Thursday, March 31, 2005

karmickids

karmickids

Long time no write

Back to the normal routine at home, nothing new to report. Brat is sleeping noticeably less back again. In fact, he goes to sleep at around 12.30 am or 1 am and is up bright and early by 7.30 am, all set to wreak havoc on us his poor minions. On Saturday, March 26, which incidentally also happened to be Holi, we went off to attend our first birthday party. The birthday boy on this occasion was Yuvraj Naik, spirited kid of Rano and Neeraj Naik, dear friends--Neeraj being hubby's college bum chum and Rano, a sensible fellow Cancerian with whom one shares the occasional lunch and home-work crisis issue. A well organised party despite Rano being a working mom, a spotless home, and lots and lots of guests. And brat refused to socialise, spending the entire evening speaking loudly into his father's mobile phone, looking to swing doors that could move and, worse, standing like a puppy in front of the airconditioner. The only time he displayed anything resembling social skills was when one very cute girl, a little older than him, entered in a satin frock with pink satin roses. Told you before, this guy takes after his father in his appreciation of the fairer sex. Gonna have my hands full. Similiarly at the playground the other day, he took it upon himself to make introductions with a cute one yearold baby girl, just about learning to walk and a little shaky at that. Introductions comprised a shove and a jab at the eye. Much embarassed, I dragged him away to safer pursuits like kicking the ball, a game which comprises me kicking the ball and shouting loudly "kick the ball" while he continues doing his own thing. His most recent obsession is with his car, a nice bright yellow noddyish version, which he uses as feeding chair, short nap zone, tv watching armchair, and nice place to doze off at night. His favourite way of sitting in it, is to go right to the bottom on the floor, and have his head poking through the little space between seat and wheel. Notice I donot make any mention of him driving his car because his feet dont yet reach the pedals. But he knows the wheel action exactly and toots the horn rather well. Thankfully, it is broken and our eardrums are safe.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Projectile vomiting

No, not the sort that was made famous by a little girl called Linda Blair in a film called the Exorcist, but more mundanely with a little boy called Krish, in a home called Gokul. This occured last evening after a desperate effort to get some milk into a hyperactive body which wouldnt stay still long enough for the milk to settle down. Sure enough, five minutes after the bottle was half way empty, waaaaaack and return challan of the entire lot, thank you very much. There is something about seeing your kid vomiting that sets your nerves on edge. You can take fever, diarhhea, cough and cold and all other assorted childhood ailments, but vomiting is something that really convinces you that immediate hospitalisation is essential. But thankfully, this time round, the stomach settled itself and brat was back at play, and ogling semi nude dancers in music videos in ten minutes flat.
In his entire life span thus far, 17 months down the line, Krish has vomited exactly four times. The first time in the car where he brought up an entire days worth of food and had to be rushed to Nanavati pediatric, the second time again in the car where the jerking of the car combined with gu gu intake resulted in an uneasy stomach, the third at home, and the fourth yesterday. Perhaps thats why my stomach turns everytime his stomach turns. Admire those mothers with nerves of steel who calmly go about measuring out exact doses of medication, my hands are more jelly than the blob at such times. Moral of the story, donot feed kids when they dont want to be fed, they are bound to give it all back to you. And yes, most of it will get into your hair and smell real bad. Curdled milk smell does not make for a great aphrodisiac.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

