The Potty Training Saga

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Disclaimer: For those seeking some knowledge sharing and some useful tips on how to potty train their toddlers, PLEASE DO NOT READ AHEAD. The story below is completely based on true incidents and any resemblance to any characters is completely intentional. So please read on, at my guarantee.

I was advised about potty training first when Nick was 1 month old. And guess, it was my DAD who was very diligently advising me on the benefits of starting early. I was almost like “Gaffawk”, my face read like “is it even possible for a 1 month old to understand any signals to potty training?”

After another month of staying at my parents, I came back to my house. I tried following to some extent, what my Dad had trained me on how to Potty train Nick. Surprisingly, my Mom-in-law, quite approved of me on this matter. By the time Nick was 3 months old, my Dad would ask me if I had bought the potty seat for Nick yet. And mind you this new first-time Grandfather would call me almost daily in those days to check how his grandson was doing. And I was like, “Papa, Potty seat? He can’t even sit yet.” And my expert Dad would be like, “Arre! But the seat has a back support. You don’t know, we had trained you and your sister in the similar manner. And we never had to struggle with your potty habits.” I was both amused and startled at the same time.

Tired of his following up, I decided to go shopping and buy a seat. This was something that my mother-in-law had not used with her kids. So obviously, she was very sceptical about the utility of buying it at all. Nevertheless, I followed my Dad’s instructions to the T and I declare this with a lot of pride that my LO was completely potty trained by the time he was 6 months. I had a ball of a time for the next 4 months.

And then he unlearnt everything!

Yet I did not pay much attention to this aspect of his grooming during that time, because I had joined back my work and thought that I wasn’t spending enough time with Nick to be able to closely monitor his habits(all included). And in this house, nobody fretting about the same made my life only easier.

But I started biting my nails, when I planned a vacation at my parents. Nick was going to be 16 months and I was like, oh fish! This boy is going to be a mess in my Dad’s house and my Dad is going to make me feel miserable for not doing my job properly.

Anyway, I reached my parents place, and by the end of 2 days, I realised it was not only my Dad who was obsessed with potty training. All my mother’s friends, including her sister who visited to meet us would widen their eyes in disbelief on seeing Nick in a Diaper. “Yeh abhi tak bhi batata nahi hai?” would be the invariable question. I can’t tell you how embarrassed I felt. Every time one of them shook their head in discontentment, I felt like I had committed a cardinal crime. The same night, I tried researching on Potty training on the internet and to my relief I figured that the optimum age when the kids can be expected to retain their potty habits is 2 years. So I took a deep breath and patted my shoulder in self condolence.
In the midst of a busy schedule of completing house chores, managing a loaded office job and spending time with Nick, I managed to continue my potty training efforts. I was determined that the next time I visited my parents, I was not going to give them a chance to question my dedication as a mother. So 8 months later, when at my maiden home, I very diligently made Nick take trips to the toilet at regular intervals. I still had to struggle to justify to my parent why I had to use a diaper for him whenever we went out. After the second objection, I simply widened out my hands and shrugged saying, “Aap logon le time pe Diapers utne accessible nahi the na. Right now if we have this facility / utility (whatever) why not use it?” (Aah ‘diapers and my first born’ is an altogether different epic. I wouldn’t want to dwell on it in this one!)

Well! All that was a year back. Nick today is almost 3 years and I can happily claim that he is almost completely potty trained. I say ‘almost’ because there is always this risk of an ‘accident’, in the most unexpected places and circumstances.
I wonder what’s been on Nick’s mind regarding this little potty training saga of his early life!!!

If you have a story/incident to share with regards to potty training your LO, please drop in your droplings’ stories in the comments section.

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Parenthood Was Supposed to Bring Us Closer as a Couple

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I belong to that generation which grew up in the newness of a gamut of cable TV channels offering a further gamut of programs to be watched for all age groups. Though our parents tried to the best of their abilities to monitor our TV viewing habits, there always were enough gaps (and huge ones I must say) which exposed us to a lot that wasn’t appropriate for us to watch (this i realise now only after becoming a parent myself).

Nevertheless, i reminisce about those years now with a lot of fondness and ridicule because exposure to the high family drama and continuous colloquy between the characters led me to shape a good amount of opinions and I started perceiving matters accordingly.

