Sunday, April 29, 2007

inspiration...

I just realized that I am an inspiration to many. There are lots of categories in which I could be, but, what I really am is in my weight loss. I got a call yesterday evening from a mother of two, the youngest being five months old, telling me that she read my blog and was amazed at the metamorphosis that I underwent.
We then shared my dieting experience and what all I am doing to maintain and reduce further. I really loved the fact I could make a difference to somebody and I hope that I can help out more. I am publishing two snaps of mine, not unlike the 'before' and 'after' snaps by the slimming institutes. I am just happy to be rid of all that 20Kg and want everyone else to be rid of theirs too.
But a disclaimer here, I started the weight loss struggle only after my kids refused to breastfeed. Till then, it was an uphill task to eat as much as possible, prompted by the wrong age old notions of, 'you get as much milk as you eat'! Though a feeding mother does need to eat well, it surely doesn't mean finishing off half liters of ghee in a week, eating rice three times a day and drinking two litres of milk a day. And god forbid, your child doesn't suck enough to get a tummy full of milk, you face the wrath of these 'know alls' who say you compromised your child to loose weight. These self righteous women drive me crazy. They might have left their kids off with their parents, or got the servants to feed them, or agreed, they might have taken care of them themselves, but that doesn't give them the right to question how others are rearing their kids. I am venting some hard feelings here, but the fact remains, and I say it again for all the self righteous people who are reading blogs to find faults with others, that I started the weight loss after my kids STOPPED FEEDING off me.

The 'before' snap: Taken just before their Namakaranam in Chennai, Aug. 21, 2006 when kachi and kautu were three months old. I was 96 Kg then.

The 'after' snap: Taken at a cousin's marriage in Nanjangud, April 26, 2007. I am 76 now, still raring to loose some more.

Do share with me your experiences. I would love it if I could help someone out.

Monday, April 23, 2007

15 minutes in the life of 'Vanara Sena'

Kachi is singing to himself standing by the computer table and Kautu is talking to himself sitting under the dining table with a bottle in hand. Their dad has just gone to take bath and here I am typing away. It might seem innocuous to you, but any minute things can change. As I type, Kachi has left his table and is making a bee line for Kautu. Kautu in turn is now stranding up holding the dining table chair and biting away at my lap top charger and straining to go 'ay' (Its our way of saying 'he's trying to shit!'). Kachi meanwhile has left Kautu to himself and gone in search of his dad. Found him outside the bathroom door and is now tugging his leg to let him inside the bathroom.

That room is their all time favorite. The moment they are bored of my company, they head straight for the bathroom and drum on the commode. And we are careful to keep it closed..you can imagine where they would get their hands to otherwise!

Dad's just come out of the bed room all dressed up to go to office and Kachi is looking lost. Kautu has joined him there to relieve his boredom and they are now fighting over a bag of mine my mother gifted. Kachi has it in his mouth and kautu's pulling it away from him. Kachi is giving his war cry and pulling it back from him. Our maid is in the room and talking to them, trying to maintain some semblance of camaraderie.

Kachi has donated his bag to Kautu and is now standing holding the bed. He's got today's paper in his mouth and is pulling it vigorously. Once he ate some paper and vomited all the food he had earlier. So, I just rushed there to pull it out of his mouth.

Maid was keeping the bottles in the sterilizer when Kachi, reached out and pulled the sterilizer down. So, she unceremoniously planted both Kachi and Kautu outside the room and they are now circling around the dining room.... My brigade by the sterilizer

My husband calls them the 'Vanara Sena (Monkey army)' and if this is their activity in just the last 15 minutes, you can imagine how much 'Vanaram' work they do by the end of the day!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What happened at lunch...

And so, for lunch today, we waited and waited till Kachi cried out with hunger. With an eager bowl of food I sat down to feed him. The first spoon near his mouth and his head goes from left to right and back and mouth is closed as tight as is babely possible.

Maybe he should see a baby pychologist. I think his parents have just failed to understand him.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Frustration...