No neenu

No neenu. This is what brat stated clearly last night at 3 am as he continued to play horsey with the carpet. Meanwhile, I unglued eyelids and tried a combination of gu gu and rocking and godi godi and lullabies to no avail. So we played till 3 am, until we couldnt stand coherently and lay ourselves down on the carpet while still twirling a mobile into eternal dizziness. No neenu went into dreamland and mommy lay herself down too, thankful for the chance to catch some elusive shut eye. An hour later the alarm sounded for gu gu. This continued through the night. Then bright and early at the ungodly hour of 8 am (considering neenu happened at 3 am), we awoke bright and chirpy and ready to open as many doors as we can, and get into the lift as often as we can for the ride of our lives. A very sleepy mamma tried tapping us back to sleep to no avail. Then MTV and Salman Khan came to the rescue.
Flashback: Last evening was a trip to the supermarket and all the attendant horrors. Tantrum throwing, crankiness, insistence on being carried in the arms even though a perfectly comfortable trolley was around, and throwing superior glances at other toddlers in the same age group who were naive enough to be conned by parents into sitting peacefully in the trolley, leaving parents free to shop with both hands unoccupied. The grandmother, who hitherto always insisted that I complained too much, reached home from this singular shopping experience with acute tiredness and a headache. "Cant go shopping with this fellow" she groaned as she collapsed into the nearest armchair. Drained of all energy after the trip (this was despite having driver to tote groceries and car to tote self and brat) no effort was made to venture into kitchen to cook up a dinner and pizza was ordered as compensation for the exertion. This week has been one rough week on the waistline. Next week one diets again.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I Do do

Last night, brat used a new word. "Do". In all its simplicity, the word do, was said while standing in a corner, straining to make potty. The connection? I am the one who tells him to "Do" when he is trying to "Do". It is below his dignity to do sitting on the potty. Do has to be done at intervals between rambling around the house and finding corners to grab onto for support. Potty training is a battle ground between me and brat. Add to this the chronic constipation that plagues him at times, and I spend most of my days praying to all the gods that he passes a soft motion and doesnt really have to struggle as in childbirth to empty his intestines. To get back to do, having done, he looked at me quite pleased with himself and repeated distinctly, do, again.
From a repertoire of words which includes mum mum, interchangeably for both food and me, papa and baap for father, and gu gu give for give me milk, and give it to me now, this new addition has me much excited. His contemporaries are giving self introductions and this young man has no vocabulary to boast of yet, making me feel rather tense about language and speech development delays and whether this has any connection with convulsions and hypoxic insult to the brain as seen on his MRI scan. But do has given me new hope and I push forth with renewed vigour. This is your finger, this is your nosey, this is your toe, this is your stomach. And he smiles and touches his nosey, with his finger, when I say finger. Okay, he's got that half way right.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

At last, perchance to sleep

For the first time in one and a half years, I have slept through the night. This joyous occasion has been effected by the sheer pleasure of staying over at my mom's place. And mom, being the angel that she is, voluntarily offered to handle the night feedings of brat. Can someone please let me know why is it that after downing an entire bottle of gu-gu at close to 11 pm, does the brat have to get up on the hour through the night for more gu-gu? How can the stomach take so much gu-gu? And this after a hearty dinner of egg, khichdi and french fries, which would knock out a lesser stomach till breakfast the next morning. Anyway, so there I was glorious in slumberland, with not an ounce of guilt pangs at all, as brat woke and howled for his gu-gu. And having got gu-gu, settled back into blissful slumber where he no doubt went into dreamland with umpteen glass doors to close and open as per will, with no stern mama wagging disapproving finger and shouting, "No Kishi, no. Bad boy." Also, I have woken at 10 am on a Sunday. 10 am, do you realise dear reader is a time I haven't seen with just awoken eyes since I was joined in holy matrimony some nine years ago. Just proof of how sleep deprived I have been. Anyway, now having caught up on sleep and much needed beauty treatments (read as hairdye to cover increasingly alarming quantities of grey hair) am refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Just how long will night feedings continue? Experienced mommas tell me he should have been done with night feedings before he turned one. 17 months now and three times a night is still normal. On particularly cranky nights we can go through half hour breaks between little feedings. I'm still waiting for the elusive all night sleep pattern to happen, so I can sleep too. Till then...yawn, yawn, I grab my snoozes in the car on the way to work. If I can.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Going to nana's house

