Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Moving Math

8 flights in

6 weeks to

5 locations in

3 countries with

2 small kids equals

1 very tired Mama with 

Zero time to blog

We're moving, folks. Reluctantly on my part - I've grown to love this city - but kya karen, when you gotta go, you gotta go!

I have a few posts buzzing around in my head, but I don't know if I'll be able to get down to writing them for a while. Most likely Jan 09.

If I may go into Oscar mode here, I'd like to thank all of you who've been coming around so regularly, leaving warm and encouraging comments, and generally brightening my day. I'll miss this, but I'm fairly sure I'll be back soonish, so don't go dropping me from your readers just yet, ok? ;-)

Wishing all of you a peaceful, hopeful, fun filled holiday season.

Love,
Munch, Moppet, & Maggie

Edit: Sorry, didn't mean to sound all mysterious about the move, just thought I'd update once we finally settled in, given all the uncertainty in the air. Yes, we are currently in Bangkok, and yes the airport has been shutdown, but I hope things will clear before we travel. Thanks for asking, Deepa!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Logic and Lego

She has an answer for everything. Are you ready for some Moppet style logic? 

Moppet is whining for some pink ice cream. Mama reminds her of the time at the restaurant where pink ice cream was ordered for her and she refused to eat it, resulting in Mama having to eat her brownie with strawberry ice cream. [Ick!]

Moppet (defensively) : I finish all the white ice cream.
Mama: That was just whipped cream - why didn't you eat the pink ice cream you asked for?
Moppet: Because YOU finish the pink ice cream!

Her father did always claim there was a bit of Vulcan in her. His only evidence at the time was the amount of Trek I watched while pregnant, and her pointy ears, but his case appears to be growing stronger! ;-)

******************

On another note, she has been creating things with her Lego blocks lately that have impressed the pants off me. Ok so I'm biased and you, dear reader, will probably wonder what all the fuss is about, but still, this blog was intended to document this sort of stuff and I do it with no embarrassment. (On my part at least; Moppet will probably cringe at  this a few years from now!)

Here I present The Big Blue Chicken, which, after being suitably admired by the whole family, was then deftly converted into The Blue Prince. All her own work, including the names.

And of course, the artist, protecting herself from the Mamarazzi.


******************

While on the subject of art etc, she has started bringing home stuff she draws at school. It's usually something like a shaky circle or some random squiggles, and I ooh and aah and say things like wow that's a nice circle, or what lovely rainbow noodles! She throws me an exasperated look and explains, "No, that's pink elephant with pink umbrella and Mama is giving banana."

Ah! Ok. So these days I just ask outright what it is. They always have some elaborate story. And they're always pink. Today's pink amoeba is a 'pink shark and pink boat and fishing rod'. I don't see it, but I'm keeping it safely. It may be worth millions some day! 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turn over a new leaf, Mama

So Munch rolled over by himself for the first time this morning, quite by accident I suspect, going by the comical look of surprise on his face when he found himself suddenly nose to nose with a baby bear on his playmat.

For weeks he has lain on that playmat making no attempt to turn whatsoever, just grinning gummily at me whenever I nudge him and say fondly, 'Move it, you lazy lump.' 

Then today, just like that, he rolled over cleanly, popped up his head and pulled his arm out from under him as if he'd been doing it all along. It was so quick that I missed most of it. I put him down on the mat, turned to say something to Moppet who was hopping around behind me, and turned back just in time to see his surprised little face popping up off the mat.

Since that first roll a few hours ago, it appears he has sprouted springs on his back. Lay him down and boinggg!, he's on his tummy in a flash. 

So he's been doing that all morning, and then another surprise. I left him on his mat for about 10 minutes as I went to deal with Moppet's home from school routine, and came back to find him curled up on his side, thumb in mouth, fast asleep! First time he's ever put himself to sleep with neither boob nor rocker to help him nod off. It must have been all the rolling around.

And as I write this, he's off to la-la land by himself again, after an energetic half hour of post lunch rolling over. 

It feels like he was just patiently waiting for the right time, so that he could do it correctly and with minimal effort. If I were a more mature adult, I'd admit that that's a far more sensible outlook to life than my own energy intensive try-to-do-everything-all-together one. 

But I'm not, so I won't. 

I may just follow his example and take a nap though. Baby steps, see? :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Come visit with me

I'm over at Parul's today! Hop on over and say hi! 

I'm fairly sure everyone who reads me reads her too, but just in case you haven't yet discovered one of the wittiest bloggers on the block, do check out some of her other posts. Side-splitting stuff, I tell you.



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Back to (ir)regular programming

To quote Dora the Explorer, (who's quoted a lot in our household these days): 'Yay! We made it!'

Yes folks, the holidays were a super hit. The beach holiday was just the right sort of lazy, our time there evenly divided between beach, pool, siestas, drinks, and meals. 

Oh and some spectacular sunsets that had us all awestruck, but particularly fascinated Moppet. So much so that she actually, of her own accord, struck up a conversation with a random woman sitting on a deck chair next to hers, watching the sunset.

Moppet: Do you see the sunset?
Random Woman: Indeed I do. It's beautiful isn't it?
Moppet: (seriously, with an emphatic little nod) Yes. 

This was a holiday in which father and daughter bonded like never before. With me often stuck feeding Munch, and no nanny to call on, Moppet had to let her father help her with stuff, and he had no choice but to figure out how to do it. 

Bath times, bed times, and general keep-her-out-of-trouble activities, he took it all on with wonderful enthusiasm. There were  even a couple of days when I would wake up lateish in the morning and find her pottied, brushed, and breakfasted, wearing, upon her own request, a pair of strange pony tails that the husband had tied for her. They were strange but cute and he was so endearingly proud of his effort, asking me some 10 times during the day, 'How do you like her pony tails?' Well, I like. Very much.

As for Munch, he was his usual happy-go-lucky self. As long as he got his meals on time, he was quite content to doze in his stroller, or watch the world with interest. Having decided I wasn't about to spend my holiday in pokey little feeding rooms, I would just throw a dupatta over myself wherever we were and tank him up - by the pool, in a bar, in a deli, airport lounge, cafe, anywhere would do. Worked fine all round.

He also got lots of attention from assorted bikini-clad babes, prompting his father to remark enviously that that was already more female attention than he himself had got from babes in his entire lifetime. 

For her part, Moppet was the protective big sister to the hilt, dissolving into angry tears at the airport where a girl jokingly declared that she wanted to take Munch home with her. Whether that was out of genuine affection for Munch, or on the general principle of he's mine, don't touch, I don't know. But that first incident did make her a lot warier when other strangers approached him later on in the holiday.

Post a little break back home, we all then went north to the hills for a very different kind of holiday. This was much more tiring since we wanted to do some sightseeing as well, but it was great in its own way. We made a trip to the zoo, which houses the only pair of Giant Pandas in Southeast Asia. We got there at a great time and saw them at their playful best. Moppet was so excited she couldn't keep her voice down, despite the glares of a burly security guard brandishing a huge sign that said 'Quiet Please'.

The rest of the zoo was great too. We got to feed baby elephants and giraffes, and Moppet almost rode on a little pony but decided at the last minute that she was too scared. The zoo is built in a naturally hilly jungle and is very beautiful, with orchids everywhere (Northern Thailand is where some of the best orchids in the world are grown) but it was tough on our knees with a baby stroller and toddler who was very quickly too tired to walk. When, in front of a magnificent white tiger, she threw a fit wanting to see a cow of all things, we knew it was time to head back to the hotel.

The husband and I indulged in some street shopping - Chiang Mai is a centre for great wooden handicrafts, and artists who bring their own designs, art and other handmade items to the famous Walking Street Sunday Bazaar. Moppet spent most of her time perched precariously on the footrest of Munch's stroller, making faces at him and generally keeping him and herself occupied.

