Monday, May 31, 2010

Milestones at almost 18 months

Sorry Atri - you have a lazy mother! I keep deciding to update your blog more often and I end up taking longer breaks than before...hope i will stick to my resolve this time as time is flying and your mom's memory is not serving her well :)

Before I proceed on what my son has been upto in the last three months - I want to capture all milestones that he has achieved in this post -

  1. Bends over and picks up objects - especially if its a food item - we never waste food!
  2. Tries to lift heavy things eg. my laptop
  3. Plays peekaboo - behind delicately hanging curtains
  4. Rolls balls and any such objects back and forth
  5. Empties containers of contents and fills them- such as the cookie jar game
  6. Is able to locate and remember objects of his liking in ours as well as neighbours' houses - eg. Biscuit tins
  7. Imitates us- takes a napkin and dabs his mouth delicately after a meal - takes that from his dad I guess
  8. Pushes and pulls toys while walking - poor old stacking turtle of his and now the cycle
  9. Uses spoon successfully and feeds himself many dry foods
  10. Points to nose, mouth and eyes when asked - rest of the parts we have not been persistent in teaching - he'll learn eventually
  11. Runs well - especially when he sees the driver at the door - so that he can hitch a ride with him
  12. Walks up stairs and climbs down holding a hand - we are not brave enough to let him climb down by himself :O
  13. Walks backwards when we call him to us for a hug - how predictable!
  14. Plays with the ball
  15. Helps around the house - yes for sure, especially grabbing the broom from the househelp and showing her how to do a clean sweep under the sofa and such. Give him a napkin or a cloth and he goes about dusting every nook and cranny and even mopping floors - we have a diligent worker on our hands
  16. When he throws something on the floor or does something funny, he'll put his hands to his mouth with an expression of 'AHHH'
  17. Turns pages of books and bites them off too - even board books aren't spared
  18. Points out to bow-bow and cat in the books - he'll open only those two pages
  19. Knows the correct way to use many objects - laptops, chargers, mobiles, telephone, remotes, broom, comb, handbags etc etc
  20. Has gotten very attached to his (formerly mine) blankie and we wont go anywhere without it. Fortunately needs it to sleep only.
  21. Throws a tantrum when he is not allowed to go with the current love of his life - the driver or when he is all ready to go out and we don't take him out immediately
  22. Has reduced two day time naps to one, since he started attending playgroup one month ago
  23. Responds to many directions in English, Tamil and Hindi- sit down, get your mum-mum chair (to eat), keep your feet properly on the cycle, get your blankie, get me the remote, give this to daddy, etc
  24. Plays excellent hide and seek - seeks me out in the first shot no matter where i hide even in the dark!
  25. Kicks a ball or our heads - anything which comes in way of his foot
  26. Speaks the words - mamma, da, light, ball, bo-bo, cat, mum-mum(food), owter (water) and some others which I cannot figure
  27. Can distinguish the foodie pics on board book such as fruits and pretends to eat them from the page (born to two great foodies, what else can we expect?)
  28. Shows the action 'not there' / illai / kaanum with his hands - when he sees an empty plate or a person he expects to see isn't around.
  29. Throws the ball over his head - god save my cup of tea when he does that around me
  30. Has been dancing to music for the last three months - some more steps have been added to his repertoire - more hand movement, bum movements (Kadavule!!)
  31. Indicates to us that he's doing potty by lifting his tee and rubbing his tummy, inside the diaper of course! And tries to pull down his pants for us to clean him.
  32. Co-operates while changing clothes by putting hands and legs in the correct openings of clothes - this is more accelerated when we utter the words 'Narasimha' (driver), 'tata' - with the hope of going out someplace and getting a ride in the car, for which he has developed HUGE fascination
  33. Is in love with all wheelies, loves to sit in cars, cycles
  34. Biggest milestone is that he's able to stay away from mom and dad for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, in his playgroup - interacting with kids his age or older and adjusting to environs other than home! God knows that this a BIG one for us!
The guidance for building this list is from the chart in Babycenter India
He is on or ahead of track in almost everything, except speech - I'm told boys are slow in this respect - or is he already learning to be the strong-silent types like his dad? Only time will tell!

