The Summer 2015 Nerdy Lust List!

I am an unabashed nerd. A polished, and made- up nerd these days, but a nerd nevertheless. And I can still get into my frumpy, unkempt, snooty avatar whenever I feel the need to. Stationary makes me weak in the knees, as much as shoes do. If asked to choose between a designer bag and the complete works of a particular author I like; I might go sick with confusion. A YSL lipstick and a Lamy both call out to me equally…Sigh!

I shall let the pictures do the talking..


Leatherman RAPTOR- MEDICAL SHEARS WITH MULTIPLE TOOLS

Source- http://www.toolshop.co.za/details/leatherman-raptor/526#products
Source- http://www.toolshop.co.za/details/leatherman-raptor/526#products

Wouldn’t this be handy dandy in the emergency room!


Midori/Traveler’s Notebook in Brown

Source- www.pencils.jp
Source- http://www.pencils.jp

This takes you to a world of it’s own folks. And the people there are simply mental!


Pilot Custom 823 Fountain Pen

Source- www.amazonsupply.com
Source- http://www.amazonsupply.com

An icon. Truly one of a kind. For the serious fountainpen-ers only.


The complete works of Haruki Murakami

Source- www.haruki-murakami.com
Source- http://www.haruki-murakami.com

Would save me the trouble of ordering the next one every week.


The Pebble Steel

Source-blog.getpebble.com
Source-blog.getpebble.com

Step away Apple, these guys are the real deal! An unpretentious smart watch minus the hype, faff and fluff.


The FitBit Charge HR

Source- product website
Source- product website

Finally, an upgrade.


Calling all nerds to state current lusts..

WP_20150331_00_26_47_Pro

Till next time..

Dr J.

Of politics and religion. And online squabbles.

This is a post to talk about why I won’t talk about religion and politics on this blog. It’s not that I don’t have my own two (read five hundred) cents on these topics, I just don’t want to open that ugly, festering, divisive can of worms.

As a young girl, I wanted to change to world; that was my “project”. Now I am my own project. There are so many inner demons to kill and battles to win, I have no time to bring down dictators or to waste on social media squabbling with bigots and idiots who mostly have no clue what they are talking about. I have a family to take care of, patients to treat, friendships to cherish, places to see, relationships to enjoy . I have a life to live.

Does this mean I don’t care a $%^& about what happens around  me? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I have causes I believe in, people I’d like to help. I prefer to do that quietly and privately. Brandishing it on public forums earns me nothing but superficial felicitations and false bravado. Charity and compassion are after all the most selfish of virtues. It is a drug like no other, lulling you into a sense of divinity and superiority.

You my dear reader, does it matter to me which God you bow to or which leader you vote for or support. Do I care if you are a theist, deist, atheistic, agnostic or just plain confused about the concept of God. I care for that, less than what I would for a mosquito’s arse who is buzzing outside my locked car window.

I do however, care for how you treat me and the fellow human beings around us. Religion should be an intensely private contract (if at all) between you and your God or whatever else you believe in.

I also care if you are a mass murderer, man- hating- faith fanatic, rapist or child abuser. Nothing more. And I shall therefore speak nothing of it here.

As for changing the world, I wish I could still do it. But I realize, it has to begin somewhere closer to home. With me. And I’m quite busy with that at the moment. I believe anyone can do whatever it is that floats their boat; as long as it doesn’t involve infringing another human’s right to live as he or she chooses to. Of course it is not as simple as it sounds. I sometimes wish I had a bullet for every rapist and child murderer out there; then I realize- it will probably make no difference to the way things work in the universe. We all have the good, bad, ugly and the pure evil within us, how and why it manifests is hard to predict or comprehend. We are a species that loves gore, violence, war and conflicts. Our history on this planet is a testament to it.

And please, let’s all be brutally honest here- IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THE PURSUIT AND SUSTENANCE OF POWER. Nothing more and nothing less. Power, and possibly wealth. They are ancient bedfellows, their destines intertwined inextricably and irrevocably. No man or woman can resist it’s call. And the path to power and wealth is usually riddled with deception, violence and killing.

 

Phew! Now that my rant for the day is over, I can get on with my life. And folks, please do the same with yours and stop bickering online with folks who will never get your point anyway!

Till next time..

Dr J.

The Ladies Lounge- Currently Crushing!

Holla Ladies!

I am tempted to make a silly pun as an opening to today’s post. Apologies. In advance. If it irks you or seems overtly cheesy – HELL! MARCH HAS MARCHED BY!