We also managed a quick trip to the beautiful hill-tribe village, set in the mountains among lush green terraced paddy fields. The Padong are a Burmese tribe where the women wear rings around their necks to elongate them, starting from as young as 3-4 years of age. It is controversial, this village, and I must admit to feeling awkward and intrusive, walking through their village as they went about their lives. Then we met Manan, a friendly Padong lady, sitting by her house and strumming her guitar (!) who chatted with us, told us about their customs, and cuddled Munch. I'm won't go into the politics of it here, but most residents of the village are refugees from Burma, and this is their livelihood. The women weave and sell authentic shawls along with other touristy items, and Manan at least, appeared to be under no illusions about living in this fishbowl.

Anyway, it was fascinating and sad at the same time. I leave you with a picture of two little girls who will probably lead unimaginably different lives, right now just being two little girls.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A holidaying we shall go

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, with the husband travelling and bringing home some virus that had me and the kids terribly under the weather, luckily one after the other and not all together. He then promptly took off again, leaving me to deal with Munch who broke out in a spotty red rash from head to toe. Turns out it was the same virus, and the rash didn't show up on older, tougher hides like mine and Moppet's. 

Anyhoo, it was a bit freaky while it lasted, but that's all sorted now, and we're off tomorrow on our first family vacation!

What were we thinking?! A holiday with a 2 and a half year old and a 3 and a half month old?! I have no doubts that it's going to be a lot of work, and the sooner the husband realises that, the less shocked he's going to be when his 'do-nothing holiday' disintegrates around his ears.

But I hope it will be fun for all that - we're going to spend a few days on the sunny beaches of Phuket in the south of Thailand. Then we return home for a couple of days to catch our breath and restock before heading up north to the cool hills of Chiang Mai.

It wasn't planned like this. Just some scheduling constraints that resulted in these two north-south trips within a few days of each other. But it's a measure of how much tougher we've gotten as parents that we're willing to cart the whole circus up and down the country in a span of 2 weeks. I remember our first vacation with Moppet was to Bali when she had just turned one. And here's poor Munch, eczema and all, being lugged around from beach to mountain at not quite 4 months. 

Ah well, second child. Tough.  :-)

Have a nice October, and send some good holiday vibes our way. If I haven't totally gone to pieces, or killed the husband or one of the children by the end of the holiday, I may post again by the end of the month. Otherwise, Happy Halloween, and see you all in November!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Three and Thirty

At 3 months, he is my angel child. 
Happy, peaceful, and adorable.

At 30 months, she is my wild child. 
Fiesty, impetuous, and unpredictable.






At 3 months, he coos and gurgles, and makes the most delicious baby sounds.
At 30 months, she sings her own songs, adding new verses to existing rhymes, or fitting different words to familiar tunes. She 'reads', tells stories, and is constantly telling everyone in the household what to do, how, and when.

At 3 months, he lies in his rocker waiting quietly for someone to come over to him and chat, rewarding them with a gummy smile and a full body wriggle of excitement when they do.
At 30 months, she has a full scale meltdown if  she doesn't get what she wants within a nanosecond of her ordering it.

At 3 months, he has his meals with lip-smacking, boob-thumping enthusiasm.
At 30 months, her meals give the term 'dinner theatre' a whole new meaning.

At 3 months, he stares adoringly into my face as I prop him up against my knees and sing to him American Idol style, complete with funny facial expressions and hand gestures.
At 30 months, she watches my performance critically for all of 5 seconds before commanding, 'Mama, don't sing!'

At 3 months, he shows no interest in wanting to turn or roll, lying peacefully on his playmat, observing his own hands and his sister's antics with interest.
At 30 months, she roams the house carrying a high plastic stool, so that she can be 'big and tall' and reach all sorts of forbidden places.

At 3 months, he perks up at the sound of music, smiling and 'singing' along with little grunts and sighs.
At 30 months, she picks a beat on the electronic keyboard and yells out: 'Ebbybody dance!', boogying with such enthusiasm and style as to get even her double left-footed father to join her.

At 3 months, his eyes flick open from the deepest sleep at the sound of her voice. His eyes follow her around the room, and his brightest smiles are always for her. 
At 30 months, she has not yet made up her mind whether she likes this big sister gig. 


At 3 months, he is a cuddly bundle of happiness, radiating contentment and that milky baby smell.

At 30 months, she is a prickly ball of energy, her sunny charm inexplicably transforming into stormy rage with alarming suddenness.






Three and thirty. Together, they are exhausting, entertaining, and utterly endearing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A big sister's prerogative

Big sis, baby bro.


Come 'ere, you knucklehead.

Don't be scared, I only want to kiss you.

I also want to squash you like a bug, what fun!

It's okay, we're like this only.
And so the saga continues: she loves him one minute, hates him the next. He's just bewildered by it all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

She's such a contrary Mary, these days. Whatever we say or do, she MUST say and do the opposite.

Sometimes, we use this to our advantage. Take for example, this scene from last week:
Moppet is doing her 'nangu run' after her evening bath, where she scoots around the house without a stitch on her. She ends up in the study and screams, 'Look, I'm nangu!' expecting her father to get up and do what he usually does - chase her back to her room where I wait with her pyjamas and then join in the epic struggle to get her into them.

But this time, her father decides to take a different approach. 'Wow!' he says, 'How nice! Don't wear any clothes tonight ok?'

Contrary Mary is instantly up in arms. 'No! I wear clothes!'

Her father senses he's onto a good thing and doesn't back down. 'No, no! No clothes for you!'

'NO, NO, NOOOOOOO! I WEAR CLOTHES!' a screaming Moppet rushes into her room and is in her pyjamas in under 30 seconds.
So now we use this trick off and on, but of late the results have been rather unreliable. Like today, at lunch:
Mama (spooning a big heap of beans and potato curry onto her plate): Mmm! Nice beans. No beans for Moppet ok?

Moppet: (grinning widely) 'kay! I eat onny ice cream.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Silly Sunday Som-solts

(Or How Mama Got Her Groove Back :-)

Sunday evening was pleasant and breezy, and since both the kids were up and alert, all four of us went down to the little park in our building. The husband and I sat on a bench with Munch and watched Moppet show off for us.

'Mama, look! Papa, look!' she squealed as she clambered up the slide the wrong way, monkeyed her way up the frame of the swing set, and drove the toy train to 'Andabaad'. (And elaborated so that silly Mama wouldn't get the wrong idea: 'Onny aeroplane go to Andabaad. I driving choo-choo train to air-a-port.')

Her favourite thing in the park is the huge, net-enclosed trampoline that the pre-teen kids do amazing stunts on. With no one else in the park waiting their turn for the trampoline, she was able to jump as much as she wanted.

Which was a lot, and for a long time, and soon Munch began to get cranky. So the husband took him back home, while I waited for Moppet to get all bounced-out.

'Mama, come jump!' she ordered, 'Like that! Come jump!' I hadn't been on a trampoline in a long, long time, and it did look like a lot of fun, so I climbed up and joined her. She squealed with delight as we bounced together holding hands, then took turns sitting in the centre while the other jumped around and over the one in the middle.

'Mama, look! I do som-solt!' she said, tumbling head over heels three times in quick succession. 'Now Mama's turn!'

'No baby, I'm wearing a skirt. I can't do somersaults.'

She studied me for a moment and then asked 'Onny boys do som-solt?'

'What? No, of course not! Everyone can do somersaults.'

'Mama iss not to do som-solt?' Sad face and bambi eyes.

'No, no. I can do somersaults, ok? See!' I demonstrated.

She giggled, did a couple more herself, and sat up looking at me challengingly. What the heck, I thought, the park's empty anyway, and I did a few more. So we tumbled around on the trampoline, doing som-solts and giggling and squealing like the two silly girls we were.

Later, dizzy and exhausted, we lay flat on our backs on the trampoline, looking up at the sky and pointing out funny cloud shapes. A vague suspicion crept into my mind. Was it possible that my two year old had tricked me into doing those somersaults? She wasn't that smart, was she?

Naah!

Maybe.

Ah, who cares? It was the most fun I'd had in ages!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In this moment

There is a moment, every morning, when I look into my son's sleeping face and gently call his name. 'Good morning, pumpkin', I say, and watch his eyelids flutter and his face scrunch up at the sound of my voice. He stretches luxuriously and opens his eyes. A few seconds to focus, then his eyes light up and the most delicious smile of recognition spreads across his face.

