23 March, 2011

Caveat Emptor..

There really should be warning labels on kids. After the new experiences in potty training there are other concerns which crop up especially during the terrible twos-wala phase. This phase I'm told lasts till they turn 5 or parents end up in a loony bin, whichever occurs earlier :p

Last night, after he got a second wind and started laughing and playing catch-me-if-you-can at 9:30 I got to thinking...I'm responsible for all this energy. I encourage the rambunctiousness. While Red's taught him how to "THOO" with just about anything...I've been encouraging him to walk and run and jump and now it's been done in abundance.
I feed him chyawanprash and God only what else to give him energy and vitality. And when that energy comes right back at me I'm left floundering :)

At this age, children are natural imitators. They may not be able to express a lot of things terribly coherently but they comprehend a helluva lot. Yesterday the offspring hit me right in the eye with his bottle. It HURT. And I got quiet for a bit. Quelled the urge to spank his butt rosy red and was waiting for the eye to stop watering. The little man got all serious and made sure I was smothered with kisses till he got the "All clear" signal from me before running off to do more of the 'good stuff'!

It's actually quite silly to expect him or any other child to understand differentiations between what is good or bad. Because except for putting his hand in the power socket or touching sharp objects, there isn't much that he can do that I can genuinely object to. I ought not to take him to Gymboree then. He learns to climb, jump, go through tunnels and whatnot!
What happens at home is a reproduction of those activities but in the setting he is familiar with. He runs out the door to climb up or down the stairs (major eeks!), he crawls under the chairs of the dining table, he climbs on the sofas just so he can jump down and the rest of it simply because he likes doing it.
And at this age they really do not understand why their fun time needs to be rationed. I can't have him jump for an hour when it's fun for me to see him and applaud his efforts and then tell him to be a good boy and stop doing it. Confusion sets in. Why is he a good boy for doing something new and then a good boy again for not doing it?

The inevitable will happen. He'll continue jumping up and down, climbing, falling, running, scratching on mud, picking up dirt, taking my utensils, turning on taps and pretty much whatever he wants...because doing something is always more fun and exciting rather than *not*.
Who wants to sit quietly and listen to boring mom's take on the tickly tiger when you can pounce around, growl and roll on the ground the way the tigers on Animal Planet do?

He sleeps less. Only because there's so much stimulation around him and he's become used to it. But he's not a kid who is hyper unnecessarily. You supply the stimulation and obviously something will result from it. So all the bath squeezies that I gave him to make bath time fun have resulted in elaborate games being made up inside that little head and now he refuses to get out of the tub. Add to it the heat and bada bing!

So, to make a long story short. there's usually a reason for most of his behavior. Just need to remember that the next time I slip in a puddle of water in the living room which seems to anything but water :D

18 March, 2011

The tottering tot and the people in his life

Written on 10th October, 2010

The munchkin completed 14 months yesterday and despite all the comparisons which are inevitable with other tots of his age, am very happy that he's turning into a completely different person from his father and I and is into doing his own thing.

He hasn't learnt fear yet, of that am ambivalent because it stops him from being cautious or listening to warnings about a few things. But at the same time am glad that my fallacies or silly fears aren't getting transferred to him. We make it a point to chase the house lizards instead of my using shrieking and praying for the Divine Hand to strike them dead where they crawl my walls.
He picks up bugs and is a bit picky about his tastes so no unnecessary non-veg stuff has been added in his diet. YET.

As for the people in his life- let's start with my maid. She dotes on him and has been seeing him since he was 26 days old. Every milestone of his she notes and goes and brags about to the other people she works for. They play peekaboo and she's thoroughly tickled when he does his clap-clap and bye-bye. Apparently there aren't too many babies who do it as adorably as mine does :P

His grandparents aka the Mater and Pater. They miss him awfully and keep cooing to him over the speakphone a few times in the day. Am required to furnish details of his escapades and my father (Mr.Impatience himself wrt Moi) keeps telling me to be patient and not scold him. How the tide's turned...
My mother sings to him over the phone and keeps laughing at his antics and keeps telling me to be careful with him and not let him out of my sight much. Yup...I'll do that when the house needs remodelling and I can't afford a proper decorator. The mini me will tear stuff down; the walls too if need be.