Thats what I feel right now. I just spent the last half an hour trying to get a spoonful of food into his mouth and succeeded in getting exactly 3 inside. He purses his lips and holds it so tightly closed even when he's entertained and distracted that no matter how long I sit, its still going to be three spoons. He wasn't always like this. Even till last week he used to eat when distracted with this toys. When his concentration is fully diverted, he used to open his mouth and eat. But now, no matter what I try, he's just not opening his mouth.

And I stopped feeding him after that half an hour of fear that I might give him a strong whack right across his cheek. I had a tough time keeping my temper in check and turned it on instead on my poor husband. He is still facing the wrath and trying to guess why I suddenly turned on him. Once he has put Kashyap to sleep I shall apologize and make him wiser.

Are mothers allowed to have such feelings for their real young 11 month old babies? Cause I've had this kind irritation and anger when they were just 1 month old. I would try my level best to make them breast feed, but they would suck a bit and then demand the bottle. I would sit for hours expressing my milk and giving it to them in the bottle. Imagine the hours wasted...First expressing at least 120 ml, then bottlefeeding them, one after the other...my days were spent inside a single room, sitting on that plastic chair with a pillow in my lap to support them or a bottle in my hand expressing. I have been very angry with them for not taking the effort to drink from me..."Babies, its not my fault that I had to start the bottle for you. There are two of you and I find it not humanly possible to breastfeed both of you, especially when you both cry at the same time and there is no help around..I am sorry for that, but why can't you just try drinking from me now instead of switching loyalties to the easier to drink bottle? I still want to feed you.."

My husband has an idea...let him go hungry till he cries for solid food...or even the bottle..give him milk till he wants to eat something solid. I don't think I have the heart for that..I shall keep trying till I can control the anger, till he cries from the irritation of being fed, till he runs away when he sees me coming with food. And once he does all that, I shall stop feeding him, feeling totally rejected till he comes back to me for food!

Bad Bad mom...but then, an equally bad bad son. We make a good good pair.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sibling sentiments

I have heard other mothers talking about sibling rivalry and read a post on sibling love. Yet, what I see in my two sons seem not to correlate with either. May be they are not big enough to get feeling of brotherly affection, may be all they want now is just motherly affection or may be, they both are just two very independent and assertive people (their taurian nature superceding everything else!).

Kaustubh, when he is not pulling Kashyap's hair is either slapping his cheek or kissing his cheek. I find it rather difficult to understand. Does he know he's hurting his brother? May be not. But, he does definitely know by now that kissing his cheek is a display of affection, cause he frequently kisses mine and his dads. Kaustubh just pulled Kachi's hair. And don't worry about the cry...he cries this much even if Kautu as much as touched his face!

Coming back to the issue, Kashyap isn't bad either. Once, when I was changing Kautu's wet shorts, Kachi came up silently and poked him hard in the eye. My heart popped into my mouth and I desperately tried to quieten Kautu to peep into his eyes. It took me nearly half an hour to achieve this, but my heart came back to its usual position only after I saw that his eyes were fine and not even reddened. And I did get angry with Kachi for this. Not that I told them anything now...they would just get upset and not understand what the fuss is all about. But then, back in the deep recess of my mind I realized that this was fair justice after all, Kachi was just taking revenge for the innumerable hair pulling sessions he had been subjected to.

I couldn't get a snap of it, but yesterday, kautu was kissing kachi all over the face. Kachi who usually cries when Kautu as much as comes near him, lied still throughout the whole kissing episode. Neither did I gladden at this, nor did I despair for its infrequency, for I knew this is a passing phase. They would be down at each others throat the next minute, but for an instant, I felt some hope. Some hope that things might get better once they start playing together, once they realize that the toy is meant to be played with than bitten into, once they see that two is better than one at a game, mainly, once they grow up.

My hands are crossed. I hope they grow up to appreciate the differences in each other, to see how they complement each other, to help each other out of situations and remain indifferent of the inevitable comparisons being twin of the same gender can evoke. I hope I can instill in them enough confidence to take it all light and take life with all its failings in their stride.