It is a moment that obliterates the memory of the many sleepless hours that went before. That leaches away the tiredness from my bones. That fills the room with sunshine, no matter what the weather.

It is a moment that I savour, knowing that soon it will just be another fading memory of his babyhood.

But that is tomorrow - for today, this day, this moment is enough.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to school

Dropping Moppet off at school on Monday morning, I felt that familiar knot of worry, sadness and pride in my stomach. That will-she-be-okay feeling all mashed up with the happy-sad my-baby's-such-a-big-girl feeling.

Why now, you ask, when she's been going to school for a whole year now, and loving it? Well, Monday was her first day in the 'upstairs class' - new teachers, a different classroom environment, and a new routine.

There's so much going on in her life right now, I was worried that she wouldn't take well to the change. I told her that she would have a new teacher, and that she'd go upstairs to a new class, and that all her friends would be with her. She just shook her head and said, 'Teacher T (her old teacher) will be there.' 'No she won't', I said, 'it will be a new teacher'. 'NO, NO, NO!' she yelled. 'Iss Teacher T will be there!'

I sighed and prepared myself for a tantrum at the school door. As usual, she surprised me.

She looked a little uncertain when told to go upstairs, standing with her arms wrapped tightly around my leg, so the teacher invited me to go on up with her and show her around her new digs. So up we went, and checked out the huge pretend kitchen area, the craft corner, the bookshelf, the computer, and the enormous dollhouse. That's finally when she perked up - at the dollhouse. 'Look mama, boy doing potty!'

It was true, there was a little wooden doll seated on a little wooden potty. 'Let's give him a bath. Wash your bum-bum.' Suddenly, I wasn't there anymore - all her attention was focussed on washing the doll's wooden butt. 'Bye baby' I said, giving her a squeeze and a kiss. 'You have fun. I'll see you at lunchtime, okay?'

'Bye!' She waved me away, not even looking up at me. So summarily dismissed, I headed back home, first indulging in a quiet little cry in the car. And it struck me that in this last year, while she's grown up so much, I haven't at all. I dealt with the whole thing in the same teary-eyed, sentimental way I did last year - and here she was, my 2 year old, taking it all in her stride.

The school gave us a bunch of pictures of her taken during the last year and I can literally see the tiny, baby-faced toddler turning into a confident, happy little girl.


It's funny how despite knowing what's coming, I'm so unprepared for the strength of the emotions that hit me on occasions like this. The wonder doesn't fade. No doubt I'll be just the same old snivelling mess at her college graduation too. I guess when it comes to their children, some moms never do grow up.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Six weeks

For those of you who wanted to compare, here are MnM at six weeks:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One month of Munch

It appears Munch is going to be the family clown. Really, I think he's hilarious. I don't recall being this amused by Moppet when she was this age. To be fair though, I was probably too tense and worried about the whole motherhood gig to really enjoy her at that age. But with Munch I'm more relaxed, and able to laugh at all the silly squishy faces he makes, and enjoy the funny squealing sounds he produces without worrying if it's 'normal'.

So I can laugh at all the faces he produced when we were trying to click his passport photo, without worrying about his pronounced baby squint.

Or when he grabs his own hair and squeals in pain, not knowing why his head hurts and not able to do anything about it, I have to admit I laugh heartily before prying his fingers loose. (The memory of Moppet doing this as well came back to me as I saw Munch attempting to scalp himself. It seems there's a good reason why most babies are born bald.)

I was delighted when I got splattered with my first 'fountain' pee. It gets old pretty quickly of course, but the first few times, I was quite fascinated by how far it goes :-) And things that as the mother of a girl, I hadn't considered at all. For example, I realised a little too late that when you lift a little boy's legs to clean his butt, he is very likely to pee on his own head.

He's got quite a repertoire of squeals, grunts and growls, and uses them to best effect while he's feeding. It begins with loud, complaining squeals [what's taking so long? where's my food?], and then once the milk starts flowing, it's frantic gulping accompanied by little squeaks, as if his last feed was 2 days, not 2 hours ago. Then finally, as he settles down, quiet little hums of satisfaction which he keeps up till the end of the feed.

And the other sounds he produces are rather funny too. Like his cough, which sounds like very old person coughing in a baby voice, if you can imagine that. (Oooooooo-uh-uh-uh, he goes, and then follows it up with a big sigh that has me in splits each time). And in the interest of self-preservation when he grows old enough to read, maybe I shouldn't mention his musical farts?

When he's awake, he's happiest when perched on someone's shoulder, bobbing his head up and down and looking around like a curious little bug.

Kodi's Mom has said it far more eloquently than I can, but I need to echo that thought here - until Munch arrived, I couldn't quite imagine what life would be like with a second kid - and now that he's here, I know there couldn't be more perfect little person to complete our family.







*Anti-jinx sign courtesy Dotthoughts

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MY Munch baby

I know Mama's been blaming me and Munch for not getting enough time to post, but y'all know that's not true, right? I've been extremely well-behaved, really. Sure, there's an occasional tantrum, but give me a break peeps, I'm two, ok?

Gotta say though, this Munch baby isn't all that much fun yet. He sleeps a lot - that's a bad example to set. Everyone keeps telling me, look Munch's sleeping, why don't you go and sleep too? As if! And when he's awake, he doesn't do much either. He's mostly either drinking Mama's dudu or doing potty all the time.

I like to take his photo with my camera when he's being changed, he makes such funny faces! And I also give dudu to my doll, just like Mama gives Munch baby. And when he sleeps, I like to wake him up by prying his eyelids open. I don't know why Mama yells whenever I try that, she's just being her usual Mama self, I guess.

I told everyone in school I'm a big sister and they were all most impressed. Mama's promised that when he's a little bigger, we can take him to my school and show him to everyone.

These days he's been awake a little more. When I kiss him, he sometimes licks me, or pokes me in the face with his hand. It makes me laugh - and seeing me laugh makes Mama laugh too. Fun times.
He's ok, my Munch baby. I think I like him.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The birth story - Part 3

Contd from Part 1: It begins and Part 2: Endless night

Rollercoaster Ride

I had had enough. Over 10 hours of painful labour and just 2 cms dilated? Cut me open, I moaned. Get this child out NOW!

Hang in there, the husband told me gently, stroking my forehead. You can do it. Come on, let's give it another hour or so.

The next 2 hours were a bit of a blur. The contractions appeared to have slowed down and were coming at 10 minute intervals. The pain was intense, but I know it was not so much the pain as the despair I was feeling that brought on tears with each contraction.

At 8.30 am, my doc finally put in an appearance. How're you doing, she asked. Not good Doc, I replied miserably, it's going too slowly. She examined me and looked up in surprise - but you're already almost 5 cm dilated, she said. I almost fell off the bed in shock. The husband gave me a huge grin and a 'see-i-told-you-so' look.

Then things really got moving - by 9 am, I was 7 cm dilated and the doc told me that since we were trying for a VBAC, I had to have an IV inserted and be hooked up to the fetal monitor for continuous monitoring from this point on. That effectively left me strapped to the bed, a terrible position for dealing with the contractions.

Having almost killed the husband by crushing his neck with my one free arm for the next few contractions, I finally gave up and asked for an epidural. I was exhausted from the all night labour, the puking, the lack of sleep, and being tied up on the bed was making it worse. Also, I knew that if for any reason I had to go in for a C-sec, having an epidural block already inserted would ensure that I could have the procedure without general anaesthesia, even if it was an emergency.

I got the epidural and though it was a low dose and I could still feel the contractions and slight pain, what blessed relief! The doc estimated that in two hours time I should be ready to push and left with a cheery I'll be back. The husband and I grinned at each other like maniacs and settled down to chat, get some updates from home on how Moppet was doing (absolutely fine, like the meltdown of the night before had never happened) and generally relax for the first time in more than 12 hours.

