Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Category: #AtoZBlogChallenge2017 (page 1 of 5)

Z is for Zeba

For today’s final post for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge Z is for Zeba.

Let me introduce you to Zeba. She is a 20 something woman, who manages her own home and mine. She is the reason I am here everyday, with some amount of sanity and energy left in me to blog and to allow me to pee/ poop/ bathe/ have one cup of coffee in peace. Zeba is our nanny. She minds babyT in the day time. To me she is a big savior who has allowed me to bring in some degree of normalcy to my life.  Continue reading

Y is for the Y Chromosome

Today’s maybe a slightly sensational topic. But I would urge you to read my entire blog post before you make a judgement about the word for today’s #AtoZbloggingChallenge – #Yisfor the #Ychromosome

For the longest time in, our culture predominantly, it was believed that a woman was the determinant of the sex of the child I.e. a male or female child. So if it was a female child that was born, it was totally the mother’s fault. Her body and uterus messed up.

Science and basic genetics then taught us that it wasn’t actually the mother’s DNA but that of the father which determined whether the child would be male or female. So the mother’s egg carried two X chromosomes. And the father’s sperm cells carried an X and a Y chromosome.  When one chromosome from the mother met another from the father a child was born. And if X met X then it would be a female child and if X and Y met it would be a male child. So it was the Y chromosome who was the hero/ culprit then.

However my post today is not about more power to the female child or to pledge my support to the girl child or to speak up about the unequal gender ratio. It is to make a case in point for the one who inherited the Y chromosome – the male child.

I am not a very girly girl myself. Pink is not my favourite colour. I didn’t enjoy playing with dolls. I’d much rather run around and play boy games like cricket or shoot em’up video games. Mortal Kombat was my favourite. I grew up with a younger brother around… I was more influenced by him in terms of my choice of music, movies or other aspects. I had more boy friends than girls. I was more comfortable around boys in my class/ work than girls.

So even before I became pregnant I knew I was perfect to be a boy mommy. I always envisioned a baby to be a baby boy, because I had seen my baby brother from such close quarters. And then came my son babyT. Somehow I knew I was having a baby boy when I was pregnant.  However my husband, as most of the daddies too, would have loved to have a girl so I would have loved for that to come true.

But what I didn’t know was the way people looked at you if you are a boy mommy. The feelings range from “Oh you must be happy it’s a boy.” to “how sad. Girls are so much better.” to ” are you going to try again for a girl?”

This was further fuelled by silly forwards on Facebook and WhatsApp proclaiming “Blessed is the home where the first born is a girl.” Is my home not blessed enough for having a boy? And then there’s that viral message – “it’s daughter’s week. Daughters are this and daughters are that. Fortunate ones have daughters.” First of all daughters week doesn’t exist. Even if it did it doesn’t come alive fifty times in a year. And lastly you do know that there are businesses which make and sell forwarded messages to mobile and data operator companies right?

To all of these attempts I just want to say, I remember a time when I was not able to have a child. I remember a time when I had almost given up. I remember a time when I felt choked, depressed and upset on mothers day when the whole family and friends WhatsApp group was wishing and congratulating each other. Having a child – any child, a male or female seemed like a bleak possibility and I would have given anything just to see those two pink lines.

I also remember a time when I was busy making a career and not wanting to have a child at that point in my life. I remember making a note to myself to live an independent life where I didn’t depend on my progeny to support me financially or emotionally. How then is having a girl child supposed to make my life better? Do we have children so that they will support and look after us in our old age? It makes more economical sense to not have a child, save all that money and use it to provide for you in the greys of your life actually. (Once an economist, always an economist)

Why are we either black or white about this? Why are we shaming the mother for having a boy baby now? For the longest time we needed a public service message like “Save the girl child” and now we treat “Having a boy” like the parents are really unfortunate.

I feel guilty if i praise or think highly of my son for some small achievement of his, as I wonder if people will judge me for being a person who feels that male babies are superior . Can I not be proud of my baby for what he is without this feeling?

Can we stop this please? Can we just accept the child for what he or she is? Can we understand that there was little the pregnant couple could do to choose the gender of their child?

Are you a boy mommy? Have you been asked or told silly statements just because you did not have a girl child?