I hope your hands are crossed too!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Murphy's law for toddlers

1. How is that when I mix less formula milk,they cry out for more and when I mix more keeping my hands crossed, they fall asleep half way through?

2. How is it that when I fix the time and give them food, they refuse to eat and when I wait till they are hungry and ask for it, they again fall asleep from the sheer exhaustion of playing?

3. How is it that when I don't give them a head bath for days fearing a cold, they fall sick and when I bathe them daily they are hale and healthy?

4. How is it that when I give them a good warm long bath to make them sleep longer, they wake up after half an hour and when they sleep dirty, they sleep for hours on end?

5. How is it that when I pick up one kid, the other always comes running, but when I just sit observing them, they look and smile and continue playing?

6. How is it that these two can be so exhausting yet so lovable? So troublesome yet cuddlesome? Jealous yet innocent? Viking warriers with each other, yet kittens with us?


7. How is it that they shit just after we put the diaper when they have been roaming around in trousers the whole day?

Can anyone truly understand babies?

routine chaos

Have you read this post about setting a routine for babies? I have always wanted to set a routine for my kids. But they have always wanted to set a different routine each day. And if it continues for a day longer, I call up dad in office and tell him...'hmm..see, I've developed this new routine for them. Now, kau and kash sleep after breakfast for an hour, wake up to eat their carrot and play till 4, I give them a good nice bath and they sleep till 6, play till 8 and sleep after dinner. So you don't have to worry..I've got it all sorted out'. He says 'hmm..great. So you finally have figured it out'. And the bubble bursts the next day. They refuse to sleep after breakfast, play till their eyes turn red with sleep (it does remind one of a tom and jerry episode where tom keeps his eyes open with a toothpick to stay awake) and sleep at 6 to wake up at 8 and stay awake till midnight.

Now, how do you justify this? I am the same, the food I give them is more or less the same, but still they manage not to have a routine. Yes, the blog I mentioned talks of how children may be better of as adults if they do not have a routine, if they grow up to become a different from others personality. But, is it really worth while me not setting a routine for my self just because they don't have one? I like to wake up late, say 7 or later, sit with a cup of tea for a while, put on the FM and start the kitchen work. And then, I like setting a time for me to do office work, rather than when kau and kash decide to sleep and I would definitely feel immensely happy with myself if I could feed these guys on time. But am I being selfish in this desire? Are all kids routineless or is it just mine? Should I have done something or can I do something to bring some order into our lives?

As the writer mentions, there is just a thin line between good routine and an obsessive one. I think I become obsessive at times, I feel down when they are not hungry way past their lunch time. I blame my self if they haven't had enough milk during the day, though they might have said a firm no every time I pushed the bottle inside. But I have also realised something...that they eat best when they ask for it, they drink best when they are thirsty and sleep best when they fall asleep on my lap after playing four hours at a stretch. It took me this long to come to this, mainly because, Kau and Kash were premature and needed all the forceful feeding the first three months of their tiny life to fill out into who you see now, so I still haven't prepared myself to let go and let the tiny ones dictate what they want. As we know our body best, they must also be knowing theirs, we only have to be astute enough to understand what they are conveying, instead of pushing our routine into them. I am trying to go by that, I am trying to let go ...

Today their dad came back early and we took them by the swimming pool and the park..I let them play in the sand..didn't object when they threw it at each other, but definitely intervened when they decided to put it in the mouth. They came back all excited, had dinner and promptly slept without having taken a bath the whole day. 'Thats what they wanted' I told my self, but somehow, theres a niggling feeling that I have just found a way to justify neglect on my part!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

eating out

Yesterday we took our kids out for dinner, rather, we took them with us for dinner! I went for a swim and rushed back to change and pack their diapers and bottle. Husband was already ready in his office clothes, babies were fed and happy, so all was fine. We rushed to the basement, me carrying Kaustubh and Kashyap safely tucked in his dad's arm, with their carry cots dangling from his arm and their bag precariously placed in mine.