After an hour, the nurse came in to check on me and left looking rather unhappy. Not much progress, she said. The doc came in another hour and left looking unhappy too. Still at 7 cms, let's give it another hour, she said.

The third hour was tense. The husband watched the monitor and kept up a running commentary on my contractions in an effort to raise my flagging spirits. Wow, that's a big one; ooh that one hit 100; I bet you'll be ready in another hour; man, this kid's a strong one - look at his heartbeat etc...

The doc came back and there was still no progress. The contractions were strong, but the cervix was refusing to open further, and the baby's head was still high. The doc said that this could be an indication of CPD (cephalo pelvic disproportion) - and that we'd wait one more hour before taking a call on a C-sec.

Hour 4 seemed like it would never end. The husband was still trying to cheer me up, pointing out how strong the contractions were and reminding me of how quickly I had progressed from 2cm to 7cm, but my hope was fast fading. My body was failing me, and I felt a deep sense of disappointment.

When finally the doc came back, I knew even before she examined me that there had been no further progress. We should consider a C-sec, she said. Continuing this will put unnecessary strain on the baby, and increase the risk of uterine rupture.

I agreed. I had been mentally preparing myself for this over the last hour, but once I signed the forms, I couldn't help being consumed by bitter disappointment. The husband wiped my tears and held my hand in silence, instinctively knowing there was nothing to say at that point.

The rest was a familiar routine for me. Being prepped for the surgery. Lying in the operation theatre, staring up at the light, numb from the waist down, arms spread out like I was nailed to a fallen crucifix. A tug and a push, the sound of a baby's wail. Congratulations being offered. The husband's masked face hovering concernedly over mine. A pink squalling bundle laid next to my cheek. Tears. Joy. Relief. Exhaustion.

My son. Worth every single second of the pain and more.

Then someone turned up the morphine and I slept.

Coming shortly: Recovery room reflections.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The birth story - Part 2

...Contd from Part 1: It begins

Endless Night

So anyway there I was, convinced I had been labouring all day, and just 1 cm dilated. This did not look good. With Moppet, I had very mild contractions and yet was already 3 cm dilated by the time I reached the hospital. I had thought the second time around would be easier, but obviously Munch was determined to destroy all my preconceptions about second kids, beginning with labour!

The husband and I discussed going back home versus staying on in the hospital and finally decided to stay on. The nurse contacted my doc who suggested pethidine for the pain because it looked like it would be a long labour and the hardest part would probably only happen the next day. The pethidine would let me get some sleep, she said, and help me conserve my strength for later.

So we headed to our room, and I took the shot, which might have been water for all the good it did. Really, it was absolutely useless as pain relief and the contractions just got worse and worse. The birth unit nurse figured that I certainly wasn't one of those pop-in, pop-out cases, and left the husband and me to our own devices for the rest of the night.

It was the longest 7 hours of my life. I spent most of it pacing up and down the room, hanging on to the husband during each contraction, soft moans turning into loud cries as the pain got stronger and stronger. Wave after wave of nausea would hit after each contraction, keeping me busy till the next one came along. I filled a large basin with puke, but long after my stomach was empty, I continued to retch after each contraction.

Finally, at around 6.30 am on the 26th, I begged the husband to get the birth centre nurse. I'd been in really painful labour for another 7 hours, I must be at least 5 cms dilated by now. Right?

Wrong again! The nurse arrived and said most matter of factly - 2 cms dilated. If I'd had the strength, I'd have kicked her in the face. Instead I burst into tears and told the husband, just cut me open and get this child out.

Contd in Part 3: Rollercoaster Ride

(Apologies to readers who're in a hurry to find out what happens next, but it's not just that I get very little time to write what is a rather long story. It's also that this way, you get to feel a little bit of my pain too! ;-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The birth story - Part 1

Warning: This post contains references to female body parts and bodily functions that one generally doesn't talk about in public. It is also loaded (far more than usual :-) with sappy emotion, so if you are the owner of a y chromosome and / or a delicate sensibility you are advised to give this set of posts a miss.

It begins

Despite my resolve to be all zen if Munch didn't arrive by his due date, I must confess to feeling rather antsy as the 21st of June came and went with no excitement other than a particularly agile housefly that confounded my efforts to kill it for most of the morning.

Bouncing around on the birthing ball, performing allegedly labour-inducing accupressure on myself, walking, swimming, visualizing going into labour, talking to the baby - nothing was working. (And no, don't tell me about orgasms - at almost 41 weeks pregnant I was NOT going to try that!)

It seems my body liked being pregnant so much it was refusing to give this baby up.

By the 24th, I was so desperate, I even considered castor oil, something I had sworn I would never do again. The next day, I was due for a checkup and a non stress test - to check if the baby was still doing ok and if the placenta function had started to deteriorate. If all was well, my doctor had said, it would just be a matter of waiting for another week. Ha, so easy for her to say!

(A word of explanation here - having had Moppet by C-sec, I was trying for a vaginal birth this time. This meant that labour couldn't be induced by the usual drugs since that has been shown to increase the risk of uterine rupture in VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section) cases. It had to happen naturally. If it didn't, I'd have to go in for a repeat C-sec at 42 weeks.)

So anyway, on the morning of the 25th, as I was getting ready to go for the checkup, I realised that I was getting some mild contractions. Didn't tell anyone for fear that they might go away (it seemed a most reasonable fear at the time :-) and headed to the hospital. The doc did an internal exam and declared the cervix firmly closed.

But I'm having contractions, I burst out. The doc was not particularly impressed and told me to go on and take the test which would give us a clearer picture.

The birth centre nurse's reaction was far more gratifying. As the machine I was hooked to spat out a nice graph showing the baby's heartbeat and below it, my contractions, she looked at me in surprise. Oh, you're getting good contractions, she said. Yes, I grinned happily and added proudly, they're even hurting a little bit too.

Convinced I was cuckoo, she sent me back to the doc clutching my precious graph, but the damn woman was still unimpressed. Oh, she said with chilling casualness, they sometimes go away. But she was not entirely heartless, for she looked at my disappointed face and said, maybe you'll have the baby tomorrow, okay?

Okay!

So I called the husband and proudly announced that it had started, but that he didn't need to head home just yet; he should soldier on earning our daily bread (and medical coverage) and I would let him know when. Although after that bit of news, I doubt he really earned his daily wage that day :-)

Anyway, I came home and spent the day pretty much as normal, even heading out for a walk in the park with the husband that evening. The contractions were getting stronger but not coming any closer together. For most of the day the contractions were coming at 6-7 minute intervals, lasting for 35-40 seconds each.

By Moppet's bedtime, the contractions were so painful that I'd have to stop reading / talking / singing every time one came along, prompting Moppet to ask tearfully - Mama are you okay? I had wanted to put her to bed before I went to the hospital, but I realised it was beyond me. And worse, it was frightening Moppet to see me like that.

Eventually, it was Ammamma who put her to sleep, while the husband and I debated whether we should go to the hospital or not. I didn't want to go too early - somewhere in the back of my head, I felt my first c-sec was because I landed up at the hospital too soon - but staying and hearing Moppet cry for me and not being able to go to her was stressing me out even more.

Finally around 11 pm, with a whispered word to Ammamma, we headed out to the hospital. I was relieved that Moppet was finally asleep, and confident that I would be at least 3-4 cms dilated by the time I reached. After all, the pains were coming fast and furious and they'd been really strong from around 8 pm that evening. Right?

Wrong! We reached the birth unit and the nurse examined me and announced that I was 1 measly cm dilated. What?!!!

Contd in Part 2: Endless Night

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Munch at home!

Well folks, he's here. Arrived on June 26th, 2pm Bangkok time. All of us are doing great, but it will take a week or so for us to find some sort of a rhythm as a new family of four.

More details later. Thank you all for your love and good wishes. It's all good! :-D

I leave you with a picture - he takes after his father, I think. Don't miss the enormous nose :-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No, this is not THE post

Just a note to say I'm taking off Munch's arrival ticker because I don't know what it's going to say after June 21 when the 40 weeks are up and the baby hasn't arrived!

