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The second year

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N turned two recently. His second year was eventful and memorable, in a good way and in a bad way. His language skills developed really quickly and his vocabulary has been growing exponentially ever since. Here are some memorable moments in pictures.

He learnt to lift things and carry them around

And some more things...

Sat in a box...

Learnt to charge Mama's mobile...

Went bald and slept in weird positions

Explored Mama's kitchen

Traveled by train and played with aunt's mixer

And with her washing machine

Had fun with his cousin

Bonded big time with his big brother

They adore each other!

He drove a car!

And aunt's scooty

Analyzed how this thing works

Explored grandma's garden

Watered the plants

Prayed in grandma's house

Spotted a monkey

Became a monkey himself

Cuddled a calf

Learnt to hit and bite... not so good times

Hence, got time-outs

And some more!

Some good moments and some not so good… a memorable year, nevertheless. Wishing you a very happy birthday my dear and hope you have a wonderful year ahead!

N starts school tomorrow and I am really nervous. Wish me luck, please!

Written by A

December 7, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Posted in baby, Baby Update

Respect

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You pick up any parenting book and you will see a chapter on respecting your child as a person. I took this in without much thought and kept telling myself, “Of course, I respect my kid as a person”. I and my kid (and my family) are struggling through a bad phase right now and only now I realize what respecting your kid really means.

My son is 22 months young, which means he is in his terrible twos. He sees himself as an individual now – no longer a part of mommy. He has realized he has likes, wants, dislikes, needs and whims and fancies. He has suddenly woken up to this wonderful world around where there so many exciting new things and objects and he wants to touch every one of them and play with them. He is learning new things everyday – words, colors, shapes, names and improving his skills – grasping, climbing, jumping, kicking, rolling and what not. He looks at people around and wants to do similar things. He sees his dad touching the calendar to turn a page and he wants to do it too. He sees his mom cutting vegetables and cooking and he wants to do the same.

He is this bundle of energy, ready to take on the world and when he hears someone say ‘No’, that’s when all hell breaks loose. He sees me using the knife and cutting the potatoes. All he asks for is to let him do the same. I promptly say no and he just doesn’t understand why. He asks again and gets a negative response. He cries, I still say no. He stomps his feet, flails his arms and rolls on the ground and that’s when he is given a time-out. He stands in a corner wondering what on earth did he do to be treated like this. And I wonder why he can’t play with things that he is allowed to and why he throws tantrums like this. Why don’t I realize that he is only doing what he is expected to do. He has to explore his world, ask questions, demand things and learn new things. I complain when he is doing exactly that! After some retrospection, I no longer say no to him. It doesn’t mean I let him play with the knife. I don’t use the word ‘No’. I tell him that it’s too dangerous to play with the knife. I show him how sharp it is and how he can get cut. I offer him his toy knife and it sometimes works. If things are really bad, I give him something else in the kitchen, say a spoon. Most of the time, he refuses to take it. I tell him again, “Are you sure you don’t want the spoon? I am keeping it back”. That’s when he takes the spoon and goes on to play.

Dinner time. I am feeding him chapati. Things are going smoothly. We are almost down to the last two bites and he refuses to open his mouth. I tell him nicely to finish it up because it’s only two bites. He refuses. I lose my patience and get upset that my kid is so disobedient – he can’t finish what’s in his plate. He is upset because his mom forces him to eat one more bite even when he is full. Why can’t I respect his opinion and let him go? Why do I insist that he finish his plate? Do I really need to be so strict in disciplining him? Now that I have changed, I no longer insist anything. The moment he says enough, I stop feeding him.

The real lesson on respect came to me at the swimming pool. We have this inflatable pool which N loves to play in. I fill it up with warm water, throw in his bath toys and garden toys and N plays in it for hours together. The natural thing to do next was to introduce him to a real pool. I and my husband took him to the toddler pool and made him stand in it. The next moment, N is out of the pool and crying like made. We both were so shocked. I tried to coax him to get in again but he flatly refused. He insisted that we get back home. We just sat by the pool side, looking at other kids and hoping that N would change his mind. I was disappointed that my son was scared of the pool. All I wanted was for him to play. I kept asking him, begging him, threatening him and nothing worked. We finally came back home dejected. If I look back now, I feel I was so wrong. I should have respected his choice and brought him back home. He is not yet 2 and there is plenty of time for him to play and swim. I should have told him, ‘It’s okay son. We will come to the pool when you are ready’. Which is what I did the next time. I just let him wet his feet and hands. He splashed water here and there and he was mighty happy. And so was I. I asked him once if he wants to get into the pool and when he said no,  I didn’t ask him again.

