I Wish Someone Told Me…

…that my son will be hooked to gadgets no sooner he turns one! It’s one thing to watch an occasional nursery rhyme, or hear a story (we are still exploring the ipad for kiddie entertainment), its quite another to point at it at all times and throw a fit if it’s taken away!

What was my childhood like?

I don’t remember the radio at home. But I remember a gramaphone. Rabindra Sangeet, some Bollywood melodies and some vintage rock, if I remember right. There was hardly a thing for me in there. Then came the tape recorder, Maa tells me Baba had taped me crying. How sadistic could they be! I remember, by the time my brother came along, Baba would occasionally play a cassette where someone called Preeti Sagar. And that was really our world! Television as a mode of entertainment was more dynamic. I remember watching Jungle Book and then reading the original book! Yes there was the Ramayana, then Mahabharata…but then there was also He Man and Vikram Betaal and who can forget Street Hawk? This was my childhood! At least how I remember it. The first animation film that became part of my growing up story was Aladdin. Yes, I had seen the Mickey Mouse and other Walt Disney toons earlier…but then this was real animation, right?

For the longest time I kept V away from television. But as he is growing up, I realise it’s good to get acquainted to television a little here and there. So while meal times are a strict no-no, TV for him until now has been what his parents watch. Only recently have I switched on the television to watch some kiddie channels. How do kids (as young as V who is just one) know that these channels are meant for him? Is it the colors, the animation, or the sound?

Just as he started noticing the Ipad as a source of entertainment, he has learnt to throw a fit for it. And why not? Rhymes, songs and stories…everything is so interactive! By now V knows when the little boy in the rhyme will clap his hands, and what he can tap to make the cow say “moo-oo”! Signs of great observation and intelligence? I don’t know…but I know that he is getting used to it. Hand him a phone he is the happiest. Show him his own video and pictures and he loves it. Let him come close to a laptop and he’ll beat me at the typing speed. He fiddles with the TV remote, tugs at his father’s iPhone and knows that his nanny cannot operate the iPad!

Just when I was wondering what it would be to bring up a child in tech-infested homes and lifestyles, I came upon a post by Prerna Malik. Oh! How I am waiting for the boy to grow up…how I want to experiment…how I want him to see the world outside gadgets!

For the time being, it’s a nightmare to keep our gadgets away from his tiny fingers.I hope the child goes back to traditional modes of play, education and entertainment. I don’t mind the iPad or computer be an added tool in his life, but I’d seriously freak out if these become his only source of edutainment in life!

Mommies with babies…what has been your experience? Any tips and pearls of advice to calm my nerves?



V for Vacation!!

This was one vacation that I was really looking forward to. I mean, yes, everyone looks forward to a holiday. But someone who’s been in a new mother’s shoes will know what I really mean.

This was the BIG ‘happy family’ holiday and V’s first ever vacation! His pishimoni (bua / aunt) is getting hitched later this year and so we decided that this is time to indulge in some quality family time. So, all of us, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt, Appa, Mumma and V got their passports stamped for Singapura!

It was quite another thing that V was seriously unwell a week before we were to take off and the trip was almost abandoned. I was extremely anxious. All along I was very confident of traveling with an 11 month old. But his illness really dwarfed my confidence. Armed with a battery of medicines we packed up for our holiday.

I packed 4 kinds of baby food, biscuits and his milk. Traveling with a baby is a big deal and having done that more than once in the past, I knew what to do. The trouble however was about sterilisation. The doc had asked us to maintain high levels of hygiene. And I was wary about cleaning V’s sippers and bottles. I almost packed his steriliser until I decided to use the hotel kitchen to sterilise his bottles the traditional Indian way. His stroller was a must! Somewhere later in the trip V’s grandpa said that if we didn’t have to carry V’s heavy diaper bag around, he wouldn’t have approved of the stroller. I mean, the tod really played to the gallery. If I strapped him in, he’d look at his grandparents with those innocent puppy eyes and plead, “take me out”!! I calculated 4 sets of clothes for each day. V is a naughty, fidgety baby and he’s likely to make a mess at his meal times. I decided to be better equipped. His favourite toys, books, his familiar blanket and bath towel went in too. His feeding bowl, spoons, bibs and towels. And a mega diaper pack.

We left on the morning of my birthday. While V slept through the drive to the airport he opened his eyes once the car stopped. He knew we were on to something…and was he excited! Errr…a bit too excited for our liking! We were at the airport at 4:15 am. From then until we reached Singapore 9 hours later the boy refused to sleep even for a second!!! As a result none of us slept on the flight either. Tired and sleepy I was extremely cranky on my birthday! But V’s giggles and his obvious enthusiasm to do something unusual broke my cloudy mood.

Over the next 5 days, V had a blast (or so I think)! He photographed with exotic birds at the Jerong Bird Park. The rains played spoil sport and a traditional photo op was all that we could manage. Kungfu Panda joined our family for a group pic at Universal Studios. He played with Prashant uncle and Neha aunty, and almost forgot us in the background! It helps to have a non fussy baby. V was happy to see new sights everyday. He noticed people looked different in this new country. He smiled a lot, flashed his dimples almost everywhere. V is an outdoor baby. And I discovered that the little man has a ‘glad eye’!! *eyes roll* He was always on the look out for PYTs, both his age and those that would rather catch his Dad’s fancy! He’d smile at girls and quickly glance at one of us to see if we were looking!! That’s my boy!!