Apart from the fact that Munch seems way too comfortable to want to budge, everything else is going fine. Expectant grandparents have arrived and I'm grateful that Moppet is around to keep them occupied. Otherwise all of us would go batty just waiting for me to pop.

Thank you all for your good wishes through comments and emails. I hope I can get the husband to do a guest post when Munch finally arrives - at least a line to let you all know he's here. If not, there will probably be an update over at Poppins' place - in the sidebar section she refers to as Announcement Central.

Don't be in too much of a hurry to be checking though - Munch isn't in any rush, it seems :-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Of fascists and fish

This morning, Moppet decided she wanted to wear two pony tails to school - one adorned with a green rubberband, the other with a yellow one. I tried to talk some sense into her - at least wear 2 yellows or 2 greens, never mind that neither colour goes with the dress you're wearing.

Brushing aside my conformist ideas regarding head decoration, she proceeded to give me specific instructions about the ponytails: "Yellow one on this side, green on this side, ok?"

Accepting defeat, I followed her instructions and she went off happily to admire herself in the mirror. I plonked myself down beside the husband and grumbled about his mismatched child. As always, he was quick to defend her. "What's wrong with yellow and green bands, huh? Stop being such a hairband fascist!"

Bah! This from the man who is so particular about the space between the stripes on his t-shirts that we have to take callipers along when we go shopping. Who's the fascist here, I ask you?

And talking of fascists, Moppet is turning out to be quite the little authoritarian herself. Last night, she tried to put her father in time-out because he was told her it was bedtime. "No bedtime Papa! You go time-out!" she said, complete with stern look and a little finger pointing to the time-out corner.

And her sparring buddy - Mr Fishy - one of those bouncy inflatable fellows, gets put in the corner regularly when he refuses to cooperate with her, which is most of the time, seeing that the poor fellow cannot help but bounce back when she tries to make him 'go to sleep'.

I must admit it gives me great satisfaction to hear her scream exasperatedly when he pops up for the nth time after she manages to wrestle him to the ground. "Noooo fishy, you lie down. Iss sleeping time! Ok, thassit, you go time-out!"

Ha, my darling little fascist, it's never too soon to learn, what goes around comes around! :-)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Week 39

The ticker says 14 days to go, and I have to admit to mixed feelings about Munch's impending arrival.

On the one hand, there is happy anticipation and nervous excitement about getting to finally meet the little one, to hold him, and to see Moppet's reaction. But there is also a sense of sadness, that this will probably be the last few days I ever get to feel that heartwarming sensation of a little person moving inside me. To lie down and cuddle with Moppet and hear her giggle as she feels Munch moving against her - "Ooh, baby's moving! Wansome more baby moving!"

I know, I tell her, I wansome more baby moving too. I have discovered, much to my own surprise, that I actually like being pregnant! Although certainly not as much as this lady, who's currently expecting her 18th (!!!) child.

No, I think I'm done after this one and that knowledge has helped me slow down and savour every moment of this pregnancy. With Moppet there was an underlying impatience all through the pregnancy and her babyhood. It was all about 'what next and when' and before I realised it, I had a 2 year old little girl in my life and only fuzzy memories of what it was like when she was a baby.

With Munch I'm not in such a rush... if anything it's the opposite. I want to slow everything down, let things happen when they will, how they will, and feel every moment of it.

So yes, there are only 14 days to go. But unlike with Moppet, if Munch decides he wants 20 days before he's ready to meet us, I'm not going to begrudge him that extra time. And if he decides 6 days is all he needs, well then, welcome little fella!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Moppet v2.0

It feels like I have a new child in the house. Apparently, Moppet turned into a little girl overnight, the morning after she turned 2.

Suddenly she's not talking in sentences any more; it's paragraphs.
Mama, Papa, Moppet go swimming pool. Papa go swimming plant. I kick-kick-kicking. Moppet, Mama play with penguin. Moppet go DUM. Then uh-uh-uh (a coughing sound). Tha'one Moppet wed towel. Tha'one Mama blue towel. Where's Papa towel? Mama Papa sharing towel.....


Suddenly, pronouns have made their appearance, albeit not always, and still a little mixed up.
You go kitchen, I comeback drink dudu ok?
Mama, help you carry stool!
(meaning 'help ME carry the stool')
Shall we go libary? Yes? I shopping shopping books.
Iss waining! We need umbella!

Suddenly, she's bilingual, with the Hindi bits spoken in a hilarious Angrez accent.
Mama, where's Dora, kiddar hai Dora?
Mama, tha'one ladki iss girl!

Suddenly, she's a backseat driver.
Mama, you driving! No talking!
Now is green light turn. Now we go. Now is wed light turn. Iss stop.
Where is Papa driver? No Mama driving! Ok I driving driving.

Suddenly, she's fascinated by all things potty
Mama look! I making yellow potty!
Mama, are you prrrrrr? Moppet also prrrrr from the bum-bum.

Barney, are you potty? Yes?

Suddenly, she needs to do everything herself.
I making, I making!
I said no help you!

I still cannot fully fathom the changes she's gone through. Sleeping by herself in her own room, completely diaper-free during the day including at school, singing songs like Eechak-dana and Nani teri morni, having a conversation with her father at the breakfast table - I tell you, if you told me that an alien spaceship had swapped my baby with another little girl, I would half believe you.

There are clues that she's still my baby, though. She's as stubborn as ever. The mischief she gets upto sometimes looks like deliberate defiance - a testing of limits. The resistance to trying anything new is still extremely strong. The tantrums get more and more spectacular each time. She's getting better at sharing, but is still extremely possessive of me. And though she no longer cries when she's around adults she doesn't know, it's obvious that she prefers that they ignore her, just as she ignores them.

On the plus side, I've introduced time-outs and they seem to be working, at least for now. Most of the time, she's open to some reasoning and negotiation. Overall, this new and improved version is great. I'm not complaining, oh no.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Ten Commandments of New Motherhood

To:
Maggie,
Sleep-deprived mother of two,
A Harried and Chaotic Moment, Manic Street,
The Near Future.

From:
Maggie,
Toddler-survivor and mother of one,
A Calm And Reflective Moment, Zen Street,
The Recent Past.

Dear Mags,

In just a few weeks time (hoping all goes well) you will be upto your ears in bawling babies and excited family members, and calm reflection on second time motherhood will be the last thing on your mind.

So I thought I'd go over those mad first few weeks with Moppet and make a list of what I'd like to do differently this time around.

In those early days, when you feel like everything is spinning out of control, take a 10 second time-out to consider these Commandments:
I. Thou shalt not assume that thou art the only one who can do things just the way they need to be done for the babe. Thou shalt give thy partner a real chance to be a hands-on parent.

II. Thou shalt be more sensitive to thine own needs. Thou shalt not put thy body through the wringer trying to do it all. Thou art not superwoman.

III. Thou shalt call down lightning bolts on anyone who approaches with the babe, saying 'it must be hunger' within 5 minutes of his last feed.

IV. Thou shalt be more flexible about the babe's routine and not let the rest of thy life come to a complete halt.

V. Thou shalt not shush the entire household and tiptoe around the baby while he sleeps. [Ignore this commandment at thine own peril. Dost thou really want TWO children who wake up at the sound of a mouse's sneeze?]

VI. Thou shalt be more relaxed. Babes are tougher than they appear to be.

VII. Thou shalt make time for thy partner. He needs thy love and attention as much as the babes.

VIII. Thou shalt not let random comments about the size, shape, looks, and behaviour of thy babes affect thy sense of worth as a mother.

IX. Thou shalt make time to exercise, even if it is only for 15 minutes a day. The reward of good health and spirit alone is worth it. [But if thou needest material inspiration, consider also the brand new wardrobe thou canst purchase.]

X.
Thou shalt not burden thyself with the worries of a future unknown. Glory instead in the sorrows and joys of this moment now and share in it with thy loved ones.
Love,
Me

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Because YOU'RE so nice...

Mother's Day conversation in our household:

Me: Did you know it's Mother's Day today? Huh?

The Husband: What? No, I didn't.

