Saturday, May 31, 2008

Change is in the air

Publishing an old post in the draft box which I never got around to completing. I wrote this just as I was about to go back to work.

Things are going to change. For better or for worse, only time will tell. I start work on Monday. Finally, after 15 months away from the corporate world.

A lot of people ask me if I'm feeling excited and I think about it and the answer is no. It surprises me that I should think so. Getting this job took over 3 months. The whole interview process was tortuous and made more difficult by the fact that we were travelling and I had to do telephonic interviews. It's with a really good firm but I'm not too sure about the role. I decided to try it out so that I could see how both Squiggles and I would adjust to me being away from home. And also, with the current economic environment, there just aren't enough good senior roles going around.

I don't think I am too worried about S. I will drop her off at my mom's before I leave for work (she lives 5mins away). My maid will finish off her house duties and head over to look after S in the afternoon. And I will bring them both back with me in the evening. I have left her for 4-5 hours at a stretch before and she's been ok. This will be different in that it will happen day after day and she will realise that I'm going to be gone for a large part of the day, everyday.

I guess why I remain uncertain is that despite a really tough start to mommydom, which was worsened with my PND, in the last couple of months since I snapped out of it, S and I have been having loads of fun. She's a fun child, full of energy and always wanting to do things. As long as she's busy, she's happy. She has been crying only when ....... (this is where it ended).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The celebrations begin

For the next 10 days we will be celebrating Squiggles' birthday. Starting with her Star birthday (according to the Hindu calendar) this morning, to her birthday party next Saturday and her actual birthday on Sunday (8th June)!

We had a havan (prayer) for her this morning at home. It meant waking up at an unearthly hour of 5 in the morning but it's nothing compared to the many nocturnal feedings I've given her so I guess in comparison we're doing really well if I only have to wake up at 5 in the morning! The previous day we had got all the things that were required from Little India. I'm always amazed to find the most obscure ingredients that the shopkeepers manage to source for their Indian customers. Anything that is required for a havan in India was available here.

DD's parents are visiting us for 2 weeks and her star birthday was the defining moment of their trip. They were really excited about the event and were busy planning it since they landed. So, they were at their element in the Tam store, haggling and negotiating quantities of ingredients required for the havan.

DD showered first and then went to get the priest. Once he had vacated the bathroom, I showered and then went to wake up Squiggles. She's usually very eager to get up but this morning it was an hour before her usual time so I indulged myself in cuddling her without having her squirm away. I wished her happy birthday as her eyes were tightly shut and gently cajoled her out of her sleep. One second she was asleep and the next she was up and scampering around. Once she's awake she doesn't stay still for a second!

I fed her and then took her for a bath at the very early hour of 6.15am. She was a trooper and went about enjoying the unexpectedly early downpour :). I then quickly dressed her up in a brand new Pavadai (South Indian lehenga/ethnic dress) which DD's parents had custom made for her in Delhi. It's a beautiful deep orange. Even if I say so myself, she looked lovely :).
I then quickly donned my saree. I chose a dark green Kanjeevaram. I'd last worn it on my wedding day and hadn't found an occasion since to do it justice. Well, it found it's way out of my cupboard this morning! It's a partciular favourite and I loved wearing it after so many years.
We had to start the puja before 7 due to some inauspicious hour etc. Since the priest was a bit late in arriving, everyone was scampering around to get everything ready so that we could start in time.

Squiggles sat in my lap as we began the puja. And she stayed there for the next half an hour without complaint. We kept her occupied by handing her a biscuit, some flowers and other miscellaneous items which only she could find interesting. I was impressed that she wasn't crying. In fact she was very cheerful. Good girl. As the fire was lit, the smoke started bothering her and she started whimpering. She was then whisked away to be entertained by two sets of grandparents and two maids while we braved on!

An hour and half later the puja and havan was over. DD went to drop the priest off and the two moms started getting breakfast ready. My grand aunt and uncle were going to join us for breakfast since they couldn't make it for the puja itself. And what a feast it was! Dal Pakwan and Sweet Sevai and Masala Aloo from the Sindhi side of the family. Idli, Dosa and Vadai from the South Indian side :). No contribution from me!