X is for Xylophone

My life is a last minute affair. The entire #AtoZBloggingChallenge has been a last minute affair. I try and look for a word over days and hours and finally around 10 pm a flash of brilliance goes off in my brain (well according to me anyway.) and I have a word which I love and feel so excited to write about. Today’s word is such…

After poring over geeky lists of words beginning with X and getting some scary ideas for blog posts (Xeniatrophobia – the hatred for foreign Doctors. Innocent Dr (Mrs.) Singh from my childhood in the UK was going to get a mention.) I had almost relented my fate and went to clear up babyT’s play room for the night, when my eyes fell upon this Xylophone. (Fanfare went off in my head, really, you had to be me to know it.) 

Every house that has a new baby has a Xylophone or two. And of course babies are meant to hit, whack, throw and poke the crap out of it.. they of course cannot play it, unless they are the late Mr. Brahms incarnate. Does your Xylophone really get the due that it is born to do? Well, some of us do… one of my favourite Mommy Bloggers BeingMammaBear has made it her mission to play her lovely daughter MissS meaningful songs on the Xylophone and I make it a point to listen to all her Instagram stories of her playing the Xylo. So i hunt those headphones, plug them in and listen to her soulfully tippytapping nursery rhymes on the Xylophone.

I could play only one song on the Xylophone, up until now that is. But nonetheless here is the one song that I ever learnt to play when I was a wee lass and one that I have kept close to my heart till now.  Its “Are you Sleeping, Brother John?” or “Freres Jacques, Dormez vous?”

So I am a total tone deaf person. My husband is a guitar player (not his day job) but I have imbibed zero music sense. I am however great at memorizing numbers .. I know phone numbers of my friends from school and all the car number plates in the apartment complex I lived in when I was 12. Sounds like some Beautiful Mind kind of shizz doesn’t it? No, it just means I am an introvert who was happier doing numbers than running amok with friends. So what I did was write down numbers on the Xylophone keys from 1 onwards and then did some research online (google baba ki jai ho) and some quick trial and error to figure these songs out.

Number the keys 1 to 8 and then try these

Are you Sleeping

Are you Sleeping, Are you Sleeping?
1 2 3 1, 1 2 3 1
Brother John, Brother John 
3 4 5, 3 4 5
Morning Bells are ringing, Morning bells are ringing 
5 6 5 4 3 1, 5 6 5 4 3 1
Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong, Ding Ding Dong
5 1 1 , 5 1 1, 5 1 1

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star

Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star
1 1 5 5 6 6 5
How I wonder what you are?
4 4 3 3 2 2 1
Up above the world so high
5 5 4 4 3 3 2
Like a diamond in the sky
5 5 4 4 3 3 2
Twinkle Twinkle Litte Star
1 1 5 5 6 6 5
How I wonder what you are?
4 4 3 3 2 2 1

Row Row Row your boat

Row row row your boat
1 1 1 2 3
Gently Down the stream
3 2 3 4 5
Merrily merrily merrily merrily Life is but a dream
8 8 8 5 5 5 3 3 3 1 1 1 5 4 3 2 1

So easy no? Try a few songs and tell me how it went?

If you do read and understand music you can use this key. But I am sure you already knew that. 🙂

(Source: http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/fun-music-theory-do-re-mi/ )

 

W is for “Who Says Woof?”

When I started the #AtoZBloggingChallenge I knew what the letter W would stand for.. our favourite book by our favourite children’s author John Butler of course.

W is for Who Says Woof

I buy most of babyT’s books preloved and my favourite store is Eat Play Read.  I first chanced upon the book Who Says Woof? during an online book stocking here in September last year. I grabbed it because the cover page looked cute.

When the book arrived and I began reading it to babyT, he had just turned 9 months then, I was amazed how quickly he was picking up the sounds of the animals in them. His favourite was “Who says Baa?” He kept repeating Baa Baa Baa all day long. Once when we were out on the road, he saw a cow on the road (this is India. 🙂 and said Mooo I had hit the home-run, the book was teaching him something.  He also loved looking at the pictures. And as with most babies I was made to read that book to him twenty five times in a day… 

What I loved about this book?

  • Has beautiful illustration by John Butler. He is an illustrator and author of children’s books, most of which are about animals and their little families.
  • I like the fact that he keeps the design theme constant in all of his books. So the bears look the same in all the books. Its like a collection of related books. Very collectible.
  • The words are few in this particular book. (There are other books for older children with longer sentences too.)
  • It helps to build a guessing game with your baby… Who says Woof? Turn the page. A dog says Woof. & Who says Miaow? Turn the page. A cat says Miaow.

    Who says Miaow.

  • It taught babyT all that he knows about animals and the sounds that they make. His favourite animal is now the Miaow Cat.

    We knew all these by 10 months. 🙂 <3

We then fell in love so much with the book and John Butler’s illustrations that we went on a mission to find more of his books. Some were bought from Eat Play Read and some from Amazon.