Long pause, pointed and laden with meaning on my part; completely peaceful, back-to-reading-online-comics on his.

End of conversation.

Sigh.

Some days I feel so taken for granted. Sure, it's a cushy life I lead - staying at home with the kid, full-time help, no money troubles - I know I'm luckier than most. But it's also a lonely life, and those jealous twinges that I get when I see batchmates and juniors update their professional profiles with fancy designations are painfully real.

The husband doesn't quite get it, I think. Because his life hasn't stopped. He still gets to travel, meet people, and apply his mind to something other than how to get a 2 year old to eat a decent meal, sleep on her own, and pee in the pot.

He's been really busy with work over the last month or so, and will continue to be till the end of this month. While I know it's because he wants to be as free as possible by the time Munch comes along, it also means that I've had to do a lot of the preparation for the new baby by myself. When I contrast it to how we did everything together with so much excitement when I was pregnant with Moppet, I feel terribly sorry for myself and Munch.

And though I'm looking forward to D-Day, somewhere in the back of my mind is the fear that it will somehow all fall to me to deal with both kids and that I just won't be upto it.

So anyway, for the last couple of weeks I've been chipping away at my to-do list, picking up all the small things, doing research on big items like car seats and prams, nagging the husband for feedback on my research, getting impatient 'don't panic, we'll do it next week' responses, making useless threats on the whole name situation, rubbing my aching back as far as I can reach on my own and wallowing in self-pity.

I have not, in short, been feeling very nice. So this 'Nice Matters Award'* from Sue, Lavs, and Null Pointer cheered me up tremendously. As did all the emails and comments from all of you asking what was up. Thanks again.

I swear if I hadn't found all of you I would've gone completely insane by now.

Passing it on to Sur, JLT, and Kiran.



*In the words of the originator of this award: This award will be awarded to those that are just nice people , good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunshine after the storm

Mother-daughter relations were at an all time low this past week.

The husband was off on a long (semi) work trip. Her Papa's absence left a big hole in Moppet's routine, particularly evenings and bed-time and she did not take it well. I'd countdown the days till his return every evening, but all she knew was that he was not there to brush her teeth and play aeroplane with her, and what does '6 more days till Papa comes back' really mean, anyway?

She responded by clinging even harder to me. Demanding to be carried everywhere, even within the house. Having meltdowns at the drop of a hat - the particular t-shirt she wanted to wear was in the wash, she must have popcorn RIGHT NOW, the cracker Mama gave her broke in two before she bit it, Mama must sit in the back seat of the car with her (and somehow drive the car, too!) - all these situations (and many, many more) provoked terrible kicking, screaming, raging tantrums.

I understood why she was acting out, but the understanding didn't translate into dealing with it as I should have. Physically, I'm not at my best. My back is in such bad shape that I have to wear a special lumbar support belt. Wrestling Moppet into her underpants when she's decided she'll wear orange ones or nothing, restraining her during one of her kicking rages, even just carrying her when she's actually being co-operative are tasks that are getting painfully harder every day.

Emotionally, I wasn't much better. The husband's long absence aggravated the loneliness that never quite leaves me. There was resentment that he was off having a good time in London and Paris, leaving me to deal with his monster child(ren) by myself. My reserves of patience were at an all-time low.

So I yelled back at Moppet when she screamed. I left her to her floor-smacking rages and curled up on my bed and cried. I turned up the music in the car to drown out her howling from the back seat. By bedtime every day, we didn't like each other very much. The hot, sticky, energy sapping weather did not help.

And then the storm came. Thunder, lightning, and driving rain. The wind whipped through the house, so strong it tore the netting off the balcony doors. A flash of light, a loud boom, and we lost power.

Our paths lit by the emergency light, mother and daughter met in the corridor as each came running to find the other. Moppet was a little frightened, and clung to me as I explained that the power had gone but there was nothing to be scared of and it would come back soon. She was only half reassured and sat close to me as we spent some quiet time reading a few books, drawing, colouring and doing puzzles by candlelight.

The storm died down, but the power was still out, so we moved out onto the balcony to enjoy the cool breeze and the refreshing smells of a city washed clean. Relief washed over me, like a fever had broken. It was the first time in many days that I felt truly at peace.

I began to sing softly and Moppet sat quietly on her little chair next to mine and listened. Occasionally, she piped up with a song request - Mama sing Jai Hind, Mama sing Ladki, Mama sing MashaAllah - and after a while, she said to me, "Now Moppet turn."

"Sure, baby, what are you going to sing?" I asked.

In reply she sang to me a song that I often sing for her:

"[...] Sunshine, ma onny sunshine
You make me happy, when skys gwey
You never know dear, how much I laab you
Peas don take ma sunshine away."*

It was such a perfect song for the moment. Tears poured down my cheeks as she sang in her clear baby voice. When she was done I gave her a great big hug, and she saw I was crying.

"No crying, Mama. Iss power gone. Come back soon. No scared, ok?'

*You are my sunshine, my only sunshine; You make me happy, when skies are grey; You'll never know dear, how much I love you; Please don't take my sunshine away"

Edit: Oh and the next day this happened. And then 2 days later the husband got home, so all's well in my world again :-)

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Blessed Virus

"Help! It's a virus!"

My first thought when I logged in to Google Reader yesterday and saw 15 unread posts, all with the strange title - Riddle-me-Ree, who can she be?

Without opening any of the posts, I went straight to my internet bible and googled 'riddle-me-ree blog virus'. I got plenty of results of course - you will always find an answer in the bible if you look hard enough - but nothing that suggested that this virus might be dangerous.

Still, as wife to a paranoid technogeek, who's only just managed to learn how to deal with all the firewalls and anti-spying technology he's installed on our PC, I didn't want to be the one who brought home a virus that would wipe out our hard drives with random riddles. So I hesitated and kept refreshing my reader and watched with increasing concern as more posts began to appear with the same title.

And then finally, something different showed up in my reader. Boo had come across the same strange phenomenon in her morning inspection of the momblogs, and had posted of her bafflement in her typical I-demand-to-know-what's-up-right-now style.

Obviously much smarter than I am, she had already partly figured it out, and begun what would end up being an almost 10 hour collaborative effort to solve the mystery. Addressed to the MTB's - Boo enlightened us that this meant Mothers-To-Be - this was an online treasure hunt that spanned blogs, continents, and time-zones and the prize was entry to a blog where an online baby shower was being thrown for us ( Boo, Poppins, Kodi’s Mom, Lavs, Desigirl, Planethalder, Random Vignettes, Rohini and me)

What fun! I headed right back to my reader and began the hunt. Fellow MTBs Poppins and Lavs had been doing some good work ahead of me, and they'd already figured out some tough ones. By the time Kodi's Mom joined in the action, I'd already put together an excel sheet and was getting enjoyably confused by it all.

I had had a long and tiring day and by 11 pm my time, I decided I had better get to bed. But my head was full of bits and pieces of rhymes and clues and I knew there was no point my trying to sleep. So I turned the PC back on and stayed up till we were almost done. At around 2 am, I finally decided the rest could wait till morning, especially since there were some missing clues that had still not been posted.

Rushed to the PC in the morning, teeth unbrushed, and crackeroo! Boo's done it! There were a few loose ends, which Kodi's Mom and I quickly tied up and WOW- we had found the most fabulous pot of gold at the end of our rainbow!

The fun of the hunt itself would have been worth it - but here was a most wonderful site, with love, good wishes, music, and counsel from so many of you. I was in tears when I saw how much time and effort you had all put in for a bunch of women most of you don't even know the real names of.

I am touched beyond words, and all I can say is thank you. Thank you for the thought, the love, the time, the effort, the fun, and the friendship. Much love and virtual hugs to you all.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What sort of a person

...sees a very pregnant woman carrying a sleeping toddler across the building lobby, and actually hurries forward and takes the one available lift, leaving the woman and toddler to wait for the next one, a good 3 minutes later?!