He is not as tall and not as strong as us. He is frustrated that he can’t do the same things that we do. We all sit on the dining chair so easily, while he has to make an effort and climb. We all eat and drink whenever we want. I just have to reach the cookie box on the top shelf and munch away. If N wants a cookie, he needs someone to help him. We all can touch anything we want. For most of the things that he wants, he has to hear no for an answer. And he can’t understand why we say no. If we are in the middle of something, we often ignore his requests. This, for me, is a big no-no. I have made it a point to not ignore him no matter what and have told the same thing to everyone at home. Even if he is asking for something outside his limits, acknowledge his request and then give justification.

I have been following this simple thing for a few days now and I already see a change in N’s behavior. There are fewer tantrums and melt-downs. All it took was a realization that ‘respecting your kid’ is easier said than done.

Written by A

October 12, 2010 at 9:12 am

Posted in Baby Update, Parenting

At the clinic…

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We took N to the doctor for his teething problems. N has been teething badly and doesn’t sleep well at all. On the way to the doctor, I had a chat with N and asked him to tell the doctor about the pain. I also told him that the doctor will ask him to open his mouth wide so that he can see his gums. N knows the story where Krishna opens his mouth and his mom sees ‘Brahmanda’ (world), so I used that story and said N also should open his mouth wide.

Cut to the clinic. N is plonked on the table. Doctor asks him ‘How are you N?’ Promptly comes the reply, “Hallu bou, galla bou, kai bou” which means ‘Teeth – pain, cheeks – pain, hand – pain”.  The doctor got his torch out and said, ‘Open your mouth’. N opened his mouth wide and after a second, he points to his open mouth and says ‘Brahmanda’! The doctor didn’t realize and when I told him the story, he laughed out loud. N and his Brahmanda!

Written by A

October 4, 2010 at 7:27 am

Posted in Baby Update

Random!

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It’s been a while since I blogged about N, so here are some random things about him.

1. He talks and talks and talks. He can form short sentences and hold a pretty decent conversation with anyone. He can sing almost all songs that I sing to him – lullabies, rhymes, anything at all. He has taught himself ‘Vakra tunda maha kaaya’ and recited this on Ganesha festival. We were thrilled! He knows all the stories now. If I miss a part in the story, he promptly tells me.

2. Whenever I am knitting something, he comes and asks me ‘Who is this for?’ If I say ‘you’, he is all happy. If the answer is anything else, he sulks and goes away. If he needs my attention when I am knitting something, he promptly says ‘No sweater’ and makes me stop knitting.

3. His favorite object is concrete mixer – the ones used in construction sites. He wants one but I have no idea where I can buy it. I mean the toy, of course!

4. He loves playing with kitchen items. Cooker, mixer pots, pans, pots, spoons – everything is in the kitchen. When I need something to cook, I need N’s permission to use it. He is so interested in cooking, he watches me attentively when I cook and knows some recipes by now. He can make omelette, rice, sambar, curry – all theoretical, of course. We think he will make a great chef!

5. We tried finger painting yesterday and N loved it. He loved the feel of wet paint on his hands.  He was surprised that I didn’t stop him from getting his hands dirty. I too loved the experience. It was as if I became a child again.

Written by A

October 4, 2010 at 7:13 am

Posted in Baby Update

Weaned!

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One of my biggest worries when it came to N was his addiction to his bottle. He was so attached to it and dependent on it that I was afraid he was going to enter college with a bottle in his bag. He was never a sound sleeper and I suspected his disturbed sleep on his bottle. He would search for his bottle all around him even in his sleep and would wake up crying if he didn’t find it. When I had many sleepless nights in a row, I decided to take things in my hand and wean him off the bottle.

