A day to forget

It’s been an exhausting day for me. The kind of day that brought issues enough to wipe me out for the week. While dealing with a crisis or five at the domestic front, I’m also currently the sole confidante for three people on three issues. I have no idea how I have landed here. My bitching about it like this online makes me feel guilty and selfish. But I need a vent too. I wish there was someone to share my own problems with. Without judging. While listening attentively. Sans the eagerness to provide quick and dirty advice.

It’s hard being optimistic for others all day when you feel anything but.

Well, tomorrow is another day and I am hoping to be up early and tackle it head on.

Decisions

Everyone tells you just how much this parenting gig asks of you, in terms of physical and emotional commitment, fortitude and financial planning. What they omit to tell you, in my case at least, is the good use to which you will be putting your decision-making skills at almost every step of the way. Up until getting pregnant, I thought that despite some big (controversial and well-documented) issues aside, everything about being a parent works by learning from people around you and how they may have gone about certain things at the relevant stages in their children’s upbringing. Oh, how mistaken I was.. of course, you can learn from them but chances are there’s not one parenting method that will suit you to the T. It’s as simple as you not being them and your children not being theirs. So, on most nights, I count sheep and agonize over something or the other. Here are some of the things keeping me awake just the past few months:

Sleep training or no sleep training?
Sleep training: emotional crutches like blanky, a feed or patting/ rocking vs cry it out?
Co-sleeping or crib? (We were too late thinking of moving her to a crib, so co-sleeping it is, and not unhappy with it thus far)
Bottle or sippy cup or trainer cup? (And this when I escaped the big one: Breastfeeding vs Formula. I was able to breastfeed her and have only started to wean her)
How much water intake? (Believe it or not, there’s a limit on how much water should be offered to babies, that has to do with absorption of nutrients + electrolyte balance and other stuff BUT no water in this heat is bound to make them dehydrated and/or constipated!)
Baby-led weaning or traditional weaning?
First foods: Fruits or cereal? Store-bought cereal or home-made cereal (While home-made cereal might seem like an obvious choice, pediatrician recommended store-bought because it is fortified with iron and vitamins)
Salt or no salt? (No salt recommended for babies till 1, but all food tastes so bland without it. Docs argue that babies are not accustomed to salt yet, but I feel there’s no point in feeding children absolutely unsalted food when the goal is to get them eating normal table food one day)
Veggies: Sweet Potato or Potato, Carrot or Broccoli (she hasn’t taken a liking to either as of now)
Go organic or feed easily-found mass produced food to build immunity and not over-protect child
How long to breastfeed? One year? 18 months? 2 years? When to supplement with other milk? What if she doesn’t accept other milk later on? What if she does and self-weans? Is it too early?
Cow’s milk as supplement or formula?
When to potty train?
Tonsure hair or not?
Pierce ears? When?
Teething homeopathy meds?

I’m sure I’m forgetting some. I haven’t even added the traditional vs medical conflicts that plague new mums. Invariably, your elders will be at odds with what the doctor orders. I also haven’t gotten into the numerous behavioural worries that come up. (Does my child shriek too much? Why does she not understand a NO? Do I yell too much? Am I not assertive enough? Why doesn’t she learn to play by herself? Will this resolve itself? ad infinitum)

We all make these choices and hope they turn out well. There’s no blueprint. There’s no map. There’re only instinct and hope and love.

Mumspeak

WTF, WordPress. I wrote a post last night. I’ll tell you I risked life and limb to get it done (okay, I risked just my baby waking up as I typed noisily and her waking up = no sleep for me = RISK TO MY LIFE). And this morning, all I see is a hanging title with my wonderful post (I can call it wonderful since you can’t see it, heh) missing. Sob. The rare times I blog, why you do dis to me, WP? Anyway, it was about a Hindu Businessline article: here. The summary of my post was to please not let this lady get you all tube-tied because while it is exhausting and frustrating and maddening, this business of parenthood brings with a special kind of love which deserves being experienced by everyone who doesn’t vehemently NOT want kids. We can talk about it over coffee some time if you still want to discuss this. In 18 years though, because I have no time these days for coffee. Or going out. Or getting out of my PJs. And yet, my little daughter sends me one gummy grin and I’m ready for another brilliant day. You get the gist?