Everyone dug in and enjoyed the food. I continued eating in spurts throughout the day. Squiggles had her regular apple porridge for breakfast though she managed to wrangle some Idli and a bite of everything else out of all of us as well. We wound up around 10.30 and then spent some time clearing up.
After a break of a couple of hours, we then took her to a goldsmith to get her ears pierced. DD was all set to examine the equipment and check for sterilisation policies. I had to convince him he had to be discreet else we would be blacklisted in all the shops in Little India. We entered the first shop but they sounded a bit vague about what was required to be done.
On DD's insistence, we went to another shop next doors and they seemed more knowledgeable. We quickly selected tiny gold tops for her. The shopkeepers marked her ears with a tiny dot where they would pierce her ear. I held her in my lap and held her chin while DD held her arms tightly. Counting together, the two shopkeepers simultaneously pierced her ears. Squiggles' had already started crying when we held her tight but with the the gun pierce she let out a whelp and started crying in full measure. I tried to calm her down and distract her with all the gold displayed in the shop. After a few minutes she was better but still refused to go to anybody else (which I was secretly pleased about... I know I'm sad, OK?). The two moms did some vegetable shopping and 15 minutes later we head back home with a calm little angel.

She's been ok with the piercing so far. I've made sure no one points out her newly pierced ears to her because I know that the moment she spots those shiny gold dots in her ears, she's going to try her level best to get them off and that's when it will get really painful. So far, she's handling it pretty well.

Overall she was a star child. She was cranky in bits during the day because she wanted to sleep but the bouts would last a short while and she would revert to her normal cheerful self shortly after. I would go so far as to say, I think she really enjoyed her day despite having to wake up early, have a bath at 6 in the morning, bear with smoke in the house and have pain inflicted on her!

It was a day that went off really well. You know sometimes you plan things and still something will happen to alter the mood of the day. Either you will be rushed, or things will not turn out as you planned, or something will happen. I can say as I sign off, that today was an exception :). And this obviously means something will go wrong on her party or her birthday next week! So, here's Dottie's anti-jinx!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Post Natal Depression - Sounds familiar?

It seemed like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. The responsibility of having a child, feeding it, looking after it, entertaining it, nursing it through sickness and through health. All of that was mine, and mine alone. No one understood how dificult it was for me to deal with nappies, breastfeeding, staying at home, holding a crying baby. Everyone was out there having fun. Husband included.

He was the worst culprit. He didn't know anything about being a parent. Nothing. He didn't have to put on any weight. His nipples weren't sore from breastfeeding. He wasn't stuck at home. His job ended in the evenings. He wasn't eating like a pig. Maybe I should have divorced him. I didn't like him anymore. I hated all his habits, his quirks. Anything he said, annoyed me. I was miserable. Whereever I could see, I would see bad. Everything was wrong with my world and none of it was my fault.

I didn't want to get out of the house. What was the point. With a small baby all that meant was that by the time I reached wherever I was going, it would be time to feed her. Then she would poo and I would need to change her diaper and then it was time to get back home. My room was my comfort zone. I was happy to sit on the bed and surf the net. I wouldn't step out of my room for hours. Life was one big hell and none of it was my fault.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can say it was no one's fault. Post Natal Depression (PND) is a killer. It's a vicious circle that is very hard to get out of. Everyone seems to be conspiring to make you miserable. Nothing seems right.

I suffered through the worst of it for at least 6 months after Squiggles' birth. I started breaking out of it when we went to India in December. Meeting new people, doing different things helped. But Squiggles was a clinger, so it didn't help as much. If I'm honest, the distance from DD helped as well. If only to remind me that I loved him and that I was just loony to consider any other option in my hormonal state.

Things continued like that for a few more months. Sometimes good days, sometimes bad days. It was hard to predict when I would feel low. There were more good days than bad days. And then suddenly it just snapped and I was a new person. Maybe it was the fact that I was offered a job and it restored my self esteem. Maybe it was Squiggles who grew up and was less of a baby. Maybe it was the month long vacation with DD in March. Maybe it was something else. But suddenly, I was like my old self. I was happy and content. I was enjoying Squiggles more and more each day. We were doing fun things together. My relationship with DD started resembling our old days. I wasn't nasty to him anymore, and he was effortlessly nice. We were a family and were enjoying it.