One such perception formed through numerous ‘saas-bahu’ and ‘mera pati sirf mera hai’ sagas was that a child brings more strength to a couples bond. At so many instances I remember, a sad and yearning for love wife would be advised by a more enlightened character, “Ek baar bachcha ho jaaega toh sab theek ho jaaega” (once you have a kid, everything will become alright) or “Yeh bachcha tumhare rishte ko aur mazboot banaega” (After having a child, your relationship will emerge stronger)

So, when Nick came into our world, I and AJ had know each other for almost 6 years – 3 years pre-marriage and 3 years post marriage. Initially I kept wondering how our relationship was to take a turn for good after having known each other for such a long time. So I asked my friends who had just become parents.

For the general awareness of the reader, I put the same query for all the parent friends. And the query was, “So have you and your spouse gotten closer post your bachcha’s birth?” Below I have put down some really interesting replies.

Reply One –
Closer? If staying in a relationship with no hope of expecting anything from each other may be classified as getting closer, then yes, we came closer as a couple by miles. I mean, my husband has not even had the courage to ask me for a movie or a dinner date for last 6 months. The moment he even suggests something like that, I eyes would grow so wide that he was scared they may just pop out of my eye-balls. “If I could get away from the baby for any amount of time, I would rather catch up on my sleep”, would be my reply invariably, leaving my husband with no option but to venture out with his guy friends. And for the first time in our 5 year marriage, I wasn’t complaining about it.

Reply Two –
Oh yes! we became extremely telepathic in our communication. Once my husband would walk into the house, he knew that I was completely expecting him to immediately take charge of the baby. That is, if he was expecting me to serve him any tea or later a dinner. There were days when he would walk in and not follow the protocol, that left my heart burnt. Because these were the days when my husband had decided to take a break and treat himself on his way home and had decided that he was going to get straight to his TV or laptop. Well on those days, he would mostly be considerate enough to pack some stuff for me too !

Reply Three – (this one is my personal favorite)
If you mean that rising above the basic instincts of being a man and a woman would be a criteria for closeness, we definitely would top the list of such couples. Our munchkin was a night stalker. Despite all my efforts to regularize her routine, she would sleep all day and be a night stalker, expecting us to entertain her. So we did manage to create a night time routine to take turns at that. But the chances of us getting kinky with each other and have some fun as a couple had by and large diminished to almost extinction. The only “relief” were the Sundays, when we too could “sleep” during the day.

Reply Four –
I realized that we had infact gotten closer as a couple, after almost 2 years of our little devil’s birth. At my Mother-in-laws behest, we planned a weekend outing while she volunteered to take care of the baby. When it came to deciding on the destination, we were both very clear that we wanted to go to a peaceful beach that would allow us to just sit and watch the sun-set in the evenings and linger around the pool post dark. And for rest of the day we just lay in our bed holding each other the entire weekend. Indeed, a perfect reward for a job well-done for the last 2 years. And ofcourse, some moments to savor before we could be allowed another one of such time-outs.

Reply Five – (And this one I feel is the most genuine reply)
Well, I always had a lot of things to worry about in our marriage. Right from coping with a family from a different culture than mine, I was always at tenterhooks for being judged despite no actual reason to do so. This was also the phase where we, and especially my husband had to hold out an extremely aggressive approach towards his professional growth for our secure future. I often wondered, how I was ever going to sort out all the mess around me. Once the baby came in, everything kind of automatically fell in place. Everybody’s (infact mostly mine) focus suddenly shifted to the baby and everything else became secondary. So many discussions and arguments between us as a struggling to settle down couple became superfluous and we sought our rejuvenation in fusing into a unit for bringing up our little bundle of joy by doing the best we could. Yes! our baby did bring us closer. But! But! whenever the moron in me awakens, i like to get back to the same bitchy state of fretting over things beyond my control. But that now seldom happens, and my better half takes it as a change of the direction in the winds for some unknown reason!

Well! I am sure that as a parenting couple, we identify with atleast one or more accounts of impact of parenthood on us as a couple. Hope you find solace in the fact that you are not alone in the cribbing and fretting parents club. Anyway, Happy Parenting!

5 Things that no one ever told you about Motherhood

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Motherhood is associated with all the things ecstatic that are supposed to make you feel blessed. But no one talks about the darker side of being a good mother. Yes! Believe me. There is this dark dimension to being a mother which every mother suffers through all alone, coz talking about it without the fear of being judged is almost impossible.
This dark reality of motherhood that I talk about is beyond the pain of breast feeding, poop cleaning and sleepless night watching the child. These are things that have a lasting impact your psychologically and normal becomes a thing of past for you as a mother. Come take this dark journey with me –

1) The child brings a lease of fresh air to a couple’s relationship! MythBuster….
It is a general notion that a couple after becoming parents get closer. That the child acts as a cementing factor in their relationship. But no tells you that the cementing is just because there’s a hell lot of responsibility once you become parents. You just cannot manage the child all alone, you NEED each other for support so that you can keep your sanity intact. If you ask the couples about how their personal relationship has developed after the baby, most of them will start cribbing about no ‘we’ time, no carefree outings, no chatting and cuddling in the bed until the baby is weaned out of the bed etc. It is always and only about the baby.

