Friday, August 31, 2007

Cinema Paradiso and sleepless in Mumbai

Soon after I had Adi, I realized that I needed to trade my old mode of entertainment (endless working hours on weekdays followed by tequila therapy on weekends) for new ones. It was then I discovered my talent for watching and following movies on my computer with the speakers turned on mute. Of course I miss out on the lovely background score and the dramatic intonations in the dialogue but look at this way - its either that or Adi waking up. Which one do you think I would chose?

Since Adi started sleeping at a more or less predictable time, we have now made the movie viewing a group activity and after putting him in the crib, we all gather around the DVD player in the hall (euphemism for the largest closet in our apartment) and watch some safe (no violence, no sex, no strong language) movies. Of course, one of us jumps up every ten minutes to check on Adi and comes back bearing elegantly worded reports such as, "Mouth open, both hands up, smiling in sleep" or "Thumb in mouth, slight shifting of legs, probably dreaming" etc.

I have now officially started feeling panic at the thought of being rendered completely obsolete at my workplace. I should know better. The India story is being told and retold, the economy is robust, there is plenty of work out there and no freelancing market researcher has ever been out of a job. But try telling that to a person who has only added lightening fast diaper changing to her resume in the last four months and you will only get hollow laughter in response. Yes, I laugh hollow. Sometimes deep, but mostly hollow.

I have started adding an infant to my shopping basket ever since I realized that both Adi and I prefer going shopping to taking humid, sweaty, tiring walks on the rain-washed and eminently dirty streets of Bandra. Adi believes in retail therapy as deeply as his mother does. Who says religion is not inherited?

He continues to wake up several times during the night. I think he has the infant version of midnight cravings because he refuses to get back to bed without feeding. That renders Saint Mahesh useless though he does get up as many times as I do to make Adi go back to sleep (which is why he was sainted, btw). I like this New Age husbanding very much. Its comforting to know that one doesn't need to suffer alone.

Most importantly, we have booked our first weekend out since Adi for the third week of September. The event shall take place in Goa and we are doing it in style by flying Business and staying at the Park Hyatt. I have been making use of the e-concierge services and have booked a crib for Adi in the room. This is a significant and courageous step for us and we are looking at it with a 80:20 mix of trepidation and hope.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

.....and we're back!!

Stole that from G-talk.

Needed to clear my conscience and oh-so-pure soul of plagiarism.

Adi - now there goes a pure soul. The purest, no-preservatives-only-permitted-flavours-added sort of pure. Here is what this pure soul did last weekend.

Mahesh and I decided that we would do the unthinkable and finally go out for dinner. We had tried the same feat the previous weekend and had to be hailed home by the desperate grandparents. And believe me, for them to have called us home, Adi would done nothing short of killed the neighbours with his crying. I mean, these are the same people who look at Mahesh and me with a pitying expression that seems to say, "You poor things, don't you wish you had lived up your life a little bit before having this sleepless baby?"

Anyhow, we are nothing if not resolute. That is how you raise a baby. By being resolute and not quailing at the sound of the fifth successive poo before you have had your first cup of morning coffee.

It is because we are resolute that we decided to persevere and really, really, really go out for dinner. We booked a table at Out of the Blue, a really nice restaurent that does both outdoor and indoor seating and serves delicious fondue. But more importantly, it is located in Bandra which means that of Adi screams loudly enough, we could abandon the fondue and rush home to fall at the feet of our Baby God whom we had had the courage to displease by letting out of sight for a full fifteen minutes.

The table was booked for eight pm to avoid the general rush of post-work party people who could delay service. At precisely 7:45 pm, Adi decided to let loose a tantrum which comprised inconsolable crying in the laps of his grandparents. Mahesh and I looked at each other, apprehensive but still hopeful. Mahesh rocked Adi (who had now quietened down and was in the process of spitting up on his father's new shirt) while I postponed the table to 8:30.

Well, if you don't know what is coming next, you have obviously never had a baby (and Good Show for that, btw). We didn't make it to that reserved table after all. Instead, we took Adi for a drive around Bandstand. He miraculously recovered from his crying fit and proceeded to quietly gaze at the scenery as it whizzed past. Many passers-by caught a glimpse of him and it was as if they couldn't help smiling and nudging each other while thinking, "Oh dear, I wish she (everyone thinks its a girl, its all that hair) were mine."