The new additions

Our current favourite among these is Can you growl like a bear? 

After all the cute little domestic and gentle animals from Who says Woof? this book talks about the ones that live in the jungles – bear, chimp, elephant, wolf and some more. BabyT loves imitating the noises that these animals and birds make in the book. “Can you roar like a leopard..?” 

How gorgeous are the illustrations again? This particular page reminds me of a warm sunny day in summer spent wandering aimlessly in a park in London. <3

I don’t know how but this book somehow succeeds to make me yawn by the time we get to the last page. All the animals are going about their business, making the respective noises that they do and soon day turns to night, the wolf howls at the moon (babyT and I love to throw up our head and go Howwwwllll), the panda mommy and her little baby panda snuggle up for the night and soon…

This could work very well as a bedtime story.

This reminds me today is #TellaStoryDay and is celebrated in the USA and UK. I love how apt today’s title is to the event. On #TellaStoryDay people are encouraged to tell a story, not just read books, but share a personal story with your loved ones or on social media. And that is just what I am doing, telling you about my love affair with these baby books and how much they are loved and enjoyed in our home. 🙂

 

V is for Vacations with Babies

V for Vacations.

If you are anything like me, then you would have stressed and fussed and lost sleep over your first vacation with baby in tow. We went on our first vacation with #BabyT when he was 9 months old, and the whole idea was to celebrate my birthday in a fun & relaxed way. How wrong was I?

For an entire week before our first vacation, I was suffering from stress migraines, babyT was being his fussiest best and I had also fallen prey to the pre-vacation anthem “I have nothing to wear”, “nothing fits” and “Oh my God, I need some spa & parlour treatments, like now!” It was a nightmare.

But… my baby surprised me and taught me a very valuable lesson. That I need to let go and learn to “chill mom” Yes my 9 month old taught me how to enjoy a vacation. I came back with a list of why it actually makes total sense to travel with a baby. Here is why I completely urge you to pack your bags and leave right now with baby on board.

  1. Babies enjoy holidays – we were so skeptical and anxious about whether babyT will sleep in a new bed and if he will be comfortable in a new room. However the moment we entered our hotel room, he got so excited to see the nicely made bed and the crisp sheets that he leaned towards the bed and insisted we put him on it. He then spent the next 10 minutes rolling around on the bed and we breathed a sigh of relief. He loved the big french windows, the spic and span bathroom and the ride up the elevator to the room. It was so cute to see him marvel at all the sights and sounds at the hotel we stayed at.
  2. Younger babies are fuss free – if they are still breastfeeding then it is an epic win. If they are on formula it is still a win, you can mix it up on the go. But most importantly you don’t have to order special food and then struggle to feed them. Even if they are on solid foods, fruits are available anywhere in the world, require no cooking  and so can be offered to baby any time and any place. We went to Goa on our first holiday (obviously had to go to Goa) and even dared to give him fish fry and he loved it. He ate all types of fish. We also learnt here that our baby is a restaurant lover, who got super excited whenever we went to a new restaurant and wanted to try everything that was on our plates. We gave him fish fry, rice and daal freely. We did not carry any baby food from home with us.
  3. Babies have no to-do and to-see list while on holiday –  This is the best part, that they have no agendas and you don’t have to revolve your holiday around their plans. You will anyway visit restaurants, beaches or go shopping and babies love being a part of all these environments.
    While they are young, they are still too tiny to enjoy stuff like noisy theme parks or even understand places like zoos or aquariums, so we saved all this for future holidays and just did what we wanted to in Goa.
  4. You can still carry them around – Tiny babies who have not yet sprouted legs, can be carried around in baby carriers. They won’t always agree to being carried once they are walking and exploring.

    This was one of our favourite moments from vacation – we were walking back from the Candolim beach and entered a cafe to grab a cold drink. Daddy grabbed the guitar at the cafe while babyT caught up with his evening nap in his Anmol baby carrier.

    But babywearing is a blessing and I cannot imagine my life at home or outside with a carrier or two in tow. I never leave home without my baby carrier now. I don’t think I know how to carry a baby in my empty arms. 🙂

Having said that, as a parent one cannot help but be all fussy and worried about baby’s comfort while traveling on vacations. But with some careful planning vacations with babies can turn out to be quite enjoyable for you and the little tykes. 🙂

Where to go with babies?

