Category Archives: Parenthood

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!

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 !

Of Hindu Religion and Love Marriages

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This happened when out of habit I tuned into ‘Siya ke Ram’ a mythology based show on an Indian television channel while I was with my sister at my mum’s place. The habit I must clarify finds its roots from my mum-in-laws insistence on watching the show for lack of anything else that’s more meaningful enough on television.
Coming back to the show, that particular episode was showing how everyone had failed to pick up Lord Shiva’s arc and the subsequent entry of Ram (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu) with his brother Lakshman and his Guru to the venue of Sita’s Swayamwar. Though hope and anxiety were evident among King Janak’s family members, but Sita looked particularly hopeful and i must say desperate for Ram to succeed in picking up the Dhanush, a condition put down by her father for anyone who wished to get married to Sita.

At this I just happened to remark to my sister. “Swayamwar and all is just an excuse. It is so evident that Site is already infatuated or attracted towards him.” To this my sister added that having read the Ramayana, it is quite evident that love had already blossomed between them by the time things came to this Swayamwar.

The discussion then drifted to the realization that all the major pillars of Hindu Mythology are guilty of propagating love relationships.

I already mentioned the perceived infatuation between Ram and Seeta through their encounters before the Swayamwar. Then their is ofcourse another avatar of Vishnu i.e. ‘Lord Krishna’ whose name has almost ceased to exist alone and his devotees worship him as RadheKrishna. Love tales of Radha and Krishna are have been subject to enough adoration as well as discussion. More so because Lord Krishna did not marry Radha. Yet their love is the epitome of commitment and passion for all who consider him as their deity.

Also, there’s lord Shiva who despite being a ‘Yogi’ who lives an austere life on Mount. Kailash is not devoid of love and passion. After a lot of persuasion and cajoling he gave in to Sati’s wish and made her his bride. Sati re-incarnated as Parvati in another life and her love for Shiva also took her to Mount Kailash where she was successful in pleasing Lord Shiva enough so he would agree to marry her. The story of their marriage and re-marriage and their ‘Grahastha’ life is a well-known mythological legend.

Well, my point of this post is not just to make you aware of what Lord Ram or Krishna or Shiva did with regards to their love lives. I rather wish to draw your attention towards the fact that even these Gods weren’t devoid of feelings of love, passion and endearment; then why is it so that the very same devotees of these deities refuse to acknowledge and respect the existence of such emotions among their kids.

It is so ironic that most of the parents in my religion start to plan for their kids wedding almost from the moment they are born, how and why do they not take into account a possibility that their Ram/Krishna/Shiva may find a Seeta/Radha/Sati or vice-versa for themselves without their intervention.

I do not mean to demean the status of the aforementioned Gods or their better-halves in any religious context. Neither am I accusing the entire or only the Hindu community of taking a dogmatic stance where Love and Marriages are concerned. Our parents have definitely been plagued with a restrained view towards their youth finding their soul-mates on their own. It is high time they reconsider and re-structure their views and thoughts in this respect. Among other logics and arguments in favor of love propagated marriages, our mythology should provide them a perspective and some balm to their imperious stand.

No conclusions or judgements; just a thought and a probe.

P.S – I do not mean to hurt the emotions of the devotees of the Hindu Gods in any manner. These are solely my thoughts on a very practical issue faced by the youth today. As a young parent this topic just intrigued me and thus this write-up.