Kavya

(AtoZ 2018- we aren’t giving up yet!)

Kavya. I never would have thought I’d be naming her Kavya.

Because I was so sure I was carrying a boy, I’d listen to Vishnu Sahasranama every day for most part of the pregnancy and try to pick favourites from the 1000 names of Lord Vishnu that are chanted in the song. We never did zero on a name though.

And then she came along, a girl. I was thoroughly unprepared for a girl.

I was more unprepared for family insisting that we name her something that started with Ka/Ki/Ko because she was born under a star that would favour her if we named her this way.

The last straw was the hospital telling us they’d give us 24 hours to come up with a name, in which case the birth certificate formalities would be borne by the hospital. Else, we’d have to do that ourselves. The last thing we wanted was carrying our fatigued selves to dingy government offices to get this done, so we succumbed.

Kavya, we half-heartedly decided, because we did not have time or creativity to come up with something else.

Kavya, because, we told ourselves and others, Gita means song, and Kavya means poetry.

Kavya, because, it’s two syllables- that’s all a name needs.

Kavya, because, does every name need a story?

Mamma’s sorry, Kavya, because you wont have an interesting story when you’re asked, “Why did your folks name you that?”.

You’ll have to make do with something on the lines of “My parents were just too lazy to think something up!”

 

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Just another day

(AtoZ 2018, we have not given up yet!)

It was the best kind of week. The weekend followed by Monday (when I planned worked from home) and then a holiday on Tuesday. I was looking forward to this long break ever since I saw the annual holiday list and was excited beyond measure, not because I had anything planned, but because I could put my feet up and relax. Or so I thought.

I’ll tell you how just one of those days went by.

8 am: “It is a holiday, let’s sleep some more.” Baby attacks boob viciously for her morning drink. Notices mama falling asleep and plants her palm on mama’s face with unbelievable force, inversely proportional to her body size. Belches loudly and proceeds to crawl over me to the edge of the bed and almost topples down head first. Good bye sleep.

9 am: After marching around the house, tearing the newspaper to shreds while nobody was watching and managing to spill water over herself, baby sits down  for breakfast. After a few half-hearted attempts at making her eat bits of roti by herself, I turn on the tablet and play some tamil and hindi movie songs. Baby shakes her bum as food slides down her throat.

10 am: We decide to give her an early bath. Baby has managed to enter the bathroom and stick her hand under the hot water tap. After some pacifying, she’s alright. I bring her to the bed to dry her and she decides to pee on the bed. “Such a cutie pie she’s clapping away. Okay where did all that water come. NO BABY DON’T TAP THE WET MATTRESS!”

11 am: After some more marching, video-calling grandparents, and chewing the telephone wire, baby makes sleepy signs and nurses to sleep. FINALLY! Mama washes her hair, reads the newspaper for a bit and spends the rest of the time responding to whatsapp messages and buying things she doesn’t need on amazon.

1 pm: Baby wakes up deciding to be fussy and not have lunch. A whole hour goes cajoling the baby to eat as she spits food and goes from room to room as if she can escape it.

2 pm: We don’t know if the baby is more tired or if mama is more tired. Mama right now just wants to lay down and sleep. Baby brings a book and hands it with an “unn” asking to be read to. “The cow says moo. The sheep says baa. Three singing pigs say la-la-la..” Baby points her finger mimicking mama when mama says “No no, that isn’t right. The pigs say oink oink all day and night!” Mama goes into hormonal over drive.. “Oh my god baby you learned to point! Come let’s take a photo of you pointing.. please point for the photo, come on now..”

3pm: Baby falls asleep and mama thanks all the gods in the universe and manages to get some sleep.

5 pm: Mama and baby go downstairs for a walk. Baby plays “love me-love me not”with flowers from the bushes and puts her finger into tiny crevices that are not visible to the normal human eye but somehow magnified and inviting to babies. Mama scowls at the other baby that runs inside her house with her toys as she sees our baby approaching and mentally makes a note of the toy to buy it for baby later.

6 pm: We bid the crows, the other kids and the pup in the flat good bye and come back home. Baby eats a slice of cheese and has another feed. She then proceeds to play with her toys for a while as mama decides what to cook for dinner. In between baby going potty and biting a tomato, somehow dinner is made.

