Monday, March 26, 2007

It's not a Miracle!

I've been criticized for:

1. Holding my baby too much
2. Wearing him in a sling
3. Not letting him cry (Watch out, you'll be manipulated)
4. Resigning from my job to be a stay-at-home mom
5. Having him with me too much
6. Letting him suck his thumb (he's actually rubbing his gums as the teeth come down)
7. Not giving him a pacifier
8. Not having him sleep in a separate room
9. Having him sleep in our bed

And I've been complimented for:

1. How secure he is
2. How much he smiles
3. How happy he is
4. How tranquil and peaceful he is
5. How joyful he is
6. How interested and curious he is in everything around him
7. How alert and aware he is
8. How little he cries
9. How easy-going he is (we went on a 10-hour flight and he didn't cry)

Hmmm...seems pretty obvious to me.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Toy Treasures

In the beginning, the favorite toy was a book that not only crinkled, but was also chewable, had little plastic pieces around an easily graspable handle, had a tag on it, plus plastic tabs. This toy brought much joy (to big and small alike) for two months.

Then suddenly, without warning, that toy fell out of favor, and this one became the new joy for all. A chewable antennae, plastic handles for holding and gnawing, a mirror, and sounds that chuckled and sang when you pressed the numbered buttons occupied the little bub for many minutes. (Papa washed the toy one day at Mama's behest and the sounds didn't work anymore -- to Mama's great distress...Papa was off the hook once the toy recuperated from the water shock after a night on the radiator).

It lasted about three weeks, only to be replaced by...

a water bottle?!
Before baby arrived, I had a panic attack when a friend sent me a list of everything I needed to get for baby. It was eight pages long.
Then another friend told me that one actually needs very little "stuff" to welcome a child into this world; a drawer as a bed would do and a whole bunch of love.
I'm finding this to be so true. We have "stuff", but I also don't fret about having enough or the "right" stuff. The angel loves the way the water swishes inside his "new" toy.
And today, I discovered another "toy" that is now on the hit list:
(Cotton Squares)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Who Says...?

Who says that you have to cook the evening?
I'm the one who (generally) cooks in our household. We eat a hot meal in the evening when my husband comes home from work. This means that I need to start chopping the veggies and banging the pots at around 5 p.m., right during the babe's AND my very much needed nap time.
Sleep generally wins and so the good-sport-of-a-man I married is left with morsels of cheese to contend with for dinner (albeit it we live in France so the morsels are quite tasty), or he would offer to cook for me instead.
I love cooking, and I love nurturing the easy-going hubby with a home-cooked meal and so I meditated on the subject to see if I could come up with a solution that would make everyone happy.
The light bulb went on and so now I cook supper in the morning (everything but the rice, pasta or quinoa)! Imagine that! What a concept! I can cook the meal in advance and then reheat it later! (On the stove top...not the microwave).
Sometimes it's just so simple.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Noise Shock

A friend just sent me this quote from Yogi Bhajan Every Day™ Inspiration for a healthy, happy, holy life, dated 3/17/2007.

Any time you shock a child's brainwave length, you reduce the capacity of his neurons to function. Never, ever use a high pitched punching tone of voice with your child. You disturb his brain wave length and create an electric storm in his body. For that felony you should be imprisoned for a minimum of seven years. 9/20/90

Our babe hates jarring noises and cries at the top of his lungs when he is startled. To make his life a little easier, whenever I can, I give him a preview of the loud noise that is about to assault his senses. For example, before I turn on the vacuum cleaner, I will try to replicate the noise as best I can, progressively increasing the volume. And only then do I turn on the vacuum cleaner.

Sometimes I forget and I will, out of the blue because I've thought of something, shout to my husband who might be doing something in the other room. The babe will just look at me and cry, especially when he's tired. Now I try to moderate the volume when I call to the hubby.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Volume You Put In...

Years ago I went to Golden Bridge, a yoga studio in Los Angeles, to hear H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, aka Muniji speak. He said many thought provoking things (You want peace, but you are all in pieces), but the one moment that stuck with me the most was at the end of the evening when Muniji took a few questions from the audience.

A tired-looking woman stood up. She straightened out her sagging shoulders and asked him what she should do with her son who was always yelling.

Muniji looked at her, paused, and then very gently said:

The volume you put in, is the volume that comes out.

It took a while for his comment to sink in, and when the woman realized that he was putting the responsibility back on her, she wanted to argue with him, but sat down instead.

Now that I am a mother I have compassion for the woman; I can see why she might be turning up the volume, possibly just out of sheer fatigue and frustration. Because I've had a number of years to contemplate Muniji's comment, and to see it in action all around me, I make the effort to stay calm so that I can always speak in a respectful tone to my child.

And when I can't because I'm just too tired, then I give the babe to the hubby for a little while.