Friday, March 5, 2010

A year and a quarter

Ok, for those of you who read the earlier story, nanny no.3 did not turn up - she supposedly fell sick on the day she was to join and then decided not to join after all, which is good in a way. I'd feel worse if I wasted time and energy explaining to her scope of work and then she quit on day 2 like the earlier one.
As I type this, Atri has figured out to dance and understood the connection between the word 'dancey' and moving his hands in a dangerously bhangraesque fashion - but we are enjoying it thoroughly all the same :) Rocking him to Channel V / MTV / VH1 to put him down for his morning nap is bound to have some effect somewhere!
We brought in Atri's 16 month with nothing out of the ordinary. No cakes or bakes this time. Just a screaming fest with another new nanny - he doesn't seem to like her at first sight, but we aren't giving up that easily. We have taught her to bribe him (with what else but biscuits) in order to get into his good books - lets hope that works. It's funny how vehement he is in his protest at bringing in yet another new person inside the house. It's almost like he is screaming at the loss of all the exclusive time with mama dearest and presence of an intruder.
He started walking on 15 Jan and it completely changed our lives! And just last week while visiting a relative's house with a staircase, he started climbing up confidently holding the side wall. He isn't satisfied just walking, wants more interesting avenues like climbing onto sofas, boxes, stairs, just about anything. It's been over two months that he safely gets down from the bed by himself - lowering himself onto the floor with utmost caution - it's cute to see his concentration.
He's yet not that into tv, but for certain ads featuring models / beautiful women. The Ponds whitening cream ad featuring a song from Bachna Ai Haseeno - Khuda jaane ye kyu hua hai, keeps him glued to the screen for the full 30 seconds and he'll come running to see this particular ad whichever room he is in, if he can hear it streaming in the air. The title song of the movie Wake up Sid, once manage to hold his attention for the full 3 minutes, which is HUGE for him.
Food wise we are only progressing to a wide variety of cuisines, still not giving him any nuts - which may be needless but I aint taking any chances.
He has been staying alone for a couple of hours with our househelp in the evenings when hubby and me want to go out for a baby-free date and it's a fantastic progress for us clingy parents. Yes, that wasn't an error. Sometimes the clingy baby in turn makes his / her parents so clingy that I wonder if he is more stuck to us or we to him! In fact both of us almost abandoned the thought of our first date together leaving Atri with our maid alone at home - but then we gave some mental pushing and finally made it.
The high chair is no longer of any use to us as our little acrobat easily wiggles out of the straps and buckles and is ready to stand on the table instantly bringing our weak hearts to our mouth. Thankfully it can be converted to a regular table and chair when Atri is ready to use it, so I am not entirely regretting my decision to spend on this piece of furniture.
I think I speak to him quite a bit but he hasn't started saying out any words clearly - mumbles a lot, especially when he pretends to talk to the dog next door, but we are still waiting for him to say some words with understanding :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Keeping fingers crossed over nanny no.3

Even before Atri was born, I had decided that until he is six months old, I wont engage any help to look after him. Call it paranoia or being over-cautious about his budding immunity, that was the decision and I decided to stick to it. We were in Bombay then and someone recommended an 'international nanny'. By that, I mean that she had gone to several countries on baby-minding assignments. She was 40 plus and while I did not find her too good at first glance, I thought of giving it a go. She lasted all of 4 hours. So I'm not even calling her Nanny no.1.
Then I almost stopped looking as we were to move to Hyderabad in October and I did not want to go through the trouble of looking for Ms.Right, training her and then leaving in a few weeks did not seem worth the effort. When I moved to Hyd, i was told that there is no dearth of help in this city and I would find plenty of people to fit the role. Somehow I was in no hurry to find someone as we were going to be in Chennai for over two weeks around Atri's Ayush Homam. We got back on the 30th November and 2nd December Nanny 1 joined in.
Lakshmi was street smart, vivacious and managed to get into Atri's good books right away. Atri was still in the phase of stranger's anxiety where he would not like to go to anyone but me or S - Lakshmi however, found a way to get him to like her and I liked her a lot for that. Even if he cried while letting go of me, she managed to pry him away and divert his attention. She used to come in by 10.15 am and leave by 7 pm. We went for a couple of lunches with her in tow, where she would take care of Atri. Even in a luxury five star hotel, she was at ease taking Atri around the premises, unfazed by the new places or people. I liked that about her. While I'm the one who used to bathe, cook, feed and diaper change for Atri - it was a luxury just having another person around. The luxury of having an undisturbed meal, watching a favourite TV show or having someone else putting him to sleep in the afternoon was a new experience for me. My parents came for a week around New Year's Eve and my mom was impressed by the way Atri got along with her. We did have some minor hiccups with her, but overall she was fast to grasp new things and I was basking in the luxury of a bright nanny. Alas, it was not to last.
Seven weeks after joining, her older sister came in asking to increase her pay and shorten her working hours as they were to move further away from from where they were staying. The lady's mannerisms and loud argumentative nature put me off completely and we had to let the girl go, instead of chugging along with someone who's caretaker decided to hold us to ransom. Our security cum handyman who had brought in Lakshmi in the first place, assured me that it was best to let her go and that he would find someone good soon.
In the next three weeks, several people from ages 8 to 50 came around looking for a nanny's job. Word spreads fast around here. We managed to send everyone packing. We are strictly against employing children and the 50 year olds would barely be able to catch up with a super-fast Atri.
Nanny 2 landed on 1st of Feb, a supposedly 15 year old school drop out. She seemed dull and disinterested but on the insistence of her mom, who worked in the building, we decided to give her a try. She was everything Lakshmi was not and Atri started screaming the minute he saw her face. The first day, my mind flitted back and forth between nanny 1 and 2, comparing and how sad it was that I had to let the smart one go. On day two, I had my fill of the second one. She did not know how to handle my little one and she was playing with his toys while he was doing his mischief in another corner. I had made up my mind to ask her to leave after she has her lunch. Luckily I did not have to ask her to leave as she herself felt the same thing and she asked to be sent off :) Boy, I was happy! I don't blame the girl. It was her first time at work, other than helping her mother in her employments. The responsibility and maturity that (hopefully) comes with age was missing in her.
Since then until now, I was back to managing Atri by myself while S was at work. Back to square one, I had given up the idea of going for a walk or yoga class for my battered back. I was so upset by the inadequacy of nanny 2 that I had given up looking for someone when day before, S's colleague sent the daughter of the lady who cleans their office. I was still in two minds whether I must engage her services and she is another school drop out who hasn't minded kids before. Saturday went off peacefully and today was the opposite. After a disturbed sleep schedule, he was majorly cranky all day until he slept off a couple of hours ago, which helped me make my decision. I have called in nanny 3 tomorrow. I'm okay with the inexperience as long as she is willing to learn and has a basic inclination towards kids! Keeping my fingers crossed...
To engage help to look after our babies or not to is a big dilemma, at least for me. This is a matter for another post. Now I'm ready to drop off to sleep...If you have any thoughts on this matter, would love to hear them!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Too much too fast

