The day my heart went walking around outside my body

GUEST POST: BY RUTVIKA BHIDE CHAREGAONKAR

When I look at my two-month old baby sleeping on my lap, satisfied after nursing for half hour, I often wonder: how did this miracle land up in my life?  The baby was just a thought up to a year back and now he is here. And then I realize: Oh, I made him. These tiny little fingers, that beautiful curve of his lips, the peach coloured skin, I made all of him.

Why did I decide to have a baby? Frankly, in my mind there was never any other way. Having a child was always the plan. Like millions of women, I always wanted to get married at an “appropriate” age, and then eventually have kids. Preferably two.

Having a baby seemed the most natural, instinctive thing to do.

When I started seriously thinking about it, I realised that the baby business was a permanent fixture, an irreversible act, which will be our responsibility at least for the next 18 years. Were we in the state of mind to make a lifelong commitment we could not run away from?

I had read many articles where women/men said most people have babies to make their life complete. That was not true for me. I felt complete enough. I have a good career, a challenging job and a baking and blogging hobby which filled my weekends. The husband and I love to travel and we travel very often. So I felt completely satisfied as it is. Even without the baby, I had a big list of things I wanted to do. Accomplishing those would already take a lifetime.

 So having babies to feel complete was out.

 The second common reason was ‘wanting to live your life, fulfil your dreams through your kids’. Hell no! I have to live my life, be happy with the way I do things and only then can I provide a stable, fulfilling life to my kids. I never once thought that I will live out my dreams through my kids. My dreams are my own. I want to fulfil them. Our kids will have a life based on their aspirations, their view of the world. Some of our goals may coincide and I hope they will want to do some things their parents like to do, but that’s about it. Thank you.

 Then why do I want kids?

Till now I have been a daughter, a sister, niece, wife, daughter-in-law etc. But not yet a mother. It is one role I get to play in life only after I have kids. So much has been written and said about ‘mom’ that in a strange way, I want to live up to that image. I want my children to grow up into enriched individuals and look back at their childhood and say, “It was good”.

My mom is my shrink. There is nothing in the world that she doesn’t understand by merely looking at me and nothing she can’t solve by a few soothing words and a warm bear hug only moms are capable of giving. I want to be my child’s shrink. I can’t give up on being that amazing person for my child as my mom is for me.

 Also, I want kids so that I can look at life from a different point of view. Life makes us all cynics. Growing up takes us away from innocence, one day at a time. I want to see things from my little child’s perspective. Everything in the world that we take for granted, is new for them. I don’t remember the first time I saw a dog, or sat in a Ferris wheel or felt rain pouring down my face. But I will see my children discover all these things and I will capture those moments as if my own. I want to take a swing so high that the world looks tiny. Dance in the rain, sing silly songs, go running after a butterfly, or simply kneel in front of a dog and stick out my tongue like he does. Only a little kid will give me the liberty of doing such childish acts. And to look at the world through a wonder filled kaleidoscope.

It is a going to be a beautiful journey, but right now I write this when my days and nights have morphed into one unending time slot of 24 hours which is on a continuous loop of feeding, burping, nappy changing, soothing and back to feeding again. But yes, now I know.

About the author:

Rutvika is a Chartered Accountant, so she crunches numbers on the weekdays and spends her time writing and baking for her blog www.sizzleanddrizzle.com on the weekends. She has done a Basic Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and wishes to go back once her 8-month old baby Arjun is a little older. She lives in Mumbai.

 

Where everything is awesome: Mommygolightly and babygolightly in Legoland California

Re met his first Lego (in his defence, it was Duplo) when he was around two years old. They made for great ensemble toys along with his wooden blocks, and he was using them quite often to build chairs, sofas and ships for his Barbies, animal figurines, princesses and even for the cats and me. Until a few months ago, when I took him to watch the Lego Movie, his first on the big screen, and both he and I were dancing in the aisles, singing “Everything is awesome!”

I knew then that he was Legoed!

Needless to say, when we went to California this summer for our annual vacation, a visit to Legoland in Carlsbad was mandatory. We had just enough time to make a day trip, although staying at Hotel Legoland and staggering it would have been perfect. But we quickly turned into four year-olds and managed to make the most of the day and at the end, we were singing the Lego theme song all over again!

Here are some moments:

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Because we all love building castles, however grown up we may be

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And we never outgrow slides, do we?

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There is never enough water to splash, is there?

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Dear Lego man. Are you as strong as I think you are?

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And they lived happily ever after in Lego village

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How about I build a city? Wait, a country! No, a universe!