This afternoon me and pint size parcel go for a week or so to my mother's place. The process of going to someone's house is never as easy as it sounds. For one there is the packing to be done. In the good old days, hubby and I would pack all we needed for a fortnight long vacation in one small holdall, and this included clothes for the road, for the beach and for the disco. And one rarely repeated an ensemble. And in the even better old days when we were young and adventurous and hadnt had too many accidents, we would decide in the dead of the night, lets drive down to Goa. Throw things into a bag and off we went. Total time spent packing: 2 minutes. Lets drive down to Bangalore: Total time spent packing: 5 minutes. Lets drive down to Madras. Total time spent packing: 5 minutes. Believe you me, we've done this drive down to ends of the country thing many many times. I know the NH4 like the back of my hand. And we would survive out of one single zippered tote. The two of us. Cut to the present. My mother's home is 10 minutes away on the other side of the East West railway divide in the same suburb and I need the big car for its wider boot space to take the luggage. One basket of home clothes. Another bag of outing clothes. One bag for towels blankets and the like. Another bag for bottles, plates, bowls spoons and the like. One bag for all the umpteen medicines one must have with one at all time. Never know when colic could strike. And this bag will also include all the baby powders and lotions and potions that keep junior smelling baby fresh. And yet another bag for all our toys--Barney, teddy bears, ducky, Noddy, big ball, small ball, soft ball. Never know when the urge for a particular something toy might strike. My clothes for the week go into a Shoppers Stop plastic bag. And my cosmetics into my handbag. Lenses and spectacles included.
My only indulgence? AN extra pair of high heeled shoes in the event (and misplaced hope) that I go partying. Total luggage count? Six bags and one plastic bag. You have a great trip too!

Monday, March 07, 2005

One sleepless night later...

Last night was the night of the howlers. Rather the night of one little howler who refused to go to sleep. At around 2 in the morning, his eyelids couldnt keep themselves apart and one lowered him into his crib. Exactly an hour later the bawling started. A gu gu bottle was thrust into mouth and he settled back into sleep. This continued in various permutations and combinations until around 4.30 am when the bawling got really serious. Hold in the arms and walky walky happened. For an hour. My back bone is on the verge of total disintegration. When that didnt work, Cyclopam came to the rescue and the verboten, gripe water. Sshhh did you say? Gripe water has become almost a dirty word for our generation of parents. My pediatrician told me not to even get a bottle into the house. But I grew up on gripe water and I did fine. So did most of our generation. At 6ft and a strapping 90 kg, my husband is a gripe water baby too, so what is it about gripe water that gets the pediatricians gripes up? An uneducated guess would be the composition--being ayurvedic the ingredients are stuff pediatricians doubt. But then we also give a child ajwain ka pani and saunf ka pani to soothe colic and indigestion. And these are the primary constituents of gripe water or arent they? Or does it actually, as is mentioned in hushed undertones, contain alcohol? Dont really know. But two teaspoons of gripe water later, we had had two gaseous explosions and we then slept and allowed our mother lackey cum slave to sleep too. Until 5 am when the milkman arrived. But then that's life and motherhood. Happy women's day to you too!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Post weekend blues

Just back at work on a bright sunny Monday morning and all I want to do is snooze on the table with my ears stuffed with cotton. Perhaps I need a weekend break to recover from the weekend. Saturday night was an alumni night reunion, and fifteen years since one had met college friends seemed like a perfect opportunity to get out there and party considering hubby and me were both from the same college, we would meet plenty of old friends, right? Wrong? I met no one I knew. Hubby met exactly three he did. And the rest of the faces around were so old, lined and obesely aged that it caused major depression. We gave it an hour and then scooted. Brat was being babysat by mother, and needed to be picked up. What is it about kids who behave like angels when mother is looking after them and promptly revert to devil incarnations the moment they're left alone with you. "Such a good boy he is," said the mother with grandmaternal pride, as the grandson cavorted and gurgled happily. "You complain about him for no reason." Promptly we sat in the car, and the horns came out. We must turn the steering, we must jack up the radio volume to eardrum blasting levels and we want to do horsy on the handbrake. We reached home and played frenetically till 2.30 am, after which did we drop off into exhausted sleep. A little shift from the routine does play havoc with a child's schedule sleep time and wakey time. At the party the previous night, I spotted parents toting along kids in diapers. With all that smoke, alcohol and loud music, not to mention disco lighting, it would be the last place I wanted to tote my kid. I think it is criminal to take kids to place where they perforce inhale second hand smoke and get exposing to ear blasting music, but it seems to have become a fashion statement these days to take your kid along for adult parties (not that I am partying that hard, this was my first outing in two and a half years. motherhood is not good for your social life). Given the tonnes of research that is out on how cigarette smoke can affect little bodies, even an average Joe should think twice about taking kids into a discotheque situation. Yes, it can get difficult when you have no one to babysit, but then you could always opt out of the situation. Kids can get their trip out to the park or the shopping mall or the beach, places where they can run, stretch their limbs, interact with other kids and do kiddie things. What in the blazes can they do at a party except watch adults get drunk and probably suffer ear damage.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Item girls are it...

