Winding down

Tagged as: lessons, methinks, ramble

As the year comes to an end, we enter the retrospection mode (not you? then I guess it’s just me..). To say that this year was different than any other, is an understatement. With bebu, everything seems a lot more precious. And some, not so much. The center of my universe has changed for sure. And I have too. Bebu has given me a new perspective about myself. I wish I was half as confident in my teens. But, you live and you learn. How we were in the past, shapes our future. So I can’t really wish for things to be different.

There’s a series of letters written by people to their 16 year old selves, Dear Me. This triggered a whole slew of posts across the internet with multiple people talking about their experiences and what they learned. And I can see why. Our view of who we are and where we want to head, changes so much from our tween years to when we hit our 30s. I’m a few months shy of hitting 30. With a baby and being with this amazing person for a good part of 7 years, I see where I was then and how far I’ve come. I can say that I love being at this point in my life. So, I know I’m late to the party, but now seemed like a good time to pen this.

Letter to my 16 year old self
My letter to my 16 year old self:

  1. Be more confident. Everyone isn’t here to judge you. Even if they are, should it matter?
  2. It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers. But don’t let that stop you from asking questions
  3. Try everything. You don’t have to like it. It’s even ok to hate it.
  4. Don’t let other people tell you who you are. Find it out for yourself.
  5. Don’t pretend to like something because others do.
  6. It’s ok to be quirky. That’s what makes you unique.
  7. Don’t give up on things. Don’t let the first tumble you take prevent from getting up and trying it again.
  8. Keep reading. Books, newspapers, stupid romantic novels, comics. There’s something to learn from everything
  9. Try to find something good in everything. That’ll prevent you from being negative.

There are so many things that I could add to this list. But that’s not just applicable to my 16 year old self 🙂 What can I say, need to keep iterating on a better me everyday.

Happy New Year!

~Preeti

Happy Diwali!!

Tagged as: cards

Diwali card on http://1825steps.com

This is a card Mamma made for Diwali. What is Diwali you ask? Wikipedia to the rescue!! Read more here

~Peetu

Judge not

Tagged as: baby, parenting

Having a baby brings in huge changes. If that’s not an understatement, I don’t know what is. Being a first time parent exposes you to whole new world. A world that you didn’t know anything about previously. At least, I didn’t! It’s fascinating, intriguing and, sometimes, weird.

You’d think that having a kid meant that you and all the other parents are part of this exclusive club. You’re part of the been-there-done-that group. And they empathize with you, coz raising a kid isn’t as easy as it looks. Behind those gummy, toothless, sweet smiles are super naughty kids who don’t want to have a nap. Or think playtime is at 4am… but that’s a post for another day.

But I don’t know what’s it about being a parent, that makes you an open target for advice (well meant, I’m pretty sure, or atleast, I hope!), judgement and some downright criticism of your parenting style. And the weird part is that it’s not just from other parents, it also comes from teenagers! The way people wince or make ‘tsk tsk’ sounds if your kid starts crying in a long line at the checkout counter of a store or, god forbid, on a plane. Oh and the holier than thous!! Woahh!! Go to any forum or mommy blogs and you’ll know what I mean. And it’s not just idle remarks. It pure judgement being passed around. As a member of the fairer sex, I’ve had more than my share in indulging in this pastime. I mean, c’mon! Gossip is 3/4th parts judgements! But then you grow up. You get mature. You realize how high schoolish all those comments are. And also how much hurt they can cause. Because there comes a time when YOU are the topic of discussion. And when you become a parent, you pretty much don’t have time for all this. Your ‘busyness’ reaches a whole different level. That’s when you start appreciating every little break you get. When someone helps you out, when someone lends a hand by not getting in the way. And especially when someone decides to look the other way during one of your not-so-shining-parent moments and gives you a hang-in-there smile.

Is it really necessary to give an opinion if you can see that the child is acting out? Does it really help the parent if you say ‘I would have done this another way’ or ‘I would never do that’? Let’s be honest, when it comes to parenting, we are just winging it. We take the ‘whatever works’ approach. Atleast, I know, I do. That’s why you see all these different methods for everything, like getting the baby to sleep longer than a few minutes, introduction to solids etc. And people who swear by each of them! So please, the next time you are about to say something about how things should be done, hold your tongue for minute and think about the merit of voicing your opinion. Would it be better if you just said nothing or if you actually ask if you can help a parent who looks distressed.

Update: I started writing this post almost a month ago. And as luck would have it, most of the blogs, magazines I read seem to have articles talking about just this. Some of the really good ones:
1. Stop the Mommy Wars project
2. Matt Walsh’s excellent article on how parents are being judged by non-parents
3. And countless others that I can’t find a link to. (sorry!)

