Friday, January 21, 2011

A Night to remember- Sonny Boy's Birth Story

I have often rambled enough to all my friends and office colleagues how difficult it is to raise a boy vs a girl. I will surely do a post on this considering the wide difference i see in my house. But here I wanted to begin with my son's birth story. His birth story is as interesting as his antics now and I had never imagined my second pregnancy to have such an eventful culmination.
Anyways, I was ( still am ) a full time working mother and being just 2.5 years into motherhood, I had much more on my plate than bask in the joy of being a mum again. Also may be since our first born is a daughter which we always wanted, we were more happy for her having a sibling than us reliving the joy of being parents again.
So there were no more searches on the internet, no reading of books, so much so that I ended up sharing the " good news" with family only post 6 months. I remember writing personal emails ( facebook had not yet caught on) to friends about how we were expecting our first child, managing month wise updates on picaasa or getting excited with baby shops in the malls.Nothing of this sort , this time.
Anyways, the nine months actually went in a jiffy. Got a promotion at work so had higher responsibilities, managed a holiday in Month 6 with my daughter all the way in Pondicherry. In fact since he was due in April , I was mostly in winter attire. So much so that only in early Feb, my colleagues starting noticing that I am on family way and almost fell off their chair when they came to know that its only 2 months away.
The exciting story begins around March. Firstly, our first maid went to her village to get married. She had been with us for 2.5 years and those of us who depend on housemaids would know that when the first one leaves, you think your whole world has come to a standstill. We were happy for her as he was moving on in life, sad at the thought of her not being around and absolutely horrified at the thought of a new person entering our house. So we did find a new person ! someone I could not connect to. Come March 15 and husband needs to travel for company off site down south- to a resort, a good 2 hrs away from the city. My sister decided to visit me. Again, since due date was good 3 weeks away, we were carrying on with our lives.
Coming closer, March 18 was a regular day for me. I was getting ready for office for a day packed with back to back meetings. Hugged my daughter , told my sister to instruct the maid and like a normal day left for office. I even visited the doc during the day who said we are good 2 weeks away at least. It was late by the time I reached home and I still remember we all feasted on idli sambhar, watched some music channels and went to sleep.
Its 2:00 AM and I start feeling some pain. Now I can tell with abundance confidence that previous memory of all child birth fades away the moment the baby comes. I tried very hard recalling whether this is the same I felt during my daughter's time but I just couldn't remember the thing. I started pacing up and down and then I thought let me time them- they were coming at 7 minutes apart. Now whatever I could remember of the book I read during my first born, I did remember you should be in a hospital if your contractions are that close apart. Immediately was the phone pulled out , dialled the husbands number, woke him up and explained the situation. I think he panicked ( though never admitted till date) and tried to reassure that this is a false alarm and I should not panic . Anyways, he called his friend and colleague who stays close by to come over and take me to the hospital which was a good 40 KM away in the main city ( I stay in the suburbs). The smart me thought what if its time so I woke my sister and the maid, ,dumped a dress which my daughter had outgrown ( a pinkish long T shirt ) and told this new maid ( who had no clue of the house) to hunt for new born stuff I had tucked away somewhere.
The colleague arrives. I pick up my bag , wallet and mobile and walk down to the car. " How are you" , he asks. " I am okay , just that the pain is increasing and now at 5 min apart". He almost jumped out of the car. " You know , I don't know how you are so comfortable sitting here , My wife would have driven me nuts in this situation " . I smiled shouting in my mind " who the hell is comfortable but in this situation, the least I make a fuss is better. All i can do is smile " . We enter the city. Now the hospital is located in some corner which both of us are not aware of. The gentleman driving me I could see knew NOTHING ! and in the middle of the night, whom can you get to ask for directions. When I saw that we have crossed one roundabout almost thrice, I told him "You wait and let me figure out the direction" . I told him to pull over near some autos, shouted typical us " bhaiya suniye" , woke up an auto guy, gave him 100Rs and told him to drive in front of us to the hospital and we will follow. The colleague looked at me and smiled " what an idea sirji"
So we enter the hospital. I enter the delivery centre. The doc-in-attendance post examination told me to get admitted then and there. Meanwhile, the pain increased and I needed to pace up and down to be at ease. In this whole thing, I called up husband who again I feel further panicked ( though never admitted this one as well). He again tried to reassure me that it will take sometime and mobilised the family resources available to reach the hospital as soon as possible. The nurse got the admission form, I flashed my credit card to do the initial deposit and also managed to have a small chat with the colleague who was waiting outside and by now had gone in a state of shock with what was happening. The time was 3:30- 4:00 AM - a hour and a half since it all began. My doctor arrived and this time I asked her to give me epidural ( which helps in easing out birth pains and last time she did not) and she turned to me and said- "Well , you are ready. We need to go for delivery" . Now was my turn to be in a state of shock and the nurse told me later that the colleague almost fainted as he initially drove me thinking I was going for a medical check up and not delivery.
Sharp at 4:26 AM arrived our boy. The shock I was in of these sudden turn of events did not allow me to register anything of his birth. All I remember is that the doc sat down next to me and said, "Hope you are okay. Its a Boy. I am feeling bad that you are all alone here. Would you like something" and I said, " Yes, a diet coke please" . This was even before I held my baby !
So came the boy. Husband told me later that just before my call to him, he was in the elevator from 12th floor to ground , he had Rajnikanth who took his hand out and said" Hello, I am Rajnikanth". The husband claims that he was so excited to being face to face with THE rajnikanth - He blurted out : My wife is about to deliver our second baby and if he happens to be a boy , I want him to be like you"
Now you know that the origin of all troubles that I complain about my son is not the poor son but the father !

