Motherhood, Mundane musings

An Everlasting Bond


The moment a girl is born,

The mother glows in maternal pride-

The pride of creating a new life.

She’s the first teacher who teaches her say ‘Ma’

She shares her first solitary hesitant steps,

And is always there

When her daughter needs love, support, inspiration.

She knows very well all her feelings – 

The occasional blues, the conspiratory giggles….

After all, she was also a girl at a time.

She watches her grow into a gorgeous lass,

Reaching her own shoulders,

Slipping in her own shoes.

She sees in her daughter her own youth.

 There comes a time, when she realizes

Her daughter has grown

To be a promising young lady.

And then, she stands back,

To let her take her own flight into adulthood.

She lets her move away from her shadow and her caring hearth.

Despite the distances,

Her words linger in her child’s life forever,

Scenting it with an aroma of love and goodwill.

At her daughter’s each sensible act

 She sees her grow a little older,

 And herself grow a little younger!

-A

PS: I had written the above piece way back in 1999. Don’t remember now what had inspired me to write something which I knew so little about. This poem is true for a son too but this is the way it was written. No bashing on that please! 

Motherhood, Mundane musings, Parenting

Joys Of Having a Three-nager

Soon after her third birthday I felt my daughter grew up overnight and her ways of talking, reasoning and carrying herself went through a major change. She often surprised me with her understanding of things and her clarity of expression. Sometimes her words were shocking and sometimes hilarious. It was then that I realized after adorable one and terrible two comes the three-nager stage, when they are still young but old enough to exert their personality and explore their individuality.

  

Initially I blamed the change on our international move and arrival of her baby brother but as I spoke more with parents of kids same age I realized it was a common issue everywhere.

As VMJ turns 4 later this week I was reminiscing about all the things she has said during the past year that caught me off guard.

  • “This is pretend”- This was the first time I figured my little girl is not so little anymore. We were in a park and there was a birthday party happening close by. The host had called for a fairy performer to entertain the kids who all seemed to be 3-5 years old. The fairy performer had a nice costume on with glittery wings and a lovely floral tiara. As I saw the fairy in action I immediately called VMJ over to show her the fairy, expecting her to jump with joy and surprise. I was deeply disappointed when she didn’t even blink an eye and gave me a flat “This is pretend mumma”. What on earth happened to sweet innocence of childhood?
  • “Leave me alone” – I knew this would come one day but I wasn’t prepared to hear it so early in my parenting journey.
  • “Could you please not bother me” – Another phrase that came as a shocking surprise.
  • “This is not fair” – Same as above. It took me a while to digest that she can understand and express the feeling behind this phrase.
  • “Because I need to” – Her reasons for doing things have become very grown -up like. She’s started telling me she “needs” to read a book or go out or watch a cartoon. Yes, I agree that kids imitate adults but this one knows exactly when to say “want to” and when to say “need to”.
  • “I heard that mumma” – I used to feel she was still a baby and needed to be explained complex parts while reading a storybook. One day I was reading her a story and feeling it might be too complicated for her to understand I repeated the text in simpler language. “I heard that mumma” came her prompt response.
  • “I know what I’m doing” – I can’t tell her anymore how to wear her shoes or put a clip on her hair. Apparently she always knows what she’s doing. Like my friend says the typical girly ‘Know-it-all” attitude has kicked in big time!
  • “Because I was lonely” – VMJ has started understanding the concept of being lonely and refuses to stay alone coloring or reading while I put her baby brother down for a nap in the other room.
  • “It’s so boring sitting at the table without family” – First feeling lonely and then bored, this generation surely is learning fast.
  • “Papa you look cool” – Her compliments are more grown -up like too. Earlier it used to be only ” Papa you look nice” or “I like your shirt”. Now they range from cool to smart and handsome.
  • “I know that… You don’t tell me” – If I try to repeat a relatively complex concept or name I have told her before I am immediately shushed.
  • “You’re hurting my feelings” – What I took decades to tell my parents, VMJ mastered in 3 years.
  • “You are not making me happy” – This one tugged at my heart for a couple of days until I realized how VMJ was manipulating me with this. 
  • “I’m getting frustrated” – I thought the minimum legal age to feel “frustrated” was at least 10 years!!
  • “Don’t tease me” – VMJ is old enough to understand our silly banter and smart enough to tell me not to tease her. Really? Wasn’t this supposed to come a little later?
  • “Stop kidding me” – I would but darling you are very much a ‘kid’… Hahahaha
  • “Did you change your mind?”: We were playing together and I told VMJ that I was going to make Chai. After I put the pan on gas I started tidying up the kitchen waiting for the water to boil. In the meantime VMJ had got her tea set out and set the table. She asked me again “Mumma, are you making Chai?” and I told her that I’m making green tea. “Did you change your mind Mumma?” asked my darling princess. “Yes, I did.” “OK, I changed my mind too. I’ll also have green tea.” 

As she’s helping me plan her birthday, deciding the guest list, suggesting games that make perfect sense, picking the snacks and return gifts for her friends I am happily surprised at her maturity. At the same time a part of me is getting jittery of what to expect in months to come. I hope I am not writing a post about Frightening-Four the same time next year! 

Would love to read your anecdotes of having a three-nager at home. Moms of younger kids beware… you don’t know what you are in for once your beloved turns 3!

-A

Motherhood, Mundane musings

Can You Love Your Second Child As Much As Your First?

