Babyhood to Toddler-hood

If left to decide for myself if I have really been away from my blog that long, I would say, “No, not really”. But then I only need to look at my son to realize how much time has really passed since I last updated. I am still writing about him when he was 6 months old. He is almost 3.5 years old now. Seriously, I need to move on. There are so many things I want to write about… So I’ll just breeze forward the past 3 years.

We moved to Nobo Nagar off Bannerghatta Road this time. This move to Nobo Nagar wasn’t exactly planned, as in, we had no idea about this place. Turned out there are a lot of GSBs here. I was a little skeptical when I got to know about it. If you are wondering why I should be skeptical about the fact since I am a GSB too, well, the answer is complicated. For one, a stereotypical konkani expects you to be a certain type of person – temple going, husband worshiping, gossip sharing, subservient person who follows all vrats/poojas. I was none of it and I wasn’t going to pretend otherwise. But it was actually OK here. I had come into the locality not thinking of making any friends, just acquaintances. But thanks to Fearless, I got close to our next door neighbors. The friendship just happened and they are the one of the only 2 families here that I am close to. I’ll just call them A.Pai’s. These are some of the nicest people who I have met in a long long time, the kind of people that understand you, and if not, simply accept you, without judgment. It is this family that helped me during some of the days when Abhay was being extra troublesome and my work just did not get over. They would take him for half an hour or so in the beginning while I quickly cleaned/cooked/bathed. Then Abhay took to them so strongly that he refused to come home. He would sit there for hours, sometimes even sleep there during the day. I would quickly finish my work and go over since I did not like to impose upon them the task of looking after my baby in addition to all the housework that A.Mai had to do. But they all loved him so much that they would ask to take him for some time to play with him. He got so attached to them that if, in a day, I did not take him there he would make gestures and point to their house asking me to take him over to their place.

I was beginning to worry about him not rolling on his tummy even after 5.5 months. I wasn’t really bothered since I felt every child is different and takes their own time to reach milestones. But as time passed I did get a little anxious. I did nothing about it though. Turned out I was worrying uselessly. A few days later he started to roll over but with his head still down. One week shy of turning six months he did a full roll. I never bothered about the milestones after this. But I do know that he learnt to sit with support at 7 months, started walking with support at 10 months. At 11 months, he started to sit unsupported and on his own. For this entire month he stopped trying to walk with support. If we tried to make him stand, he would just plop down on his butt. He started walking again one month after his first birthday. He started saying single words a couple of months later. He used to call everyone “amma” for a few months. Then he began pointing at every male and calling them “aanu”. So you can imagine how embarrassing it was for me to stand outside our house even for a few minutes. Those few months were real embarrassing for me.

When it was time for his vaccination, we had to decide on another doctor for him. We chose Dr. Vandana Rao after reading reviews online. We decided we’ll see how she is during the course of the vaccination and then see if we wanted to continue with her or choose a different doctor. Turned out, she is amazing. The first time we visited, she did a thorough check up, asked after his health from birth to now and his eating habits. She also recommended that I try giving him other foods now. She said to avoid capsicum and bitter gourd in vegetables, pomegranate, grapes and papaya in fruits (I don’t remember the reason now and I am too lazy to find out). Ragi and wheat mixture is the best thing but if he doesn’t want, its ok (she gave some syrup for him to make up for the deficiency). From month 7 onward, I could give him idlis, dosas, rice, etc. She gave a few recipes (a ragi preparation similar to ragi manni, idlis with ghee and jaggery syrup or sugar, pongal, etc) too. Unfortunately he hated anything sweet but ate idli-chutney, idli-sambar, dosa-chutney like the rest of us. He loved the dosa/idli that A.Mai prepared. The same dosa seemed to him like a stranger if I prepared it in our home. Every time that A.Mai prepared idli or dosa, she would keep aside some batter for Fearless.

Since he ate all the foods like us, life became easy for me. I did not have to cook anything separately for him. When we had something that he couldn’t eat (such as batata poha or chapathi), I simply made banana-poha for him. I also introduced rice at 7 months. I would simply take the vegetable cubes and a bit of gravy in a mug along with the rice and run a hand blender. At first I used to make it smooth, a few weeks later a little coarse. He enjoyed it. Even foods like pulao and puliyogare went into the blender with a little soaked poha (to make the meal less spicy/salty) and he ate it without any complaints. His favorite remained idli and dosa, hence I did not have to worry overmuch about food. The only thing I had to worry about was breastfeeding. He was still stuck to me like before, and in fact, even more than before.

Before he rolled over, he would sleep for 5 hours straight in the night. But since he rolled over, I could no longer put him in the jholi and moreover he started waking up every hour or so to feed. As the days passed he woke up even more frequently. That meant now I wasn’t getting even less sleep than what I used to before. I could not sleep during the day and I could not sleep during the night. I was back to being a zombie, literally, going crazy without any sleep. But there was no other option either. This continued until he turned 15 months old at which time I decided to stop nursing. Everyone told me to go off day feeds and feed only in the night. I went the other way round. I stopped the frequent feeds in the middle of the night. But he still made up for it as soon as sunrise happened. I asked the doctor’s suggestion and she said to stop all feeds at the same time. It really worked like a miracle. There was too much drama, crying and vomiting from Fearless for a couple of days and A.Mai helped a lot during this time. And then one day, there was calm. He did wake up a few times in between but there was no screaming. I still wasn’t sleeping much but compared to the past one year, I was sleeping much better. I kept wondering if I ever would sleep undisturbed the entire night, ever again.