2) The post partum shift …
Till such time when the baby is in the womb, the mother i.e. you are the priority. Everything revolves around your comfort. But as soon as the baby is out (of your womb) all the frenzy and limelight is drawn by the baby. Oh please don’t think that I am some attention hogging female who just became jealous of my child for snatching the limelight away from me. But the radicl shift in everybody’s attention just can’t escape your psyche. You suddenly start feeling like just a carrier or a medium towards the ultimate object of everyone’s affection i.e. your baby. Things get worse when your parents, in-laws and sometimes even your spouse begin to view you as a caretaking machine of the baby and nothing beyond.

3) The continual Balancing Act….
This is specifically for the mothers who decide to continue working even after having a baby. There are cases where working is not a choice. To make the ends meet comfortably, couples decide to remain working parents. But the ambitious “wicked” mothers who want to really, I mean really pursue a career even post motherhood, are the impious sufferers. In a constant balancing act trying to justify both the roles, these female wonders live in guilt and pay a price for loving two things at a time. This they compensate by giving up any other form of ‘me’ time and remain in a never ending cycle of managing the two exclusive yet ever overlapping worlds. I remember a mother of a 4 year old telling me that for 6 years before she became a mother she had a career, but now for last 4 years she just has a job. True Story … I guess.

4) I belong to the Motherland….
All mothers, mind you all mothers start suffering from this acute OCD where their world revolves around nothing but their little bundle of joy. Even the ones who manage to compartmentalise their lives into the realms of motherhood and professionalism, are constantly drawn towards discussion revolving around their child. What he did yesterday, what he said today, how you fed him the new recipe are the things that mothers (even at offices) find comfort in talking about. Even the social media updates and the display pictures (DPs) invariably comprise the latest pictures of the cute little munchkins.

5) Doomed by Judgement…
How much ever you decide to not be affected by others opinion of how to raise a child, you are constantly under the radar on how you are doing at taking care of your child. Especially if you are living with parents or in a joint family, you are privy to the constant do’s and don’ts as a mother. For some this flow of advices may be a welcome support, for others it may just be interference, which followed by individual verdicts on everything adds further to your agony. And let me add, this is just not one sided. You as a mother will get smitten by this bug very soon. “Oh you do it this way ? But I did it that way and I think that was much better” At some point of time or the other you will find yourself judging other mothers. You may not be expressive about it always, but your little mind with its insecurity crevices will get you to embark on this comparison journey. So Beware !!!

Hey Mothers! Don’t get scared. These are just some side effects to be cautious about while you enjoy your journey as a mother. Happy Parenting!

5 Things I experienced at Workplace during my Pregnancy

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When I got pregnant with Nick, the pregnancy got confirmed only 50 days after my LMP date. The same day I saw some spotting and my gynecologist prescribed me to a 2 month long bed rest. Post that too, I kept facing complications which kept me away from my workplace and I had to retort to work-from-home.

This time its been thankfully different. Other than the sickness phase and a short trip to my mom’s place I have managed to stay regular at office, though with shorter working hours. Yet, there have been those moments when I wished I could just be home, lay still and rest. Here’s a list of 5 things that I experienced at my workplace during my pregnancy.

I’d like to mention here, that I work for an SME in the infrastructure development industry. Our office is 2000 sq. feet of floor space distributed over 2 floors connected through a steep set of stairs. And we are just 40 people in our office.

1) THE SICKNESS ORDEAL
All my attempts to keep my pregnancy (atleast the initial stages) from becoming public knowledge in the office vent in vain, everytime I ran to the restroom. While I wrenched my sickness out of my system, I tried to keep the noises as low as possible. But everytime, someone or the other would hear some suspicious noises and summon my dear team member to see if I have not been keeping well and why. To make a confession, more than me it was my junior team member who had to face wary queries from other office members. And poor her, keeping her loyalties towards me, she would just ward-off all questions as “God knows what’s wrong with her!”

2) Flexibility overstretched
Oh yes! I completely misused the flexibility privilege bestowed upon me by my management. As soon as I realised I was pregnant, I informed my boss that I couldn’t be doing a full day anymore. Above that, during the first trimester, the sickness took its toll also in the form of intermittent unplanned leaves. So, it was (mis)using flexibility at its peak.

