Friday, July 13, 2012

Ayan Adventures Part III: The World Here I Come!

The last two months have been quite exciting indeed. I now have much more control over my arms, fingers and thumb, with the effect that I can not just grasp but also pick up things, move things from one hand to another, and my favourite pastime…the TASTE test! I am so flexible now that I can even put my toe in my mouthJ And I can role from tummy to back and vice versa. Hold on Mom Dad I am not going to be a gymnist :P 

I need some help to sit up, but once I am up, I can manage to be up for upto 15-20 minutes. I am trying to learn how to balance myself so I need to be surrounded by some pillows, so cushy and comfy! The world looks so different now. I can see other people eye to eye and play with all sorts of toys.

When I wake up in the mornings I love going to the balcony and watching all sorts of vehicles from a bicycle, motor bike, cars, trucks, airplanes (yes I can hear that far, surprised huh?).

I love classical the most as that was played in my cot mobile. Now when I wake up in the morning and my folks are still sleeping, I just lay in my cot and play by myself. The other day I was just shaking my arms and voila, the music started playing! My mom was so surprised she got up and shut the music with the fond hope that I will go back to sleep. Sorry momL I gave it one more shot and I did it AGAIN! Vow what a great feeling!

Mom started her work on 1 May, but she goes only half day. Rajjo didi and Nani are great fun and so she is back before I know it! Sometimes Pa also plays with me in the mornings and goes to office late. Does he really have to go to officeL My mom leaves milk for me and since we jointly gave up the bottle during my nursing strikes, I started drinking from a spoon and just last month I graduated to a silver glass. Not the training sippy cup for those baby babies who do not know what to do! A proper silver glass! And it was a special gift from my Vijay Dada, oh what foresight he had:) I am way ahead of my timeJ I am still figuring out how to drink more and drip less but I think its really nice that I am being given the space and chance to learn by trial and error!

I had many visitors as well. My lovely Moni Masi and Mimi didi came back to visit me and I could hear them from a mile away! Playing with Mimi I realized how much I enjoy looking at similar sized humans. Another favourite visitor was my Cris uncle. He is the only one who played fondly with my toes again and again and again! My toes miss the tickling Cris Uncle, come back and tickle them.J 

Two big days came. On mothers day, my Pa changed my poopy diaper for the first time, got my mom lovely flowers, a HUGE card and also took colour impressions of my feet on the front door (a bit annoying for me PaL) On fathers day, my mom got my Pa a magical mug with a lovely photo of Pa and me. Now every time Pa has tea/ coffee I magically appear in front of him. I finally have gotten lovely high chair and I cannot wait for my culinary exploration to start. Thanks Rohi Masi:) 

I complete six months on 6 July and to celebrate all of us go to the hills to beat the Delhi heat. My first train ride, yippee!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ayan Adventures Part II: Discovery and Exploration

The second two months of my life had ups and downs. I slowly begin to realise that this is life!

Playtime became more and more fun. There are many more things to see  other than the ceiling and the fan and my cot mobile!!!! I discovered the fun tunnel gym which my Jyot Kaki sent. I could see myself in a mirror (at first I thought that was another baby, and then I realised, hey that's just me, someday I would have to understand how that works!), kick this cool ball and shake different types of rattles. My cool swing was fun too, at first I was baffled at how it could move on its own! Thanks Rohi and Nidhi Masi for your thinking and foresight and getting this swing three years ahead of my time:) The wonderful thing called motor and batteries! It makes many more things move in this world, apparently! The best was how I scared shankar mama with artificial cries and poo poo:P

I finally started going somewhere besides the hospital! I started with the park in my pram. How nice to be pushed around:) There are so many many many colours, shapes, moving things, non moving things out there! So many types of trees, plants and flowers. The flying birds, the barking dogs, the running squirrel! So many of those noisy moving things that carry people that competed with my road to the park! Terrace time was fun too. Things looked so different from that angle. It was also refreshing to see humans of sizes closer to mine though I did not like them so much at first.

My first trip to my Dad's office was not so fun. My mom took me at a bad time, I was hungry and sleepy and all the people at the office just surrounded me as if I was E.T.! Sorry Pa do not take it personally. I will come back soon with a better mood! The same way the first trip to my Rohi Masi house in Gurgaon. The car was burning hot and it was too short a time for me to get comfortable. I redeemed myself on the second trip though!

I developed a bit more control of my body. I was able to move my hands and feet VOLUNTARILY! I loved eating my forefinger. As my tummy time increased, I was able to push myself forward slowly. Oh that first time took some effort and my folks just kept fumbling with the camera! Hmmph!

I must discover what is this mysterious "M" on my clothes! I have all these jerseys talking about these "ball"games with this "M"! My Jyot Kaki has a cool taste in clothes and I think she will be in charge of my future wardrobe! 