7 pm: Baby wants to play with the semiya. She proceeds to pick it and fling it around her. Mama keeps repeating, “Engaging with food is the first step towards self feeding”until it doesn’t help with the hyperventilation anymore. Baby proceeds to pick food from the floor and offer it to mama with sweet smiles and cooing noises. In the next hour the food is pushed down baby’s throat using various means and distractions.

8 pm: Baby has discarded all her toys and wants to play with the ladle and stainless steel plates. She proceeds to create very annoying sounds but mama is like “maybe there’s a drummer in her somewhere!” We read some more, and then have a hot water bath as we prepare for bed.

9 pm: Baby has been changed into fresh clothes, and is being nursed, hoping she’ll fall asleep. Baby of course has other plans. Baby proceeds to slide out of bed to go back to the hall, and play “watch me climb the sofa and jump off it”or “let me make your heart stop by tilting this chair that I’m standing on”.

10 pm: baby has been forcibly nursed because mama doesn’t know what else she can do to get baby to sleep. Baby has put her fingers inside the ac vent, bends and smiles at mama from between her legs, and topples over pillows and laughs at the joke.

11 pm: Baby makes sleep cues and is being rocked to sleep. After she dozes, mama feels like superwoman. It’s done. And now mama has the rest of the day to herself. Only, where is the rest of the day?

 

 

 

Instagram

There are various ways to document the baby’s development- you could write a journal, or keep a photo-journal. Baby K is so lucky that way- look at me for instance. There is a photo of 5 day old me, and the next photo of my infancy was shot when I was 2 years old.

Baby K had around 500 photos clicked by various people by the time she was 5 days old.

So anyway, I figured I’d keep a photo journal, because this blog is proof enough of how successful I would have been with writing a journal about every day of her life. And on a whim, I decided to put her photos up on Instagram. Off I went to create myself an account (Later I realised I could have created something on the lines of “Adventures of Kuttoos” or “Diabolical K” or something like that instead of my usual gitanjalinaidu) and soon I was posting cute, filtered photos that were titled aptly and wittily.

Then the barrage started.

“She’s not been going potty because someone saw those cute photos and cast an evil eye!”
“Using your baby to get instagram likes- eeks.”
“Stop making EVERYTHING public!”

Needless to say, that update also stopped and now I post something only when I feel like it.

Nonetheless, there is a phone full of photos and videos (of butt cracks, messy faces, diaper rash, finger nail scratches, among other things) that will be used to embarrass her once she grows older and tries to act smart with me. Heh.

Hairfall

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During a normal hair cycle, about 90% of your hair is growing at any given time, while the other 10% is in a resting phase. Every few months the resting hair falls out, allowing new hair to grow in its place.

This however, changes while you’re pregnant:  The happy pregnancy hormones keep you from losing your hair. But – after delivery – your hormones return to normal levels, so ALL the extra hair you gained over the past TEN months during pregnancy falls out.

You can imagine how terrifying this can be. Every time I washed my hair, palms full of hair would literally spill from my head. For a while, I took to refusing to wash my hair, eventually realizing that it made no difference.

My hair was EVERYWHERE. I would find it in the most unlikeliest of places- like the baby’s butt crack. How it managed to get there I have no idea.

This was normal- there was nothing I could do but wait.

Around the sixth month post partum, I noticed hairfall slowly starting to reduce. I am unsure if it was because my body realised there wasn’t any more hair that it could afford to lose, or if it was because one or all of these products worked:

  1. Mama Earth Argan Hair Mask
  2. Indulekha Bringha Hair oil
  3. Mamacare Shampoo for babies (I had run out of shampoo and on a whim decided to give this a try)

All products are available on nykaa.com

I am only grateful that i don’t have hair clogging my drains and need to go break those coconuts that I promised Pillairappa now.

 

Grandmothers

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I am awfully behind schedule, it was a hectic weekend. We were planning to move houses, and then did not.