The Y chromosome is kicking in rather strongly, and rather early at that. Given a choice between Pogo and MTV, the brat would prefer the latter no argument. And if a particular rhythm heavy song, with gyrating, semi clad nubile nymphets comes on, then children's programming stands no chance at all. Yes, I am guilty to a certain extent of using television as a babysitter despite all the reports I read about the harmful effects of television viewing on little brains under the age of 2, but what to do. There are times you need to get the washing machine on, and get work done in the kitchen without a little somebody wanting to investigate every appliance you use. And, I satisfy my guilt by looking at the positives, he has developed a great sense of rhythm and music, recognises good songs from the duds, and also developed an eye for beauty. Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra can get him to ignore even his favourite plaything--my mobile.
On the flip, he does ignore the telly when it has stuff which doesnt interest him unlike other friend's children who have a regulated telly diet and overdose on television viewing when they get the opportunity. The fact that it isnt restricted viewing for him, really has killed the forbidden fruit and he takes the telly for granted.
What have your experiences been? Do let me know at kmanral@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Milestone time--Krish is now climbing on furniture

Last night Junior achieved yet another milestone, a little late in the day for him, considering he is 16 months now. He successfully climbed onto the bed, after a fair amount of struggle and howling for help. Once accomplished, he couldnt wait to do it again and we spent the better part of the evening seeing a repeat act performed on the low window seat (horrors--our window grilles are pretty wide enough for danger to loom large). While on hand I am totally delighted at this new found independence, I am also concerned about the fact that the house needs to be childproofed even further. As a result, this weekend will see us sharing quality time with the carpenters, as safety gates and latches will be put across doors, kitchen cabinets and the like. In retrospect the low French windows we opted for when we redid our interiors werent such a great idea after all, but then Krish wasnt even a gleam in my husbands eye. Also the nolock magnetic doors on the loo dont seem like such great ideas anymore given that a hurtling toddler can dash into them and get them open, and fall in. The moral of the story--plan ahead, plan ahead. As Dr Spock in his infinite wisdom states in his baby bible, `Toddlers are demon explorers' They want to get into every nook and cranny, especially the ones you dont want them to enter.
My junior has developed a fondness for opening and shutting doors. This has resulted in two kitchen cabinet doors being swung off their hinges, the washing machine door being wrested off and some serious damage being done to the refrigerator door. Often he is in danger of slamming the doors into his own fingers.

Tips to child proof your home
Install safety latches and chains at head height--not at waist level where a child can easily reach to it and lock himself into a room.
Keep a set of keys to every room in a common easily accessible place.
Keep all your household cleaning agents, washing powders, disinfectants etc in a locked kitchen cabinet.
All glass and display pieces should be behind locked cabinet doors.
Electric wires and cables to be cased and not left exposed. Switchboards to have automatic shut plug points to deter ambitious and adventurous fingers from poking around.
A play pen is a must if you need to do housework and leave kid unsupervised.
Keep the kitchen off limits, remember knives and other dangerous things are easily available here.
Make sure the floor is dry and clean--kids can slip while running and often love to pick things off the floor to eat.
Keep all surfaces clear--your decorative Lladro shepherd is just going to be fragments on the floor otherwise.
Foam and scotchtape are your best allies for sharp edged furniture. Never mind that your home would never make it into Elle Decor or Society Interiors right now with all the padding the furniture gets.
If you have a balcony, make sure it is locked.