March of 2015 involved a lot of packing, unpacking, re- packing, scheduling, planning and organizing. And travelling, of course. I have my belongings strewn across several cities, and two countries. I end up buying new things (toiletries, skincare, makeup and random stuff that we women seem to can’t live without!) wherever I go because I never seem to bother carrying stuff from one place to the next. Well, it is an annoyance to The Mister, but I relish the opportunities to try new and shiny things!

So my Habibtis, Yalla! Let’s get going..

 

The March Favs!
The March Favs!

 

*Click on individual pictures for further information

Till next time..

Dr J.

Products mentioned:

1. The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Velvet Stick No. 40

2. The Body Shop Squeaky Clean Scrub – Suitable for blemished skin

3. Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipstick- No. 43 “La Favorite”

4. Zara Woman Eau de Toilette in Cherry

5. Nivea Daily Essentials Refreshing Cleansing Wipes (Normal Skin)

6. Marque Kleenex Tissues – pack of 15

7. Johnson’s baby 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner

8. Elizabeth Arden High Shine Lip Gloss No 12 Pink Frost

 

P.S. Do let me know if you’d like me to mention the prices and availability in future posts.

Finding my sunshine

I am truly envious of those people. Those people who are content. Happy with where they are and glad of their circumstance. They make me green- eyed and feel ‘not so virtuous’. I secretly covet their lives and their calm, sedate existence of contentedness. I wish I had their strength of character, a character that is not greedy for more. That does not wish for what they do not have.

The dark corners of restlessness and discontent beckon the fidgety green eyed monsters within. I yearn for the hearty sunshine of thankfulness and satisfaction. The sense of fulfillment is a distant mirage, on the darkened horizon. Just out of grasp. Ever tempting, never attaining.

But, can a sated mind ever conjure the new, the unseen, the unparalleled? Can blissful contentment ever lead to  inventiveness and creativity. If I do not wish for the bigger, better, faster, , fancier; if I do not wish for MORE wouldn’t the world I know stall? And degenerate. And rot in the depths of mediocrity?

A fulfilled soul, is one that is ready to move on. Move on to the worlds beyond. If I am truly content, then what is it that I live for? What do I aspire to?

I’m good now, but I swear I know I can be better. In every way.

All you lovely, content and happy folks; revel in your sunshine of mirth and calm. The kinds like me are forever doomed to languish in greedy corners and battle the discontent. Our kind will never be truly happy, but we shall make your lives better, happier and MORE.

We strive harder, for we wish to overcome the disquiet within. We get better, in the hope of feeling better.

We too shall find our sunshine someday, or fabricate our own- to fill at least a small corner of our dark, restless world.

“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”
Lao Tzu

Till next time..

Dr J.

Ma Wednesday! Refining the art of baby travel- Part 2

Choices galore

So many choices I say. Choosing the date of travel, the airline, the time, the seats…phew!

Date, well you might not have total control; but  travelling bang in the middle of the work week is obviously better in terms of queues and crowds.

Many people tell me it’s best to travel at night if you have a baby along. The assumption being they will sleep through the journey. Our experience has been slightly different. For us early morning flights have always been better. We wake her up early to change, nurse/ feed etc. Then we are off to the airport. She plays around for a while. We get through check in, immigration, security with an awake baby and she will probably still be awake while we board, which is all good I tell you. She might be a bit cranky as we board and settle down; new, enclosed, crowded places are never very baby friendly. A little bit of soothing, singing and nursing during take- off and she drifts off to dreamland. And we can breathe easy.

If we travel at night, our crazy bub sometimes stays awake for most of the night while on board, and we arrive at our destination with an over- tired, whiny, pouty babe, who then quickly turns to a screeching, put- me-to-sleep-dumb- mama babe. So yes, when you really come down to it, night or day – it is up to your little one to decide the comfort of your flight/ travel.

Seat issues

It is believed that the least turbulence affected seats are those closest to the wing. But we, The H Family love turbulence and the feeling of free fall. So turbulence is never a criteria for us.

Bassinet seats too are not very vital to us. They are overrated as far as we are concerned, especially on flights that are less than 6 hours’ duration. We/ I honestly don’t mind a tiny human sprawled on top of me for hours at a stretch. If I’m travelling alone, I prefer a window seat, for a teeny bit of extra “wiggle room” and nursing privacy.

The Mister prefers an aisle seat- for two reasons. One, poor thing gets some extra leg- room (considering he is 8 to 9 inches taller than I am) and two, he doesn’t have to knee- scrape and excuse himself if he wants to take the bub for a mid- air walk.