~Peetu

Perfect paths

Tagged as: methinks

We have an idea of how we want things to turn out. We develop a kind of tunnel vision with that end goal. We put on blinders and turn a blind eye towards other possibilities. But if we pause and rethink our definition of this ‘perfect’ way to do something, we would realize that our version of perfect may not align with someone else’s. Infact, I’m sure it doesn’t. ‘Coz there’s no absolute in perfect. It’s relative to each person’s view of that something they yearn for. So somewhere down the line when you are pursuing your goal using your ‘perfect’ method, you’ve already veered off course from someone else’s ‘perfect’ path of achieving the same goal.

Now that we know this, why are we so hung up on finding one single path to something? Why don’t we let ourselves loose and learn to adapt? Learn to keep our eyes open for things coming along and modifying our path. As long as we reach our destination and had fun during the journey there, does it really matter what path we took?

~Peetu

On the internets this week – V2

Tagged as: on the internets this week

Kids, nuff said -> 25 kids too trendy for their own good

A compelling read on how we as a society treat failure and how/why that attitude needs to change

Another compelling article about failure

If you work at a tech company this article about how to work with your PM will resonate with you

Are you a grammar snob?? This article about a reformed snob is for you!!

Whoa.. Heavy stuff about letting go in this Apartment Therapy article. The title ‘Cleaning out the Ikea cabinet of Emotional Clutter’. How epic is that?

Finally, an article about how gratitude matters. And how you show it matters even more.

~Peetu

Bebu’s week out

Tagged as: baby, bebu, travel

We are just settling in after a whirlwind(?) trip to Vegas. Most people go to Vegas to celebrate their 21st birthday, Bebu celebrated her 5 month bday in style. Why Vegas? ‘Coz my brother & his wife stay there. And it seemed like a perfect spot for the entire family to congregate since my parents are visiting. I read a dozen blogs/articles to prepare for this trip (links at the end).

We spent 8 days in Henderson/Vegas. Of which 3 days/2 nights we stayed at the Cosmopolitan. The rest of the trip we kicked back at my brother’s place. And boy, did bebu have fun at my brother’s place! So much attention and pampering. We celebrated her 5 month bday there. And her aunt & uncle got her a cake, new clothes. And she learned to flip over onto her tummy there. Yayy for new milestones!!

Talking about milestones, this was a huge trip for us too. Bebu’s first airplane trip. First stay away from home. We generally don’t travel much besides our annual trip back home. I remember pre-bebu Z & I drove to Vegas. A trip that involved 10 hrs of driving. No stops. Not anymore. This trip involved a lot of planning. Some worked. Some didn’t. I made a list of things that did, and others that didn’t.

Air travel:
Check-in essentials/ Flying:

  • Birth certificate to get a BVD (boarding verified document)
  • Carseat + base (if you plan to get your own) – we gate checked ours. Most of the articles we read mentioned getting it onboard so that you could use it incase there’s an extra seat. That ways the baby can sit in her carseat.
  • Stroller (make sure you remember to remove all the blankets etc from the storage area before your security check)
  • Arrive atleast 1.5-2 hours before your flight leaves. It goes a long way in keeping everyone sane. No rushing between security and your gate
  • Get a blanket if you plan to nurse. Bottle feeding means you have to warm the bottle, sterilize it. Too many things to juggle

Gotchas:
Don’t forget to remove the icepack/cooler for the milk bottles from your carryon luggage (doh!)

Things I could’ve/should’ve done:
I missed the tip where people on the internets (!!) suggested wearing the baby in a carrier while zipping through security. I wish we had done this. It would’ve been so much better for bebu & us. Also, if you have the baby in the carrier, don’t wear jackets as suggested in Science of Mom article mentioned below.

Also, I cannot stress the importance of arriving on the airport with plenty of time to spare. On our trip back we had to rush and were the last people to board. If you are coming with a carseat, that needs a window seat since the aisles cannot be blocked. A kind gentleman gave up his window seat. Bad news: it was in the last row. Our carseat didn’t fit in there.

 

Staying away from home

Things we got from home:

  • Pack & Play
  • Blankets
  • Toys
  • Bibs
  • Clothes

Things we bought there:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Tub

When we were staying at the hotel, we asked for a crib. I know a lot of people frown about that. But we checked the crib. It looked sturdy and clean. We did use our sheets on top of it. And guess what, the baby was fine. We were staying in a double room and one bedroom was further away from the living/sitting room and the other bedroom. So we stayed in that one. Best part was having a door that helped us to make sure that we were able to stick to her routine and also relax with the others.