Any other tips would be welcome at kmanral@yahoo.com

Love in the times of MMS

Do you know what your kid is upto?
This article was published in New Woman

A teen, bare-chested, performing oral sex, still in her school uniform. Celluloid stars doing some serious tongue exploration at a night club. The video phones are everywhere, and they’re giving us a ringside view into someone else’s sex life. And we’re lapping it up.If you were shocked by the revelations that 17 year olds have sex, wake up and smell the coffee. In a country where prepubescents were married off for centuries, sex has always been a given, despite the outer coating of morality and non permissiveness. Technology is the unwitting abettor. The internet with its unrestricted access to pornographic sites where you can check out the normal to the way beyond normal and even the freakish, if you so please. Music videos where love and attractiveness is equivalent to skin show and seduction. Chat lines to establish that personal contact and increased permissiveness within society have led to more awareness about sexuality.Teens today aren’t just about roses and romance. Sex is very much a factor in the dating game, and parents and educationists would be pulling the wool over their own eyes if they believed otherwise. And it gets younger by the year. Add to this the fact that sexual maturity is setting in earlier these days and you have an explosive cocktail of hormones and curiousity—adult sexuality in an adult body with a child’s mind. Should parents be aware and warned? Definitely yes. The teenage years are when sexual maturity begins in human beings, and it is only natural that teenagers are curious about sexual issues and get into sexual exploration. Says Suman Mehta, 14, Class 9 student, “Most of us do have boyfriends, and we would be lying if we said we didn’t do some fooling around. But most of us know how to draw the line.” Her class mate Rima Karware agrees. “We know about the consequences of unprotected sex, and are not willing to risk the consequences. If the guy can’t take a no, then perhaps it’s not a good idea to be with that guy in the first place.” The common consensus with most teenage students, both from school and college is that they have other priorities in life apart from dating. According to Mayank Shah, 17, “Yes, guys are always looking out as to where they can score with a girl, but it is not as common as parents and others imagine it to be. An occasional girl might agree to sex if she really is keen to become a girlfriend to a guy but majority don’t. Oral sex is the maximum most girls agree to.” Says Noella Alvares, 17, college student, “I would rather concentrate on my studies and my grades, dating and fooling around eat into too much time. And if I don’t get the grades I require my entire career gets laid out on the line.”Peer pressure is a compelling reason for most adolescents to experiment sexually. As another teenager adds, “We’re constantly comparing notes. The pressure is inevitably on the guy who hasn’t had any sexual experience to prove himself. On the flip side, sharing the MMS with his friends was probably that boy’s way of proving to his friends that he had indeed had a sexual experience with the girl, and he wasn’t lying.”Deciding to experiment with sex for teenagers is generally a combination of peer pressure, curiousity, hormones and the casualty called love. Also having sex is also considered to be incredibly cool by the with it teenage crowd, AIDS, STDs and pregnancy scares nothwithstanding. According to a 16 year old, “You wouldn’t believe how responsible we teenagers are when it comes to sex. Its not like we get swept away by the moment like a Hindi film. We make sure we have protection and predecide our limits depending upon how much we like the other person.” This is of course, not withstanding the rush at abortion centres post festivals like Navratri, which sees a maximum of getting carried away by the moment with most teens. Sure, sometimes some teenagers do feel that true love merits giving oneself totally to the other person, and that’s when sex without protection comes into the picture. Sex is seen as the ultimate proof of love demanded by the boy and given by the girl. At times, teenagers overestimate the number of their contemporaries involved in sexual relationships and rush into sex just not to be left behind and also to be cool. Saving one’s virginity is considered passé, especially in this era of in your face sexuality. Also, the discotheque and pub culture swamping the metros makes it possible for date rape to occur. Under the influence of alcohol or worse, makes it possible for most girls to get pressured into agreeing to have sex. Worse is the date rape drug, spoken of in hush hush terms by most teens which is reputed to knock out a girl and make her acquiesce to almost anything. Most teens feel pressurized into giving into demands for sex, if their date is spending a lot on them or buying them expensive presents. Says Shweta Banare, 17, college student, “Even if you are going out with your boyfriend to a discotheque, you need to set certain ground rules with yourself that you wont have alcohol beyond a certain point, no matter what the pressure, and don’t let the glass out of your sight for even an instant. I have heard cases of guys spiking a girl’s drink and then raping her.” Consensual sex, given the girl’s inebriated condition becomes a given.
Technology is an unwitting facilitator. Online chat rooms make for the opportunity of meeting possible dates without the added pressure of face to face contact, allowing for teens to let their guard down easier. Dating technologies like Coruscant’s MonAmi make for an online dating service teens can access from anywhere. Says Ajay Adisheshann Managing Director of Coruscant Tec, “The average age of MonAmi users is 17, followed by the 20-22 and 23-25 age groups. About 70% of MonAmi’s Indian users are male and 30% are female. The greatest number of users are from UP with 17% of all MonAmi users in India, followed by Delhi 15%, Mumbai 7.5%, Maharashtra 7%, Bihar 7%.”
According to Rupa Balakrishnan, psychologist and counselor, “Most teenagers today are aware of all the birds and bees facts. With the exposure to information available off the net, and through the printed medium, they self educate themselves and unfortunately, many myths get propagated too if they don’t get the correct information. The teenage years are years of experimentation, which is why it is essential for parents to ensure that the correct information about sex is given to the children. Informing your children about sex and the repercussions doesn’t mean you are giving your child permission to be sexually active, but that you are empowering them to take their own decisions being fully aware of the consequences.” Says Pramila Payal, teacher, Sinhgad City School, Pune, corroborates this view. “Teenagers today are very well informed about issues related to sex. In my opinion, they should receive their information from both home and school and get a balanced information base. Parents are often reluctant to have sexual education talks with their children, and pass the buck onto school. Whereas at school the method is purely educative and informative and does not take the emotional factor into consideration, and is something only the parent can do. Also parents need to control the liberties they give their children. The onset of puberty is much earlier these days, there is an increased amount of mingling with the opposite sex, and naturally there would be a certain amount of sexual exploration. Parents should be alert to any behavioural changes, and act as censors to unwarranted media exposure and also control the provocative dressing that seems to be the norm these days.” According to Dr Hemant Sardesai, psychiatrist, “I see children getting a lot more in terms of monetary gifts and liberties from their parents, and less in terms of time and concern. In an era where everything has become a monetary consideration, it is important that parents, however busy they are, build a relationship with their children based on love and friendship. If a child knows that he or she can come to the parent with any query or any emotional issue and not be judged or censured, but accepted and counseled in the best interest, he or she is less likely to seek love and acceptance through sexual promiscuity.”
At the end of the debate, the onus seems to lie on how parents deal with their children’s sexual maturity. And of course, if they are themselves mature enough to deal with it.