If you can afford it, paying for an extra seat can be a life- saver; especially if your little one is over six months and if it is a long haul flight. For younger fliers, purchasing an extra seat for the car- seat is an excellent option.

The dreaded diaper- changing situation

Almost always, the last thing I do before boarding is change Lil’ Z’s diaper. Full or not, I change them. I do everything I can to minimize the chance of having to change one on the plane.

All things said, you can can only do so much. Coz’ when they gotta go, they gotta go! 

Changing a diaper on an airplane lavatory is no mean task folks. People have told me some flights don’t have a changing table in the lavatories. A flight attendant I spoke to said it ain’t true though. She told me that it is sometimes so well camouflaged that it becomes a game of “find the hidden changing table”! So folks, if in doubt, or if you can’t seem to find one – ask the helpful attendant.

Finding the table is solving trickery no.1, next comes laying the baby. A tiny, helpless, sub 3 month old isn’t a big problem. A squirmy 9 month old can be. So, be armed with weapons of mass distraction. Please let that weapon not be your phone, unless you want to see it being sucked into the adjacent vacuum potty. I usually give my squirmy champ some tissues, or the in- flight disposable cups/ sick- bags…. and then get down to business.

You. That is it.
Yup. That is it.

 

If alone, this is my technique. Stuff three wet wipes in one pocket, three dry in another. Baby in one arm and diaper (at least two preferably, amazing how accidents happen when you least want them to) and changing mat in another. Please carry the bare minimum with you. Trust me when I say when there is no space in there. Your diaper bag will be a liability there, not an asset. Also, you will have to lay it on the floor. (I can see all the ladies vigorously shaking their heads)

I even worry about getting my changing mat dirty (The Mister sniggers, but I have seen some downright filthy public changing tables). If you are the type (like me), or if you travel a lot; these disposable changing mats/ pads can come in real handy. A lot of different brands are available. I have seen some Munchkin ones being sold in Doha. At Bangalore- they are available on Amazon.

Source-usefulhk.gmc.globalmarket.com
Source-usefulhk.gmc.globalmarket.com

 

Oh yeah, it’s extremely helpful if you have the “diaper removal and reapplication without removing pants” technique mastered.

Stroller- yay or nay?

Yay if you wan’t to use your stroller at your destination. For example, you are visiting family or are on a vacation and you intend to lug it around. But, if the stroller is only for your convenience at the airport, then nay it is folks. Most international airports have strollers you can use anyway. Another option is to use the duty- free shopping carts to carry you hang baggage/ changing bag.

Personally I find baby- wearing the easiest. I use a ring- sling on short trips and small airports (domestic), because it’s easier to wear and takes up very little space in my changing bag. In larger airports (Changi, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Heathrow) or if I wish to stroll (read shop) around a bit I use my SSC (Ergo, Boba). If The Mister is travelling with us, it’s even better. We switch often, or he hangs out at one place with the bub while I do my thing!

If you do insist on taking the stroller, there are some advantages. You can feed her (no need to go looking for a high chair in the airport) and change her in it. Almost all airlines allow a stroller (not part of any luggage calculations) and you can leave it at the door (as you board, you will receive it at the baggage carousel). In transits, you have to manage without though. Some people have told us their strollers were damaged in transit, but I think those are exceptions rather than rules.

Best are those nifty, collapsible (umbrella) strollers, they might allow you to stow it in the overhead compartments, subject to space availability . They are a good “in between” option for those who don’t want to baby wear, or if you are alone with very long transits or have health issues.

 

No stroller conundrum for us!
No stroller conundrum for us!

 

Zoe asleep, Mama content!
Zoe asleep, Mama content!

 

 

Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment.

I barely have enough room in my changing bag, to fit Z’s clothes, diapering essentials and feeding bits and bobs ( AND some last minute duty free buys!). Carrying two dozen toys and books to keep the one year old engaged is therefore not a viable option. Food and shelter for the tiny human take precedence. Then how does one keep a hyper- alert, I-want- to- learn- everything- now baby engaged in a closed cabin filled with strangers for several hours at a a stretch?

Well, it may not be ideal, and some parents may scoff; but the only thing that can keep her engaged (for about half an hour) is a touch screen. So, if we are in a real bind, we let her loose on our iPads (which we would rarely ever do otherwise). Or we play a couple of videos she likes. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Next, we move on to everything else. I really mean everything else. To her, EVERYTHING is a toy. And if it not outright dangerous or harmful to her in any way, we let her be. We will show her who is boss when we land

Entertain with whatever you can!
Entertain with whatever you can!

 

Nursing woes

I have already written about this in an earlier post. I might as well rehash it here again…

I have read a lot about nursing during take-off/ landing.