First step was to let N know that the bottle was going away. I told him a story about a crow and its teeny, tiny babies which are hungry because they don’t have a bottle to drink milk with. N was so concerned he voluntarily gave the bottle and asked me to give it to ‘ka-ka’. I left the bottles in the balcony and after a few minutes, the crow took the bottles away and left some chocolates for N. So good so far.

Come afternoon, his nap time and the kid refused to go to sleep without a bottle. The moment I said ‘nap’, he would say ‘bottle’. Eventually, the day turned to night and he hadn’t taken a nap. No crying, atleast. So good so far.

He had a good dinner and said ‘sleep’ and added ‘bottle’ to it. I reminded him about the crow and he had this sad expression on his face which clearly meant ‘Why did I ever give the bottle away?’ I told him a story, sang him a song and he fell asleep in a few minutes. Not bad!

After two hours, N woke up screaming and asked for bottle. I reminded him about the crow, but no use. He demanded that the crow get the bottle back because ‘it’s mine and I want it now’. I gave him gems and he went back to sleep. This went on for a couple of times all through the night and none of us had a good sleep. Thank God, I had decided to leave the bottles in the office, otherwise I would have weakened and given him the bottle.

After this horrible night, I wasn’t looking forward to the next day, but it was relatively uneventful. N took a nap and slept well in the night. He did wake up a couple of times, but there was no screaming or flailing arms or stomping feet. From then on, it was a smooth sail. He had this sad look in his eyes for a few days and it tore my heart. I felt so sorry for him that the object of his affection went away. Thankfully, it didn’t affect him emotionally. Overnight, there was a complete change in my little kid. He started behaving all grown up, he was a big boy now, you see, because he no longer used a bottle. He drinks milk in his new, bright orange cup and he loves it.

Looking back, I am extremely lucky that things went so smooth for me and N. Thank God and thank the mothers on my parenting forum. Now that he is weaned, there are certain changes in his routine.

Pros
1. N sleeps really well in the night. From waking up every 2 hours to sleeping like a log all through the night, it has been a welcome change. Only mothers can understand when I say ‘He sleeps through the night’.
2.  His appetite is much better. He eats a good three meals a day and snacks in between, 2-3 cups of milk a day and he is set.
3. He is all grown up now. It might be my illusion but N has this grown up look now. He talks differently and behaves differently. Even my mom agrees with me on this, so it may not be an illusion after all.
4. He is slowly learning to fall asleep on his own. You see, I never tried the no-cry solution or the CIO technique to make him learn to fall asleep. I know he is going to learn that when the time comes. Till then, I don’t mind singing for him until he dozes off.

Cons
1. Since he doesn’t use a bottle anymore, it takes longer to put him to bed. A story and a song isn’t enough any more. It usually goes on for 2 stories and a couple of songs. It sometimes takes an hour and on those days, my husband finds me asleep when N is happily playing next to me.
2. Making him drink from a cup during the day is a bit hard.

All said and done, weaning worked like a charm for me. I am kicking myself why I didn’t try this earlier!



Written by A

September 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Popat

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That’s what my husband calls my son these days and that’s because my little kid has started talking like a popat or parrot. All the development has happened only in the last one week. It’s amazing how N built up his vocabulary from almost non-existent to double digits!

Amma (Mom) and Baba (Dad) were the first few words he learnt. Mama (Uncle) and Tata was also easy to master. Last Monday, he picked up so many words – Mami (Aunt), shu-shu (you know what that means), duddu (milk), No – all these words slowly started appearing from nowhere. I was surprised when he said ‘yummy’. You see, he has a book called Yummy and Yucky which categorizes things into yummy and yucky. Apple pie is yummy, mud pie is yucky. Burgers are yummy, bogeys are yucky and so on. So, randomly I asked N how is ice-cream and pat came the reply ‘yummy’. I was floored.

Some other words which he loves to repeat on and on. Dabbi (box – BTW, boxes are his favorite playthings ever. Give him a few boxes and he is the happiest kid on earth) and hoova (flower). My sister-in-law gave him a kitchen set and ever since he has been making ‘Kaapi’ with it. He says it in a typical Tamilian accent and it is so cute to hear him say that. The moment I come back from work, he gets busy making ‘Kaapi’. He balances a cup and saucer in his tiny hands and hands it over to me. I will take a sip and before I take another one, he wants the cup back!

