Day 21- And it shall continue

So, this is not the end, as expected. After the early days of ‘break- taking’, and routine- creating, the past few days have been surprisingly busy and productive and messy and incredibly wholesome. I did domestic duties and kept the children occupied during the day, and worked on a paper all night. And trained at dawn. When did I sleep, you ask? Ha!

That is what I’ve been up to. No movies, no Netflix ballyhoo, no snoozefests. Yes, there were late-night, balcony green- tea rumination sessions and early morning stomach vacuums. Also…

Chaotic water fights under the shower and endless mopping and scrubbing of ‘stuff’ (aka play dough, actual dough, acrylic paint, poster colors, oil paints, glue, glitter glue, fabric glue, juice, ice- cream, yogurt, curry, cereal infused milk, milky biscuits, chocolate, wax, bits of paper, bread crumbs, rice flakes, corn flakes, yada yada yada) from the floor tiles. Arguments with a 6 going on 16 ‘woman’ who thinks math is overrated. And reasoning sessions with a 3 going on god- knows- what man which mostly ends up with me being smacked in the face with various items of the household. Lounge wear and sleep- face. Roots desperate for color and brows like Frida Kahlo.

Aah! I miss my old life.

There have also been loads of curfew- less, non- time-bound pajama parties and sleep-ins. Forced to eat home food, sweaty, impromptu carpet and baby workouts; and the appearance of a flicker of a shadow of an eight- pack (HELLLOOO ol’ friend!). And loads and loads of cuddles from tiny humans who mean the world to you.

I do not miss it THAT much.

Till next time,

J

Day 19- Imagination

I am not sure if this is normal. Sometimes, the inner workings of the human mind are hard to unravel. I do not know if this is how everyone thinks, functions, lives. I am curious though. I cannot imagine somebody not having this at their disposal, life would be unbearable if it were so.

Imagination.

I have an 8K, ultra-wide-angle, super- vivid, 8-dimensional imagination. I can dream up elaborate stories, concoct layered, multidimensional scenarios, paint picturesque landscapes; all within the safe confines of my head. No storyline is too far fetched, no goal is unattainable. I have been a hacker, an MMA fighter, a special ops agent, Barack Obama, a modern day Onna-Bugeisha, Hermoine even. I have seen the Northern Lights, lived in Tokyo, worked as the erstwhile Brangelina’s nanny while looking like Jessica Alba and went on a cruise with Jack Sparrow. I have even been Gaby in The Man from Uncle (I ended up with Solo rather than Ilya!). I have recently met my high-school crush, who is currently undergoing a physical and mental mid-life crisis, and therefore makes me look and feel like a goddess in comparison. I travel all the time, almost every day. (You get the drift.) All in this wonderful, magical, unparalleled world that is my head.

I have often heard that in life nothing is impossible. That human capabilities are limitless. But it isn’t true though, is it? We are limited. In a lot of ways. There are a multitude of things that we might never achieve, despite our efforts. Nothing is guaranteed.

If there was one guaranteed, infinite resource, it is our imagination. I wish to teach my children this- imagination is truly greater than knowledge itself.

And imagine (pun intended) my rush when Z told me tonight at bedtime that she can “imagine any dream she wanted”. She apparently does that every night. Imagines herself to be whatever stokes her fancy that day.

Bravo, little one, Bravo! May your tribe increase.

Till next time,

J

Holidays

When I first started this blog, about three years ago, I never did have to think so much. I mean, I pretty much penned (rather typed) my thoughts on here, as and when they poured forth. As days became more rushed, the posts became forced. Now, we have reached a point where I sit in front of the laptop and wonder what would interest you folks. I forget sometimes, rude as it sounds, it was never about the readers. This was a pressure release valve. A place to vent.


I am off from work for a couple of weeks. Therefore I am at home with the babies- full time. I keep them fed, clothed, bathed and entertained (kind of). I make sure they are safe and comfortable at all times. Yet, when the dust settles (more like when the toys move from the carpet to the boxes) and as the day draws to a close, I feel like I have whiled away time and have accomplished nothing. I have not worked on my papers, or read up on anything. I have done nothing to better myself or the world. I feel like a lazy slob, who willed the day away.

Worse, even though I feel like I achieved nothing, I am beyond exhausted.