Anyone good with voodoo? I need to give that guy some some serious lower back spasms - that'll teach him!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pregnant pics

This is me, today, at 31 weeks:
Now before all of you start composing stinging comments on how I've been frauding you about how big I am, please watch what happens in profile:

Isn't that a big bump? With 9 weeks left to go? I'm already almost at the weight I had reached with Moppet at full-term. I was looking for a picture of me pregnant with Moppet at the same stage and I found this one:


See what I mean? I think this might have been around 28 weeks or so, and maybe the denim overalls make the bump look smaller than it is, but still...

Funny story about that maternity dress - one of my biggest cribs when I was pregnant with Moppet was the unavailability of decent maternity wear in Bombay. Pants and capris came in the most horrendous colours and materials and the tops were either in ghastly prints or in cutesie colours with teddy bears and silly messages on them. And as for skirts and dresses, ha, forget it! (Quite a contrast to Bangkok, where the range of maternity wear is absolutely stunning. I've even seen maternity hot pants and mini-skirts!)

But coming back to the story of the dress - I had mentioned casually to my dad how I really wanted denim overalls, but couldn't find any in Bombay. His next overseas trip happened to be to Prague, and sweet man that he is, decided to spend his spare time finding denim maternity overalls for me.

Finding a store was hard enough, but that was the least of his difficulties. The salesperson spoke no English, and my dad didn't know a word of Czech. After several minutes of charades, he managed to explain what he was looking for, and was shown a few suitable options.

Then came the biggest hurdle yet - what would be the right size? He looked around the store and saw no one - customers or salespeople - who could function as a proxy for me. The only one who came close to my size was...himself.

So what does he do? He tries it on, causing much consternation among the sales people. Heaven knows what they thought of this lone middle-aged man, trying on maternity clothes!

Anyway he found a size that fit, and brought it back for me, much to my delight - the dress is wonderful, but its story makes it even more precious to me. I love what he was willing to do for me, despite the cost to his dignity. I love even more that he is cool enough share the story. He could so easily have just given me the dress and not told me that he actually had to try it on himself :-)

After Moppet was born, I gave away all my maternity clothes, except the denim overalls, of course. I haven't worn them much this time around because they're heavy denim and it's way too hot here, but that's one item in my wardrobe that I know I'm not going to give away. Ever.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Introducing Maggie

So it's Maggie by a mile. And what better way to get to know her than by this general questionnaire type tag from Tessie:

Last Movie You Saw In A Theater:
JodhaaAkbar. About 45 minutes too long, but Hrithik Roshan was a revelation - I'd never paid him much attention before. He's totally droolicious!

What Book Are You Reading:
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. Depressing book- would've ditched it but for my OCD of having to finish every book I start.

Favorite Board Game:
Scrabble. Also known as the Get-Ready-For-Divorce game in our household.

Favorite Magazine:
Don't really have one, but The Economist is always an interesting read, and Vanity Fair is fun too.

Favorite Smells:
Wet earth, freshly baked bread, Moppet right after her bath...

Favorite Sound:
Moppet's giggle. It's infectious.

Worst Feeling In The World:
Being alone. No, scratch that - thinking that you're alone.

What Is The First Thing You Think Of When You Wake?
These days it's usually - "Wow, Moppet only woke up thrice/ twice / once last night"

Favorite Fast Food Place:
I don't particularly enjoy fast food, but I love MOS Burger - a Japanese burger chain.

Future Child's Name:
HA HA HA HA! At the rate we're going, it will be Baby Boy [Surname].

Finish This Statement. "If I Had A Lot Of Money I'd...”
Travel round the world.

Do You Drive Fast?
Yes, but don't tell my husband - he thinks I'm a staid old lady type driver, and I'd like to keep that image with him :-)

Do You Sleep With A Stuffed Animal?
Well, there are nights when the husband certainly feels like one.

Storms-Cool Or Scary?
The garden variety thunderstom - totally cool. The horrible ones that cause death and destruction, not so much.

What Was Your First Car?
Suzi

Favorite Drink:
Ice cold water.

Finish This Statement, "If I Had The Time I Would .....”
Travel round the world.

Do You Eat The Stems On Broccoli?
This assumes that I eat broccoli - which I don't.

If You Could Dye Your Hair Any Color, What Would Be Your Choice?
I really wanted a deep, dark, ink blue - the sort which looks black, but shines blue in certain lights. But on the one occasion I went to a fancy salon in Bombay and asked for it, I was persuaded by the stylist to go for hot pink and red streaks instead. It was ok - I particularly enjoyed the looks on the faces of friends, colleagues and family when they saw me - but I'm not doing that again. If I ever see the right shade of blue, I might try it though....

Name All The Different Cities/Towns You Have Lived In.
Chronologically - Hyderabad, Manchester, Brack (Libya), Hyderabad again, Ahmedabad, Bombay, Chennai, Bombay again, and Bangkok.

Favorite Sports To Watch:
English Premier League Football with the husband. Under duress, I must add.

One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You:
She's a newly in love bride-to-be.

What's Under Your Bed?
A floor that I'm proud to say is as clean as the floor that's not under my bed.

Would You Like To Be Born As Yourself Again?
Sure, just with better hair. And better eyesight. Oh, and while I'm at it, legs like Gisele Bundschen.

Morning Person Or Night Owl?
Actually, I'm a day person. I like to sleep at night, and don't like to nap during the day. Unlike the husband, who if he had his way, would work all night and sleep all day. So when I say we're as different as night and day, you know I mean it literally.

Over Easy Or Sunny Side Up?
Any way you like. I LOVE eggs - can eat them in any shape for every meal of every day.

Favorite Place To Relax:
Home.

Favorite Pie:
I love all sorts of pies - both sweet and savoury.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Mostly anything chocolate.

Of All The People You Tagged This To, Who's Most Likely To Respond First?
I don't know, maybe
NM?
Or Swati?
Or Timepass?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Operation SoloNight

It is much harder than I thought it would be. On me, not her.

I really thought I wanted a toddler-free bedroom. No more tiptoeing around in the dark getting ready for bed, no more muffling coughs, sneezes, and curses, no more reading in bed by the woefully inadequate night light...I had thought I would be dying to get her into her own room.

Not so much, as it turns out.

I embarked on Operation SoloNight with much enthusiasm. The 2-week school break seemed like the perfect time to start - in the event of a few bad nights, neither she nor I needed to be up on time to be ready for school.

We tried to prepare Moppet by making the whole thing a fun adventure. I bought some nice, brightly coloured sheets for her bed which caused much excitement. "New-new bed!" She squealed, bouncing up and down on it. We moved the music system into her room, which brought on further paroxysms of delight ("Iss Moppet music!") and burned a CD with all her favourite songs on it to play in the evening before bed time.

We showed her how the new two-way baby monitor worked, and how I could talk to her from another room. She liked that too, and dashed between our room and hers, yelling out to me from her room, "Mama, hullo-hullo?"

The first night in her room, bedtime was one big circus. Both her Papa and I danced with her to her music, and did a little song and dance number with Barney and a few other stuffed toys - a complicated routine which involved hanging them upside down and singing 'LOOK OUT! here comes the PI-der-MAAAN', then throwing them off the bed. Anyway, by the time things wound down to lights off, it was already long past her regular bedtime, and all the excitement and jumping around of the evening had tired her out. I stayed with her until she fell asleep and then slipped out.

My newly toddler-free bedroom had lights blazing, and a grinning husband sprawled on the bed, trying to read 3 books at one go, so happy was he that he would finally get to read himself to sleep again, a lifelong habit that he'd had to give up cold turkey when the extremely light-sleeping Moppet took possession of our bedroom. I grinned back at him, opened and shut a few cupboard doors simply because I could, brushed my teeth with the bathroom door open and more light streaming into the bedroom, hummed loudly as I arranged my pillows, and finally stretched out contentedly on the bed.

It was late, and I was tired, but I found myself lying in bed staring at the little green light on the baby monitor. What was that sound I heard? Were all the settings on the monitor in Moppet's room correct? Was the temperature in her room ok? She would already have kicked her blanket off; she might be feeling cold. Maybe I should go check?