His playmates in the building- are few. Most kids are taken care of by ad hoc nannies the parents supervise from the building or via mobiles. The kids try to climb into his pram and seem quite attracted to something in him which I can't quite place. He's unashamedly aloof with another boy in the building, reserving his smiles and claps for the fairer sex. Amongst whom, the fairer the better is the name of the game :)

His father- has become his partner in crime of late. Teaching him to throw stuff, further and further each time is what these two love to do. And Red is also his sanctuary from the mad mommy and her barks and occasional bites.

His mommy aka moi- well..we test the boundaries of our relationship everyday. He knows me better than I know him. He pushes my buttons like few others do and is very quick to manipulate. Kisses are given rapidly to avoid slaps on the bum and deafness is feigned when I'm not compliant enough or other more pliable people are around :)
He eats my food, demands my soft drinks and ice cream and my cellulite is his trampoline.

What more does a child need?

A dog maybe?

If I wrote a children's' book

I would write a book for the people who are contemplating on the contemplation of kids. It would be succinct and would be about the following:
  • spending time with parents with kids of differing ages before actually beginning the process of parenting oneself [ the real time fun, angst, swearing, laughing and desire to use sedatives by the parents on the children are quite the eye-opener!]
  • changing one nappy, potty preferably.
  • feeding a child who has gained mobility. Something that is semi-solid and has a color that can and will stain a light-colored clothing; again preferably yours.
  • bathing a child who is mobile and can lift himself/herself out of the tub. Whether the said child loves the water or hates it the result is the same- you will be drenched. Count on it.
  • putting a child to sleep. Just once. One realizes that there's a gamut of things to explore starting from tussling the hair, patting the back, singing, cooing, walking, bouncing and yes, ultimately threatening too before the much-desired semi-conscious state is attained by the child.
  • taking the child out to the park or any area where the following things excite the tot who has mobility- dogs, cats, birds, cars, PEOPLE...anything actually. Mine once watched a half-crushed slug for 20 minutes and clapped sporadically. So really, it can be ANYTHING.
  • taking the kid to the supermarket for the first time. In an aisle which is particularly colorful and bright. And then what happens is no mystery...everything ends up in your cart.
  • refusing the child something he or she really wants but you most certainly do not! What follows is the most intricate turns, bends, foot stomps and yelling- and that's just by you. What the child will do is anyone's guess...especially yours.
  • watching a child sleep. The peace exuded by the child is so pervasive that you will just drop down and snooze on the spot. Amongst god knows what all. Yes. You will.
  • hearing a child laugh. Everyday there's a new pitch, a new gurgle and a new tinkling sound that comes through. It's quite an art form actually. Especially one where it's not practised knowingly so au naturelle will bring out the best.
After all this has been indulged along with a few bites, nibbles, drools, spit-ups, hurling sessions most likely one will take the decision that I did- ride it out.

Everyday's beautiful and exhaustingly so. But then again, who knows how they view us...but that's another post. I have to rush...my lil cherub is yelling his head off and trying to hit new keys to show his impatience with his absent mother.


To Grin&Bear it..

The dictionary of idioms defines "to grin and bear it" as thus-to endure something unpleasant in good humor.
But if we remember the original humors, this idiom could just as well end up being a veneer for a choleric individual aiming for phlegmatic.
Truth be told, I seldom have been able to do just that. It usually becomes a case of grinning and baring it. The fangs that it. While the mind takes its own course of exactly who'll be the last one laughing (or in this case, grinning) by the time doomsday arrives.

I suppose good humor does deflect or even diminish a lot of the stresses in life. But it doesn't diminish the stressor(s). Those things/people/situations that turn people into malcontents.

