“Your child is coming of age”, read the opening line of Baby Center’s monthly newsletter. Can’t be more true. As Lil’ General turns eighteen months today, he doesn’t lose a moment or an opportunity to assert his independence and behave like a grown up who can very well take care of himself. To begin with, he hates holding my fingers while walking on the road even if it means tripping over a stone - will someone teach him to see what lies beneath before taking the next foot forward? He is fine being fed because that’s convenient while his fingers work on something destructive like breaking the coaster box or ripping apart the TV remote.All energy is channeled towards throwing objects, deconstructing toys, stacking food containers and unplugging telephone.
There has been very little improvement in his vocabulary. From from talking coherently or even saying sensible words, it is limited just to a handful. “Hello” is “ow..ow”. “Doggy” is “bow bow”. “Ball” is “baw..baw”. “Candle” is “ca..”. Words he pronounces legibly are “bhabhi”, “baby”, “papa”, “akka” and “amma”.
His working knowledge of appliances impresses me at times. Aqua Guard is turned on and off with precision once the bottle fills. The timer is first set in the microwave and then goes the start button. If it’s on for too long and it gets boring, there’s always the start button that leaves mama wondering what the heck happened - if the power went off only to realise someone was upto his mischief.
I spend a good deal of time everyday searching for things like gas lighter or V’s lunch box’s cover that are strategically hidden under the sofa or on the parapet wall or in some corner of the lawn downstairs.
Playtime in the park is what the family is highly fond of and look forward to every evening.
Tantrums are rising by the day. What he eats and when he eats is dictated. The shrill shrieks of his sends my pulse racing at times.
Aversion to books continues. He has grown tired of the nursery rhymes ..I hate to admit this but he loves watching the song “mauja hi mauja” from Jab We Met and dances to it.
His achievement of the month was locking me out.
It’s been over three months since he started pointing to things in our neighborhood that were familiar to him - like waving at the laundry uncle or pointing to the house of his favorite doggy Caesar’s house with a bow bow or jumping form his pram as we reach the park or bringing his hands together to pray as we cross the temple.
There’s certain predictability about his daily activities too - like he has to ring the bell as he enters the home from a walk, climbs the stairs and hits the pot midway before proceeding further, water the plants every morning before going for walk or opening the flush tap while seated on his potty seat.
After months of resisting mango, he finally took a liking as the season draws to an end.
He loves going on a ride in the scoot not worried about hanging onto dear life. It’s not funny when he turns off the key in the middle of the road. When he does this two times, he loses his chance of standing in the front and is duly transported back.We run small errands on the scooty as he loves the ride and hates going in the car - it’s the view folks!
The first year, I though, babies grow like a weed taking a new form with every sunrise. Suddenly, I would find the limbs longer, the nose flatter, chubbier cheeks… I mean the changes are so very obvious that it warranted a monthly milestone post. And then it all started slowing down. I just didn’t have enough to do a monthly one and decided to settle on a quarterly one. But LG, proved me wrong. Sure, there are no superficial changes tow rite about but the activities have grown multifold that I could write volumes and volumes and still never be satisfied. Such is the age and look what we turn out to be just years later.
Looking at LG gives me an enthusiasm to live my life; not exist. I don’t wish for bigger things anymore. Small things make him happy like sneaking behind my back and opening the fridge gives him a thrill; seeing a donkey on the road makes the boy grin and (un)familiar faces make him lose control. It’s after all the smaller things of life that keep him engaged and happy. Ironic but true. Not the Rs. 300 toys but the 5 year old vessels on my kitchen rack; not the fancy electric fountain but on top of the bathroom counter and the tap to play with; not a ride on the car but a breezy evening walk on his pram or his mamma’s shoulder.
I’ve become less judgmental after LG came along; more patient; less critical and more appreciative of other’s actions; more tolerant of other’s space and learnt that to every parent h is/er child is the most precious thing. Comparison is one thing I’ve not been able to overcome, however hard I try. Over to LGisms….