I was having breakfast and there was salt kept on the dining table. He points to it and says ‘u-hu’. It took me sometime to understand that he was saying ‘uppu’ (salt in Kannada). I laughed till my stomach hurt. His Dad was telling him something about going on a ride on his bicycle and immediately he apes his Dad ‘cy-cle’. The words are not as crystal clear, but he definitely said cycle.

My mom has been taking care of N since day one. I keep asking him to call her ‘Ajji’ but it’s too difficult for him. So, he has a code word for Ajji and that is ‘tu-ta’. No connection whatsoever, but that is his choice. The funny thing is he changes this code word on the fly. Yesterday, he started calling my mom as ‘ba-bi’. My mom has to understand what is the code word of the day and respond appropriately. The demands of this child, I tell you!

Just one week back, N was blabbering meaningless words. And today, he has an impressive vocabulary and he is adding to it every minute of the day. My little toddler is growing up and how! I don’t know why, but this realization gives me goosebumps.

Written by A

April 15, 2010 at 6:38 am

Posted in baby, Baby Update

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Dalda

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Wondering what the title means? This is the word that N has taken a fascination to. He loves this word so much that he uses it in place of anything and everything. I have no idea how he picked up this word and why, but he knows that every time he says ‘Dalda’ we all are amused and that is reason enough for him to say it again and again.

We took N for an outing last weekend. For lack of better options, we took him to Total mall where they have a small section for kids. Be it the lake in BTM layout or the gardens, there are lots of options in south Bangalore, where we used to live earlier. Comparatively, this Outer Ring Road area has no such options for kids. This children’s section in Total mall has rides for toddlers, video games for older ones and so on. N sat in a train ride and loved it. He even tried his hand at the steering wheel. Was he mimicking his dad there? There were lots of kids around and N thoroughly enjoyed looking at them and trying to befriend them.

The best part of the outing was the fountain.  Ever since the temperature has gone up in Bangalore, he spends some time in his inflatable pool everyday. He splashes the water on himself and on the people around, dances in it and has lots of fun. I was mentioning to my husband that may be we should put him in a toddlers’ swimming class but the only concern was if he will feel uncomfortable putting his head inside the water. No sooner than I said this, N proudly put his head in the water, stayed there for a couple of seconds and came up with a triumphant expression on his face, as if asking me, “You were saying something?” My little one loves water and that is an understatement. So, coming back to the fountain, N was fascinated with it. He stared and stared at the water splashing and wanted to get wet under that. We had to forcefully take him away and what a tantrum he threw! This young guy knows what tantrums are and how they are useful in getting your way.

There was a little girl prancing around in pigtails and he called out to her ‘Akka’ meaning sister in Kannada. There was a small baby sleeping in his mother’s arms and N recognized him as ‘paapa’, a baby. A slightly older boy was playing with his toy car and N knows it is ‘Dada’ – brother. I have never taught him these things, but N can clearly recognize girls and boys. I wonder how.

N has made up his own sign language. We never teach him these things, but he has a sign for everything. Car, water, food, baby, milk, sleep, questions (why, where, what) – all these have their own sign in N’s language. He uses these intelligently to convey his message to us. I am amazed at the human brain!

Do you know how ice cream tastes? Ask N and he will say ‘yum-yum’. We were walking around in the mall and N saw a guy buying ice-cream. He points out to it and says ‘yum-yum’. That guy was so surprised that he asked my husband, ‘ This kid, so young, knows ice-cream?’ All we could do was grin and nod.

Our first outing with N was a great success. We plan to take him to Yelagiri, a hill station near Bangalore, this weekend. I am sure he will like the place, but am not so sure how he will take the 3-hour drive. If only he liked cartoons and animated movies,  I could have taken the laptop and some DVDs and made him watch those on the way. I am planning to pack some toys and books to make the journey bearable for him. Any other ideas? This is the first time we are taking him on a vacation. Hope things go well!

Written by A

April 1, 2010 at 6:23 am

Posted in baby, Baby Update

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