And I can't help thinking, "Dude, you are right now probably on your way to have dinner on the very table that I have cancelled."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Scheduling Schmoodling

Like any good parent, I subscribe to a ton of weekly mailers from baby sites that tell me what Adi should be upto in a particular week. Needless to say, these mailers give me more sleepless nights than milestone benchmarks. Babycenter informed me last week that children approaching their fourth months put themselves in a more or less predictable schedule. To boost this totally fallacious claim, they reproduced true accounts of parents to these unbelievably angelic babies.

Here is a sample of one such baby:

7:30 am - Wake up and feed
7:45 am - Diaper change while cooing and gurgling (if not going to sit on the pot by oneself)
8:00 - 9:00 am - Play time by oneself, more cooing and gurgling (naturally)
9:00 am - 9:30 am - Short nap
9:30 am - 10:30 am - Alone time in exersaucer, watching mobile etc
10:30 am - Feed, diaper change
10:30 am - 12 noon - Massage, bath, play time with Mommy etc
12 noon - 4 pm - Nap (after having patted oneself to sleep)
4 pm - Feed
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm - Walk in the park
5:30 pm - 7 pm - Play by oneself, some Mozart, some brain-building games, play time with Daddy who has come home etc
7 pm - Feed and diaper change
7:30 pm - Retire for the night and sleep through 12 solid hours


Here is Adi's 'schedule' ..... or what he can be expected to do in a span of 24 hours.
6:30 am - Exhausted parents who have gotten up every hour on the hour through the night gratefully hand him over to grandparents
6:31 am - Adi says 'Ah-goo', gives a dazzling smile and sleeps, grandparents spend this time wondering what the fuss is all about
7:30 am - Wakes up, feeds
7:40 am - Potty, diaper change
7:50 am - Potty, diaper change
8:00 am - Potty, diaper change
8:10 am - Feed
8:11 am - Spit up on Mom and self, onesie change
8:15 am - Spit up on Dad and self, onesie change
8:20 am - Spit up on both grandparents, changing table, dresser, crib and self, onesie change
8:30 am - 9 am - Play with grandparents, be his charming self
9:00 am - 10:00 am - Sleep
10:00 am - Wake up, feed
10:10 am - Potty, diaper leaks, diaper change, onesie change, mother resemling a haggard old lady
10:20 am - Suddenly go off to sleep, leaving mother waiting to give him a bath
10:20 am - 11:30 am - Sleep soundly as if a remarkably dirty and smelly woman is not waiting for one to wake up
11:30 am - 12:30 pm - Massage, accompanied by smiles/screams depending on frame of mind followed by bath, accompanied by smiles/screams depending on frame of mind
12:30 pm - 1:00 pm - Play with grandparents while mother hurriedly tries to cram brush, shower and breakker into a half-hour slot (Lets not even talk about my constipation. No, seriously.)
1:00 pm - Feed, potty, diaper change, spit up, onesie change
1:30 pm - 2:00 pm - Climb into the lap of the slave of choice and make them jog at medium pace in order to go to sleep
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Sleep while mother gratefully eats lunch
2:30 pm - Wake up as soon as mother is contemplating taking a nap herself
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm - Insist on being carried while inspecting each and every item in the household
3:30 pm - Go to sleep after having successfully driven away mother's sleep
6:00 pm - Wake up, feed, potty, diaper change, spit-up on carpet, visiting neighbours and TV, onesie change
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm - Be a crank that needs to be ceaselessly entertained
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm - Nap while everyone hurriedly crams dinner into themselves. Daddy comes home, sterlizes hands and prepares for battle.
9:00 pm - 10:30 pm - Climb into Daddy's lap while he trots around the house, feed incessantly, potty incessantly, spit-up incessantly, ensure all sleepsuits are runined
10:30 pm - Drift off to sleep
11:00 - Switch from lap to crib. Successfully accomplished half the time.
1 am - Feed
3:30 am - Cuddle
4 am - Feed
4:30 am - Cuddle
6:30 am - Feed --> This is where you came in

And this really is one of the good days.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The latest from Mangalkunj

One of our biggest nightmares is taking Adi for his vaccination. It happens every month and both of us start getting sleepless nights for at least a week in advance. In any case, most of our nights are sleepless, but you know what I mean. It is not Adi who is the problem, its us. Its parenthood at its worst, knowing that you must do this for the greater good of the child and forcing back nausea as you watch the doctor taking out that god-awful needle to poke into his plump thigh. To be fair, Adi didn’t cry much. In fact, I don’t think he really realized what happened. He appeared to be more pissed at having been woken up from a nice, comfortable, warm nap on his father’s belly.