Over the next 3 hours I tossed and turned, convinced myself that the monitor was not working, and made 2 trips to her room, standing with an ear pressed to her door, listening for any sound that would give me an excuse to go in. So it was a perverse relief when she did wake up and her call came loud and clear over the monitor. I rushed into her room, and patted her back to sleep. It barely took a minute or two, but I knew I couldn't go back to my room.

And so it was that at 2 in morning, carrying my pillow and duvet, I tiptoed into her room, and spent the rest of night on the other twin bed there, muffling my sneezes and coughs and feeling my way to the bathroom in the pitch dark.

I slept like a baby, as did my baby.

*********
Moppet has now spent 3 nights in her own room, and seems to be doing well. She still gets up a couple of times in the night, and I usually end up sleeping on the twin bed next to hers for a few hours every night, but she does seem to be sleeping better overall. For one, she no longer gets up at the crack of dawn, but at the far more manageable time of 7.30 am. We have quite a way to go yet, but for 3 days, I think the progress is satisfactory. Mine, I mean.

*Anti-jinx sign courtesy Dotmom

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I give up!

Too many complaints about my chosen blog moniker - some subtle, some insistent, some polite, some downright rude (those last mostly being insults from the husband).

I'm pig-headed enough to ignore this, except that I've lived with the name for a few weeks now and I have to admit, when I happen upon my own comments on other blogs, it takes a second or so for it to register that that's me!

So I give up - now YOU can decide what to call me (and live with the consequences! :-) But don't start rubbing your hands together and coming up with the world's most outrageous names just yet, I've got 3 choices for you to pick from.

(Ha! I may be a cotton candy head, but I'm not that stupid!)

So here are your options, in no particular order of (my) preference:

1. Maggie / Mags:
This is an old real life nickname I've had on account of my Maggi noodle like hair. Plus, on occasions when I'm being really insane, you can call me Mad Mags - a sort of Mallu Mad Max, get it?! :-D



2. CurlyQ / Curly:
Another take on the curly hair, a curlicue is a pattern of concentric circles, and can also refer to a twist or a curl.



3. Peppermint Penny / Penny:
You know, like Peppermint Patty of Peanuts. But Penny because that's short for another of my real-life nicks that people still call me by occasionally. Plus there's the obvious fact of my being 'peppy' and cool (and genetically incapable of letting a PJ go, apparently :-)


Those of you who feel that this is all a bit of hoo-ha about nothing, and I should just stick with what I've got, please do pipe up.

All 4 options are up on the poll I've got going on the sidebar, so get over there and vote!

Lurkers, you too, please!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Two

For once, my darling, your Mama is at a loss for words.

Happy birthday, baby of mine.

This day that year - III

March 31, 2006

4:00 AM


It's taken me a while to figure it out, but I finally realise that these mild cramps I'm feeling must be contractions.

8:00 AM

"It's started!" I announce happily to husband and mother. "Actually, it started about 5 hours ago."

"5 hours?!" The husband springs into action "Let's go then! I'll get the suitcase. Can you get to the car? Should I call the doc? Where are my pants? Where's the blue notebook? Where's my stopwatch?"

I am feeling strangely calm, but the husband does not quite appreciate my being so zen. He hops around timing my contractions as I have a light breakfast and take a shower.

"Come on! Let's go, let's go, let's GO!"

9:30 AM

"Everything's looking good," says the doc cheerily, giving me a friendly pat on the hip. "But it will take a while - you're only 3 cms dilated. So make yourself comfortable, I'll check on you later."

Now that we're actually in the hospital room, the husband and mother have relaxed somewhat; and we settle in to what looks like will be a long wait.

Every once in a while, the assistant doc comes in to check the fetal monitor. The contractions are getting stronger, but not by much.

Time appears to have slowed.

This is b-o-r-i-n-g.

Yawn.

11:30 AM

The assistant doc and a couple of nurses burst into the room.

"Lie down, please. We need to give you some oxygen."

"What? Why?" I am bewildered.

"Nurse, start an IV," the doctor barks. To me, she says, "The baby appears to be in some distress. We'll see if things get better with oxygen."

"But how, I'm not feeling anything! What is causing the distress? What's different? What do I need to do?"

I feel like I've forgotten how to breathe. My mom looks like she's going to faint. The husband grabs my hand and squeezes it.

"Just stay calm. It may be nothing. We'll just keep monitoring for a little while."

12.00 noon


The baby's heartbeat is way above normal. It appears my contractions, puny though they are, are still too much for the baby.

My main doc arrives. They rupture the amniotic sac and find that the fluid is meconium stained. Apparently the baby is so stressed out at having to be born that it's pooped itself.

We listen in disbelief as our doctor explains that in these circumstances we have no option but an immediate C-section. The danger to the baby is real and immediate.

Assorted forms are thrust in my face, and I sign them shakily. I am crying hard. I had played different birth scenarios in my head several times, but none of them had involved any possibility of the baby's life being at stake. My own, yes. But not the baby's.

Never the baby's.

1:05 PM

"It's a girl!" the doc announces over the baby's thin, reedy cry.

"She's ok, right? She's ok?" I yell, or at least try to. I've been given a spinal anasthetic, so I'm fully conscious, but it appears to have triggered a major shivering fit. My upper body is trembling uncontrollably, and my teeth chatter as I try to talk.

The husband, who has been sweetly crushing the bones of my left hand all through the surgery, unceremoniously drops it as he reaches out to hold his daughter for the very first time.

"She's fine," says the doctor "We got her out in time."

She proceeds to explain something about delivering the placenta, and how I'll feel something or the other, but I can no longer hear what she's saying. All I can see is the little pink blob that my husband is proudly holding near my face.

It's squishy, and pink, and loud, and look - I can see tiny fingers curled over the edge of the swaddling blanket.

"Hello, Moppet!" are my eloquent first words to my daughter before the tears and laughter come together and render further speech impossible.

Welcome to the world, baby girl!

Friday, March 28, 2008

This day, that year - II

March 28, 2006

The time, 8:30 pm:

The bottle is small, the liquid in it a thick, clear gold. It looks quite innocuous; inviting even, but I know how vicious its contents can be.

Should I, shouldn't I? I turn the bottle around in my hand.

Heck, I can't take this any longer. I just want this to be over.

I add one tablespoon of the liquid to the tall glass of strawberry squash standing ready on the table and stir.

A deep breath, a quick look into the still swirling red depths, and then I gulp it down in one shot.

The effect is immediate. And terrible.

I clutch at my throat, retching and coughing so much that my eyes almost pop out of my head.

*************
Earlier that day:

'Sorry to have kept you waiting', said my doctor, not looking or sounding sorry at all. 'I just delivered Hrithik Roshan's baby. A gorgeous baby boy. Susanne had no trouble at all.'

'Much as that gladdens the heart, Doc, what would really make me happy is if you would tell me what you're going to do about this baby of mine which is refusing to come out.'

Having been told on my last visit that the baby's head had 'engaged' I've been expecting to go into labour for a whole week, and getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of action.

'Castor oil,' suggests the doc. 'Works almost every time.'

'Castor oil? Blech! What are my options?'

'Well we can wait another week or so....'

'I see. So will you write me a prescription, or do I pick it up at my local store?'

*************
After the first dose, 8:40 pm:

'ACK! AUGH! GRRRHAH! I've brushed...GAK!...three bloody times. This is all YOUR fault!'

'Mine? How?' The husband is genuinely surprised.

'Let me count the ways. First, for getting me pregnant. Second, for passing on your lazy bum genes to this baby who doesn't want to come out. Third, because I'm the one suffering and you're not. And fourth...'

'...well I think we're better off with a baby who has my lazy bum genes rather than your manic-bouncing-off-the-wall energetic ones!'

'Oh you do, do you? You can drink the next dose then. I'm NOT having any more. NO! I'll stay pregnant for another month if I have to!'

*************

Edit: I realise there's some confusion on account of me being currently pregnant. The 'This day that year' series of posts is about my first pregnancy, leading up to Moppet's birth on March 31, 2006.