Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I knew I shouldn't have watched that infernal saas-bahu soap with the MIL earlier that day, they always have a melodramatic rub off on my less than stellar Hindi speaking skills.
Finally it was over and we quickly bathed Nikki, dressed her scalp with a touch of Dettol and some BoroPlus as recommended by the MIL and rocked her to sleep, before breathing a sigh of relief that the ordeal was finally over. That night as I passed Nikki's cot on my way to bed I felt a sudden pang as I caught sight of her; she didn't really look too different, just very vulnerable and tiny and lost with her hair all gone. But the next morning, once our sprightly little imp was awake and back in mischief filled action, we found that the new look suits her, she looks rather like a cute baby Zoozoo :) And now I can look forward to her hair growing back and using that collection of baby hairclips and braid bands and cute all-girl hairstyles and....oooh someone stop me before I metamorphose into that coconut oil bottle wielding amma from the Garnier ad running after her daughter for the daily champi!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
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!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Anyway, moving on, I thought I'd regale you with an account of what I've been up to in my last month of babyhood. Coz next month on, I'm all set to join the tantalizing toddler brigade, wooo hooo! I thought I'd begin by telling you all about the supreme oratory skills I've honed over the last one month. My superior linguistic abilities are lost on The Mommy Woman of course who insists on reducing my prowess to mere drivel with nick names like my 'cute little chatterbox'. Bah! There are other such embarrassing monikers too. Like the other day when we got into a cab and she insisted on referring to me repeatedly as her 'golu molu'. So much so that the goofy cab driver asked her if my name was Golu Molu!! The ignominy of it all! Anyway I got my own back by chewing the cab's rather nice looking, brand new upholstery, that had the desired effect on the two of them. Golu Molu indeed!
Speaking of chewing, I've been doing a lot of that lately. It seems to satisfy those sharp white things sprouting in various places in my mouth,that are causing me severe discomfort, especially at night. The Mommy Woman and Papa Man stay up with me trying to comfort me, but they haven't been doing a very good job so far and all this lack of sleep is beginning to make me cranky. The lack of shut eye hasn't seemed to dampen The Mommy Woman's enthusiasm for the sharp white, objects though; each new arrival is greeted with excited squeals and much poking and prodding around in my mouth. These days she has taken to shoving a cold, rubbery green thing in my mouth with loud cries of 'Chew Nikki chew, its a teether!', quite unlike the 'No No Nooo' that greets me whenever I'm peacefully chewing the bathroom mat or the carpet. Of course I will have none of this high handed behavior. Nobody tells me what to chew, and I make sure that rubbery green thing gets nowhere near my mouth!
I've been having great fun ever since I discovered I can get around everywhere using my hands and knees. It looks tough but there's nothing to it really, you just propel yourself forward using both hands and knees, moving them faster for increased speed. No more lying around on that boring play mat watching the ceiling, with the only change of scene happening when you roll over. Now I can zip around all over the house! I even play peek-a-boo with The Mommy Woman sometimes, hiding behind the couch so she can come find me. It helps keep her occupied. And then there's the fun playtime when The Papa Man comes back in the evening, we zip around from room to room chasing each other till I can barely keep my eyes open and then The Papa Man puts me to bed. Hey wait-a minit! Its a PLOY to get me sleepy, that tricky bugger! Wait till he gets back tonight, the slippery eel. Do I have a surprise for HIM, I'll stay up all night a-ha-ha-ha!
The other fun thing I like doing is rolling over and crawling off at top speed. I don't do this all the time though, just for select occasions. Like diaper changes. Or massages. Or clothes changing time. Great fun. Even more than the exhilarating feeling of freedom, is the effect it has on The Mommy Woman. No wait, actually its even more fun when she takes of my diaper to clean my bum and I put my hand straight into all the poop. Boy does that send her into a tizzy! She tried pulling a fast one on me initially by putting something in my hand to distract me, but I saw through that soon enough. I don't think she was terribly pleased when I shoved my hand along with her favorite lip balm into the poop.