  • Staycations – you don’t really need to go far and wide in order to catch a break. A staycation at a nice hotel in your city can hit the spot quite well
  • Visit family and friends in other cities, towns or even countries – there is nothing like the comfort of a close friend or relative’s house in a new place. You have access to all facilities like a well stocked up kitchen, laundry and the support of other people to mind baby while you take a breather.
  • Hotels  with their own restaurants, pools and entertainment facilities– these are the best because you don’t really have to leave the hotel premises to eat or spend some time at the gym or getting a spa service done.

As for the actual travel, packing and vacation itself, good planning is definitely needed to ensure the holiday is stress-free and enjoyable for all of you. To help with this I enlisted the help of a fellow mommy, Charu Sharma, who first traveled with her baby when he was just 1.5 months old, internationally mind you and then bitten by the travel bug,  she kept travelling with her little one and seems to have perfected the art of vacationing with baby.

Charu & her son on holiday

Here’s what she has to say to help with flight journeys, (the parts in brackets have been added by me to add on to what Charu has to say.)

  • While booking tickets, keep in mind your baby’s nap and sleep (and maybe even poop times). If possible avoid travelling in those hours.
  • If you have to take early morning flight, always dress up the baby in comfortable and warm clothes at night before going to bed teamed with a bulletproof night time diaper. (yes we are cloth diapering moms, and yes cloth diapers do last the entire night and some more) so that you can just carry them away while they are asleep and change them when they are awake.
  • Carry a spare sweatshirt for unpredictable AC temperature. (Its easy to take off layers of clothes if it gets warm, but difficult to find warm clothes if it is too cold. )
  • Always carry along a few favorite snacks. Try and keep a few options with you. When babies are being fussy, something edible usually does the trick. She adds that roasted makhanas were a saviour on a 2hours flight as her son kept munching on these throughout.
  • (I loved this one!) Charu says she hides her son’s favorite toy 2-3 days before their scheduled travel date, and this item appears magically inflight when his tantrums are about to begin. She also is planning to get one of those magnetic doodle boards for the next travel and confides in me that the grand reveal will happen mid air. (this woman is genius I tell you.)
  • Pack a small and well planned and well memorized diaper bag. Toddlers don’t give you time to hunt down anything in your bag. Charu uses small wet bags (What is a wet bag you ask? Check my blog post here) to store stuff. It is a bonus knowing exactly what needs to go with you to the baby room if they need a diaper change mid air.
  • Most importantly reach the airport well before those last 45 minutes. Inquire about the baby care room, if you need one. Charu recommends to always feed as well as change the diaper just before boarding. If the airline you have chosen to fly with does not allow you to do web check in with infants, it is best to go early and pick a seat according to your preference.
  • Gate check in the stroller at the aircraft’s gate and if required ask for assistance for storing the hand baggage in storage bin at the aircraft gate itself. Walking down those narrow pathways with a baby and a hand baggage can be little difficult. Airline staff are generally very helpful and one just needs to ask.
  • Priority check in and boarding: If the airlines is not offering, ask for it, specially if you are traveling alone. A calm mommy = a calm baby.
  • If nothing works and your baby is howling and crying despite all your efforts to calm him down, you need to keep calm and not worry too much about those dirty looks (even the sympathetic ones in that particular moment is not looked forward to). Babies cry. Its natural and it happens and everyone goes through it. You don’t have to be guilty about it.
  • most of the airlines don’t allow you to keep a really big diaper bag with you during take-off and landing. So having small wetbags with essential items does help. You can just take out that particular wetbag which you feel you might need and keep it with you during take off and landing, instead of the whole diaper bag.
    Charu is on Instagram as: https://www.instagram.com/charutiwaris/

I feel armed with so many more ideas thanks to all the tips given by Charu here. In fact I am yearning for a vacation now and this time I am looking forward to it. Have you traveled with babies? What was the one thing that you will recommend to someone looking to vacation with a baby?

Note: Did you know I Cloth Diapered while I was on vacation. That was a big win for me and inspirational for many other cloth diapering moms I know. Read the full post here.

U is for Unsafe babycare practices

Once you’ve had a baby you will be amazed at the amount of free advice you will get. People you have never met in your life and who you never even knew existed in your family tree will invite themselves for delivering a session on how you modern mothers know nothing and how they raised perfectly well and healthy babies with all the massaging, pulling, oiling and feeding. They may be well meaning, but not all the baby care norms which have been practiced over the years are entirely  safe or good for baby.

Here is a list of some unsafe practices which we were personally told about and which we heard from our other new parent friends. We also discussed these with our pediatrician to understand the science behind it and if we would be doing the right thing to follow any of them.  Continue reading

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