For her playtime at home, we just used 2 yoga mats and put a thick sheet on top of it. Voila.. End result, we had a mobile baby by the end of our trip.

Gotchas:
Our hotel room didn’t have a microwave. What the whaaa!! So heating the bottles was tricky. We ended up using the hot water in the bathroom to heat the bottle. And that took forever! So if you are stuck in a similar situation, make sure you have a warm bottle before the baby wakes up. ‘Coz all hell will break loose if you aren’t ready!! (Just kidding! No, really..)

Things I could’ve/should’ve done:
Bebu is 5 months. She was fine with sleeping on a makeshift bed when we were at home. The Pack & Play was too much trouble for us. Since she’s too big for the bassinet and doesn’t sit up on her own, getting her in and out of that when she’s asleep was back breaking, literally. So for the last 3 days, we just folded that thing.

I missed having the monitor. I wanted to pack it, but I thought it was an overkill. In hindsight, I should’ve carried it. We ended up improvising. Z would call my phone, and his phone would be by the crib and I would have my phone on mute with the speaker on. Not ideal. But thanks to AT&T and free mobile to mobile calls, it was free. And it worked.

 

Moving around:

Things we got from home:

This was the biggest gotcha for us. Vegas was H-O-T! Everyone suggested to get a carrier and ditch the stroller when you were out. Guess what? With the temp hitting 107 degree everyday, the carrier wasn’t even an option. So we ended up using the stroller+carseat combo. We had to make sure that we avoided taking her out when it was super hot. So we spent most of the day indoors.

Also, this trip she finally started using her pacifier. This was one thing off her initial baby shopping list that I had. The one thing that she absolutely hated. But she loves it now. That’s what made car trips easier when she got a bit antsy. Welcome to the family girfu. (Yes, I’ve a name for her pacifier..)

This trip also marked the first time when we went out on a date. Z & I had a dinner date at Sage in Aria. This restaurant was on my list for quite some time now. And the dinner did not disappoint. Ah-mazing! My parents, Z & I also went for a show, while bebu’s uncle & aunt graciously offered to babysit her. Bebu has them tightly wrapped around her finger 🙂 We saw Ka at MGM. If you haven’t ever been to one of these shows, you totally should. It’s an experience!

That’s it. That marks the end of our traveling to Vegas with a baby edition. Hopefully this makes it easier the next time we travel with Bebu.

Few resources that offered good tips & advice (in random order):
1. Chezerbey – Flying with baby
2. Momsicle – Travel tips
3. The ultimate goto guide – Have Baby Will Travel
4. Tips for smoother travel from Science of Mom

Being alone

Tagged as: lessons

I was recently going through the drafts section & this post from March 2012 popped up. I never finished writing the entire post, hence it’s draft status. Publishing this for posterity..
——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Today when I opened the garage door to enter the house, I knew it was different. I knew that once I enter inside, I won’t have to switch on the lights. Or sit there thinking about a dinner recipe for 1. Coz after 3 weeks, I wasn’t by myself. Z has been out of the country and I was alone at home. Well, not for the entire day. Just the nights and weekends. In all of 28 years, I’d never been alone at home. As a kid back in India, it’s very difficult to find yourself in that situation given the huge extended families and neighbors around to take care of the ‘poor kid’ who was left alone.

I enjoyed my ‘freedom’ for the first few days. I always wanted to go to dinner, shopping (grocery & other kind), movies alone. Kinda like what she says..
[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs]

And I did that. Not everything on that list, but some. I loved going to the bookstore at night, just browsing the endless shelves, without having to worry whether Z was getting bored (I generally drag him to bookstores, so…). The Home Goods trip – check. Ditto for Marshalls. I wanted to watch Descendants (George Clooney = dreamy eyed me), but it wasn’t playing in any of the theaters nearby, so that plan fell apart. I went for dinner with friend. Babysat kids (which is a good thing :D).. Did a lot of work in the yard..

But then after some time, things started getting boring. I started staying up late at the office. I stopped planning for elaborate meals since it would be just me. I mean, lets face it. It blows that no one is around to praise all that effort you put into creating a masterpiece in the name of dinner. Awesome food isn’t fun anymore if no one is around licking their fingers while telling you how great the food was. I started missing the small things. Like having someone around to listen to endless nonsense at the end of the day, the funny arguments over why the other person should be the one who switches off the bedroom light today or how it’s not your turn to wash the dishes today. I had creaking floors to keep me company…