I wanted to write an elaborate post on grandmothers, but instead decided to share my girl Samyuktha Hariharan Arjun’s status here, because I could never write something that heartfelt or poignant:

“I realised today how difficult it actually is going to work leaving my baby girl at home, especially when she wakes up and gives me the sweetest of smiles.. I cry almost every morning when I leave to work , even though I just started out with a half day’s work.. And I really can’t do all this without complete support from my Mum.. she really is the best.. I just wanted to dedicate this status to all the moms out there. The working moms who have no choice but to work, leaving their kids at home, to give them a better life, the moms who work because they love their job too and most importantly to the stay-at-home mums who sacrifice their career just for their baby.. but I personally feel that the biggest sacrifice of them all is made by the grand mommies who take such good care of the kids when we r away .. We are nothing without them.. thanks to them for being the best support system for us, for loving our babies as much as we do, for their extreme patience, and for guiding us through this beautiful journey of motherhood.. we love you 😊”

To all grand mommies- thank you. We can never have it all- but you help us try. Thank you for standing by us through this phase as well, just like you have stood by us through our lives.

Fathers

Sometimes life is just plain unfair.

We bear this tiny human being for 10 months, and spend all our waking hours with the baby, in the process losing shape, losing sleep, losing hair (don’t even get me started on that).

Stress lines start showing, there’s no time for friends, dark circles and unwaxed limbs make you look like you’ve got a panda bear for a cousin.

Some of us are too guilty to go back to work, the rest of us are made to feel guilty because we work..Every single action is judged (How could you drink while feeding? Wear something appropriate-you’re a mother now! How could you sleep so soundly while the baby fell off the bed??)

But you keep us going. Your first flip is cause for celebration. The phone is filled with videos of you, photos of you. (There are no photos of you with momma because momma invariably looks like an unwashed, uncombed, smelly version of herself)

Normal reading is replaced by research on the lines of, “weaning the baby”, “introducing solids to the baby”. You are read to, played (age appropriate, well researched) music to, and fed and watered. Momma sets new records- time she can hold her pee while you are feeding, time she can get to you from the other room while you cry, time she can go without washing her hair, etc.

And yet. YET. You had the audacity to come out looking like dada. The brightest of smiles and the best of cuddles and gurgles are reserved for him. You light up as if Christmas came early when you see him. You nearly roll off the bed laughing at his (not even remotely) funny goofy faces. And when asked to choose between momma and dada, you actually cling to him!

What an unfair, unfair world it is.

Exercise

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Enough has been spoken about the importance of exercising pre and post pregnancy. This is only my take on it.

I had what is called a “threatened abortion” during the initial weeks of my pregnancy and was advised bed rest. I worked from home for a fair bit, and did not drive, or ride on a motorcycle through the 9 months. First trimester passed somewherebetween staring at the walls of the house, food being served in bed, and pujas and promises to God.

Somewhere in the fifth month, my doctor started asking me to exercise. “Walk, do yoga, sign up for Lamaze classes..”, she went on. Imagine lugging a load in front of you, working a full time job, combating nausea AND walking. I would nod my head during every visit and clench my teeth and smile when my mother would complain, “She doesn’t walk at all, doctor.. she doesn’t do any exercise”

In my defense, my workplace is HUGE- navigating from my seat to the coffee machine (that served decent coffee) in the next block itself was a workout. I did some yoga with Lara Datta watching her videos on Youtube (thrice, to be specific. They left me sweating and panting). I used to be bribed to walk (“Okay, let’s walk upto CakeWalk and I’ll buy you a slice of red velvet cream cheese”) The last method was the most successful, until I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and there were no walks after that.

It was only after week 36, when sitting, standing, walking, lying down, sleeping- in a word, existing was an effort, did I start walking, in an attempt to get the baby out asap. And I kid you not, my water broke the day after my friend coaxed me to take a long walk with her.

If prenatal exercises are one thing, postnatal exercise is a whole different scenario.

I was advised to use a maternity belt or tie my tummy up using an old saree to tuck the tummy in. Amidst all the new baby stress, I barely found time to comb my knotted hair, and couldn’t care less about the tummy.

However, since February I have been swimming, and it has been doing me a lot of good. Aside from learning something new, and the obvious health benefits, swimming gives me an hour to myself, away from home, away from the all-demanding baby. I look forward to this one hour everyday because, like my girl Jenny says, putting your head under the water silences the rest of the world.

I think every mommy must take up some physical activity that keeps her absorbed for an hour. This is not about getting back in shape, or fitting into those little black dresses; this is all about getting some time away. Trust me- the baby would seem less annoying and you’d feel a lot better after that one hour away!