Each day the thought that I haven't updated this space, pricks the mother's conscience in me...and today when Atri did two new things in a span of two minutes, I realised that things are going too fast and it's now or never. If I don't record these memories now, it'll all be washed down the drain of a multitasking mom's scant memory, which by the way has been proved wrong recently.
So what led me to this sudden posting is that we were watching CBeebies while eating breakfast, Boogie Beebies to be precise and Atri actually started imitating the dance moves the kids were doing on TV and he's not a guy who's attracted to the telly in anyway. All the Baby Einstein DVDs that we loaded up on are lying around, except when he decides to play with the DVD covers - to bang and throw them around of course.
The second thing that astonished me was that he has made the connect between the switches on the wall and the electrical appliances. We have a power shut down between 9 and 10 am everyday and today at 9 am when the lights and fans went off, he immediately tugged at me to take him to the switchboard so he could turn the switches on - I had to explain to him - "Not now baby, there's no electricity to power that" - while I understand electricity and circuits are some heavy duty physics to explain to a baby, he's not going to question me on that now - so I can plan my answers later.
One minute he seemed like a kid who didn't understand a thing and now he understands much too much!
It's been just three days that I'm trying to keep him diaper free after his first potty in the morning, taking him to the washroom every 45 minutes or so to make him pee. The second day, as soon as we pulled his shorts down and he entered the washroom, he started peeing, all amazed at the stream of water produced by his body :) Call it timing or whatever, am I happy or what that he's making such associations.
Some other ways in which he makes us smile:
  • Lightly taps his hand on his forehead whenever we say 'aiyayo'
  • Goes around giving imaginary things in people's hands when I say 'prasadam' - this must be the good side effect of diligently taking him to a temple each Sunday - where the priests in every alter give us the 'theertham' and 'kalkandu' prasadam.
  • He can't tolerate the landline receiver being on the hook, the second he spots it in its place, he HAS to take it off, press the speaker phone button, press some random buttons and here the BSNL operator give us gaalis in different languages. He even pretends to have a conversation with her! This has been going on for a few weeks now. So people don't complain that you can never reach our landline.
  • He has figured out where his food items are placed, including the secret hideouts in the neighbouring Paati's house. Last week I was feeding him chilled yogurt which he saw me remove from the fridge - when he saw that the bowl was getting empty, he promptly went to the fridge and started to egg me on to remove some more from inside. Biscuit dabbas' locations are all hard wired in his brains. Since quite some weeks, each day when he goes to the neighbour Paati's house, he pulls her sari towards the cupboard where she stores his favourite treats. Since a few days, he has figured how to open it himself, but asks us for help to open the tins.
  • He has taken a huge liking to my fleece blanket of the last five years and needless to say has made it his. Just touching his blankie makes him put thumb in mouth and he gets a feeling of great comfort - if we are going someplace where we plan to stay late, we don't fail to carry the blankie with us.
  • His interaction with the poodle next door is very heart warming, especially when he tries to lie down in front of him, looking at him eye to eye and having a romantic conversation, almost trying to kiss him :) I don't let him get 'that' close, in the poodle's interest.
  • Food-wise, i cannot even make the effort to list down all that he has eaten. It's easier to make a list of what he hasn't eaten so far - probably just three items - nuts, eggs and bittergourd...he eats pasta, soups, regular curries we make at home with moderate spice levels that we eat, just about everything and I truly thank God for that.