Wednesday 29 October 2008

Of Ads' English language skills

Advaith's English has improved considerably after starting preschool. His powers of observation are acute (not a trait he has picked up from me, that's for sure!). He can seamlessly weave in long words (which nobody has taught him but which he has observed people using) into everyday sentences, and he gets the context right 99% of the time although the grammar may often be wrong. Some samples:
"I am so interest in going for school", explaining why he wants to attend school all 5 days, instead of 3!
Another one (he asked me this before his birthday party) - "Are u exciting, mommy?"!!!

I was shocked a couple of days ago when he seriously explained to me that in case thanga-papa cannot come out on her own, the nurse will use a "vaccum set" to pull her out! I couldn't think of where he'd picked that up but then realized that he was innocently playing near me when I was watching a birth refresher slideshow on the laptop, and even though he wasn't looking at the screen, he must have been hearing every word.

The tiniest bit of impatience sets in

I had promised myself that I would not get antsy in the last few days/weeks of the pregnancy. After all, I've been through this before and know as well as anybody that the coma-inducing exhaustion following the arrival of an infant is best put off as long as possible. But I can't help myself fantasizing - fast-forwarding to the actual moment of birth, that huge incomparable adrenaline rush and the tearful bliss of holding my newborn in my arms for the very first time. So sometimes this impatience has been getting the better of me, especially on days when the back is acting up or when I am feeling especially tired.

Well....less than a week to go....must hang in there ;-)

Thursday 23 October 2008

On having my bed back again (after three years!) and losing it in one day...

We’ve always (like most Indian parents) been “bed-sharing” with Ads (I didn’t know that terms like co-sleeping, bed sharing or attachment parenting existed before we started living in the US. Names for what occurs naturally in Indian and most Asian and African cultures!) It has been a very cozy, intimate if sometimes somewhat uncomfortable experience. As he has grown bigger, he occupies more space and ends more nights spread-eagled diagonally across our super-size Cal-King mattress, leaving S and me clinging to the edges of the bed for dear life. For a while during the second trimester, I took refuge in a body pillow lent to me by a friend and effectively created a Lakshman-Rekha between myself and the father-son duo. Predictably enough, my state of nocturnal bliss did not last more than a few days; before long I found father and son cuddling up inside the body pillow and myself on the fringes. No matter – I promised myself, once my parents arrived, I would transition Ads to sleep in their bed and so end this tug-of-war once and for all.

For several weeks after they arrived, we had been trying to motivate Ads to move to their bed with no success. 3 days ago, he was bribed by the prospect of Naani relating “avalo” (“lots of”) stories to snooze him into naptime – in contrast to stingy old mommy who would only relate one or two stories – and he decided he was better off napping in the grandparents’ room.

One small victory achieved, we redoubled efforts to move him to their room at night-time. A full-scale attack was launched 2 nights ago with mommy promising him that he could sleep in the bright blue-and-orange sleeping bag which was dumped in the store-room, Thatha promising him lots of stories and Naani throwing in the appeal of a cozy cuddle under a brand new comforter (my son adores being cuddled and hugged and kissed, only by select people of course!). The little fellow got super-excited and insisted on kicking off his bed-time routine right then and there, so we rushed through the nightly pee-pee, change into pajamas and brushing of teeth without further ado and got him settled, amidst much giggling and excitement, into his new “bed”.

I must admit to a wonderful sense of relief on having my side of the bed to myself. S seemed to have separation anxiety though. He missed watching Ads staring silently into space for 15-20 minutes at a time before he finally drops into sleep (S keeps wondering what he could be thinking about!), he missed waking up umpteen times during the night to check that Ads is still under the covers, he missed throwing an arm over his son and resting his cheek against his……….as for me, the freedom to twist and turn any which way I please for these last few days before another little thing arrives to claim the middle space in our bed far outweighs these considerations.

However, I celebrated my "victory" a little too soon, because last night Ads insisted on me accompanying him to his new bedroom and whenever I made a tentative move to go back to my room, his lower lip would tremble dangerously and his beautiful eyes would shine with unshed tears. Soon enough, he asked me (in a heartbreakingly sweet voice) - "Can I sleep in my own bed with you and appa, pleeeeeeez?" Who had the heart to refuse?