He started the car to exclaim loudly 'Oh...the headlights are not working'!! Great. But I really wanted to eat out and I said 'Thats fine. We'll rush to the nearest hotel'. Now, we have a real steep incline at the exit of the parking lot. He took our 96' model maruti 800 up the steep with the AC on and it came straight back. Picture this...I am sitting in the passenger seat with Kashyap on my right leg and Kaustubh on my left. I try holding them tight, but they wriggle and stretch and try to take the steering away from their dad, and in the meanwhile, their dad is fighting a lost battle keeping the car in the incline. So, the four of us head backwards towards a pillar and he breaks in time. Does a tricky reverse and accelerates in full force towards the exit, throwing all of us a few centimeters in the air. The kids have hit themselves in the head a few times both against each other and the window. I gulp and look to see if they are alright...a lot of claps and a cry of sheer delight from Kashyap and Kaustubh looking as though at me saying with his eyes ' any problem?'!

And we go on....in a street enveloped in darkness, yes, it goes to say a lot for our luck that the power cut began just then. We move slowly to realise that the intersection ahead had been mowed in the afternoon to make way for a subway and we have to take a big detour. And we trudge along, trying to contain the two brats on my seat when all Kashyap wants to do is stand on his dad and get hold of the steering wheel and Kausubh is hell bent on pricing the Ganesha statue from the dashboard. Still, we manage to make it to the restaurant close by, though it became rather far now. Ah..but the dust due to the mowing enveloped the air as even a thick fog would not. No way I was taking my kids out in this and so, we turn around to go to the next 'nearest' hotel.

Lots of greenery, supposedly famous restaurant and we felt that our trip could still be salvaged. Entered the family quarters to find we are the only other family there. Found rat shit on the seat and torn papers all around. Still we decided to go ahead. We had not suffered all this for nothing. So, with Kachi clinging on to me and Kautu to his dad, we ordered our starter and soup. By now, they started their raucous, dancing on the sofa, Kachi climbing onto the table, kautu climbing down and crawling on the floor and hubby decided its high time to give milk and settle one guy down to sleep. We drew lots and kautu was decided to be packed off. So, milk was prepared and fed and he settled down peacefully in his carry cot. Aha...still the rest of the evening left to enjoy...Kachi was handed over to a waiter and it broke my heart to see him clinging onto to him and staring around as though we had abandoned him forever. Still we were both hungry by this time and attacked all that was placed in front.

The attack lasted exactly one minute. The food, other than being unpalatable, was also utterly oily and cold. We looked around, wondering how in the world is this restaurant called famous and do people actually come here, to find it filling up fast. We looked down to find a rat scurrying across. We looked on our table and found real foul food. And then, we looked at each other, ate to just fill our stomach and gathered up everything and hurried away. En route, we saw that the place was packed by now and anger swelled up in me. Are the expectations so low? Don't people expect good food, healthy food when they come out to dine? Can't they see how the pricing is against the standard of the food served? Are their wallets so big and their stomachs to used to rotten food that they can digest both the food and the cost? We were so disappointed that we didn't even complain to the manager. I mean, if it has to get this worse, they must surely know and if they haven't taken any action, then its their neck they are stretching out.

By now, even Kashyap was asleep and I held both the sleeping guys in my lap as we crawled back home. 'Well', he hold me, 'that was a terrible dinner. I am feeling sorry for the bad time you had. Kids are asleep and we can get back to a quiet house and spend some time together'. I smiled and started to relax. It started raining..so hard that it looked like a hail storm. I looked questioningly at him...why hasn't he switched on the wipers? He grins sheepishly and says 'Wipers aren't working either'!!!!!!!!

Weighty me

I have always suffered from a weight problem. I have been called names all my life and have had periods of being slim to overweight, with the slim period being very slim indeed. And so, when after pregnancy I gained 25 Kgs or more to nearly touch 100 Kg, I decided, its time to take stock of my self and reduce, to if not less than pre-pregnancy, to definitely pre-pregnancy weight.