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moments of Truths - Kids

As a full time professional and a mother of 2 kids , I have stumbled upon lot of experiences which I would like to call my " Moments of Truths". You actually dont realize them so easily. They begin with a self denial , then some self effort and finally you come to peace with their co existence in your life. They are also unqiue to each individual and hence my " moments of truths" can be outrageous in your approach for life and vice versa. But I am pretty confident that some of them , you will definitely find a resonance with.
MOT 1 : " You are the " Operations Manager " of your house " - I have debated and denied it for years with lot of friends. I always felt that two adults individuals living together should have equal distribution of work with clear responsibilites defined but post the kids, I have realized that no matter whether you have a wonderful better half who helps you in sharing this responsibility or not, whether you have supportive parents or in laws or not, whether you have been lucky to have had minimal maid crisis, a mother is and will always be the one running operations of the House. This does not mean that you end up doing the household work - Not at all. But the household " management " and the kids comes on your responsible shoulders. Whether its distribution of staff salaries, crisis and leave management, remembering umpteen birthday parties or play dates your children need to attend , checking the school diary for circulars or even deciding the menu of the meal keeping everyone's preferences in mind so as a full time working professional, the earlier you make peace with it , the better and happily you would be able to do the same.
MOT2 : " Its okay to steal sometime for yourself even from your children" - Long ago, I had a colleague who had a six month old daughter. She was one of the most vibrant person I had met. She had taken a transfer from bangalore to Delhi to join a new organization with her mom and a six month old daughther ( Husband came in a year later). She managed time for workouts, meeting old friends and partying on the weekends. Once someone asked her " Dont you feel guilty that you dont get to spend time with your daughter that much ". She mentioned - " You know I dont want to grow old to tell my daughter that I missed XYZ things while raising her and make her feel burdened by that. My own mother does that sometimes and I hate it and I would not like my daughter to have the same feeling". Some of us will agree with her and some of us dont. I agree to an extent but over a period of years, I also know that we need to " junk that guilt" and it's okay to have time-spa for yourself. A rejuvenated you can spend a far better quality time with your loved ones than one haggard and tired and compalining of living life only for the family.
MOT3: " Its good to spend Quality time at home but always prioritize where " - In the initial years when my daughter was small, I used to try very hard to be a " mom of all trades". I was ready post work for another work shift with my daughter trying to read her a book, fix a meal, planning her next day meal, instructing the maid, checking out on her cupboard and much more. Often I was physically and mentally exhausted by the time I hit the bed and the cycle wld go on like a clock work from Monday to Friday. You can very well imagine what would have happened when you have a second child arriving 2.5 year later. Over multiple experiments, I have realized that its very important for you to prioritize. It took a while to see this not as a personal failure of managing work and home but a smart move which is good for the child as well as you. So these days, I have priorittized my time for " health and hygiene" of the kids - I might not get time to read a book to them or play a board game with them but I always ensure that I have dinner with them, the maid knows what and most importantly " how" to cook their meals, give them a shower myself in the morning, check out on their clothes being washed properly and carefully and overall baisc hygiene is maintained in the house. With no family support , I realized this was the most important thing I needed to focus on to keep them healthy and not fall prey to illness - Off course , the weekends are there for all the fun things we miss out may be on a weekday but this ensures that whatever you do, you are happy with the outcome.
There are many Moments of Truths - related to marriage, work, health and even your own self. They have come after many years. Sometimes difficult to spot as well since they become an integral part of your life, Sometimes too personal to share but till next time , hope you enjoy this.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ownership of your own time