Am I a malcontent? I suppose so. In bits. Sporadically. But I do grin and bear a lot of things that come my way. Either because the eventual payoff's worth it or enduring stress for the "greater good" will also tell of good things to come. Or ultimately because I've got special someones to go and spew bile to.

What really gets my goat is that things/people/situations that cause annoyance on an irritatingly regular basis usually are exempted from learning of the impact their behavior or even mere existence causes another. Ergo grinning and bearing may not always be the best policy all the time.

So till the time a perfect approach to managing stress for malcontents is discovered I'll just take a twist of lime, some tonic and GIN& bear it. So either Tanqueray it or go the Beefeater way...it'll be a lot easier to handle from the other end of the hic hic spectrum.

The gamut of a child's comprehension..

ranges from the minuscule to the gigantic! They can take a concept and keep it compartmentalized or apply it to whatever seems to come close to it.
The end result may end up being funny or border on annoyance depending on which time of day your offspring decides to spew forth his understanding of concepts taught.

Case in point- the toilet training of my son. It's been a long while in the offing. I initially tried after he learnt to sit. Got him a cute turtle potty which was fun to play with. The little man was made to sit on it with and without diapers so to get used to the funda of sitting somewhere for a bit (yes, that's right. He doesn't linger much. ANYWHERE!!) and all he'd do was sit on it and rock away. He'd learnt to control his poop and pee because he'd NEVER go in the potty. He'd wait till the diaper was off or on and do the deeds :)

When he began to understand instructions more, I used to try to get him to sit but he'd end up braking his feet like the Looney Tunes characters and getting him to sit became a task worthy of the Olympics!

I grumbled and nagged Red (who did not help much by saying, "It's time to potty train him you know.") You think?!! I spoke to pals who had baby boys specifically and asked their help (and bitched) and they said let him learn on his own. It'll happen. I said, "from your mouth to God's ears." and waited patiently.

And now the glorious hours are dawning. Potty is being done. Averaging one a day in the potty. Sometimes none at all and others, 2-3 in a day. But the concept has been learnt. The monkey keeps chanting, "mamma, mamma, mamma" when he needs to go. And also when he's done the deed and wants to be cleaned up. He's also learnt that potty= chhee-chhee.

So now the scope of the "chhee" has been widened to include the butt, the training potty, any part of the body where the chhee touches, the wipes, the mug with which chhee's washed, the dirty diapers and all kinds of spots and blemishes that he might come across. Anywhere!!

This morning when Red spilled some coffee, the monkey kept chanting chheee and pointing at the coffee spill till Red got some towels and mopped it up! Again when he kicked some fruit mush out of the bowl and it got onto his highchair, he told me with a lot of solemnity,"Mamma CHHEEE-CHHEE.

But when the actual chhee is done in the desired place, one must clap (loudly), say he's a good boy and be generous with the kissy-kissy. For then and only then can he be prevailed upon for a repeat performance. Else one must be prevailed upon to be flagged down from whatever activity one was indulging in, sniff the ripeness of the diaper, lay him down, take off the diaper to be told in what can only be labelled as a DUH! tone- mamma chhee-chhee :) And be prepared to see a non-diapered lil monkey scamper off the bed and run off to do whatever he wants; minus the chhee-chhee :D

04 March, 2011

To Ferberize or Not to Ferberize..

There's no question..Ferberize!!

When my son was quite a bit younger and Red and I were still patrolling our room like night watchmen, we were advised to Ferberize him and Ferberize him good!

It was less to do with my being maternal and more to do with a child who didn't understand much of what was going on around him and his two main supports just up and leaving him to cry. So we decided against it and it's only of late that we've felt that the decision was largely an emotional one and not a logical one.