He and his grandpa(s) have a characteristic potbelly.
Stacking rings - he started doing this in early January when he was barely a year old.
His first real word after bow was “akka” at a Sari shop that caught us by surprise.
Twisting door knobs comes with ease which leave no area of the house unexplored. Wish I had known a kid was on the way; I would then have kept the clocks to almirahs and fridge in safe locker. Damn! I don’t know where I misplaced and spilled milk, broken sauce bottles,fruits on the kitchen floor have become a common sight now.
He mastered the art of getting down from raised places.
Can hold his own bottle and drink from a cup.
Points to apple in the book and says, “Appy”. Searches the letter “Q” in the ABC book and kisses the Queen.
V taught him the “Thank you” etiquette. He understand when there is a transaction, “Thank you” has to be said. But what he doesn’t understand is only when you receive it. Even when he gives something, he thanks you.
I don’t know if I should call it potty training but he understands it is not a good idea for me to change his shorts while we are out and holds on until we’re back home.
V dribbles the football at home. One evening he imitated his act by kicking the ball gently.
Early to rise and early to bed policy continues. It’s all by the clock - to bed by 8:30 a.m. and up by 6:30 a.m. come what may. And, dare his lazy parents sleep after 6:30 a.m.
He enjoys the company of other kids in the park so there’s no way I’m allowed to miss that routine.
LG is a drama queen - protesting for everything that he doesn’t get and imitating all that we do. If I cough, he follows. If V chokes on food, he does that too. He has some trademark moves to loud bollywood songs and gyrates his body and hands to show the music should go on.
He grabs almost anything by tiptoeing unless it’s kept 5 feet high. Turns the gas knob off and then on which proved dangerous a few days back.
He got his first ceremonial haircut at the temple and then at the barber’s. It was funny as he kept rolling his fingers on the bald head.
He hogs on grapes as if there’s no tomorrow. He offers all other food he feeds on to me (sometimes forcibly) and his friends - granny, buco kidoo etc but when it comes to grapes it’s protected for personal consumption only. Of late, the fad is to not to fed but eat by himself with a plate and glass just as grown ups do.
The horizontal expansion is slowing down. As the Doc said, now you will see him grow vertically not the horizontal way. Bye bye to chubby cheeks.
And finally the one that was anticipated the most, occurred two days back. Yes, he took a few steps without support. The walking bug has caught on. It will be a few days before we stop seeing a tiny being crawling around the house; we would start having one of us then. Ah, I would miss that more than anything.
Thinking how two varied topics as LG’s social skills and our moving to an apartment are related? To begin with we currently live in a sprawling independent bungalow of about 200 sq. ft with a balcony, huge terrace and a car park. It is spacious and nice devoid of all the wood work, storage space and interiors. It took us months to get settled and still it is not an organized home even after nearly 3 years. Averse to investing in cupboards that would not be of any use to us when we move back to our flat, we did not buy much - just the bare bone needed to keep a home functional with all the extra stuff locked away in the three bedroom in cartons that was either never used or only once in a while. So long it was just the two of us, this house was amazing with wonderful people for house owners. Read more
After a long hiatus, the Lil’ General family is back in action. This has probably been the longest break since the birth of this blog with no activity. LG and I were on a vacation at my parents’ for a month. Though, it’s been over two weeks since we returned, I’ve found little time to blog and find myself caught in the daily grind more than ever. Blame it on a active 1-year old who hates his mom spending minutes (mind you, not hours!) in front of this funny looking thing that shows his pictures all day (the screen saver on the laptop is a collection of LG’s pictures since birth). Or, maybe I am just a master of procrastination.
There is no dearth of things to write about; a lot of posts are swimming in my head right now. It was difficult to find words and form sentences for the first week after my return. Then a good thing happened. An assignment came my way and another short deadline for a 2500 word travel article. I tried my best in giving reasons that I didn’t have the ‘bandwidth’ to complete them; it was sheer lack of confidence (this is what staying at home does to one). But the gentleman on the other end had more confidence in what I could deliver. When I ran short of reasons, I just took it up and didn’t think about about it for a day. The next day, it all fell into shape in one sitting and I was relieved as I hit the “send” button. This helped a great deal for I couldn’t complain that I was falling short of words for my blog posts. Deadlines and assignments do that to you what self-assigned tasks don’t.