It is a absolute must or the little one’s ear will pop, a kind lady once told me. She sat next to me on one of the flights, and just as take-off was announced, she vigorously woke up her calm, sleeping baby and tried to forcibly nurse. The little one ended up crying for the next half- hour. If “ears- popping” was the worry, the mum need not have. By making her baby cry, she made sure the ears wouldn’t pop!

As a Maxillofacial Surgeon, I do know a little bit about palates and middle ears and Eustachian tubes 🙂 The weird feeling that we have in our ears when we ascend or descend, is our ears trying to equalize the pressure differences.

Opening and closing our mouths, or yawning/ swallowing  (hence the candy distribution just prior to take-off) open the Eustachian tube and allows air to travel more quickly to the middle ear and equalize the pressure faster. This is  a harmless adjustment that our body does.

If your baby is fast asleep, there is not need to wake her up and nurse her during take-off/ landing. Unless the baby has a previous condition that predisposes to discomfort due to middle- ear pressure changes or has an existing middle- ear infection- it is usually not that uncomfortable to the baby. In fact, if anything, it is at the point of highest descent (before landing) that it can get a wee bit uncomfortable.

There in no documented medical research/ literature that advocates nursing during take-off or landing. Moreover, if the baby is in pain or distress, she will most likely cry; and that very act will help with the pressure changes.

All said, nursing does comfort and soothe babies and the mother is more comforatable with a happy, calm baby- SO NURSE AWAY I SAY!

 

Well, as of now I need not worry about Zoe’s ear “popping”. She seemed to have figured it out. I have seen her open and close her mouth randomly (she learnt the trick from a fellow traveller) 🙂

 

Yes. I believe I’m almost done. There might be a possibility of part 3 though…

On our flights, mostly there is a lot of this

 

Shoes out, socks off asap, and start circus!
Shoes out, socks off asap, and start circus!

 

zoe strawberry
Strawberries- Thee are my savior from heavens above!

 

 

Madam's so busy she barely even registers a plastic cup one her head...
Madam’s so busy she barely even registers a plastic cup one her head…

 

If all goes well, all the above exertions and ministrations may lead to this

WP_20150317_22_26_31_Pro
A sleeping babe. Mommies, isn’t that a sight to behold!

 

 

And then Mama can put get her shoes off, put her legs up, put the headset on….

 

And catch some 70's marilyn Monroe action!
And catch some 70’s Marilyn Monroe action!

 

And have some num- nums!

WP_20150317_21_03_05_Pro

 

 

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

Other baby- travel posts

http://jaznajalil.com/2015/03/18/ma-wednesday-refining-the-art-of-baby-travel-part-1/

http://jaznajalil.com/2014/10/12/the-ladies-lounge-baby-travel-edition-seven-things/

http://jaznajalil.com/2014/09/29/traveling-vacationing-with-a-newborn/

(I can’t seem to insert links any other way, they just don’t work! Ugh…wordpress!!)

 

The Ladies Lounge Pic Post- The BEST bases. Ever!

Foundation is truly the foundation of a great work/ party face. If you are lazy or out of time, or if you are are blessed with great skin; a tinted moisturizer or BB cream will do the trick. On days you want to look slightly more polished, you could go full on and slap some foundation on- low or full coverage; your wish.

There are my favorite bases. Ever.

With these, I can go from “nothing there” all the way to flawless!

 

Love 'em!
Love ’em!

 

Does not "cover" anything, but leaves a nice, dewy looking face. Inexpensive.
Does not “cover” anything, but leaves a nice, dewy looking face. Inexpensive.

 

A staple in my bag, for eons now.
A staple in my bag, for eons now.

 

Beats my Vitalumiere! I didn't think it was possible...
Beats my Vitalumiere! I didn’t think it was possible…

 

What are you favorite base products ladies?

Go on, try these on at the counter, and let me know!

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

 

 

Nerdy Sunday! The All Souls Trilogy- Deborah Harkness.

1.How/Why/Where did you buy the book?

I am not embarrassed to admit that I am the Harry Potter/ Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse Novels)/ Vampire Diaries/ Twilight reading kind of girl-woman. (As a consolation, I read the Kafka, Murakami, Tolstoy kinds too).

As a gawky teenager I also watched every episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I still catch episodes of True Blood on HBO (if any little ones and parents aren’t around of course!). It is obvious I have a fascination for the para/ super- natural, other- worldly creatures. Pragmatic as I am, I still can without difficulty imagine sharing a world with witches, vampires, elves, fairies, demons, ghosts, ghouls, demons, warewolves and other more interesting creatures and beings (human beings can get rather boring you see).