I deem myself to be an utter failure because I cannot get my 3 month old to nap for even an hour. Ha, not even 30 mins. Nor can I get my three year old to eat anything truly nutritious. I ain’t even one of those hip mums who has summer activities and playdates planned out. My idea of a playdate is a trip to the mall and playing peek-a-boo amid the clothes racks. We do make almost weekly trips to the beach, but the time spent in the car (with screeching baby and whining child) far outstretches the time spent on the sand because come on, it f*&^ing 50 degrees outside. Who are we kidding!

My ‘annual vacation’ is being eaten away by this mundanity, or so I feel. Of course, I enjoy the lie ins, and the late nights. I don’t have to set an alarm for a few days and I can veg out the entire day in my PJs. I appreciate these small mercies. Yet, I cannot for the life  of me get this irrational, stupid, annoying, nagging feeling out of my head. Of being useless.

The fault is mine. Entirely mine. Just before the start of this “break”, I had grand plans for myself. Of getting our schedules on point. Have the baby and child sleep and wake up at humane hours. Of working on my fitness. Of seriously getting some work done on my pending work projects aka research and review articles. Of maybe even attempting an exam or two, and get a couple of collegiate memberships under my belt. Of getting the three year old into some classes. Hahahahahaha…..

Even though, I’m not really ‘busy’ (with busy being a relative term) I am constantly on a short fuse because small, independent, outspoken humans are hard work. Battling the will of an intelligent, stubborn 3 year old is a lost cause. Add another smaller human attached to your body and constantly needing outfit changes into the mix, and a brain constantly telling you that you have so much to do- your fuse is about a nanometer long.

At the risk of sounding like a monstrous mother, I will admit that I am much better off as a working mum. I do so much more. I offer so much more. I accomplish so much more.

All the rushing, and I suddenly realise I have no idea how to relax. I truly don’t.

Also, if  time expands to fit the tasks at hand, it also contracts and becomes nothing when you don’t do much.

So, here I am. Venting, past midnight. A sleeping baby on my lap and me straining over him and typing on my laptop. A true picture of “a mum who doesn’t have her S*&t together”.

And oh, did I mention that my three year old had a McDonald Happy Meal for dinner.

To giver her company, I made instant ramen.

We sat in front of a screen playing Caillou.

But the kids are alive, the parents are fed, the home is livable, the bathrooms are scrubbed and the toys have found their night homes.

F*^& the other s%^t I say!

 

Till next time.

Dr J.

 

Dearest Zoe.

Today has been a hard day. I fought valiantly. I gave it my all. I warred with all my might.

My might obviously isn’t mighty enough.

You won every fight. Hands down. No arguments there.

I lost and there is no shame in it. I lost miserably, but I lost to you – my dearest. And though I’m clutching dearly to my threadbare sanity, I will live. To fight another day.

You may kick and scream and throw yourself violently to the hard- tiled floor like you did today. You may survive on just four strawberries and two morsels of rice for a day. But remember my dear, your Mama is trying her best. She is only trying to do what she thinks is good for you. Who knows, maybe she is right, maybe she is not. Just give her the benefit of the doubt please.

I’m not sure how your almost brand new brain processes emotions. But I’m assuming you don’t take things to heart.

You surely do not. Otherwise you wouldn’t throw a hundred watt smile my way the minute you wake from your nap. A nap that was induced by relentless crying for something that you could never have. A nap before which I yelled at you. Literally. And told you in very forceful tones that you cannot always have your way.

If you were anything like an adult, you would despise me. For all the rules. The discipline. The number of times I say NO. You would probably be plotting ways of running away. Or better still, of taking control of Mama.

Thankfully, you are not. You are but a two year old. Vivacious, sassy and incorrigibly adamant. I wish I had half the fight you have. I would breeze through my days if I did!

For all the times I say no, and for all the times I stop you from being yourself,  forgive me. I am just a frail and emotion- ruled mama who is trying to get through her day.

I see how important it is for you to clean the toilet seat with your toothbrush, and how wonderful the table salt looks, strewn decoratively on the leather sofa. (Like snowflakes on the tarmac perhaps).

I secretly admire your sheer guts in trying on my 4 inch heels and then climbing the bed with them on. When you manage to wiggle and contort yourself out of your shoulder straps of the car seat, even after I have tightened them to the point where you can barely fill your lungs fully; I am flabbergasted. I am also amazed at your sheer will and tenacity.