What I am still recovering from is the fact that he is double the person he was when those doctors and nurses (unwisely) handed him over to us fifteen weeks back. We were convinced at that point that there was no way in hell we could do this right. But looks like he is growing well, if not because of, then in spite of us.

Interestingly, as Adi partook of the nap described above at the doctor’s waiting room, all the children present there, most of them toddlers or older, suddenly remembered that this used to be a good thing that they had been made to give up. Soon enough, one by one, tantrums were thrown, parents’ laps were climbed into, milk bottles demanded, thumbs stuck into mouths and overall mayhem ensured. And to think we believed that it is going to get better.

Milestones - Adi has managed to flip over a couple of times, much to everyone’s joy. We can now look forward to years and years of increased anxiety that he will roll over from his bed and thus put paid to our dreams of a contented retirement having sent him off to MIT or some such place. However, much to the acute consternation of the grandparents, he rolls over only when he needs to; for example, in trying to get away from the mother’s probing hands as she tries to massage every square inch of his delectable flesh before his daily bath.

He talks and gurgles and makes supremely intelligent conversation. “Ah-goo”, “Hfffcchhh”, “Grrrruummpphh” have become routine. Some “Khaaghh”, and “Aaayyy”s have been heard. And rumour has he has regularly been saying easier words such as “Paraphernalia”, “Rheumatism” and “Hippopotamus” too.

In aid of the “Save-Parul-from-going-out-of-her-mind-sitting-at-home” project, we have been stepping out of the confines of the 790 square feet (I love quoting this figure…there is a certain impact in the fact that the darned flat is not even a square 800!) of our living space. Other than eating insipid colourless soup and bland noodles in the name of authentic Chinese fare at the newly-opened Royal China in Bandra, a movie was also planned for the weekend. “Chak De India” has been earning rave reviews from the non-baby world and it was decided that the brave step would be taken and we would leave the baby at home (in care of the grandparents) for a full…GASP…..three and a half hours. Tickets were obtained on the internet, Adi was massaged and bathed and breast milk expressed. It was at this point that I became my mother and officially started suffering from inexplicable paranoia.

“How can we leave him alone and go away THAT FAR for THAT LONG? What if he cries for us?”

“It is just Andheri. It is not that far. He won’t cry. Let us go.”

“I can’t be a bad mother (?) to him already.”

“Oh, that makes sense. Ok, let’s not go.”

“No, wait! Lets buy tickets in black and go to a theatre in Bandra itself.”

Right. So the first round of tickets were written off (obviously to be recovered from Adi when he is rolling in the dough) and second round of tickets were bought and marginally less worried about Adi growing wings and flying off, we took off for the movie. Mind, we were doing this in style and had, for the first time ever, bought tickets to the hallowed BOX. A box is essentially the two highest seats in the theatre, somewhat boxed off from the rest of the plebian seats below and looks as if its been constructed with the sole purpose of providing hormonal teenagers a bit of private space for some necking. The irrelevance of the same for us will be touched upon in an alternate post. To get back to the story, armed with our popcorn and Pepsi, we started watching the screen in great anticipation. Chak De had not started yet and there was a war movie trailer playing. Mahesh informed me that the trailer was of a Steven Spielberg movie called Tranformers. I paid only half-attention as I waited for the movie to start.

Except that it didn’t. The ‘trailer’ stretched into first five, then ten, and then fifteen movies before it dawned on us with crushing finality that we wouldn’t be watching Chak De India after all.

To cut a not-so-short story short, we aborted the attempt and came back feeling like a pair of complete asses.

On reaching home, I swear I saw a certain glint in Adi’s eyes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

10 Reasons Why This Is A Tougher Job Than Sitting In A Cubicle

  1. I put a night out for every single day for the first three months of joining.
  2. My boss regularly screams at me, sometimes for hours on end.
  3. The clock does not stop ticking at 5:30 pm. Or 8:30 pm. Or 11:30 pm.
  4. I have to clean the shit my boss makes.
  5. My rest-room breaks have to be pre-approved by my boss.
  6. I can eat only when my boss has finished eating and has gone off to take a nap.
  7. While my boss naps, I need to do more work.
  8. No weekends.
  9. I need to take my boss with me on my vacation.
  10. I signed a life-time contract that the smartest-ass lawyer in the world can't get me out of.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A quarter of an year