Somehow, the urge didn't come till Jan this year, 2007. I knew that I couldn't run and in fact, even my walk was a slow gait of an 80 year old. But what pushed me to take the initial step was a very painful knee. I went to the doctor expecting some Physio and reasons like hormone issues to be told that I needed to reduce weight and fast. By then, I couldn't sit on the floor, stand for more than 5 minutes and even pick up my children from the bed. There have been nights I have cried myself to sleep, telling over and over again how I was just 25, beautiful and smart and how much in life I am going to miss out if my knee remains as it is. Then my husband, being the practical man he is, said that all I have in my hands right now, is to reduce weight. If my knee gets alright, then I have done my bit to improve my life, else, thats how it was fated to be!

Well, for that and that alone, I did what I have never done in my life before....dieted like no end! I dieted for a complete 3 weeks, very strict diet and lost an astounding 10 Kgs to become a completely new person. I now swim for an hour everyday, still watch my diet and am fitting into all my old clothes (of course, there are parts of me that don't exactly fit, but then, being a mom has to show somewhere!!).

I still have to reduce 5 more Kg to get to my ideal weight, but isn't a transformation from 96 to 76 truly a remarkable achievement? And I am proud that I could do it, if not for my health, at least for my husband who told me that the one thing he wants the most in his life right now, is a healthy and slim wife!! (What don't we do for our men!!!!??)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I am having twins!

Nov 6-Nov 21, 2005
Chennai, India

And the day finally arrived! I went, walking slowly, scared to crush the petals beneath my feet, supported by my husband into the scan room. And, the first thing the doc said was...'Wow! You are having twins!' Thanks doc, but I knew it all the while. Somehow, during the horrific sessions of vomiting, I knew that I was going to have twins. Just a premonition, a feeling that I was harbouring more than one life in my womb. I had mentioned it to my mother who refused to believe me, and I gave her the thumbs up on returning from the scan. You should have seen her eyes popping out. Both hub. and I were excited. Two at one go..what more could we want? Especially after all we had been through.

So, I called up my office and asked them for another month extension, of course, loss of pay, but what the hell..I was going to have twins and anything would do for that. Gynec had asked me to be extra careful, no walking fast, lie down most of the time and eat well. I was doing everything except the eat well part...I was still vomiting like no end and my harried mother would try to change the menu every meal to see if there was just something that would not rebel and stay inside. But no, seems the new born embryos just didn't want anything other that what was already in my blood stream, so I said fine, you get what you want and started putting in just what would stay inside, sugar, pongal (a south Indian preparation), puttu (a Kerala delicacy) and avail( another Kerala dish prepared with a whole lot of veggies). No tea, coffee, nuts, fruits, spices, tamarind ..nothing that an expectant mother is supposed to eat. I was worried it would affect my kids (in fact, every single thing I did, like just turning over, slight pin prick near my belly and a tablet I ate which my Gynec herself prescribed would trouble me) by my grandma, who'd had twins in her second pregnancy (and went on to have 9 more kids!) told me that she survived the first three months on just soda..and my uncles were fine for all the under nourishment they got while inside.

So, I continued doing just that and going for my injections twice a week. The doctor taking the injections used to feel for me. Sometimes I would vomit outside her clinic, some times before leaving from home, but whenever it was, she could see I was suffering. She would tell me how she had never vomited for her pregnancy and I would leave the place with a halo around my head feeling martyrish for all I am going through.

Hub would come every weekend, and he continued it till my delivery, missing just one weekend when he fell sick. It surely is no joke, travelling from Bangalore to Chennai every Friday night and returning back to an empty house. But those two days were my life line. I used to lie in bed counting days till the next Friday and being overjoyed when it was Wednesday..yes!! Half the week done, just another half left. And he would treat me like a queen those two days...take me out very carefully (driving our old and battered omni at 20kmh) and buy all kinds of delicacies for me, not that I could eat all of them, but that he bought them for me! And Sunday afternoon I would start my feeling sorry for myself session.

And then, he bought me the one gift that carried me through my pregnancy......