So when the internet was shoving this book into my face (Darn you New York Times Bestseller List!)

 

A1FCyxvHfaL

 

I caved. This, I was told was the last of the All Souls Trilogy. So, off I went to Amazon to find me Book no. 1 of the series…

2. What is the book about?

Well, the basic premise is a love story. This time, it is not between two witches, or between a mere mortal and a vampire, or even a werewolf. It is the forbidden, all consuming, all defying, uncompromising love between an old and mysterious (but smokin’ hot obviously!) vampire and an initially reluctant but later all- powerful witch. And yes, one is a geneticist/ evolutionary biologist from Oxford while the other is a Professor of Alchemical History at Yale. Phew!

This is just the beginning folks. By the end of the third book, you are light years away from where the book first started- and in a good way. There are spells and magic of course, but there is time travel too. The author (Deborah Harkness) is a historian who teaches European history and the history of science at the University of California; and it shows. She blends in fact and fiction seamlessly, and intricately integrates real-life history into the love saga of Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont. Imagine Shakespeare making a fleeting appearance in a current book.

Another important character in the book is a manuscript. An ancient book which is ineluctably tied to Diana. The book may well have all the answers,…

3. First impressions?

Honestly, the first few chapters from Book 1 (A Discovery of Witches)  is a bit of a dampener. I wondered what all the hoopla was about. The dreary opening scene at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, did not promise much, but I assure you- the pace quickens.

Also, in the beginning there a Twilight déjà vu all over the book. The brooding, moody, intellectual but gorgeous vampire who oozes power and authority can’t seem to stay away from the female protagonist. And the female lead? The confused, vulnerable Professor Bishop does remind me of the unsure, fragile Bella in the beginning.

Thankfully, despite a few superficial similarities; the books are very, very different. The “hero” of this book is definitely the female protagonist. She hardly ever needs rescuing by her undead prince charming, and grows into her powers as the books roll along. And dare I say- I enjoyed that.

And the best part for me? Diana is older than I am! Wow…when did I last read a witch- vampire/ romance story with a heroine in her thirties? Never!

4. Final evaluation?

The first book was definitely engaging, so much so that I did not want to wait a day before I bought the next ebook. I couldn’t wait for the paperback to arrive (even with single day shipping).

The second book let me down a bit though. Or maybe I expected too much.

The third book managed to tie up all the loose ends/ plots that were hanging separate. The “epic war” never pans out though (you will know what I mean if you read the book).

Unlike many other books of this genre, this book seems to  be targetted toward the “adult female”. Not the 18 year olds, thank goodness. It is a slightly adult version of Twilight, with a more rounded, assertive heroine who is well- read and thinks for herself. The science angle keeps things fresh and interesting; a break from the other books which focus entirely on the supernatural. Harkness even adds a gay couple or two to keep things contemporary. Nice touch! Of course, the vampires are uber rich; there are fast cars and fancy mansions galore and the vampire men are all breathtakingly handsome and the women exquisite (we women never quite come out of the Mills & Boon trap, do we?). I can forgive such sterotypes, I put them down as some unfailing perks of immortality.

5. How long did it take to finish?

They took a while. Each book has about 700 pages. And though I wish I could read all books at one go, I do have other things to do!

6. Critique?

At the end of the third book, you are far from satiated. Not because it is that fantastic. No. Mostly because, there seem to be many pieces of the puzzle missing. The bigger picture is incomplete. If you have read The Lord of the Rings or the entire Harry Potter series, you’d know what I mean. Those are epic stories, not because the tale is so unique; no. Those are classic good triumphing over evil/ great arduous, journeys to ends of the earth tales. What makes them so engaging and re-readable are the nuances in character and the attention to the smallest of small details. The books are layered, and each time you read it, you decipher something new. Harkness could have built a similar tale, but does not.

At one point, the magic of Ashmole 782 (THE BOOK I spoke of earlier) seems bizarre and the author herself seems confused as to how to present it.

I hoped for so much more. Sigh!

7. Who would you recommend the book to?

Let’s be honest here, the book is definitely chic- lit. So I’d recommend it to all the ladies who think they too smart for the Twilight books but are still curious about the genre.

8.  Would you read it again?

Most likely yes. After 5 years maybe!

9.  Do you regret purchasing it?

No.