I always wanted 2 kids but my resolve dwindled for a long while after I had my first. My daughter brought unbound love and joy in my life, she made me love her with the intensity I didn’t know existed within me and she made all the soppy motherhood quotes ring true. I felt all the love I had I spent on her and now there wasn’t any left for the second baby. My world revolved so much around her that I felt there was no place for another child. After all there can only be one sun in a solar system! My fears gripped me so much that I almost dropped the idea.

Then somewhere I read a mom’s quote:

You don’t have to split your love in two, your heart just grows a little bit bigger.

The hope and strength these words gave me combined with my long time desire of 2 propelled me to finally have another child.

As the due date grew closer the fear in my heart grew too… the What Ifs plagued me. I tried to spend more and more time with VMJ. We even took a vacation a couple of months before the baby arrived thinking of it as the last time it will be only us and VMJ. It was a planned cesarean and I was very emotional when we decided the date. That was it – the end of my princess’s solo reign. 

My fears stayed with me until I held my baby boy for the first time – he was a tiny bundle of perfection, and I was entranced!

I made a lot of effort to give VMJ the same love and attention as she got before the baby arrived, at the same time I realized how the baby pulled at my heart strings. Though I did not stay up at nights just to look at him like I did with VMJ, I did hold him closer and longer every time he was in my arms because I now knew how fast they grow up. VMJ’s fascination with him and urge to spend all her waking moments near the baby made it much easier for me. Very soon the baby was so much a part of our family as if he had been there forever.

Both my husband and I used to feel that we wouldn’t be too excited about his milestones and antics because of course we had seen it all but this little guy proved us wrong. We were enthralled with each expression, each attempt to crawl made us jump with joy and each mischief had us rolling on the floor with laughter. We have enjoyed each and every look on his face and each action as if we were watching it for the very first time. In fact, this time it was even more wonderful because VMJ watched and enjoyed with us, and most times the chemistry between the siblings multiplied the fun. 

With your first child you love all the moments because you are seeing them so closely for the first time. Our second is also our last so we enjoy it more because it’s the last time we are seeing him this small. Today, in this moment, he’s the youngest he will ever be. Who knows if this is the last time he’s using his arms to drag him forward, or the last time we’ll see his toothless smile or the last time he’ll crawl with his little bums swaying left and right. With the first child you are always excited for what’s going to come next, with the second, you want to make the most of the moment that is. 

I was not sure I could, but I am so happy that I am loving my second child as much as I love my first. Yes, there is a difference in the way I love them both – maybe because of their different ages or different personalities, but there is equal love for both of them. 

If this question haunts you too then take my word and forget about  it. If you love your first child you will love your second, third or even tenth with the same fervor. The love may change with time but it will always be there. Trust me!

  

-A

Life, Motherhood, Parenting

Are You a Good Mom?

  

I am the most perfect mom there ever was… Said no mom ever!!

In fact there are millions of us asking the same question to ourselves each day, day after day… Am I doing it right? Am I a good mom?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a working mother or stay at home mom (SAHM), whether you have one child or four, whether you breast fed till 2 years or formula fed since day 1, whether you have a brigade of helpers or a one woman army, stay nuclear or in a joint family. This question plagues each one of us.

I feel our generation is stuck in a weird spot… we are not as selflessly devoted as our mothers have been and we can’t be too detached as well. We are ambitious, we want career, we want our own space, we value ourselves way more than our mothers did, we want an identity, we want to spend time with our friends, party late nights and go on fancy vacations…. yet we want to be the mom whose child points to all body parts and acts on rhymes by age 1, knows all alphabets and numbers by 18 months, recites poems and gayatri mantra by age 2, who makes beautiful crafts with you, fares well in school show and tell, builds smart models with his legos, greets all elders politely, eats by himself, oh! and of course speaks impeccable English too!

Managing all this within 24 hours of a day is not practically possible and so we constantly guilt trip ourselves for a variety of things. Several research experiments over the years have also proved that women are hard wired to feel more guilty than men…. its in our genes to care for others around us or maybe society has planted these seeds too deep in our psyche. So, its natural for mothers to keep winding themselves up on whether or not they are doing enough while fathers blissfully go about their business.

Since I have had VMJ I pay more attention to different parenting styles, approaches and theories of parents around me. And I have realized that most mothers are good mothers, despite their shortcomings, busy schedules, health issues, other constraints or despite their unmotherly personality.

I am not motherhood police, but for the sake of simplicity I feel if you are doing the basics, you qualify to be a good mother:

  1. Being there for your children and providing emotional support: Children thrive on love and attention. If your children get lot of cuddles and come to you for comfort when they scrape their knees or are having issues at school, you are on the right track.
  2. Taking care of their health and well being: If you care to keep your children healthy and give priority to their hunger and sleep over your own you are doing a great job.
  3. Investing in their future: If you worry about your children’s future from time to time and invest in making it better by way of giving them good education, values, good health, you are a brilliant mom.
  4. Spending time with them: If you spend time with them doing activities that make your children happy and loved, you are an amazing mom.
  5. Playing the bad cop from time to time: If you turn those pretty please requests down tactfully sometimes and refrain from buying everything your children ask for, if you maintain you are the parent and not give in to unreasonable demands… even though it makes your child hate you for a minute… trust me it means you are a brilliant mom.

Stop bashing yourself, ignore what others say or do, focus on building the loving bond with your child and enjoy motherhood. You are a great mom!!

Love,

-A