Disregard my reproaches and calls to slow down, my child. Forget all the inhibitions and doubts I unconsiously instil within you.

My fears are my own, and they should not be yours too. My failings and insecurities should not be your burden to bear.

When the time comes, spread your wings and fly my dear, as high as you can. As high as you want to. Remember that the sky is truly the limit.

Let no one, including  this silly Mama of yours, tell you what you are capable of. Let no one dictate what you can and cannot do. Heed my advice, but do not be a slave to them.

Remember one thing if that is all you remember. Despite all your quirks and idiosyncrasies, irrespective of your shortcomings and occasional disobedience; I shall love you. Unconditionally.

I shall be there, whenever you need/ want/ wish for me. And I shall find an inconspicuous corner for myself, and be out of sight, when you don’t need me to be hovering over you. I shall try.

For now, all I ask of you is to eat three decent meals a day, and help me keep yourself injury- free and alive. (Hint- climbing to the head rest of the couch and jumping off is not a good idea.)

 

Yours truly.

Haggard Mama.

 

 

Of life, love and laughter.

It is all about the little things. Things that shouldn’t matter but do.

A handsome, older gentleman smiles at the rearview and thanks you profusely for letting him pass in maddening traffic when everyone else just pushed through.

It doesn’t matter, but you suddenly believe that the embers of decency and chivalry are yet to completely die out in this seemingly rude and impolite world.

You finally are able to let your little one participate in the costume party at nursery because for once you find a costume that fits. On a whim, you make a chance trip to a toy store in the post-call, hazy afternoon trip back home. She will be a tinker bell with a skirt that is a tad too long, but it will do and you feel like a less crappy mum. All the guilty thoughts of a mom that works too many nights and is absent on too many holidays abate for a moment.

It shouldn’t matter, but it does. An inane costume party at nursery matters!

It’s 3 AM and it’s been a long night in the trauma room. But when a barely conscious, construction worker with a split open face thanks you for sewing it back up, and tries to smile for you- you are secretly elated.

A simple thank you shouldn’t matter, but it does. And there is a spring in your step. At 3 AM.

Your mum is visiting for a couple of weeks, and suddenly there is hot food on the table and a bathed and content baby running around every time you are back from work.

You never knew hot food and a fed and cleaned baby mattered this much.

The husband fills up your car with fuel while making a grocery trip, just like that.

The next morning you notice the needle point at ‘F’ and not ‘E’; you are thrilled that you don’t have to battle it out at the nearest (i.e. about 20 mins away) WOQOD/ fuel station for the next four days.

It matters.

All the small, little things add up and voila, you have a great day.

A little bit of love, a little bit of laughter and some unexpected charities- that is all we seek ultimately.

I’m sorry folks, for being a laggard with posts on the blog recently. Being busy is one excuse, but honestly it’s been the will that is lacking more than the time. As time wore on, the habit of writing here wore away, and like a friend to whom you haven’t spoken for a while, it started getting awkward. I would have the blank page open, would have half a dozen thought threads running simutaneously in my head, but my fingers would be still. Finally, sleep would take over. And that was that.

Anyhoo, things have been as usual and we are still here in this tiny, desert town (as I like to call it). The little one turns two tomorrow (whoa! when did that happen) and we have absolutely no plans for the day. Now the question is, does it matter?

Till next time.

 

Dr J.

Amidst the everyday humdrumness, finding your little haven is paramount.

I often speak about chaos and the everyday mundanity of life. About troubles and banes. About the insanity of new motherhood and the accompanying weight of responsibility. I often unburden myself here on the blog and use it as a portal to bemoan my troubles, at the expense of you lovely folks.

Venting troubles online can be cathartic at times, but today I do not wish to whine, vent, crib or complain. I would like to do the contrary in fact.

After a crazy week (nothing new there!) and a hectic “call” yesterday, I sit here; at a random beach. With a belly full of greasy but tasty takeaway food, a neither hot nor cool breeze at my nape, an unreliable but super- swift 4G data connection, a sand crusted baby and a comatose (food- induced sleep coma to be precise) husband – I’m forced to admit that I’m content. Dare I say- happy.

Almost.

Yes.