10. Favourite part/ quote from the book?

Well, it’s been a while since I finished them. Let me see I can find a cheesy paragraph or so 🙂

“Somewhere in the center of my soul, a rusty chain began to unwind. It freed itself, link by link, from where it had rested, unobserved, waiting for him. My hands, which had been balled up and pressed against his chest, unfurled with it. The chain continued to drop, to an unfathomable depth where there was nothing but darkness and Matthew. At last it snapped to its full length, anchoring me to a vampire. Despite the manuscript, despite the fact that my hands contained enough voltage to run a microwave, and despite the photograph, as long as I was connected to him, I was safe.”
Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

 

I guess that’s enough romance for one day.

“His full name is Matthew Gabriel Philippe Bertrand Sebastien de Clermont. He was also a very good Sebastien, and a passable Gabriel. He hates Bertrand and will not answer to Philippe.”
Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

 

WP_20150208_13_41_55_Pro

 

Till next time..

Dr J.

The downsized mommy- travel purse!

There was a time I carried my laptop and worked on the plane. I would buy magazines at the airport and read them cover to cover. A twelve hour flight would mean two movies, one book, at least two magazines (cover to cover), some grubbing, some shut eye and loads of window- gazing. Sigh! Those were the golden days, I now realize.

These days, I have to downgrade and downsize. Everything. My has-everything-but-kitchen sink hand baggage is now a mere purse. I don’t need much in terms of entertainment (or keeping myself occupied)- I have my hands full thank you very much!

When Zoe was a newborn, I stuffed everything into The Changing Bag. But then every time they asked for the passport, I had a nappy or a towel come out with the passport. I had to rummage to bottom of the bottomless pit to find some cash or a lip- balm. So, I started carrying a small- sling/ cross body purse to stash some of MY essentials.

The bare minimum would be the travel documents, a mini- wallet with cash and cards and maybe a pen. But I do add some other “stuff”, just to keep my feminine self satiated! 🙂

 

 

*Click on individual pictures for descriptions.

Most days, I squeeze my iPad into it as well.

If I am flying out from a GCC country, I sometimes don’t bother with keeping my liquids in a separate clear, re-sealable bag. Everywhere else, I do.

What are your travel essentials folks?

Oh by the way, I always carry two phones and three SIM cards!

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

 

 

 

 

Ma Wednesday! Refining the art of baby travel- Part 1

For a human being who can not yet dress herself, or do her hair or even have the motor skills to use a spoon effectively; she does a darned good job at clicking- on  her infant seat belt. She can undo it herself as well.

She braces herself and hangs on to dear life when the plane starts to “whoosh” before take off and smiles and undoes her belt when ever there is a jarring sound (she thinks the plane’s landed).

She even knows which button to press so that “ding- dong” happens, soon after which one of the pretty, smiley, colorfully painted ladies will come to her and maybe even give her random goodies and treats.

Of course, she despises the the bassinet and thinks it is beneath her to be trapped in that cramped, juvenile contraption. She believes a plane- ride is an exercise in human behavioral study and hence does not waste any precious moments snoozing or lazing. She watches, mimics, smiles, hides, coos, babbles, sings and occasionally wails to the entire plane.

Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention- she once saw a co- passenger continously open and shut her jaw/ mouth during ascent and started mimicking her. I think Zoe has now figured out that it helps with the weird feeling that she probably gets in her ear. I caught her doing it again later, randomly; for a little while!

Welcome to the world of a one- year old frequent flier. Mama and Papa are based roughly 3000 km away. Gramps and Granny are around 750 km apart, uncle is another 3000 km away, while pediatrician “dada” (also uncle in reality), Auntie and cousins H&M are 400 km afar. Not to mention Mama’s hometown which is in another corner. To top it all, there are vacations to be had. So yeah, Mademoiselle Zoe travels a lot. And flies quite a bit too!

Getting easier..

We have been refining our “with- baby” travel technique for the past one year. The first few trips were pretty stressful. We carried truckloads of stuff and when we actually needed something, it was not to be found. We are still a work in progress though. But every trip is easier. There are glitches and untoward occurrences sometimes, of course, but the baggage is definitely getting lighter and the travel more pleasurable.

Travelling as a couple with a baby is a breeze these days. The real hassles arise when you are travelling alone with your bub, especially long hauls and transits. Honestly, the only real problem I have encountered while travelling alone with Zoe is managing the loo breaks!

Our work schedules mandate that about 60 to 70 percent of the time, I’m travelling alone with Zoe. And after several flights, we now have a routine.

Actually there are only two tips that matter.

1. Keep the bub full and dry.

2. Travel light (or as light as you possibly can)

Yep. That is all.

Feed the bubba I say!