From the time he turned 8 months old, Fearless had started another irritating habit. He loved to play with my lips. He would fold his own lower lips inside and play with mine. Every waking moment, his hands were on my lips. This was also a time where some of my housework happened carrying him on my hips and him playing with my lips. If he were to wake up at night, the first thing he did was to reach for my lips. So irritating it was. But I guess it was somehow very comforting for him. He still hasn’t stopped this habit but it has considerably reduced. Thank God.

When he turned 2 years old, we enrolled him in a playschool near our place. He was getting too troublesome at home, not allowing me to do any work at all. So, from 9:00-12:30 he would be at school. This was sufficient time for me to finish all my cooking, cleaning and other household tasks. Once home, I would spend all the time with him. When he slept I did my exercises, or browsed the net, or did the preparation for the next day (grinding for dosa/idli), etc.

Toilet training was another nightmare. Too much pressure from “well-wishers” to toilet train him. But Fearless was his own person. Whenever I took him to the toilet, he would start playing with the water. He would never ever do any other business there. Thankfully once school started, they did a bit of toilet training and I continued doing the same at home. I used to make him wear diapers only when sleeping and not at other times. I used to take him to the toilet every few hours. This had little success. During the same time we had to take him for his next vaccine. When I asked the doctor for suggestions, she said to stop the diaper altogether and not to put him in diapers even when sleeping. Also she suggested not to use those toy-potties. “Directly make him sit in the toilet, kids learn faster that way,” she said. For about a week or so I did this. Once he did potty in his chaddi and after that he started doing his business in the toilet itself. See, he was a cleanliness freak then. A bit of dirt or if a morsel of food fell on the floor, he would throw tantrums. The next morsel of food would be eaten only after the floor was cleaned. So seeing his own potty there freaked him out. All of this culminated into Fearless being toilet trained. What a relief! This whole toilet training period was such a nightmare – cleaning multiple times, changing his clothes, washing those clothes, rinse and repeat. My god. Was I glad when it was over!!!

Meanwhile there was another drama going on with Ashwin and Fearless. They behaved like the meanest of enemies with each other. If Fearless cried, Ashwin lost his temper. If Ashwin came into the room, Fearless left the room. It was so bad that Fearless refused to be bathed, or cleaned, or clothed or dropped to school by Ashwin. If Ashwin were to even put on the light in the bathroom so that Fearless could use it, he threw a tantrum. I had to put off the lights again and switch it on and only then he would use the toilet. So everything about Fearless was on my head. Even when he slept, if I handed him over to Ashwin, he would get to know, wake up and start crying. It was driving me crazy. Finally it was when I got my back pain that things started to change – very slowly but surely. I have a lot to be thankful to my back pain, for a lot of nice things started happening after I got it (more about it in the future posts).

A few things about medications and vaccinations before I close this post and the topic:
1. Babies are given their medicines *before* their food, unlike most medications for adults. Wait another 30-45 minutes before giving him any food after medication.
2. Be careful of the dosage. Please, please consult a doctor for the right dosage for one time as well as in a 24-hour duration. Do not exceed the dosage. The dosage depends on the baby’s weight.So keep a watch on his weight and adjust the dosage accordingly.
3. Make sure you give the vaccinations on time. You are not supposed to give the vaccines if the baby has fever, cold or any other ailment. Also don’t administer the vaccines if baby is already on some other medication.
4. There are mandatory and optional vaccines. The doctor is supposed to explain the significance of those. If not, please remind and ask the doctor about the same. We opted only for the mandatory ones and did not opt for the optional ones.
5. There are 2 varieties of vaccines that I am aware of – one variety is painless (duh, how could any needle based thing be painless?!!) and the other not-so-painless and could result in the baby getting fever. If you select one variety, you are supposed to stick with the same for the entire course of that particular vaccine. The painless ones are slightly costlier than the not-so-painful ones.
6. The doctor will write down the date for the next vaccine after the current one is administered. It is ok to wait a couple of days after that date but not before. For example, if the doctor says the next vaccination is on 15th, I can take him on 15th or 3-4 days after 15th, but not before.
7. First aid for fever: Give him a sponge bath with ice water (babies will scream and resist, don’t worry and keep going). make him wear some light loose clothing and put them under the fan. Don’t for any reason bundle them up in sweaters and blankets. Also give his usual fever medication at the recommended time intervals. If the fever does not subside in 3 days, please go to a doctor.
8. There is also a de-worming medication that is supposed to be given once in 6 months or 1 year, depending upon the brand (brand !! *eyeroll*). Do ask the doctor for that also.

With this I end this topic. It had been going for too long anyway. Fearless’s stories will continue from to time. I think I will now post some posts that I had written ages ago but never got around to publishing. Thanks for your patience, dear reader.

Once again to remind, I’m not a doctor. Please consult a certified pediatrician for medical queries regarding your child.