advice on 'how to help your baby babble' from BabyCenter, heads to the bedroom where Nikki has just woken up.

The Mommy Woman: Good Morning Nikki!

Nikki: Aaaaaaaaa! Ah-goo!

The Mommy Woman: Say good morning to Mama! Good Morning Mammmma! Maaa-Maaaaa!

Nikki smiles encouragingly but remains silent.

The Mommy Woman (undeterred): Let's try again honey! Ma Ma! Mammma! Mamamamamamaaaaaaaaa

Nikki: uhhhhhhhh PAH! PAAA! PA PA PA! Pupppah!

The man in question, The Papa Man emerges from the shower, right on cue.

The Papa Man: Smirk Smirk Smirk

The Mommy Woman: Oh buzz off! Don't you have to get to work anyways?

The Papa Man: Not before Nikki spends some time with her Favourite Person in the Whole World!

The Mommy Woman: You are NOT her favourite person in the whole world! And anyway she just babbles indiscriminately. She doesn't know what it means!

The Papa Man: Why then, pray, are you trying so hard to make her say mama?

The Mommy Woman (loftily): Coz as her primary caregiver I want to expand her repertoire of babbling! Right Nikki? Maa-Maa!

Nikki: PapapapapaPAPAPA!

The Papa Man: Aahahahahaha!


Evening falls and darkness slowly spreads her long fingers across the fading blue sky. The Mommy Woman is making one last brave attempt to make Nikki say Mama.

The Mommy Woman: Nikki look at me darling, see how my lips move? Maaaaa-Maaaaa! Mama!

Nikki (whispering softly): ppppppp pah, pah, pah

The Mommy Woman: Dammit! Oh all right say gaga then! Anything but papa. Ta ta? La La? Lalalala!

Nikki: rumble rumbe PAAAPAAA!

The Mommy Woman: Oh honey!

The Papa Man, bounding through the door: Yessss? Is my Nikki calling for her Papa?

The Mommy Woman: Yeps! She's calling for you loud and clear! Aaand she just pooped. I think she wants YOU, her favourite person in the whole world to change her nappy.

Nikki: Pa Pa!

The Papa Man: Aaaaarrghhh!


Friday morning, 4 am. The Papa Man & The Mommy Woman are deep in slumber. Li'l Nikki however seems a little restless in her crib.

Nikki: rumble rumble. Ah- goo! Paaa paaa, papapapapa, pap-pahhh

The Mommy Woman: Oh honnneyy



Friday, September 11, 2009

Sleep or the lack of it...

---seems to be the recurrent theme in our lives these days. For a 5 month old, my little Nikki seems to get by on a lot less sleep than I had expected! When I was a blissfully ignorant mum-to-be, I had full faith in all the pregnancy tomes I read which assured me that all babies in the first year of life spend most of their time sleeping. At 5 months baby will need 13-15 hours of sleep a day, they said, 10 of these at night and the remaining spread into 3 one hour naps of an hour each. Three one hour naps of an hour each! Bah! Nikki does adhere to the three naps a day rule, only the naps are not more than 15-20 minutes each, maybe 25 if I really get lucky! And the amount of time and effort it takes to get her to take that darn nap in the first place is probably harder than training for a marathon!

It all begins when I first notice the classic signs of sleepiness: crankiness, ear pulling, eye rubbing. Gleefully I pounce on Nikki and begin rocking her gently, hoping that she'll nod off quickly. No Siree! As soon as the li'l munchkin realizes that all this gentle rocking is designed to pack her off to the land of nod she fights back with a vehement protest. First comes the grumbling and crankiness: How dare you?!! I want to PLAY! NOW! I ignore this and carry on rocking. When she realizes this ploy isn't working she bounces back with killer smiles, adorable goos & gaas thrown in with a few pa-pa-pa's (the latest addition to the babbling repertoire) and desperately tries to engage with me. Woe betide me if I ever give in. Endowed with a fresh spurt of energy she gets all wriggly and squirmy and tries to jump out of my arms. So I ignore this display of affection and carry on rocking. Then she deals the trump card: pretending to be hungry and trying to suckle. This is a tough one. I have to use all my finely honed mothering instincts to second guess her and figure out whether she really is hungry (you BAD mother you!) or if this is just an act. More often than not its the latter. Which I find out when I give in to the guilty mom conscience hard-wired in my brain and try to latch her on only to get spurned by a fit of giggles. And then begins the rocking all over again.

Sometimes she even starts singing, cooing actually, in a desperate attempt to stay awake. All of this while her eyes are literally drooping with sleep and she's blinking hard to force them open. Very adorable actually if I hadn't been so sleep deprived! Finally after many manic minutes of zombie like rocking, when I'm all ready to crash myself, her eyes FINALLY begin to close! This doesn't mean its all over of course. There are still many more minutes of rocking left to ensure she goes into deep sleep, thereby enabling the seamless transition from arms to crib. And once put down in said crib there is always that dreadful moment when she opens her eyes, stretches, looks well and truly awake and gives me a smile; hey there Ma, wanna give it one more shot?

If after having been put down, she stretches, sighs and carries on sleeping, I breathe a sigh of relief and totter out of the room on tiptoe, a skill I have mastered since Nikki''s birth. Some me-time at last! For 20 minutes at least. Coz as soon as those blessed 20 mins are through I am summoned to the bedroom with some ga ga ga, ah-goos by a bright eyed, super active all- over- again baby, newly rejuvenated by her power nap.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First time here!

I've finally done it! After months of wanting to write a blog I am finally writing my very first post. Yippee! I'd always meant to start a blog after the birth of my daughter who is now five months old ( I know its shameful, but I am truly the Queen, no make that Empress of procrastination), to chronicle the wonderful journey that is motherhood, but just didn't get down to it till today. Well better late than never as that wise saying goes. And to justify the delay, oh all right, to save some face, I had also moved cities soon after her birth so that was two BIG life changes and it was tough coping. Which is when all the wonderful blogs I've been reading for some time now stepped in like old friends and made up for the feelings of loneliness and being overwhelmed in a new city as a new mum.

So am very very happy that I am now actively participating in this exciting blog world and not just being a passive reader :) This blog is meant to share my journey with my baby girl as we discover life together with baby(hers) and mommy (mine) steps. Oh and while we're at it we're also going to have loads of fun and hopefully make some friends!