Heaven 

wp-image-6169957jpg.jpg
I cannot imagine a heaven, my love
you are a galaxy
wrapped in skin
and I am content here with you
Suddenly, I feel very small
holding you in my arms
Suddenly, it is enough to know that
I can dissolve into the earth
sliding between the roots
of an ancient tree
gathering moss
all over me
This is forever.

He said… She said… 

Me: (all nostalgic) awww babe, this time last year we were just finding out that I was pregnant! 

Him: (without looking up from his phone) oh, was this when you pee’d on the stick and gave it to me in a box as a gift? 

Men!!!!!!!!! 

Baby Lelan- 3 Months Old!

Dear Lelan,

You are 3 months and 3 days old today. These 90 some odd days with you have been the happiest days of my life! Every day you show me what a marvelous creature you are and already, I’m so proud to be your mommy.

20160814_101109.jpg

You experienced so many new things this month. To start off, you decided that you no longer wanted to be swaddled. I tried to ease you into the transition by keeping one arm in but you let me know that you were ready by breaking both arms free. I cannot describe the feelings as I watched you sleeping like a big boy. You were barely 9 weeks old!  I sat in your room imagining you as a grown man with a quiet resolve, capable of doing anything he puts his mind to. My heart swells with pride even as I write this…

A week later, your daddy and I took you on your first adventure. We traveled by plane to North Carolina to see your extended family. You screamed your head off until we were about to board, inviting nasty looks from the other passengers, but quietly settled in for the ride once we were airborne. Thank God! In Raleigh, you met all your cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles on my side. You sat with your thatha and paati and showered them with smiles. You stole the heart of your cousins, especially Madden who wouldn’t let go of your hand. Arya on the other hand begged to hold you the entire time, proclaiming that she never wanted to let you go as soon as she got to hold you. Then we drove to Charlotte where you spent the day with your dad’s family. Shane rubbed your forehead and blew kisses in your direction. And, Johanna squealed next to you in her bouncer. All your aunts and uncles simply adored you. You were such an awesome companion on the 2.5 hour car ride each way. And, you handled the return trip back to NY like a pro!

The very next day, you had your first round of immunization shots. Talk about a packed schedule! I postponed my start date at work by a week to make sure I was available if you needed me. But, once again you showed me what a resilient boy you are. Aside from crying at the doctor’s office, you went about your day without much fuss. You were a little cranky right before your bath, but I gave you some children’s Tylenol and you went right to sleep. The next morning you were your usual cheerful self. Such a good boy! At the doctor’s we found out that you are 24″ long and weigh 12.3lbs.

These last couple of weeks have come with its own set of changes. I went back to work and daddy has been watching you in the mornings and grandma in the afternoons. At first you didn’t understand why mommy couldn’t be with you all the time, but once you figured out that I was just in the other room, you started easing into the new normal. In the midst of all this, we’ve been trying to get you to nap regularly and you’re adjusting to all of it beautifully. You now take 3 distinct naps and eat every 4-5 hours for a total of 30-32oz. Most nights you’re asleep by 8pm and you sleep a solid 8-10 hours.

From the beginning you’ve shown me that you’re so much more than just a baby. You’re a little person, with feelings and emotions and not every need or every cry can be cured by sticking a bottle or paci in your mouth. You are a thoughtful, intelligent being who is hard at work trying to process the world around you. You are always trying to communicate your needs to me and I’m learning to meet you at your level. You’re developing at exactly the right pace for your age. I know that most days all you need is my acknowledgement rather than a fix. So, I try to imagine where you’re coming from and try to support you the best way that I can. You have been very patient with your daddy and grandma as they learn about you more intimately. We all love you in our own way and want nothing but the absolute best for you!

Yesterday, you started singing. I know this should probably go into next month’s update but, I just can’t contain myself. You’re a wondrous little human and I’m just loving every minute of your existence!

Love,
Your Mom

Helicopter Mom!

Over the weekend, I was *lovingly* referred to as a helicopter mom…

Considering that the only person I know who has been called that was my sister, who is an amazing mom with two super smart and sweet kids, I feel honored. However, I started wondering… Am I? what does this term even mean?

Who is a helicopter parent?

“Although the term is most often applied to parents of high school or college-aged students who do tasks the child is capable of doing alone (for instance, calling a professor about poor grades, arranging a class schedule, manage exercising habits), helicopter parenting can apply at any age. “In toddlerhood, a helicopter parent might constantly shadow the child, always playing with and directing his behavior, allowing him zero alone time,” Dr. Dunnewold says. In elementary school, helicopter parenting can be revealed through a parent ensuring a child has a certain teacher or coach, selecting the child’s friends and activities, or providing disproportionate assistance for homework and school projects.”
Read more: http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/what-is-helicopter-parenting/

It doesn’t sound like me at all. Besides, my baby is barely 3 months old and depends on me for his every need, so hovering is part of the job right now. He needs his mommy more than anyone else in this world. But, just because he’s a baby it doesn’t mean that I have to treat him as if he’s clueless. In my short time as a mother, I’ve come to appreciate babies like never before. They are so much smarter than we give them credit for. At five weeks old, my son first tried to communicate with me, mostly through cries and grunts. When his needs were met he rewarded me with a heart exploding smile. He’s 12 weeks now and I can safely say that he’s perfected this skill, along with many others.