A hungry baby is a cranky baby, and trust me you don’t want a cranky baby on your second connecting flight while you are in the middle seat with two pudgy, sleeping aunties/ grannys on either side, absolutely no wiggle room, and four other wailing babies in the seats in front (been there, done that!). So yeah, you feed well and you feed often.

If you are still nursing exclusively; don’t be shy to do it as often as the bubba wants. A nursing cover and the right top will save you from any seemingly embarrassing/ awkward moments.

The first thing I do at transits is find the changing/ baby room and get down to business. Change, wash, nurse (especially when EBF) and then get to more interesting concerns (like shopping 🙂 ).

Find the baby room asap!
Find the baby room asap!

Baggage woes

If I am alone, I try to carry only the changing bag as my hand- baggage. Everything else, including my laptop goes into the checked in baggage.  If The Mister is along, we plonk all our electronics and gadgets into a light- weight wheelie and roll it around. It also serves as a spare standing- stroller for Lil’ Z.

She is standing on some really expensive "stuff" here. Good thing the bag is sturdy!
She is standing on some really expensive “stuff” here. Good thing the bag is sturdy!

 

When alone, that is my entire armamentarium right there..
When alone, that is my entire armamentarium right there..

 

Seating conundrums

We prefer to sit together, and sometimes if you want the bassinet seat the husband might have to sit in the row behind (depending on the number of infants in the aircraft); so whenever we travel as a family we do not opt for the bassinet seat. Moreover, she doesn’t really sleep in them anyway.

I book them when I’m alone though. What if she miraculously falls asleep? I can lay her in it and maybe stretch or take a mini- break from chasing and wriggling.

I call the airlines and place a request for it a day in advance. Sometimes I don’t bother, or ask for it at the check- in counter. It has only been useful to me once, Zoe was 6 months old and she slept in it for 20 minutes and I managed a meal and coffee in peace.

Several times, we have been lucky enough to have empty rows on the plane. After take- off we ask the attendants and move to the empty seats- baby and bags in tow; and then we have some pillow fights and puppet shows!

Sustenance for the caretaker/s

Eating is really, really hard when you have a squirmy baby on your lap, especially in ultra- cramped economy seats (more so on domestic flights). I have once had a helpful co- passenger who volunteered to hold Zoe while I ate. Once I skipped the meal entirely and just asked for the bread/ bun/ croissant and munched on that. On long haul flights, you can request for some num-nums (nuts/ chocolates/ buns) once the bub tires herself out and falls asleep.

I sometimes eat at the airport/ transit instead of fighting it out in the plane. I find a cafeteria/ stall which has a high chair, pop some Baby Einstein on the iPad (or on Ms Zoe’s Pink faux “iPad” in the pic below) and eat in peace.

Changing bag essentials

The changing bag essentials. I would ditch the creams and potions (except saline drops) for very short domestic flights.
The changing bag essentials. I would ditch the creams and potions (except saline drops) for very short domestic flights.

 

First must have- Wipes and diapers. I don't do clothe diapers while travelling- it is just too much of a hassle. And I don't pack too many. Remember, they are available on - board and at transit airports- if need be or emergencies arise. Travel light- The Mister forever chants!
First must have- Wipes and diapers. I don’t do cloth diapers while travelling- it is just too much of a hassle. And I don’t pack too many. Remember, they are available on  board and at transit airports, if need be or emergencies arise. Travel light- The Mister forever chants!

 

A decent sized changing mat.
A decent sized changing mat.

 

Another absolute must have- FOOD! Meals AND fingerfood. FInger food will allow you to eat while meals with keep her full. I am not yet comfortable feeding all the airline fare.
Another absolute must have- FOOD! Meals AND fingerfood. FInger food will allow YOU to eat, while meals will keep HER full. I am not yet comfortable feeding her all the airline fare. Also, the disposable/re-usable/ wipe-and-use types bibs are super- handy.

 

Straweberries and veggie- lentil rice porridge- her favorites. Bananas are good too; for shorter flights. They get mushy. Oranges.
Strawberries and veggie- lentil rice porridge- her favorites. Bananas are good too; for shorter flights. They get mushy otherwise. Oranges are another great flight- food option.

 

You can keep some packaged food of your choice handy. Especially if you little one is under one and you don't want to make do with whatever baby food the airline offers. Most international airlines do stock some packaged baby food.
You can keep some packaged food of your choice handy, if you so prefer. Especially if your little one is under one and you don’t want to make do with whatever baby food the airline offers. Most international airlines do stock some packaged baby food.

 

QA has some packaged food on air, so does Etihad and Emirates.
QA has some packaged food on air, so does Etihad and Emirates.