This break for a month was a good thing for both of us. He got more adult company - sane ones, to hang out with than the looney ones he is forced to bear all day long here. I got a well-deserved break from the parenting routine by watching NDTV Profit all day long until I got tired of it. A lot happened over the month. First, the markets crashed and I was out of action, watching the free fall. Which ensured I would have little work to do on my return. And, who cares about losses (big ones) on vacation. A good part of the holiday was spent drinking cough syrups and taking antibiotics as we took turns in ensuring the cold virus doesn’t leave the house. Mom to LG to me and then it started all over again.
It’s back to work now. More coming soon…All of LG’s antics and milestones at LG Rules. It’s too late to catch up on the monthly milestone posts now. Maybe, I will do a quarterly one henceforth starting next month when he completes 15 months.
For once, your mom is on time with her monthly milestone posts. This is a special edition - the yearly one.
First, the monthly updates; then, a recap of the year.
It’s Goodbye to fear of falling down and no signs of stranger anxiety yet.
We’ve given up on teaching him meaningful stuff like where is your nose, show me your mouth, say bye etc. I was very excited when “nose kaami” (read” show me your nose) was met with a aaaah aaaah from LG opening his mouth wide. Unlearning something is tougher than teaching kids something. It took 3 days to undo the nose-mouth connection. Read more
The Seniol proudly says Lil’ General is growing like a weed; I prefer to say he is growing every day, every minute in to a handsome lil’ one just the way babies are supposed to. Gosh! Can you believe in a month he will be a one year old. And then, I wouldn’t have to count his age in terms of weeks and months..I can just say in terms of years like we grown up adults, and make him feel like one too. Seems like yesterday when I started writing about all the weird stuff that was happening inside me; those temper tantrums in the first trimester; an indulging second trimester with all the announcement “we-are-pregnant” and a nausea accentuating the weight factor in the third semester. It is all over and the product is right in front of our eyes growing everyday with the growth actually visible; it is not like those unreal moments when our parents meet us after a few months gap when we are 30 and still comment, “Oh! you have lost so much weight; the face is not shining, are you not taking good care?” while the weight machine says another story. Read more
The lean mean crawling machine has moved on to the next stage in life. His mom’s presence is required at all times of day and night. A disappearance act by me can send the eardrums of anyone in the vicinity to burst. The shrill pitched cry is to let me know, “Come back else the neighbors will come knocking at our door as to what’s wrong withe the hero of the neighborhood.” To Lil General’s credit, everyone around acknowledges him as a very well behaved kid. “Spend a day with us and you’ll know”, I tell them.
Its hard to say if it was hard on me when he was a foetus or when he was all of 4 weeks being colicky crying through the evenings or that rolling over stage trying to fall off the bed or when he began crawling and broke my dear Netgear. I find it very hard now. He didn’t need me waiting on him hand and foot all through the day all these months. Makes me think if its just the age or something wrong with my parenting techniques that has got him clinging to me so much. I can’t read a book in the same room. I can’t work on the laptop sitting on top of the bed. I have to sit next to him so that he can play with me, pull my hair, climb over me, sit on my tummy, poke my nose, bite my ankle and laugh while I scream in pain. He LOVES me and this is his way of expressing it. I DO too but sometimes it just gets to me.
His Highness now expects to be fed in his chair while we have our food. He won’t eat alone. He hates drinking water from a table and likes to drink like adults, holding the beaker with both his hands only to let it fall after a few seconds.
Door knobs, door mats, soiled clothes, sandals, shoes, cooker, the adhesive of his nappy pads and anything that remotely resembles dirt with thousands of bacteria in it continue to fascinate him.