I have been on leave for past 2 1days. It was my annual year end leave. Most years, it had always been spent on travel or having some relatives over. This time we had nothing of that planned. However before I took leave from work, I had my plans full. -The corporate cliches - "I am going to spend time on myself", " Will use this break to rejuvenate". But life has its own way of teaching. The sudden cold spell in North India led to all plans go awry and I have spent last twenty days at home 24*7 and let me tell you , I have loved every bit of it.
Even though I have been a full time working professional for last 10 years and came across many women who mentioned they cannot stay at home for more than 2-3 days, I always used to be uncomfortable with this opinion.
The sense and feeling of command over my time I have got in last 20 days- I haven't for many many years. I was able to take charge of the house, set it up the way I wanted to. Do the cliched mommy things of taking care of kids, ensuring their favorite dishes are churned out ( by the maid..I still cant cook to save my life), cleaned up the toy room, sent away lot of unwanted stuff in the house, picked up some books for reading but more than that, the biggest thing i got out of staying back at home is to be the owner of my time. No more running a 9 to 5 life monday to friday, no more of having a planned weekend of hosuehold chores. Imagine the thrill of just getting up anytime to go for a walk or take a nap, take the kids out for an impromptu picnic when the sun is out or for that matter catch up on some neighbourhood happennings. Believe me as silly as it sounds but the joy of taking a long shower at 12 in the afternoon was a delight. And I know , If i have to live like this, I will surely enjoy it as well. After all, 21 days is what it takes to make a habit.
I think if we are able to channelise our mind, body and soul in one direction, we tend to enjoy the same. I have always switched off from work whenever on leave and may be that's the reason i enjoyed this break as well. Most of us either are not able to do the same or have a archaic perception that staying at home equals household chores or just taking care of the kids. Its not that. Being at home full time actually makes you a multitasking expert something which might be on some of our annual development plans and helps in developing a well rounded personality. I am more patient, more appreciative and more at peace by being at home for last 21 days and wish one day when i can follow my heart than my mind and can actually take the plunge to be at home full time. It needs lot of courage and I really look up to women who have been able to do that. It also does not mean that i am eulogising their decision and what a big sacrifice they have made. Its a choice they have made and hopefully for themselves like many of us have made to work full time as well. Both have their pros and cons and many debates have happened and will happen on the same. I still choose to work as this suits my sensibilities but it makes me more content that the alternative option is also equally good- not for family or kids but actually for myself. Its been a great feeling to begin the new year with.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Every Day is a Lesson...

Yesterday I went to the neighbourhood salon for my daughther's haircut. It's a small one ensconsed in the neighbourhood market but i really like the personalized service they give. for e.g when I call , they have my number stored and will greet me by my name and I never have to give my other details - only the time I need to come. They know who's my favorite there. We were supposed to reach at 1:00 PM . At 1:15 , I got a call- " Ma'am , Are you running late? ". " Yes, I am. I should be there in half an hour's time. " Usually, its not an issue but I could sense they weren't as acommodating about it as they have been in the past. Anyways, by the time I reached the place, I had already formed my conclusion " All these places try to be good in service but can never sustain it " and had made up my mind to switch back to the fancy salon I used to visit. Both of us reached around 1:45 PM. We were the only customers and I was further infuriated that despite not being busy, they were sounding so unwelcoming on the phone. We finished our chores there and as I was waiting for him to take out the bill, I suddenly noticed a lot of activity amongst the staff. I asked and the manager mentioned - " Actually ma'am , we have a staff party today. It's a first for many of us . We were supposed to close at 1:00 but since you called, we waited and now everyones in a hurry to get ready" . As you can fathom, I was so embarrased at this sudden turn of the event, that I literally went red. and thats where the lesson of not being judgemental was relearnt this new year. And to add, the staff was over enthu there. I saw one guy getting his hair washed, other one applying colour to his. The girls inside using all the make up tips they give to clients. I also oveheard the manager talking to his boss - " yes sir, beer should be okay for us. Girl's will take breezers and then sheepishly adding " and the helper sir here, we have asked him as well and he wanted to have whisky " :)) Heres's wishing all of you a happy new year and may these small lessons help us make each day a learning and full filled day.