 

Entertainment. But to be honest, there is no point carrying. She is more interested in all "adult" stuff. So while aboard, a napkin becomes a puppet, a blanket becomes a castle, a plastic spoon becomes a man, pillows becomes mountains, the sick bag apparently contains secret treasure- you get the drift...
Entertainment. But to be honest, there is no point carrying tons of baby toys. She is more interested in all  the “adult” stuff anyway. So while aboard, a napkin becomes a puppet, a blanket becomes a castle, a plastic spoon becomes a man, pillows becomes mountains, Papa turns into a monster, the sick bag apparently contains secret treasure- you get the drift…

 

Paraphernalia to keep her toasty and cosy. Layering is always a better option, some flights are freezing cold and some stiflingly warm.
Paraphernalia to keep her toasty and cosy. Layering is always a better option, some flights are freezing cold and some stiflingly warm, do be prepared for either scenarios.

 

Change of clothes, based on duration. Spillage of fluid and beverages is a common occurrence in the baby- world, be armed.
Change of clothes, towels and napkins; based on duration. Spillage of fluid and beverages is a common occurrence in the baby- world, be armed.

 

Wipes and towels and tissues of course. But she will still take in billions of germs through her nose, mouth and skin. There is nothing much you can do about it!
Wipes, towelettes and tissues of course. But she will still take in billions of germs through her nose, mouth and skin. There is nothing much you can do about it! Also, do not fret if you run out- you can either buy them at the airport or ask the friendly crew on air.

 

emirates
They don’t always give you the baby- kit though, but can request for specific items if the need arises.

 

 

Packed to the rafters! Mama sneaked in some of her stuff in as well...
Packed to the rafters! Mama sneaked in some of her stuff in as well…

 

To be continued in Part 2

Till next time..

Dr J.

 

 

 

Of alter egos and food battles – 2

Read part 1 here

How does one fight back from the desolate depths of heinously blasphemous gluttony?

Is there redemption?

Can one survive the brutal onslaught of it’s inner food demons?

Folks, it’s been a little over two weeks. Two weeks since I gave in to all my inner food monsters (The Dairy Demon, the Bakery Monster, The Shawarma Fiend and some other unnamed miscellaneous creatures). It started off fairly unobtrusively. I was “chilling” apparently.

It started one morning, when on the way to airport my lovely Bakery Monster decided cupcakes with extra sweet icing (which is just a fancy term for plain ‘ol butter and sugar) would make an excellent pre- dawn snack choice. I then gobbled a humungous breakfast of buttery, sugary, syrupy crepes at the airport, followed by the cold, hard, bland fare they served on board. At transit, the burgers called out to me….

It has all gone downhill from there.

About three days into this sinful existence (where my gut overrode my brain and was given free reign), I started calling this “an experiment”. I vocally declared that I wanted to see how far things would go. Few days later, I walked around muttering that exercise was getting boring and I needed to pile on some pounds so that I would have fun losing it. Twisted logic you say? Like most addictions, I needed an excuse for my addiction.

I have been feeding the Bakery Monster every morning and evening. Almost every night, The Shawarma Fiend has his fill. The Dairy Demon needs no excuse, he has a boundless existence; all in the name of “calcium for a lactating mama”.

I have had Biriyani for lunch, for ten straight days. I then missed a day, thanks to some unforeseen, insurmountable circumstances. I got back on track the next day, and have been on it since then.

I eat a Shawarma, every night. The justification given- I’m trying to find the best one in town!

I binge on muffins and croissants every morning, away from the prying eyes of The Mister; who is still in bed then.

I eat what my heart desires and till my gut says stop.

I had buttered toast and muffins and coffee for breakfast yesterday. Biriyani for lunch, Shawarma and tea for the evening and take- out pizza and bottomless soda for dinner. Pre- snooze snack- Pineapple preserve filled doughnut with generous sprinkling of icing sugar.

And there it is. My ugly, embarrassing secret is out.

Go ahead Mister, snigger away to glory. Make all the sarcastic, snide remarks that you want. Gloat and preen.

They say the key to ridding an addiction is to first admitting you have a problem. We have a problem on our hand folks. A big one.

I have to drag all these demons back into their cages (for they can only be caged not killed) before they ravage my bloodstream and pummel my conditioned body into fatty submission. I wonder what damage has been done already. Will the scale bear any consequences? Or should I get a lipid profile done stat?

Either way, all my lovely, friendly monsters- It’s time. I love you and shall miss you, but tis time. I let you run amok and fill your souless selves with your drugs and vices of choice. No more. For a while at least. Till then, hasta la vista baby!

Till next time..

Dr J, in association with all her alter egos.