Especially because I've noticed it's even more grave than what Muniji predicted. I believe it's:

The volume you put in, is the volume that comes out...tenfold.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Digging for Buggers

I know. I know. I'm still doing it.

If you had told me before I gave birth that I, an intelligent woman who speaks four languages and has a Masters Degree, would develop an obsession with cleaning out her child's nose, I would have laughed and vowed that I would never do such a thing.

But just a few months later, I find myself facing a profound inner struggle as I see my angel's air passages clogging up with the Paris pollution. I tell myself, no, I won't do it. No, I'm just going to leave him alone. The midwife told me that he clears out his nostrils by sneezing.

And then he'll sneeze, but the nose is still stuffed because the culprit is lodged in the front crevice of the opening. I had never known about, nor paid attention to, that huge shelf on the inside of our nostril where a whole lot of bugger could gather and hang out.

So, I made a game out of it. I made silly sounds and silly faces.

That didn't work.

The digging and the wails continued and the worst part was that I couldn't even get them out. They would dry up and cling all the more.

Then a light bulb went off in my dim head. If I couldn't get the hard substance out, then I just needed to soften it. No more digging into my child's dignity (I know, I know...I've said that before). Instead I figured if it is softer, maybe then he can sneeze it out.

I believe there is always a solution; you just have to be creative.

So, I took a cotton swab, dripped a small amount of almond oil on it, explained to the angel what I was going to do, gently inserted the swab into each nostril really controlling myself not to dig (Oh, the challenges of motherhood), did it without bringing forth any tears and then for good measure, I put the swabs into my own nose making sure the angel was watching.

Done. Now we just had to be patient to see what would happen.

Well, I didn't have to wait for long.

A few minutes later, the bub rubbed his face when he was overcome by sleep and to my very pleasant surprise (I never thought I would say that!), there on his upper lip was a very large, round, obstinate-that-makes-parents-into-obsessive-clean-freaks substance.



Monday, March 12, 2007

Advice for New Parents

My writer friend Kai asked me for some advice, which she is going to put in a book for her friends. This is what came to mind:

1. Your child will always look to you to see how to react to the world, so remember to stay calm.

2. Use “please” and “thank you” when speaking to your child – from the get-go.

3. Behave in the same way you expect your child to behave.

4. Dr. Sears – the famous American pediatrician – warns new parents against becoming desensitized to their child’s cries. Rest so you can be there for him/her.

5. Sleep when your baby sleeps, especially when you are nursing.

6. When your baby gets frustrated by his physical limitations, distract him with laughter.

7. Laughter is always the best medicine.

8. Remain flexible so that you will know when your baby can wait for you to finish whatever it is that you are doing and when you need to drop everything to take care of your child.

9. Always try to give your child two choices (be creative), no one likes to be told what to do. For example, instead of battling about putting on a coat, give her the choice of the red coat or the blue coat.

10. Remember – your child understands everything.

11. Don’t underestimate your child’s intelligence just because he can’t speak.

12. Relax. You will know what to do when the time is right.

13. Trust your intuition

14. Have Fun

15. Listen to your baby. Really listen (don’t just pretend). Your infant is actually talking, even if you don’t understand her language.

16. Crying is actually talking in a high volume to get your attention. How would you feel if you were 100% dependent on another human being for everything (food, potty, comfort)?

17. Don’t worry about a child “manipulating you” in the first six months. How would you feel if you were crying because your teeth are hurting, or you are hungry, or you are in a dirty diaper, or you are cold or hot, or you can’t get your body to do what you want it to do, and no one came to your rescue?

18. When your child is frustrated with his body, try putting him in the position he can’t manage on his own, without him realizing it, by playing.

19. Did I already say, relax and have fun?! Relax and have fun! This is the most wonderful experience in the world. And when your baby laughs…ah, the heart just melts.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Bugger Busting

I have a very calm 5 1/2 month old infant. I can clean out his belly button, dig earwax out of his ears, go excavating for sleep in the corners of his eyes, but when it comes to buggers in the nose...there is no doing it without bringing on wails and tears.

So I figured, just leave the kid alone. I vowed to let his nose self-clean for seven whole days.

I nearly broke down after a few minutes when I saw this:

I almost messed up again a few hours later. And once again, I caught myself in time.

But this morning, 24 hours after I made that vow, I couldn’t help myself any longer. My son’s nose was so full of buggers that I could barely see an air passage in each of his nostrils.

I tried removing the multiple culprits with a well-placed finger. When that didn’t complete the job, I had to resort to a well-placed cotton swab accompanied by wails.

I wasn’t sure he would forgive me, but when I took him in my arms and apologized, he immediately calmed down and curled his head into the crook of my neck.

Thank God for his good nature; I’m not sure I would have forgiven me so easily…