The sea has always been my Shangri- la. Even as a young child, I loved the sea apparently. Maybe The Little One takes after me, as she too finds the beach to be an instant mood- lifter/ tantrum- crusher.

I digress. Apologies for the disconnected trains of thought. This isn’t a systematic, planned, censored post.

Yes. There is something in the saliferous sea- breeze, that calms my senses and soothes my frayed nerves. As the sun gently descends into the horizon, and the eerie blue of the sky and the sea become one, instead of mourning the end of another day I’m encompassed with a feeling of unguarded optimism and unwary hope. For a progeny seemingly begotten by the enjoining of negativity and pessimism, these feelings are both rare and novel. I shall hold on to them for as long as possible and cherish the warmth they provide, and hope they melt some of the icicles within.

Winter is at Qatar’s doorstep. It means the inexorable heat will finally relent and yield to some glorious evenings and nippy mornings. The flowers at the medians shall bloom (with some help from the hard-working “immigrant” gardeners) and the seas shall change their hue. The days will become surprisingly shorter (I type this in almost complete darkness at 1720 hours) and the taps shall finally run some cool water.

Already, I have stopped dreading the tread from the parking lot to the air-conditioned lobby of the hospital. Thanks to the fact that I don’t drench my shirt by the time I get there anymore. Dawn is delayed, and the harsh sun is still hours away, as I walk into the wards in semi- darkness at the wee hours of the morn.

Having the window down in the car is no longer unimaginable. A gratifying day in the OR or a hectic call-day now ends with a car- ride home; Sia belting harsh truths or John Legend crooning sweet nothings with the wind in my hair. Thoughts of being pummelled by a boisterous, delighted- to-see-me, little person as I step though the door topmost on my mind and pulling my visage into a perennial smile.

The glorious morning runs..

It must be the change in winds, or the cyclical inner calm in my head.

Aah, how I look forward to the coming months!

I plan to utilise and enjoy every such day, and I vow to whine a little less.

On that cheery note, here’s wishing all you folks a lovely weekend. And for those in this part of the world, hope you have a great week ahead.

Seeking our own little haven!
Seeking our own little haven!

Nite nite (as The Little One likes to say) folks!

Till next time.

Dr J.

Shit happens!

Boy or boy, has it been a crazy couple of weeks or what!

It is like the sky broke upon us just as the ground split open. And we were sucked into a vortex of ill health, work, childcare conundrums, bureaucratic limbo, silly rules and all round chaos.

We have survived folks!

We have, but barely.

Mr H, Lil Z and Dr J are breathing and living.

We now have new perspective on living miles away from family and support, in an alien land with nothing (except money perhaps) or no one to fall back on, in case of emergencies.

We still aren’t out of the woods yet, and will probably be in the woods for quite a while longer.

And “busiest” just got busier.

Meh!

Whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Right?

True eh?

Till next time.

Dr J.

*The routine posting schedule will change drastically from now on, hopefully you folks will still stick around 🙂

Chasing iftars! (*Image heavy alert*)

We have not had a food post in a while folks. 😉

Ramadan (I promise, this will be the last Ramadan post this year!) is just about wrapping up. Eid might (or might not) be less than 24 hours away. And boy oh boy, what a month it has been!

Chaotic, stressful, insane, (pious of course) and most of all fun 🙂

Apart from the extra chores, prayers and socializing (mostly virtual); being the insatiable foodie/ food demon incarnate, a lot of time and energy has also been put into chasing iftars.

Most days, it’s homemade fare. Some days we try to be good and healthy and stick to dates and smoothies and on many occasions I give into my fried-“nadan”/ country cravings and go on a fry-athon.

Recreating mum’s recipes has been a fun, roller-coaster ride. Some were roaring successes, and some epic fails. Some items turned out to be surprisingly complicated to master while others were deceptively simple.

Then there was the whole ‘eating out’ madness. We have systematically hit almost every Indian/ South Asian eatery in town. We even contemplated a couple of swanky, five- star buffet thinggys, but then one seemed more than enough. I would rather buy a Jimmy Choo rather than spend another penny on those (almost 600 QAR per couple) dos. Na Na mister.

Moreover, I have come to the realization that a starving tummy though not choosy or difficult to please, derives most comfort from the familiar.