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How lovely to see a Lego monument of love from your own country! Homesick? Not really

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Time to practise

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Oh there, mommy turns into a four-year old again!

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You are never too old to have a fangirl moment with Wlydstyle

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Or to shoot water at lego crocodiles

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And all’s well that ends with Granny’s green apple fries with vanilla cream.

And so Re and I broke into dance and sang “Everything is awesome!” You haven’t heard it? You must

Rules of Mommy-Dating

A year ago, I wrote about the whole business of mommy dating and how we need to put ourselves out there and date other mommies (sometimes for our own sanity, and sometimes for the sake of the children). However anti-social we might pride ourselves being, we tend to succumb to it sooner than later.

For those of you who are still intrigued by the politics and the dynamics of mommy-dating, I have put together a few tips and guidelines: what, how, where, when. So here they are, in no particular order:

1. Be very clear that you are not in it for the larger good of humanity (read your child and what he/she wants to do). There has to be something in it for you. Admit to yourself that you need more stimulation, laughs, some bitching, food, alcohol. And you don’t want to do all the work.

2. Look out for children that your child shows an interest in or the other way round. Harmony and compatibility is key. Although things may not be the same in a different scenario. There might be hitting involved. Or tantrums. Or crying. Or zero-sharing.

3. Neighbourhood is key. No one is going to travel cross-country for a date. However gorgeous you might be. Keep your eyes open. At parks. Supermarkets. At the school, post dropping your child. At bus stops. In your apartment block.

4. Master a skill. Anything. Cupcakes. Finger painting. Gift-wrapping. Paper craft. Homedecor. Clay-modelling. Bartending. Something you do really well. Something that acts as a magnet for the other mommy so she feels like meeting you over and over again, and you can strike off those many hours from “things to do with child”

5. Set a time-frame for the compatibility test between your child and another. If it’s been over an hour and the kids don’t get along, move on. Find another mommy. Or try the same thing at another venue. Switch houses.

6. Your child may not have played with a toy for months, but the minute another child so much as looks at it, he will want it right then. Count on it.

7. Screen time sucks at a playdate, but sometimes, when you are having a really good conversation with a mommy, but the kids look like mascots for whiny.com, by all means, put on the Madagascar 3 DVD. On loop, if it helps.

8. Don’t overdo the hospitality. Taking down a list of what the other child likes and putting out a spread is too needy. Keep it cool. Keep it minimal. Raise the bar slowly.

9. Don’t invest too much in one mommy or one child. If the kids fall out or if she moves cities, or the child moves schools, you will be shattered. Do not set yourself up for depression.

10. Do not come equipped with an entire household and boxes of food and drink for your child at a playdate. It’s not cool. If your child eats pine nuts or quinoa, carry them. Do not expect another mommy to simulate every crumb in your household.

11. Improvise. If the situation at a playdate gets tense, stop breaking into hives. Or trying to resolve the dispute. Change the scene. Flee to the nearest park. Or just go for a drive or take a bus.

12. If you really dig a mommy, and your husbands get along and your kids never fight, well, you’ve hit the jackpot. Do not mess it up. Plan a holiday. Now.

13. If you really like the mother, but your children don’t get along, cheat. Have an affair. Meet her on the sly. Do movies with her. Do coffee when the kids are in school.

14. If a playdate has transitioned into a sleepover, congratulations! There will soon be a time when you can actually watch a late night movie. Like I said before, the idea is to raise the bar. Slowly.

15. Don’t get complacent if things are going too well with one mommy. You never know. Keep working. There is a few more years to go. Post which you can make your own friends irrespective of whether the child likes another child.

16. And remember, you don’t have to marry the mommy, so you can date as many as you like. You will find that sometimes a plan B is not enough. You need a plan K.

Things to do on a holiday (applies to 4 yos only)

1. Watch little TV.

2. Tell mamma it’s a holiday so we can watch ‘so much TV’

3. Watch ‘so much TV’

4. Declare TV is boring.

5. Build a building for mamma and dadda.

6. Watch cat break the building.

7. Build it all over again. This time, break it yourself.

8. Pull out all the dinosaurs and have them race the snakes (rubber ones of course)

9. Make the snakes win.

10. Make the dinosaurs bathe for losing.

11. Declare today is no-bath day.

12. Put Barbies to bed with the snakes.

13. Raid the fridge. Find a chocolate and a piece of cake. Ask if you can eat both.

14. Eat both. Skip lunch.

15. Interchange Barbie’s clothes. Let snakes be.

16. Go back to point 1.