3) Scheduling the staircase trips
As I already mentioned that my office place is distributed across two floors joined by a steep set of staircase, I had to limit my trips to the floor above from where my reporting manager as well as the Managing director work. I would make one trip during the first half to report to my boss about the updates from the previous day. And then one trip towards the end of the work day, discussing with him the daily and intermittent issues apart from the work for the next day. This was it! until my MD
needed some crucial updates or reports which required me to take multiple trips upstairs(though I can count such days on my fingures), I was mostly glued to my cubicle and my floor.

4) Taste bud tantrums
Once I was over my sickness phase, there was always a list of items on my food agenda for the day. These items included candies, juices, chocolates and sometimes a full fledged lunch. I kept my sub-staff busy more or less everyday to run around to tender my food cravings.

5) Withdrawal Symptoms
There were so many days when I really wanted to work, yet didn’t feel like working. Why? Because I thought, what’s the point? This work period was not going to affect my appraisals (and subsequently the increments) as that time to cherish the incremented salary was never going to be there for me to enjoy. Also, I saw less chances of me getting back to the same work profile in near or far future. I know I will work in future, but chances of me getting back to a full time job as a Human Resources Professional are meek and absolutely silky hair thin. So on such days, I chatted on the phone, browsed through the net on various DiY activities and just whiled away time.

As I traverse through the last lap of my current professional stint, I am a mixed-bag of emotions and look back with a lot of fondness at how my workplace has been super- friendly with me through the ups and downs of my journey. I shall cherish this time and long for it in the future. May god give me the strength to move on in the true sense and explore other aspects of my life for which I hadn’t had enough time in the past.

Humor Bites #2 – Of Houses and Inheritence

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This happened on one of those rare nights when I had this humongous task of putting Nick to bed all on my own and alone. Reason? We were at my parents place where Ajay was to join us a weekend later.

So the first day post our arrival went through quite eventfully, as we were up on a mission to shop for my lil sis’s wedding. It had been a tiring day and I realised that Nick had felt ignored to some extent. I say this because during our spree he intermittently kept throwing the ‘I want to go home’ tantrum.

Once back home, he realised that he had not come back to his own home; he was rather back in his Nanu’s home. So am sure some idea had picked his mind cause at night when I was trying to calm him to sleep, he asked me a very innocent question. The conversation was as follows. To keep the humor or lack of it intact, i am reiterating the conversation in hindi.

Nick – Mamma? yeh kya humara ghar hai? (Is this our house?)
Me – Haan Beta, yeh humara ghar hai. (Yes dear, it is.)
Nick – Par yeh toh Nanu ka ghar hai? (This is Nanu’s house , isn’t it?)
Me – (in a sleepy and desparate attempt to put an end to his curiosity and questions) Haan beta Nanu ka ghar bhi humara ghar hai aur Dadaji ka ghar bhi humara ghar hai. (Yes dear Nanu’s house is also our house and Dadu’s house is also our house.)
Nick – Yeh toh Bahut achchi baat hai. Dono ghar humare ghar hain(It seems to be a good idead that both the houses our indeed ours.)

I don’t know what he comprehended and how much he understood the concept of numbers but coming from a not yet 3 year old, the reply rendered me awestruck and speechless.

Humor Bites #3 Applying Reverse Psychology

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Let me tell you guys that managing a home, a job (though partial productivity) and a super-energetic toddler can get to your nerves, especially when you are into the 24th week of your pregnancy.

My tummy is suddenly bulging out into an obvious baby bump, displacing my center of gravity . I feel like hogging all day yet there is no relief to the reflux in my digestive system, which I keep in control with the help of prescribed antacids. More than my husbands long working day, it is Nick’s long playing hours that keep me awake until late into the night.

Anyway, so yesterday after a long and busy day we retired to our bed at around 11.30 p.m. Just to mention here for a clearer perspective, I and my husband, we co-sleep with Nick. This helps us spend some more quality moments with him, as we are both working and seldom get time together. And we are both trying to make up for the day when when our new little one will arrive and we will have to send him off to a different bed-room.

Coming back to the story, so I had been finally able to convince Nick that it really was time to lie down and wait for sleep to engulf us, so that we could start a new day tomorrow etc. etc. As I was feeling extremely drained both physically and emotionally, I let out a sigh and spoke out loud, “I want to go to my Mamma”

At this Nick reacted, “Why? Why do you want to go to your Mamma?”
Me: (sensing an enjoyable conversation ahead) Why? Why can’t I go to my Mamma’s place? I want to go to my Mamma’s place. That’s it.
Nick: (a little more perplexed now, slid besides me and put his hand around my shoulder) Noooo! Don’t go to your Mamma’s place. You stay here, in my house.