I also was able to get some sounds out of my mouth (not just my ass!). I tried to vary it a lot to make people understand what I wanted, but alas, utter confusion. I was fed when I wanted  sleep, I was made to sleep when I wanted a change of scenery, I was given a new toy when I wanted to eat! Oh so frustrating it was! But now slowly they are getting a hang of it.

I met many many more people. My pinky masi, gaurav masa and prnu bhai came to meet me all the way from Aussieland, which is really really far away! My Dilip Nana and Geeta Nani also came to play with me. Dilip Nana's staring at the moving hanky was a fun new game for me and it improved my concentration:) My sweet sweetu mass made a special stop in Delhi, I was so happy that I was on my best behavior:P

This was a difficult time for me and my mom. Somehow it was hard for me to take her milk directly. I was on a nursing strike! I started getting her milk in a bottle, which was much easier and faster so I naturally liked it better. But turns out I get my stubbornness from her! Slowly and slowly we somehow managed to work it through. The bottle was switched by a silver spoon. Fancy, huh! I cooperated:) It was also the time she had to decide about going back to work, so I understand why she was stressed. MOM, you need to RELAX! Things work out in the end, trust me! And they did thanks to her cool boss:p I must thank him some day!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ayan Adventures Part 1: Entry and Orientation

Hello, I am Ayan! On the occasion of my half year birthday, I thought maybe it is a good moment to capture my life's story so far.

I was born in Delhi, the city of extreme weathers. From the thunder and rain on the day of my arrival to the chilly winter winds and now the sweltering summer. My mom's belly was very consistent weather wise, so getting used to this will take some time:) Fortunately for me, my nana chose the best possible place for me to be born and aside from my mom's deafening screams it was a great welcome in the world. From my happy doctor to friendly nurses who cuddled and cleaned me up to the yummy first milk I got to eat (they must have fed my mom really well!). My pa held a small baby like me for the first time but it sure did not feel that way! My loud moni masi is also hard to forget. She was there in my early days and i crown her the unbeatable burping queen! She knew just when to pick me up and make me feel better:) Rohi masi rushed all the way from gurgaon and I remember her wide grin and her super white teeth:) I even got a little taste of formula milk, not bad, but no comparison to the natural source:)

After three mostly sleepy days, I came home to my nana nani's house. It felt really cold at first and it must have been really really big because even though I rarely left the house, it felt like I was taken for long walks of many micro miles! Sandip Kaka also came to visit me but everytime he came to play with me I was in my dreamland!

There are so many things I liked there: the variety of sounds I heard sometimes soothing, sometimes rocking, sometimes with music in the background, sometimes just melodic voices, some sounded very familiar too! (I guess my mom used to play the same sounds when I was inside.); the lovely car trips in the sun where I would be basking almost in the nude; the morning playtime with my nani; my daily massage and bath ritual with all sorts of liquids; the rhythmic back patting on the pillow to help me sleep. I remember the first time I was able to see and hear my cot mobile, oh, how it moved, its novelty has still not worn off:p; my Pa telling me about his day at his exciting office!

I have heard that babies my age pretty much eat, poop and sleep for the first few months. Well of course I did the eating and pooping but I cannot understand how one can sleep when there is so much to see, hear, do and feel! But it is not all that good, let me tell you. Firstly what is with all the people and the weird faces they make when they see me? I had little control with any part of my body, well except my mouth! Even there, a smile will sneak out when I would least want to and hold behold the adult holding me would have a proud moment mistakenly patting their back for their excellent baby playing skills! Guys, don't you know that its just a REFLEX!! Hmmm.what to do. Apparently all rational goes out of their heads the moment they see a bundle like me. 

Lying on your back can be quite boring especially when you are wrapped up in hundreds of layers. Did you not listen when the doctor said, only ONE more layer more that you?? Thankfully the layers came off as the temperature went up! In the poop department, luckily for others I would make a big announcement at the time of incoming, so I would be promptly placed down and allowed to do my big job in peace. Thank you:)

I loved being held and carried of course, but there were times that I wanted to just by myself. I think I have got this from my Pa. Rajjo didi gently reminded everyone of my right to be left alone once in a while. A right I fully exploited as my awesome muscles now show:) And after a round of exercise, a scrumptious meal would be ready and waiting for me.

One area where I kept everyone on edge was my erratic sleep! Now I understand the value of a good night's sleep. But at that time, my system was just not designed to sleep the same way every night. I would wake up, sometimes because I was too hot, sometimes I was too cold, sometimes I was hungry, sometimes I had pooped, sometimes I was JUST NOT SLEEPY! Though they would tried to keep me company there were times they just left me by myself. My pa would patiently carry me to sleep for hours in the middle of the night while my mom caught up on her sleep. Slowly I soon realised night time was quite boring and now I mostly sleep through it. A good strategy indeed!

There was one more voice I remember very well. Not just because it was so sweet and soothing, but because soon after I heard that voice, my mom would be in her best mood EVER! And that meant that I got good milk, so in my own self interest, I would go off to sleep whenever that lovely voice came over! Turns out, it was HER massage time!