He has bought time with promises to sleep with Naani and Thatha after "thanga-papa" (baby sister) arrives. In the meantime, we will try, try and try again until we succeed. S is secretly gleeful at the turn of events!

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Creative instincts

A sample of Advaith's artwork over the last few months. I'm running out of places to plaster them especially as he now goes to preschool three days a week and invariably brings his craftwork home.

My little helper

I try to get Advaith involved in as many household chores as I can. An example is when I enlisted him to help me clean and prep all the baby gear yesterday - stroller, car seat, rocker, bassinet and so on. All I have to do is give him some wet wipes, soapy water and a sponge and he is occupied for atleast 30 minutes! He has been very good with things like separating mint leaves/grapes from their stems, mixing dough for chapathis etc when I am expecting company. Of course all this creates extra work and mess for me to deal with after he's done but it's worthwhile to see the sense of accomplishment shining on his face.

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Countdown to Labo(u)r Day!

Eaxctly 2 more weeks to go until my due date. The last month of pregnancy has to be THE honeymoon period for the fortunates like me. An array of help in the form of mom, dad and spouse ensures that I have to do nothing but RELAX. I have been spending time reading books and magazines, watching DVDs and indulging in my favourite activity - tidying up the apartment and clearing out all the junk. This pregnancy has also been a lot easier - mentally and physically. The minor aches and pains are as nothing compared to the overwhelming anxiety I experienced with Advaith. My hospital bag is packed and now we just wait.

First day of preschool

3rd Sep arrived. It started off badly enough. A had woken up in the middle of the night, in the grasp of a night-terror. It was obvious to us that the thought of school was making him apprehensive. In the morning, he maintained that he would NOT go to school and he would NOT get ready. It took a lot of cajoling and bribing (I’ll buy you a firefighter costume if you get ready for school!) before he would get dressed and eat breakfast. He obligingly posed with a smile for the camera as I crouched behind it, feeling horribly sad and terribly proud all at once. I’d chickened out of dropping him at school, fearing he’d never let me go so S had to do the honours. We were saved by the bell – the fire-truck bell! As soon as they entered the classroom, A saw a fire-truck and a firefighter’s costume and he was set for the day! S lingered for 20 mins and silently made his exit when he saw that A was playing happily in his corner. I was skulking in the car, feeling miserable and edgy (for no reason, as it turned out). When S came back to the car with a smile on his face, I knew everything must have been smooth and that’s when I stopped biting my nails. Much ado about nothing? That should be the title of this blog post!

Since then, he has loved going to school and Ms Pam is one of his favourite people. He doesn’t allow me to stay for more than a couple of minutes at drop-off time. I am dismissed with a casual wave of the hand and a perfunctory kiss.
As they say, the separation anxiety is always more for the mom than for the child!

Build-up to preschool

Advaith started part-time preschool on 3rd September 2008. For months before this event, I had been walking around with a lump in my chest. A lump of fear, not sadness! A has always been a fairly clingy child, more so after we moved to the Bay Area and I was the only adult around 24*7. On playdates, he would start wailing if I as much as went to the bathroom. S had suggested that I leave him for an hour or two at a friend’s place, a couple of times, to get him accustomed to the idea of mommy not being around. That never happened. So it was with extreme trepidation that I awaited his reaction to the separation that school would entail. I prepared him by reading aloud a lot of books about the first day of school, and by talking to him incessantly about all the fun he’d have there.
S (who happens to be right on most things, most of the time!) has always maintained that A is a “big-game player”. “Hmmm….let’s see”, is what I said.

Friday 10 October 2008

Why I'm blogging -- and why I should stick with it!

I am writing this blog for the same reason every other mother does – an online record to supplement the ever-increasing and selective memory loss that comes with the passage of time. Advaith my elder one is 3 now and sometimes I can’t remember specific events that happened when he was a baby or even a toddler (which, after all, was not so very long ago). I maintained a baby book for the first year of his life, and was it a dedicated effort! Every milestone and every toothy smile, every minor illness and every vacation, was faithfully recorded for posterity. But the only effort I have been capable of for the last 2 years has been a disciplined compilation of photographs which are then uploaded and organized on Flickr/Picasa. I’d like to do more with the second one on the way, and S points out that I have the fairly unique perspective of having parented a child in India and now in the US, and therefore I might have a different take on many issues. Perhaps.