The toys have barely managed to stay in shape. They are held, turned around and then banged hard on the floor. Gadhadhari bheem doesn’t enjoy carrying the gadha anymore.
Krishna Jayanthi and Ganesh Chathurthi were fun for LG too as he made an imprint of his legs for the former and joined us in pooja for the latter. Everyday he makes a visit to the pooja room to look at the pulayar idol.
There are time he behaves like a grown up not wanting to be disturbed while he is busy playing with his toys or breaking stuff or just surveying the house. And then there are moments when he makes us realise he is just a small nine month old baby who needs the attention and love of his parents. He enjoys it when we applaud him on the feat of pulling down the bath foam bottle from the second shelf or attempting to eat a biscuit on his own with crumbs strewn all round the floor. Sure, it means a lot of work for us after the event but it makes him happy and encourages him to keep trying.
The moments that I’d rather not remember are the potty sessions and waking up at 4:47 a.m. every morning like an alarm clock.
The ground level is clear for navigation. We just got done with childproofing the house -stage 1. Happy about our accomplishment, I was telling V, now we can take it a little easy for a few more months. We were wrong. He is attempting to stand. Working hard at it every second of the day he is awake. and what do you know? Baby center sends us a newsletter asking us to look for things from his eye level and remove the objects. So you have 2 grown up adults crawling their way through the house. Most of the stuff that were on the ground moved up by 2 feet. Now they will have to move further - on our heads! Damn!
Maaaaaaaaaa Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Paaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Paaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. It sounded like this though it could have easily meant anything else. I wanted to believe that he spoke his first words and didn’t waste a minute letting my family know. For all you know, it would be quite sometime for a repeat performance. All he is interested in now is moving around to break stuff.
From a demanding eater he turned into a fussy one giving us a very hard time. Things are getting better on that front, though you never know.
The pram rides continue to be fun though he isn’t laid back and sits through the rides ready to take on the world smiling at strangers, acknowledging faces he knows and turning away from people he despises. I know, what an attitude at this age! And I’m not kidding on the turning his face away part.
As if he meant to say, “Grow up, get an iPod momma”, he broke my favorite Air Supply cassette. If there is a knock (sorry bang)on the bathroom door, then I know its been more than 2 minutes since I went in. So my run to the bathroom sessions have to be planned during his sleeping hours. Emergency trips to the loo can wait until there is another adult in the house.
Peek-a-boo was a fun game. Now, he gives the kind of look that says, “I am a grown up and stop being childish all the time.”
He is growing up and so am I, in my own ways.
Lil General Rules is now at http://lgrules.blogspot.com
It has been a long time since I did one of those what-I-was-up to-in-the-weekend posts. what perhaps prompted this was a comment by V on Saturday morning. It was around 9:00 a.m. and we had just finished breakfast. As I gathered the dishes and made my way to the kitchen to get our lunch ready, LG’s brunch, bathe and get dresses before leaving for the hospital, he looked at me and said, “Will you take a break?” I understood what he meant and replied, “Life is one running race now.” Its not like I’m always on my toes or something. I don’t do a full time job, for that matter I don’t do any job at all, so I have a lot of time during the week when Lil General sleeps. Some days, sometimes a whole week can go cranky without getting anything done - no trading, no writing etc. The irony of that statement in my taking a break was to do with how similar weekdays have become with weekends.
A child changes everything. Or rather we let ourselves change, subconsciously. Everything happens by the clock revolving around their activity - juice time, Nestum time, sleep time, bathe time, nappy change time and there’s always something that’s not done. Gosh! he is only 8 months old now. Wonder what I would do when he starts school and starts all of those classes too - guitar, football etc.
Weekends before LG came into our lives meant chilling out. Totally. We have always been early risers, so that sphere of life hasn’t changed. No shower Saturdays, salad nights, movie Sundays and so on. Nothing was planned so meticulously. I didn’t maintain a to-do list on the refrigerator top or add to the grocery list as and when something got over. Life is more planned now, sometimes to the minute, to the hour. Ad-hoc moments are a thing of the past. I can no longer afford to open the fridge and say, “Oh shit…carrots are over. Can I fix Maggi for LG’s breakfast instead?”