This was my first international trip with a baby. In my earlier trips abroad (and there aren’t too many of those anyway) I didn’t travel noting how friendly is the country to kiddie travelers. Singapore, however, was an absolute delight! Besides having baby rooms at all locations, one could see the number of vacationers traveling with young babies. Or is it just an Indian mentality when it comes to traveling with a baby? Someone in the extended family warned me, “V’s too young to go on a holiday! What will you feed him?” We stayed at Swissotel, The Stamford and as we checked in we were offered a baby cot for V. We don’t have one at home for him and since both A and I have been toying with the idea of buying one for V, we decided to take one in our room. V took to the cot really well. I threw in his toys and something told him that it was his bed! *cute* I also didn’t have to become a desi and boil his bottles. I asked for a bottle steriliser and the hotel got me one. *win*

Food was also a breeze. The breakfast menu served up many options for my junior traveler. From scrambled eggs, to chicken stew, South Indian khichdi and Upma, V also dug his baby teeth into flavoured yoghurt for the first time. He loved them and his breakfast was incomplete without one. For the rest of the day, there was always his favourite banana and stock of baby food to rely on. By the time A’s birthday rolled in, we were having a blast. And traveling with a baby was hardly an issue.

By the time we got on the flight to come back home V had become bolder. I asked an air hostess to hold him while I took a leak. When I came out of the loo to get him, the boy’s tiny cheek was covered in lipstick!! He wrinkled his nose, flashed his teeth and charmed with his dimples. Having learnt my lessons early on, this time I held him tight and rocked him to sleep. But for all the time he was awake he kept pointing to the ladies asking me to take him back to them!!

The illness was forgotten. The hospital stay was history. It was like it never happened. V was back in his elements and nothing gave me more joy than to see him happy. Perhaps that’s why vacations are so rejuvenating!

When’s the next, I wonder? 🙂

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About totkas, pricks, hospitals, Salman Khan and flirting sessions!

As a parent there’s nothing as scary and frustrating than to watch your kid suffer. To watch him in pain and not knowing what to do! It’s been a while since all of this happened, and I’ve been too caught up with V that the journal has taken a back seat! Let’s do a slight recap…

The first three weeks of August have been a harrowing experience for A and me. First there was a terrible, terrible bout of food poisoning in the house and all of us were left ill. The worst hit was of course the little man! We didn’t realise the extent of V’s illness because despite the runny stools, the boy was up and about when the rest of us at home were bed- ridden crouching over our tummies! As parents we said, “It takes a child to teach us how to deal with pain.” And really, that is how it turned out to be…

While Appa, Mum & Nanny recovered, V continued to slip a little everyday, until the day when the fever came. This was the first time that V was running temperature, and I as a mother was extremely paranoid. Then followed the vomits. The poor boy couldn’t keep anything in his tummy and as the fever rose, he continued to throw up even more. Nothing was working, no medicines and we were helpless. My mother-in-law asked me to try a ‘totka’ of burning red chillies and mustard seeds. I took three red chillies and a pinch of seeds in my fist, twirled it around V’s head and threw everything on the stove. Nothing happened. V with his Nanny and I stood inside our little kitchen and there was not a whiff of smoke! The forever sceptic in me decided to try again. This time I took the exact same amount of chillies and seeds and threw them straight into the fire. Lo & behold! I just had a fraction of a second to turn off the gas and scamper out of the kitchen. Within a second our house was filled with smoke! Cough, cough and cough, I ran back to switch on the exhaust and so did my neighbour on the floor above with who I share a common exhaust. We stay cooped inside our room for good ten minutes before we ventured out again! The non-believer in me was hit hard on the head. BANG!! I was surprised that all it took was an ailing child to make me turn to traditional totkas (ways of exorcism) which until then I had little patience for!

Less than 24 hrs later, things got worse and V by then was reduced to small, frail, lump of bones. For the first time in my life as a parent my heart skipped a beat and I found myself scared. The last time I went through similar emotions was the day before V was born when my doc said that its time to take out V. His heart beat was dropping and that got me really, really scared. But now, nearly 11 months later fear had a face that was pale, eyes that were vacant and a body that was limp. I cannot describe in words what went through me.

We decided to admit him into the hospital. The doc said its a severe case of gastroentitis and dehydration. From thereon, till the next three days we stayed in the hospital. It took the nurses a while to decide where to put the canula. I suggested the foot because there were lesser chances that he’d take it off. Two hours later when the fluids refused to push through, it had to be changed. Again, we went through the pain of pricks and tears. V didn’t forgive me for letting the nurses hurt him so much. With his hand bound in a needle and cotton padding he slapped me, hard, once, twice and many times over. I hugged him tight and said, “Sorry baby, I’ll take it off tomorrow.”

That night the scorching fever was back at 104 degrees. More medicines were pumped in. By now his little hand had swollen and he cried everytime he was being injected. The push of fluids hurt him. And me.

When the temperature dipped, V woke up with a smile. He played with his blocks and cars. Almost everyone in the hospital came to see the youngest patient admitted and everyone, everyone said, “jaldi theek ho jayega.” The food was unpalatable! V refused to have daal ka paani and starch.

C’mon! Who has that food anyway? Definitely not V! The hospital being close to the house, V’s Nanny ran to and fro. He had his familiar ghar ka khaana and he smiled again. What stabilised him further was Salman Khan on TV. Ek Tha Tiger was close to release and the songs were all over. Katrina and Kareena’s matkas came close second and third. By the third day, V was in his elements. He flashed his dimples at the nurses and happily went to them. He was soon the cynosure at the nurses’ station and picking up pens from nurses’ shirts!

We came home on the day V turned 11 months. Older and stronger – all of us.

4 days later, V was on the way to his first holiday. The pricks and pains were forgotten. The gurgles and naughty grins had returned. And this time he flirted with pretty air hostesses with lipstick marks across his tiny cheek…more on that in my next post. 🙂

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