I raised and cocked my head towards my husband, to check if he was listening to our conversation. Ajay raised his hand with a sly smile in acknowledgment. I went back to face my little devil.

Me: Why should I stay here with you? You don’t sleep yourself and don’t let me sleep too. You don’t listen to what I tell you about not hitting your little cousin. I want to go to my Mamma’s place becasue she listens to me and I listen to her.

Nick after listening to this took a moment to contemplate. I thought, he would now come up with an elaborate apology saying that he will be a good boy now on and not trouble me. That he would promise to be an obedient boy and I should not leave him to go anywhere. Instead what he spoke after exactly 15 seconds baffled my to the core.

Nick: Ok go then! Go! Go! Let me see how you will go to Grandma’s place this late in the night. Grandma’s place is in Chandigarh (so now he understands the concept of distance) Go if you wish to. And go alone, Papa or me will not come with you.

The point to be noted here is that he was not rude or angry when said this. He was cool headed and confident, with a knowing and challenging tone. I must confess this hurt my ego for a second, as to how do I respond his challenge now, but made me sarcastically proud a moment later, that my little devil now understands the usage and application counter logic and reverse psychology.

Hail the kid brain !

Free Will Of My Little Devil

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One fine day last week Nick started throwing tantrums that he didn’t want to go the school. I thought may be he is finding going to school very taxing after the 3-day break that he had to take due to his viral fever. But I observed that since then every morning he has been extremely reluctant about going to school and would start crying the moment I would drop him off at the school gate.

This behavior of his got me worrying as he has been going to Montessori for almost 10 months now, but never did I find him unenthusiastic about going to school. Rather all this while he has been be extremely excited at the prospect of meeting his friends and the outdoor play time at school.

His sudden turn of attitude really took me by surprise and gave me enough reason to ponder upon what could have possibly gone wrong. This post is about my course of investigation into this matter and my conclusions.

Let me warn you readers, that toddlers are and extremely unpredictable species. You could be caught off-guard with toddler logic and not be able recuperate from it for a very long time. And I write this post while I recuperate from the turmoil that I went through this entire week while I tried to figure what was going on.

For three days after Nick started throwing tantrums while getting dropped to school I only tried to reason with him saying that, “My child, one has to go to school to grow into a big boy. You will become a strong boy if you go to school.” etc. etc.
But no pep talk seemed to be working. So today morning I took another approach. I made him sit on my lap made him comfortable and assured him that I wouldn’t force him to go to school. And then the following conversation followed –

Me: So we won’t go to school today. Are you ok with the idea?
Nick: Yes.
Me: Will you not miss your friends like Amreek, Tejas, Anushka (name a few more of his playmates) and playing with them?
Nick: I want to play with them.
Me: In that case you have to go to school dear.
Nick: Nooooo…
Me: Why? Does your Miss (the instructor) scold you?
Nick: (looked up into my eyes, very teary eyed himself) hmmm..
Now this came as a little surprise to me. But I was completely convinced that the instructors could be insistent but not rude with the kids. The Montessori was after all run by an extremely experienced lady who had been running it for more than 16 years and did not believe in hoarding in large number of kids to make profits. She was very clear with her belief in inducing only as many kids in her system, as many she could tend to personally.

Me: Why? Why did the Miss scold you?
Nick: No reply.
Time for some prompting.
Me: Do you bully another kid?
Nick: (shook his head in negative)
Me: Does she scold you when you play in the garden?
Nick: Nope.
Me: Do you not speak your rhymes when she asks you to? (getting a little impatient now)
Nick: Naah. (still extremely grim faced)
I held on for a minute. What could be other areas which could instigate a stern behavior from an instructor? As I thought over, I realised that Nick had not been having his lunch at the school. This I could say, because everyday I sent a tiffin box packed with him to school, which would return with signs of little or no consumption.
Me: Does Miss force you to finish your lunch box?
Nick: (still looking down) I will not have any lunch at school.

Bingo!
Me: You don’t want to have tiffin in school?
Nick: No.

Me: Okay then! That’s no big deal. Today you may tell your Miss that you told mamma that you wont have your tiffin. Alright?

A winning smile on my little devil’s face !

So that was it. Nick didn’t want to go to school because he didn’t like being coaxed into having his lunch. And all this drama for my devil’s free will !

Conclusion of the story: You can’t beat the logic of a 3 year old with reasoning. You have to somehow work around their convictions without forcing anything onto them and make them feel heard and empowered.

P.S. : I had packed vanilla cake with coconut truffles for lunch today. The box came back empty and clean !