Moving on to more fun things, my favorite time of day is when we go to the park, mostly in the evenings. I get all excited whenever the door to our appartment is opened and we step out, but sometimes its just to wave goodbye to other people who're leaving which is most disappointing. I so love going out myself! Evenings in the park are even more fun because I get to meet my friends, other people my own size. We even talk the same language and I have great fun babbling with my pal A and riding around the park in my pram. It'll be even more fun when I start running around, The Mommy Woman tells me. Hah! Little does she know. Anyway, at least she won't feel bad about missing her gym session then, I'll make sure she does enough running around herself.
My favorite place in the house these days is the kitchen. That's the best place to scan the ground for interesting looking things, take my word for it. Why just yesterday, I found a large red thing which crackled each time I pressed it! Mirchi Mirchi! The Mommy Woman screamed and made a big fuss about washing my hands after that, which I quite enjoyed too. I'm quite a water baby and love splashing around at bath time in my tub. I even have a book which The Mommy Woman reads to me at bath time. It really is about time she got me some new books though. I mean story telling is great fun but how many times can you listen to the same stuff over and over again? I've been trying to tell her as much by flinging away the old regulars that we read every day with a look of great disdain, and she finally seems to be getting the hint. She was telling The Papa Man something about getting me new books last evening. I hope they get me something interesting. Maybe something about 'How To Stay Awake, Seven Straight Days In A Row And Keep Your Parents That Way Too'. I have been doing a decent job of it for the last two nights, but then this pain with the sharp white things gets in the way and spoils the fun a bit.
Ooh here comes The Mommy Woman now with that sinister 'time for a nap' look in her eyes. Now that's something I detest! I try my best to wriggle and wail out of The Mommy Woman's grasp but she can be a real Nazi sometimes! Best to lie low for a bit, maybe she'll forget about napping. Specially if I coo and give her one of my sweet baby smiles, that usually does the trick.
Catch y'all later then, gotta go now before I'm packed off to the cot. Drop me a line or two if you'd like me to come by more often. The Mommy Woman has been threatening to do one of her long, rambling, sentimental posts to commemorate my first birthday next month but I can come back after that if you like. I should be able to manage it, given that I plan to keep her busy with learning how to watch me walk. Until then, buh-bye!
Monday, February 15, 2010
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!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
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 :)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
In other news, I had a mastitis scare over the weekend. Thankfully it was just a clogged milk duct and went away on its own in a few days time, after loads of nursing and warm showers. The timing sucked though, I had a wedding to attend on Sunday and being in terrible pain I went around greeting all and sundry with a horrible glassy smile plastered on my face. I think I single handedly managed to save the bridal party a fair bit of moolah; the sight of me must've ruined the appetite of a lot of people for sure, causing them to beat a hasty retreat before lunch. Sigh, there go all my la-di-dah notions of being one of 'em yummy mummies.
And in other nastier news I espied a rat in my home yesterday. A rat. A RAT. In MY home. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhh!! Now don't get me wrong, I'm usually pretty good at dealing with this stuff. Like cockroaches. Pish tosh! Long live the pest control guys! Or lizards. P is a great lizard evictor, he shoos them out quite regularly outta the apartment and into the elevator to go forth and explore fresher territories. Or mosquitoes even, I was on back slapping terms with them in our old apartment in Bombay (hail All Out!). But rats? This is the first time in six years of playing house, that I've had to contend with this menace. I spent the first half of the day raising hell for my help and turning the house inside out. I mean I have OCD when it comes to keeping the house clean, so there had to be something wrong here. My maid, who still hasn't figured out how to put Nikki to sleep and is therefore not among my favorite people at the moment, redeemed herself greatly by picking up a broom and venturing forth bravely in search of the rodent. Eventually we figured out that the rat is probably a resident of the drying area in the flat directly above ours and was probably just dropping by to check out new locations. Even so, there was always the possibility that it could make this aimless wandering around a habit. Then what? Naturally, I've resolved to deal with this sticky situation with my characteristic calm and fortitude.
I'm thinking, a couple of months at my mum's while P figures out how to make these parts rodent free?
Thursday, October 22, 2009
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
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.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
- 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.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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
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
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!
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
The Papa man: AAAAAARRRGHHHH!