That aside, I’m turning into that person who can only talk/ write/ read about kid-related stuff. While pre-pregnancy me will look at this new me with a lot of dread, I am quite *so what* about it. Throw in a shrug and swagger. In fact, I am getting *so what* about many things and have so far attributed this world-dominating attitude to a) having given birth to a human being – it’s like once you have that out of the way, many things about your appearance and likability to others just cease to matter; b) turning 30 – I have this distinct feeling of being out of some kind of race I might have imagined myself to be in earlier.. it’s like a switch was flipped and I just refuse to partake in any sort of activity that’s the new measure of coolth and c) being housebound for the most part – being out of work and not having any kind of routine for yourself can just make you go with the flow – whether you like it or not. Now, the third of these is what I am on the fence about.

I am not new to being a stay-at-home person, and let me tell you stay-at-home mom is WAYY more productive than being stay-at-home non-mom that I once used to be. I do not feel even for a moment that I am whiling away my time. Consequently, I have little to no concerns about me never returning to work. It is depressing to people around me and their worry kind of rubs off on me, but every single time I introspect, I find no sense of wanting to go back desperately. I am confused about whether I should be happy about my having accepted my situation surprisingly easily (I did not expect this before) or sad about my subconscious lack of ambition. I do realize that once the wonderful days of babyhood and toddlerhood are over and baby goes to school, this nonchalance might be regretted by me and make me a bigger mess (I will be a mess whenever she has to go to school, that’s a given!) Ofcourse, all the other aspects of this working mom vs SAHM mom debate also apply here: I have no permanent support system to leave baby home yet, I do wonder about ever being able to get back to work after having been out of touch for years together, financial independence is important to me but not a decider but here’s the one that I most worry about: Am I really choosing this happily, because I will have to explain it to my daughter one day. That girls can be equally happy working at home or out of it. This includes teaching her that being a stay-at-home mum is as valid an option to her as being anything else her heart desires. Will it be holding her back? Will I be justifying my choice through her? Will I unwillingly make her feel guilty if she chooses to be a working mom? I mean no disrespect, these questions just swim around in my undecided mind. All answers seem like a calculated compromise.

More later. She is napping and I gotta eat :)

 

The last time..

.. I posted here was over a year back! Yes, that post you see under this one.. it’s not Dec 4 2013 but Dec 4 2012. I distinctly remember that I had joined a 30-day blogging challenge which went to the dogs on Day 4. Since then, I have wanted to come back and write many times. Like when the new year came around (2013). Like when the Nirbhaya or Jyoti Singh Pandey case was throwing everything ugly about India in our faces. Or when I had a wonderful quiet staycation in Bangalore. Also, when I had the first surgery of my life. Like when I had an important announcement to make about my personal life. The million moments after that, that deserved to be recorded. The end of 2013. My resolutions and what not. 

It seems I can never really get around to sitting down and writing about things if I plan too much. So here I am, telling you in the most unbecoming comeback manner what all has happened in my life since December 2012:

At the time of that last post, I was in the throes of the worst of the morning sickness and waiting to let the world know that I was expecting. I had also found out that I was borderline anemic and have hypothyroidism. Both conditions could be controlled/medicated in time. By April, when I was feeling better, we had a little holiday in Thailand with family.. a babymoon of sorts. After returning, I was due for my mandatory tetanus shots to be given during pregnancy, the first of which went terribly wrong resulting in a skin abscess. Had to be put under general anesthesia and have a removal procedure, which was most scary because GA + antibiotics during pregnancy are not recommended except absolutely unavoidable. Had the most depressing time worrying about all sorts of things, combined with pregnancy hormones. Went through a not-so-comfortable third trimester with insomnia, itchiness, nightmares and other assorted goodies. Gave birth to my wonderful little baby girl on July 25, 2013, a day after the due date; we have named her Anushka. Been stumbling about the many parenting challenges that one can face in the short span of five months. Took her for her first holiday end of 2013.

Because I have always loved mommy blogs and believe there’s much to learn out there, this could become a mommy blog in future – you stand warned (considering there is still anybody who visits this place). I would love to share my pregnancy and birth story, my aha moments along the path of mommyhood, how my life has changed and is changing every day since that one moment, and all the other rants/ ideas/ inner monologues I shared before. 

I promise nothing and this is not a 30 day challenge or a 100 happy days feature or a one post a day week or anything of the kind – because we all know that when I do those, I disappear for years. This is just a Hi! to say I am back, I have been reading many of your blogs, but you can expect to see my comments on your blogs and to read more about my life here more regularly. 