For all I know, going out to work for a few hours everyday would have given me a mental break. Lil General is a very sweet non-fussy child that way. Doesn’t bother me much and is quite independent. But at times, a mom needs a physical and mental break. Can be as small as sipping that morning cup of tea by the balcony for longer with a newspaper in hand without having to rush to the kitchen to tick off the next item on the list. I think I get it what V said and we both deserve the break now!
The weekend was good. We’ve started watching television while LG is asleep in the afternoons. Chak De India was good and so was Rush Hour 3. The IIFA awards on Star Gold was crap. However, Boman Irani was entertaining. Spent the whole of Saturday trying to get Netgear fixed. Turns out, it couldn’t take one more fall. The damage is done. The antenna is broken and the wi-fi light wouldn’t turn on. So there goes the router in the dumpster. All the electronics in the house are in a jinxed state - first the Bose, then the laptop and now Netgear
The first thing that comes to my mind as I start reflecting on the past month is his increasing fan following in the neighborhood. Strangers stop by to look at him and comment “He is soooooooooo cute.” Needless to say, they are mostly college girls or other kids between the ages of 5 and 10. They even know the time when he comes out for a walk and there a few kids waiting around the corner to say hello to him everyday. Oh, and then just about a couple of blocks away, there are 2 girls we always spot on the scooty who said, “Cute father and son.” I was a little behind and I overheard them and smiled at them. They did not realise I was the wife and mother of the boys. The sheepish smile on their face said it all
The 24*7 entertainment channel never ceases to amuse and surprise us with every action of his. The modem is hanging on to its dear life, the antenna of the Netgear is already broken and I can still hear a feeble beep sound on the land line. The laptop unlike what I predicted has survived.
Vivek and I are slowly figuring out the Parenting manual. There are a lot of hidden costs in child rearing that is never told to you. For example, when you are at the hospital waiting for your turn, if your child pushes the ceramic vase on display and it breaks, you ought to pay for it. The child like LG pretending it did not happen or he wasn’t the one to be blamed doesn’t help. Yes yes, we paid Rs.100.
Our favorite dog who is by profession a stock trader, Buco Kidoo ha stopped hitting the floors. He was attacked by LG and has been in bed ever since. Buci, his girlfriend, tried rescuing him and has regretted that.
This was also the month when he sat with support for the first time and for a few seconds without support too. He loves sitting now and makes it seem so natural.
The drama queen has his way shouting for no reason with the croc tears always handy. Unfortunately, his parents were born two decades ago to read through his fake crying.
Waking up at 4:00 a.m. is second nature to him. There is a lot of chores to be done around the household - like mopping with his dear susu aunty, putting the soiled clothes from his basket into the washing machine, cleaning the music system and finally eating the wires. And he likes company at that hour, so we ought to be on our toes else be ready for the scratches on my face and the bite on Vivek’s nose. This has earned him the name “gunda”.
“Good morning kunju” and “good evening kunju” puts a smile on his face.
Holding and passing objects from one hand to another is easy, so is kneeling and half standing for the lean mean crawling machine.
Public display of affection, let me not even begin talking about it. He is very affectionate towards me, understands I am his mother probably which naturally gives him the license to pull my hair, remove my glasses, slap me in the face and scratch me on my arms. When I am sleeping, he loves to climb over me and sleep.
The sher ka bachcha doesn’t cry if he gets a wound on his legs. He was bleeding after scratching himself on the knee in the bathtub and didn’t shed a tear when Vivek applied Dettol.
He doesn’t like eating from his cup or bottle anymore. Wants everything poured directly in his mouth, all at once. Will someone tell him there is no one waiting to have his Nestum?
New territories have been captured like the kitchen and pooja room.
Well, thats all I can recollect for now. More in the next edition in a few weeks….over and out!