I might consider being adventurous with food on a normal day, but after fasting for over 16 hours, I NEED ME some spicy, full- flavored, tongue- tickling, taste- bud firing fare. The bland, so called international/ continental, whatever else soup and meat just doesn’t cut it folks!

So yes, we moved on to homey,familiar “budget” iftars.

Soon though, another problem arose. At every iftar, we ate familiar stuff, special Ramadan treats that we grew up eating. But most of it did not match up to the culinary heights and standards that our palates (thanks to genius-in-the-kitchen mums) were accustomed to. 😦

Then there was the pre- iftar traffic. We almost missed an iftar once, and would have if Qatar Charity did not come to our rescue.

Finally, we deiced to go the non- traditional route. Especially at the fag end (aka last week), when all bets (i.e. health/ fitness) were off. We decided to give in completely and eat whatever our hearts desired.

Subway for iftar? Yes,please!

Pizza? Super!

Beach picnic? Sure, darn the heat.

Salad and celery sticks???? Why not? Yalla, let’s give it a go….

And so it’s been a truly fantastic gastronomic adventure folks. One that my inner demons thoroughly relished.

Le Belly has no complaints!

Tonight we may stay in, or may go out for one last adventure (for this year), Le Belly has not decided yet.

Next year, hopefully (iA) we shall have a full fledged food guide on this space and I shall try and be as enthusiastic about clicking photographs as I am about downing these aforementioned delicacies, but for now this is all I have…


Late nights and beach trips!
Late nights and beach trips! Aah, the things one has to do for a half- decent shawarma…

Literally chasing iftar! We seemed in perpetual hurry...
Literally chasing iftar! We seemed in perpetual hurry this month

On really lucky days, everyone was home already and the roads were clear
On really lucky days, everyone was home already and the roads were clear

Like so.
Like so.

And then there were days such as this
And then there were days such as this. We were running late for a reservation, and I was almost tempted to hop into KFC there.

For those who aren't familiar with this part of the world- there are usually a bunch of kind folks, handing out
For those who aren’t familiar with this part of the world-  just before sundown, there are usually a bunch of kind folks, handing out “iftar-snack boxes” at traffic signals. They are sponsored by companies/ charities/ individuals.

This one time, we were so late that we actually needed to accept one!
This one time, we were so late that we gladly accepted one!

Budget eats for homey treats
Budget eats for homey treats

Things from
Things from “my” part of town (not The Mister’s)

A couple of evening ago, another dash to break our fasts
A couple of evenings ago, another dash to break our fasts

Many of us know where this is :-)
Many of us know where this is 🙂 A couple of other families too, decided to brave the swealtering weather and break their fasts in the moisture laden sea breeze

Probably not a poster-iftar for healthy eating :-)
Probably not a poster-iftar for healthy eating 🙂

But an occasionally indulgence never hurt anyone, eh?
But an occasional indulgence never hurt anyone, eh? #Mum would consider this is the worst iftar meal EVER!# My brain concurs, Le Belly would never…

We waited to hear the canon shot/ azaan while Little Z inspected the grass qaulity
We waited to hear the canon shot/ azaan while Little Z inspected the grass quality

Yay! The sunset...We actually had a private call to prayer, and a random- stranger- public prayer session going on...
Yay! The sunset…We actually had a private call to prayer, and a random- stranger- public prayer session

Not sure what's happening there, but I was too busy with my Stuffed Crust Chicken Supreme
Not sure what’s happening there, but I was too busy with my Stuffed Crust Chicken Supreme

This isn't an everyday affair, let me tell you
We aren’t always this naughty folks!

A walk to get to kick start the digestion process going. Sorry, no run this night
A walk to kick start the digestion process. Sorry, no run this night. In fact it felt odd to stuff myself with worthless calories at a place where I usually come to burn them.

And some play
And some play

While The Msiter lay comatose on the grass
While The Mister lay comatose on the grass, chilling with his best bud.

Till next time.

Dr J.

Ma Wednesday- The toddler who hates to eat!

This morning we had another battle of wills. The Little One is scrappy, I must give her that. She is tenacious, scrappy and unrelenting. These traits will no doubt stand her in good stead in later life. I only wish they were not directed at me during meal times 😦

This post might be irrelevant, even boring perhaps to folks who do not have children (of any age dare I say!). And those who do have kids; if they don’t particularly hate food or eating in general then you might wonder what the big deal is. Only a parent that is facing a similar situation can truly commiserate.