I can only breathe a sigh of relief now. It wasn't nice being who I was for the longest time. I was hell to live with and I didn't want anyone's help. I'm so glad it's over. It never felt like it would end.

If any of this seems familiar, then I just want you to know that you're not alone. There are others who have been through it and come out fine. Just don't give in. Keep trying to get back to your true self. You'll find yourself again. If it seems tough, get professional help. The difficult bit is recognising the symptoms. I kept asking myself if I had PND, but I didn't want to acknowledge it. It's better to take help for it rather than suffer through it and let others around you suffer as well.

I'm glad I'm back.

Of Squiggly things

Once S figured out that she had to put one foot in front of the other, bas, that's it. Even though it was only 5 days ago that she took her first unaided step, she seems like a pro.
The first day, she was still hesitant but still managed 4-5 steps a few times. After that she reverted to her super fast crawling antics. But after that as her confidence has grown, she is able to travel longer distances (sounds like she's preparing for a Marathon, doesn't it?) without falling down. Several feet, in fact. It's so much fun to watch her with her uneven gait, stumble along. Sometimes as she realises she's going to lose balance, she hurries to reach some support with an extra burst of energy! It makes me feel so proud though I am not responsible for anything. But, oh, it's so much fun watching her.

Squiggles has also discovered 'Mama'. Finally. Only a few months after 'Papa'. Only a few months *grits her teeth*. But it's such a sweet feeling when she goes in her whiny little way... Mamamamamammamam... and on and on till I pick her up. I never thought it would be so hard to resist that call. I'm wondering if I was better off without that :). She's going to get away with crazy stuff, this girl.

When DD comes home, she goes running to him, squealing Papa Papa and jumps into his arms. While he's at work she keeps pointing at his photographs, as if reminding me that he's around here somewhere and will be back soon.

She looks at herself in the mirror shyly and then gives herself a big grin. I think vanity has already arrived!

Friday, May 16, 2008

We're walking!!!

I mean Squiggles. Obviously I've been walking for a long time but it's Squiggles. She's walking. It's been on the horizon for a while and she may have taken some unaided steps the last couple of days but they were over so quick, we were never sure.
Last night DD came home and enticed her with the credit cards in her wallet and she walked a couple of steps. But since I missed it, that doesn't count. It's only when the historian decides that the event happened :)).
But today when DD came back from the office and tried the same trick, it worked and this time I was at hand to see it (actually if I'm perfectly honest then I missed it the first time today again but then DD tried again; what is it with Squiggles, she will say Papa but will not say Mama, will walk for DD but not for me).
As you can imagine we've been busy with the camcorder since the last one hour. My baby is now a toddler! Aww......
She's growing up. It's too fast.
I'm so excited.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Papa


Happy Birthday! I'm missing you. Come back soon, with my presents :).

I've been quite busy while you've been away and I have managed not to break another one of your wine bottles. Honest. Mama has become a bit more fun. She's taking me down to the pool everyday and she's bought me loads of new toys. But she doesn't do the whoosh quite like you do. I miss my rides, the view from your shoulder is fantastic.

I'm trying really hard to walk. But I think I'm a bit scared of letting go. I think I may have taken a tiny weeny step on my own today but I'm not sure, it happened so fast. I think I might wait till you come back.

Aunty Yetty is a lot of fun and she plays with me all day long. Aunty Pari keeps coming over too and I think I like her now. Grandpa has been quite busy but he made up for it over the weekend. He keeps saying 'Ale, mera Sona' in that old man voice though. Mama keeps telling him to change the tone because it reminds her of the old man in the old Bajaj light bulb advert ("Roshan hota Bajaj") but you know what Grandpa's like. I don't mind it too much though.

We've been going out pretty much everyday. Ma is trying to keep herself and me busy. We've been meeting loads of new people and I'm enjoying it. Ma says I have to try and not squash other children's cup cakes. She said it wasn't very nice if your cake was pawed over by another child. I've said I'll try. But just between the two of us, I really don't see how THAT is going to work!

A big hug and a big kiss for you Paaaaaaaaaapa.