Adi reached another milestone on the 4th - a quarter of an year outside the womb....YAY!
He is trying to put himself on some sort of a schedule considering that his hopelessly inept parents have rendered themselves incapable of doing the same. At around seven pm or so, he starts quailing, telling us to put him to sleep already, you morons! Of course, he still wakes up several times after that to feed but that's ok. I am up for it.
And another milestone for me - going to the know, as in...GOING TO THE MALL. The mall, where people, normal people, not people with three month old babies, come to shop and look at things and eat at restaurants and just hang out without having to look at the clock every five minutes because its getting closer to the next feeding...ahhh, blissful universe. The funny part was, I didn't even need to buy anything. But I still walked around with a big, goofy grin fixtured to my mouth so that people passing us by muttered under their breath and sort of moved away a few feet.
I looked at new clothes, not maternity clothes, not feeding bras, just normal clothes and just feeling them, wanting to smell them was enough. Naturally, I couldn't buy them.
Imaginary scenario
Helpful, skeptical salesperson - "May I help you? What size are you looking for?"
Me - " Size? How about you bring on your largest size out and then add twenty five sizes to it and then get me that, you idiot. Can't you see I have just had a baby? Do normal women have boobs leaking all over the place?"
Mahesh was happy to see me happy and submitted quietly as I bought him endless shirts and tees and pants and tracks...cos, you know, he is still a normal size.
And then, I bought myself a pair of ugly, orange Crocs and I was happy.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Baby poo and other encouraging events

Anyone who believes that one shouldn't shit where one eats is clearly not a baby.
That particular pearl of wisdom dispensed, on to more mundane things.
When we were expecting Adi, we checked with some friends about their mode of potty disposal.
Cotton nappies seemed to be the universal answer. Yes, well-to-do people with cars and apartments who were not in the imminent danger of losing their jobs all swore alliegience to triangular pieces of cloth.
Susceptible as expecting parents usually are, we too decided to go the nappy way. And to be fair, we really did give it a shot for two whole days. However, having gone through a bucket load of dirty nappies in the first two hours of the day pretty much decided that we would soon be converts to the P&G way of life.
Enter Pampers.
Not so easy, chum. Did you really think the road to parenthood was that easy?
Like, you know, no one uses Indian made Pampers.You just HAVE to use imported ones, baby. Scared of being sent away to Mommy&Daddy Hell for Being Bad Parents, we too joined the quest for American Pampers. Its just a myth you know. US made Pampers don't really exist. How else would you explain the fact that stores that stock everything from imported Chinese Tom-Yum Soup Cubes to Imported Alabanian Chocolate Syrup would not stock American Pampers?
Disappointed and dejected, we thus switched to Asian/Middle-Eastern Pampers. Having discovered the sub-optimal but far more easily available Japanese, Singaporean, Filipino, Vietnamese and Arabic Pampers, we had achieved something resembling diaper redemption....or so I thought.
Adi always seems to be between diaper sizes. And since P&G believes that Japanese babies run on a different developmental cycle than say, Vietnamese babies, a normal conversation at Patel Stores, Bandra would run thus:
"Do you have Japanese Pampers for babies between 7-9 kgs?"
"No, but I have Singaporean Pampers for that range."
"No, thanks. That would be small for him.So, do you have Singaporean Pampers for 10-14 kgs?"
"No, how about Saudia Pampers for 7-13 kgs?"
"That wont do.Too snug. But KSA Pampers for 9-12 kgs should do."
"Then you better buy Philippines Pampers for 7-12 kgs. Thats all I got."
"Sigh, ok."
Do let me mention here that Adi falls into NONE of the weight ranges mentioned above. He really is 6.5 kgs.
Another delighful development is Adi going to sleep on his own (no, really!) while watching his mobile. I mean, isn't that every last rupee of the 4000 bucks vasooled or what! Long live, Fisher-Price.
I have, I am sure bitched about the tini-ness of our apartment on an earlier occasion. Just to make sure you get an idea of just how over-utilized our 790 square feet of living space is, when its finally time to go to bed for the night, we put our laptops down on the floor. Yeah, like pet cats or something. Though, if we had cats, I am quite certain Mahesh would make them sleep in the bed with him, without me to take up too much room...
Anyway, so this morning when it was time to feed Adi, I picked him with one hand and cleared the chair where I needed to sit with another. Once, I had settled down and Adi was half-feeding, half-dozing, I realized that I had placed the cushion on the foot-stool and my lap-top on top of the cushion where it currently sat rather precariously, threatening to jump off and putting paid to all those hours of net-surfing. The choice between jerking up and pulling the cliff-hanging computer to safety and waking up a sleepy baby loomed large and I was quite frozen in terror for a few moments, really.
The lap-top won. Adi, I will pay for your therapy for six whole sessions for that one, baby. And Mahesh, we need a bigger house.