20160809_210912.jpg

“Between birth and age 3, the number of synapses (connections within the brain) increases twenty-fold from 10 trillion to 200 trillion. Because this is too large a number to be specified by genes alone, the new synapses are determined by experience. A baby is adding synapses at more than 1 million per second, responding to its experience of the world. During this period, synapses become ‘hard-wired’ by repeated use, implying very rapid learning via early life experience.”
Read more: http://www.wavetrust.org/our-work/the-evidence/6-messages-about-violence/wired-in-brain

So, if it seems like I’m already a bit regimented with his schedule, you’re not entirely wrong. In order for our household to function effectively all of us need to be on a routine. Starting from when we wake up to when we fall asleep, each hour is somewhat defined based on the baby’s needs. His schedule dictates ours and we’re more than happy to accommodate him. Since he was a week old, I’ve been tracking his input, output and resting patterns. Yes, there’s an app for it! Why? Because, I’m a nerd understanding his nature helps me better care for him. He wakes up around the same time and goes to bed around the same time every single day. What happens in between those hours can really throw off this schedule. So, my job as his mom is to make sure his need for a rhythm is met. He eats every 4-5 hours depending on how much we feed him at each meal. He sleeps roughly every 2 hours or so with a longish nap in the middle of the day. Some days he takes 2 longish naps in the middle of the day, and on those days I do my happy dance, but as long as he’s had at least one long nap he’s the happiest baby on the block. There is nothing unpredictable about his schedule, really, only variations. 

My mother was a doctor when she met my father. My grandmother didn’t think that my dad should marry his equal- welcome to India in the 1970’s- but my dad married her anyway. Within 10 months I was born. Back then, having kids was the pathway to solidifying your marriage. My mom was a feminist in her own right! She wasn’t going to give up her career so, I was dropped off with a family friend every day. Some of my earliest and fondest memories are with this other mom, who loved me like her own. While this arrangement suited my parents’ lifestyle, it was the cause of deep anxieties within my own. Imagine being an infant where constant transitions, surprises and excitement were the norm. Now combine that with the knowledge that babies experience rapid growth on all fronts during these years and NEED some sense of stability and security. I was well into adulthood by the time my issues of abandonment and lack of discipline were reconciled.

This is not intended as a referendum on my parents’s parenting skills. I have immense respect and admiration for all that they’ve sacrificed for us. They weren’t bad parents by any stretch of the imagination, but let’s face it parenting wasn’t taken as seriously as it is today. But, I digress… Two decades of research in early childhood development has proven that boring works when it comes to babies! Children need routine. Babies, especially, thrive on monotony and since I can’t be there for him every minute of the day, wouldn’t it be nice to depend on some daily experiences? To be able to predict, for example, that after his morning nap, he’ll get changed into new clothes and go downstairs to play. Or that afternoon naps will happen in his crib at approximately the same time every day and when he wakes up he will get to play with his toys. Or walks will happen in the evening, or bath time will start around the same time, followed by the same nightly ritual concluding with a bottle. When he knows what to expect every day, he is better prepared to enjoy it.

“Infant expert Magda Gerber emphasized the importance of establishing a daily sequence of events — not arbitrarily imposed, inflexible, or on the clock, but formed together with our babies in response to their individual needs. “In a predictable environment, and with regular, dependable schedules, they feel comfortable, cry less, and life is easier for both infant and parents. Infants who do not need to adjust to too much unnecessary stimulation will eventually regulate their sleeping and eating patterns. This regularity will, in turn, give parents some predictable time for their own needs and interests.”
Read More: http://www.magdagerber.org/blog

I want my baby to start building trust in his environment so that he may become better equipped to deal with unpredictability in his life. If that sounds like a contradiction, I assure you it’s not. Helping him develop this trust is the single most important thing I will ever do for him. And, almost all of it happens in the first year! While I’m not a stay at home mom, I have the luxury of working from home and I intend to take full advantage of it. This means, I get to be ‘around’ him every day, reassuring him when he needs it. Forming a secure bond with my son is vital to his happiness. This also means that his environment is controlled and relatively constant. Our home will be his haven. Sure, there will be occasional stays at the grandparents or travels to far away lands, but those will be the exception, not the rule.

As a parent, I want to give my son every advantage in life. The constant push and pull of wanting to let him develop on his own and doing things for him is what good parenting is all about. I think what people mistakenly think of as ‘helicopter parenting’ is actually a respectful approach towards caring for a child.

Do you have rituals with your children? Please feel free to share them in your comments.