Tips for teenagers· Respect yourself as an individual. If you don’t want to have sex, you have the right to say no, regardless of the pressure you feel from the other person.· Contrary to what it seems, you will not be the last virgin on the planet. You will also be STD and AIDs free, and have no `am I pregnant?’ tensions.· What you see in movies and on television is only half the story. Actors don’t have to deal with the complicated issues that arise from sex. Unwanted pregnancies, HIV, STD and getting an unpleasant reputation are part and parcel of the deal. · Remember, unfortunately, no matter how liberated a guy, a recent poll showed that men preferred marrying a virgin, or marrying the girl who has lost her virginity to them. · Always go out in a group, and have a back up plan in case you get stuck in an unpleasant situation. · Keep enough cash with you to get back home on your own. And let your parents know where you will be and with whom. · Be prepared to say no directly and firmly if pressurized for sex. · And finally, always use a condom.
Tips for parents· Make sure your teenager has accurate information to deal with sexual situations in a mature manner. · Explain the positives and the negatives of being sexually active in a non judgemental way.· Do use examples from television serials, movies and real life incidents to help you in this conversation.· If required give your teenager educative literature on the topic. · Explain the difference between pornography and real life—in the pornographic world, there are no condoms, no sexually transmitted diseases and no accidental pregnancies unlike the real world. · Ensure you know your child’s closest friends and keep in touch with them and their parents.· Do set time limits and dating limits. While liberalism might be the norm of the day, teenagers are yet not adults and giving them all the liberty an adult gets might lead to difficult situations.· BE a parent your teenager can come to with any problem or issue. If your child feels he or she can discuss anything and everything with you, it is more likely he or she would discuss sexual exploration with you.