I was too small to hold so my nana who took me in his sturdy steady arms much later. It was worth the wait! Now he holds me comfortably and swooshes me in the air as I push down on his stomach:)

As we all prepared to live for my own home towards my second month, I achieved a major milestone, I magically turned! My nani and mom almost screamed in wonder and luckily captured this historic moment.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New mom essentials

Tv channels with sub titles (so you can catch up on all favourite shows without disturbing the baby)

Smart phone with headphones (so you can catch up on news, movie releases, listen to interesting talks, your personal email, fb + listen to radio + remember imp dates + do your banking + online shopping + plan holidays + lots of baby apps to make you feel less guilty :) Feeding time adds up to about four hours in twenty four. Unless you have innate ability to be in a state of relaxed sleep (enough to feel rested but not deep enough that you dose off and wake up surprised to see a bundle in your arms) which I never did, such devices are a super blessing.

Older window ac loud enough to drown out outside noises (dogs, vehicles, fruit wallah) or inside noises like your partners snoring:p

Cute paediatrician that makes you look forward to the routine doc visits

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some reflections

Ayan will be six months in a couple of weeks! How time just flew! It seems that I had just found out I was pregnant, that I had just gotten admitted to the hospital and that he had just come into the world at the bellowing of the thunder and rain.

First things first! I managed a natural birth WITHOUT an epidural! Those who know me know what a low threshhold of pain I have. So ladies, if I can do it, ANYONE can! Of course, I could have punched my doctor to continue to poke me even after Ayan was born and it is ironic how someone telling you to breathe can make you want to kill yourself:P I remember asking the doctors where my pain relief was and they kept stalling. The funniest was Parth asking me, "should I ask them to do an operation?" In hindsight I am happy that I did not take it, it just exponentially increases your desperation in pushing the baby out!

Here is what else helped: some months of yoga, knowing what is happening to me, constant supply of glucose water, soothing music in the background, discussing some work problem to solve and the BEST, a calm birth partner who would not leave your side even to pee or your hand to wipe his bucket of sweat off!

Looking back at these months and having read ooldes of literature on babies, we realise now there were so many different type of choices to think about. My sister's one liner on parenting: life onwards with a baby will be about making choices and decisions as small as picking a sweater to deciding what school to send them to..and you can never shake of that feeling of uncertainty and confusion on whether you made the right choice! While some we had thought about and were clear about what to do, others we came to along the way...
  • to use a bottle for feeding or a spoon or a cup: I never really gave this a second thought, just assumed bottles it was. But it took Ayan's repeated rejection of my milk for a few weeks for course correction! The literature I read also said that the muscle development and oral hygiene also trump the decision against the bottle. Now he happily takes milk with a spoon and we do not have to worry about kicking the habit of the bottle.
  • to use formula or my milk: Ayan took formula maybe 3 times till now. The first time was at the hospital when he just would not stop crying even after I kept feeding him! Later it was when I was sick and the third I had to go to a wedding and I could not express milk just before I left! But I decided later that I would stock up atleast one expressed feed in the fridge for emergencies and no more formula. Aim is to feed Ayan my milk as long as it works for both of us.
  • to use nappies or diapers: Given he was a winter baby, diapers it was! But I also bought as assortment of cloth nappies and from about April onwards we tried using different things at different times. My nanny is already trying to get him to pee in the basin atleast few times a day! (warning: initial use of diapers did make us become a bit lazy to start cloth nappies..the assurance of no wetness was bliss!)
  • should Ayan sleep with us or in the cot: we had decided that Ayan would sleep in the cot from the beginning because we wanted to have him get used to sleeping on his own (the "real" reason: we were too scared that we would crush him should he sleep with us) 
  • carry the baby in our hand or wear a sling: I read about attachment parenting much later and it was interesting to read how "babywearing" had become a fad in the West after they had observed how Eastern babies were raised so naturally while being "worn" with their mother! At the same time, we let Ayan play a lot on his own from day 1, so he loves to stretch and flail his arms and legs!
  • feed on demand or on a schedule: We let Ayan lead the way here..initially he would feed often and even now its not always every three hours..but he has standardized at 6-7 feeds in 24 hours
  • use a pacifier or continue comfort sucking: Oh how close I came to giving him a pacifier! Some of the literature I read praised its use and said it was no so bad given you used it in a certain way! But in the end, we managed without.
  • sleep train the baby or allow the rational sleeping pattern to emerge spontaneously: some parents begin sleep training at a few weeks while it is recommended to start at about 4 months. The most interesting thing I discovered in my research: the no of professional sleep consultants in US:p
  • etc.....
We don't know whether we made the right choices yet, but the good news is that even with wrong choices, like with the bottle, baby's habits can be changed! And across the board this was the bottomline: babies are babies only for a year. Love them, snuggle them, hold them as much as you and they like. Key takeaway for me from the research: the best I could do for Ayan is to understand his temperament, his needs and behaviour and and respond to him accordingly. The rest would be ok!