A happy 2014 to all of you!

How’ve you been?

Day 4: Addiction

Just the second day and I am short of things to say. This morning, I caught myself thinking how much time I waste these days and decided to do a listing of how much time I spend doing various activities daily. In just a couple of days, I was looking at quite a few bitter revelations. I think there’s more unproductive time in my day these days than there’s productive. Of course, I could blame this on the funk I’ve been in, but even so, I need to change something very quickly for my own sanity. Isn’t confession the first step of change? So I’m laying it all out bare here, so whoever reads this page can also tell me how you deal with any (or all!) of these addictions that steal away our time:

- No prizes for guessing, the number one has to be the Internet.I swear, I have looked up symptoms of Internet addiction for my..ummm.. condition. It’s one thing to sit with a cup of tea and browse through your reading list or favourite blogs, but it’s entirely another to start reading a page, go back and click all the links in it and suddenly discover that the clock has moved 4 hours ahead. I don’t know what or how I am going to do something about this (I did think about giving up the broadband connection at home and shuddered immediately), but for now, I am thinking of trying to define some browsing time over the day and attempt to stick to that.

- When I’m not refreshing Twitter like a maniac or reading something off Thought Catalog, I’m day-dreaming about something and that, these days, changes into worrying about something or the other. I know. How very productive. I don’t know how one thing sets off another trail of things but I’m more than capable of always identifying and over-thinking about the worst outcome of all. This reeks of pessimism, I’m aware. It’s pretty recent and well, one of my more unpleasant addictions. I believe this has to do with having some extra time on my hands and these days, and should sort itself out when I get busier. I hope.

- Bad TV. Seriously. There’s something about sitting through episodes of Two and a Half Men or HIMYM or Grey’s Anatomy while being only half-aware of what’s going on. I think it just gives me a sense of being occupied with something when really, it doesn’t take up any active mindspace and I can just lie there being lazy and un-guilty about it. :D It’s getting so addictive that I don’t even really mind re-reruns and that’s just criminal waste of time.

- This one is so ironical I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. A large portion of my somewhat-productive (I really can’t decide) time goes into making To-Do Lists.  Long, elaborate lists that never get done.

Do any of you do these things and later regret them too? Any ideas?

Marathon Blogger

Day 3: Celebration

I’ve been missing in action a long time and most of that can be attributed to just how many curve-balls life has thrown me the past few days. Before I let the whining take over, I will explain what brings me here. Some of the older blogger peeps whom I used to read rather religiously, like Monika and Rohini, have initiated an effort to come back to blogging and writing more regularly. I’ve been wanting to do just that and this seems like an opportunity where getting the oft-required nudge might be easier than finding self-motivation. However, given my current state of my mind and life, I am setting myself up for at least 20 days of blogging in December under this Blog Marathon and not all 31 (having missed 2 days already and setting real targets etc.) Here goes today’s post:

Marathon Blogger

Yesterday, the husband A and I celebrated the third anniversary of our wedding day. Three years of being married and nearly six of having been together seem to have just fit into my life story like they were always supposed to, and yet my wedding day seems like a blurry memory from far far away. I don’t know if the learning curve in a marriage continues to be this steep when you step into, say, double digit years of being married to each other but so far, I can distinctly see how different I am as a person and a partner than I was three years ago.  I don’t think I have written about A very often, and I do dislike mushy public proclamations of love but this once, it doesn’t feel overt. Through many of my phases and moods and illnesses, he has been my rock and my best friend this year. I’m still going through a rather uncertain and stressful phase, and the one thing I never need to worry about is having his support in doing the right thing. With the hand I’ve been dealt, I am the weak one this time and as I lean on him to do the thinking and the motivating and the other tiring work these days, I cannot help but be thankful for him being who he is. My favourite memory of this year, grim like the tone of this post, has to be from August. Fighting the chicken pox and the fever and the headaches and the itchiness that come with it, I burst into tears and was crying pitifully unable to sleep one night. The meds were taking their time to ease my discomfort and I felt the worst ever. A, who must have been stressed and worried and tired like anyone dealing with a sick person at 3 a.m. will be, gave up on telling me practical things like trying to sleep, drinking more water and just started singing for me. It was so peaceful listening to him that I did manage to smile after a while and actually fall asleep. I woke up after a while to still find him humming and fell asleep again. It was a moment that will stay with me whenever I find myself being selfish and unreasonable with him.

Happy Anniversary to us :)