Now that the offspring can practically run around and has given into his intrinsic urge to climb everything climbable, he detests being restrained in any manner unless he's assured of perpetual motion and entertainment. Yeah right! What do I have? Cirque du Soleil in my livingroom? Pshaw!
Anyhow, in order to go and do anything at all these days means having him as my shadow. Normally I wouldn't mind a shadow as cute as him and neither would I mind the constant babble an irritant, but the reaching of his often extends to things harmful for him and a refusal leads to feet stamping and whining.

I can't stand whiny kids. I cant stand mine a tad bit more because he's the cutest most aww le mummum baby in the whole wide world. But even then it's really pushing it when it goes on beyond a point.

So today I left him in his cot and walked around doing some stuff around the house and ignored him. When he started to screech and get red in the face I walked out of the room and half closed the door behind me. He retaliated by gagging himself. When that didn't work ( I peeked to make sure he wasn't throwing up) he finally pulled out the Brahmastra! he called to me plaintively and said "Mamma"...damn that kid! He's good. But I'm better...marginally.

I took him out of his cot expecting to be hugged and exchange kisses and clean his runny nose, when Lo and Behold! The lil dumpling laughed through his tears and clapped his hands.

Now, in time every kid learns that you shouldn't mess with the Mommy person. And so did my kid. But being the ace that he is, am sure that particular point will have to be reinforced daily for the next 2 weeks, at least!
I promptly put him back in the cot, picked up a novel and sat right in front of him reading and oh! did I mention I got myself some tea to add insult to the injury?
So there I was, sipping, reading and ignoring to my heart's content.

He stamped his feet, held his breath, banged his chin against the cot rails and then quietened down and played with his toys till he really got sleepy. Tiny arms were then held out and truce was declared and the Geneva Convention between mother and son was signed.

He now sleepeth and I am left, yet again, marveling at how far ahead kids can think!
But it's like I told Red later, if the kid's old enough to plot how to bamboozle, then he's jolly well old enough to be hoisted on his own petard!

But on a less vengeful note, it makes sense I think for a child to be able to self-soothe. Not because I'm not going to be around or because if I nurture him now it'll spoil him for life. No. The earlier he can self-soothe the faster his own comfort occurs he's a happy baby again. It never hurts to be able to take care of yourself. Even from the cradle onwards.

Now lemme go cry to my mommy about the hard knocks in my life ;)

01 March, 2011

at the end of the day..

the smiles, the dimples win over the other things combined!

Whether it is a nice, long scratch on the nose (like the one I'm sporting) or a few bites marks (some out of love and some out of anger), the smiles and wiles of a child will triumph over the odds and let them romp home victorious.

My child has a very fixed personal space. His is moderately large (how is that for vague?) and is activated by human triggers more than anything else.
And he's very, very alert. He'll be slouched in his high chair finishing his milk when a movement near the door (10 odd feet away and seemingly away from his line of vision) will have him sit up straight and start off his interrogation in the best baby cop talk ever!

My house, being spacey, has spoiled him a bit because his concept of space is an area where no more than 2 people are present at a time, and even if there are more, they are the ones who are permitted to witness his antics. So during this week, while getting some work (plumbing and carpentry) done at home I saw a different side of him emerge that made me realize that he is really selective about the people around him.

He LOVES to wave at all and sundry but not everyone's allowed near him. Even the ones he goes running after, may not be accorded hugs and kisses. And just because he's dependent on me for everything doesn't mean that he won't aim his kicks at me at the first sight of any discomfort when his space's invaded.

But after some time when the workers leave and the house is restored to it's regular glorious messy ways, it's a jubilant and vibrant child gamboling about as if the ire vented on the inhabitants of the house was a thing of fantasy :o)

Just some time back, after facing some sulks and some stuff being thrown about, I was subjected to lavish kisses and bites on the nose as a mark of all being right with the world.

I really wonder how this one will fare in school...either there'll be regular reports of bites on other children or little girls and dogs being chased as if there was no tomorrow.
Either way it'll be a dandy and there'll always be a share of the bites, nibbles, drools, hugs and sloppy kisses for me alone.

Not a bad note to end on at all.