I too would not have understood. From the age of 6 months, when she was first introduced to “food”, to about a year, the Little One adored num- nums. She was the poster child for healthy, enthusiastic eating. I was repeatedly congratulated by relatives and other mothers for birthing an “easy” child; one who never fussed at meal times, one who never made a mess, one who gave me no trouble. I basked in the warm glow of all this flattery, and secretly thanked the universe.

I blended and pureed. I boiled and blanched. I cut up everything into perfect ‘little-people-cubes’ and put them on colorful, unbreakable plates. The Little One had no teeth, but that didn’t stop her from chomping down on the grub. She grabbed things from our plates and if soft enough, managed to even eat them. By seven months, with barely there motor skills, she really could feed herself satisfactorily (conditions apply). No kidding!

She loved everything I fed her, and gobbled them up  in no time. Bananas of course were her favorite. Life was a breeze. I wondered why mums complained. Duh! Babies are so easy!

I guess that is when I jinxed myself.

Bananas were the first to go. From the list of “foods Zoe eats”.

I am not sure when my old, easy Zoe left and when this new, anti-food Zoe arrived. Slowly, one by one, she started ticking things off. People told me it is a phase that many babies/ toddlers go through. I nodded. I waited. Phase means temporary right. So this should pass quickly. Or so I thought.

It has not. We are now at a stage that every meal is a bit of a event. I distract. I beg. I negotiate. I plead. I sing. I dance. Ceasefire.Her Highness may or may not eat.

And no matter how much I try, I cannot switch off the “mommy- worry” button in my head. Now that she goes to nursery, the food woes have only compounded.

These days, I don’t pray that I get to scrub- in for a cool, complicated case, that I’d win the lottery, or that I’d bump into a younger Jude Law at the airport; I pray for an easy meal day, nothing more.

I have tried bland, sweet, savory, spicy… I am yet to decipher her peculiar food likes and dislikes. They are so all over the place, that I’m unable to trace a trend or pattern.

So, how have we been coping? How have we managed to keep the extreme dieting toddler alive?

Here’s how.

(I am hoping this post will provide some solace to other mothers/ parents out there who are facing what we are facing at the moment. I know how it is to run out of ideas, and when everyone around you has an opinion and well- meaning advice but has no clue what you are going through.)


Let them be.

As parents, this is probably the hardest thing to do- letting them be. My Little One likes being independent I have realized. Both in thought and action. She is not the overtly clingy baby who likes to be cuddled all the time. She seems to like her time and space. She is not thrilled when I have the spoon in hand. She HAS to be in control. She will not get to the food immediately whenever I place something in front of her. She takes her time, and does things whenever she wishes to do them. Pushing her means I’m pushing it. Cajolement, coercion and gentle encouragement doesn’t seem to work either. She will eat when she wants to. Period.

It is best if I place a snack or a drink somewhere in her vicinity while she is playing and then hope for the best. Unfortunately though there is always somewhere to be, something to be done. And the inconsistency of behavior (will she or wont she) isn’t easy to stomach.

Change is key.

Someone once told me that children at this age can never be bored. Apparently they aren’t developed enough to know what different foods are, and that they can be easily tricked or fooled.

Bollocks!

“Someone” obviously haven’t met my Zoe. In our household, repetition equals death. If I put the same thing on her plate two or three days in a row (irrespective of how tasty, or how much she ate it the last time) she will most likely reject it. Hence, I’m forced to get creative and think out of the box everyday. Literally!

Too much change is no good either.

It’s confusing I know, but even though she doesn’t like the same food everyday, she is also very resistant to new foods. She is not very adventurous with grub and getting her to try something new is an arduous task. All we can do is rotate the things that she will eat around with adequate breaks in between. And introduce new things as a snack first, and not as a meal.

Patience is a virtue.

Patience is definitely NOT one of my virtues. But it would have been a great help in this situation if it were. When it comes to dealing with the really young, I think that is what it all boils down to- patience. I have noticed, the angrier and the more impatient I get, the more adamant and fussy my Little One becomes. Then Pappaa has to swoop in and save the day.

A skipped meal is not the end of the world!

This was a hard one for me to learn. Just like how we have good days and bad days and just like how we sometimes just don’t feel like eating; babies/ toddlers too seem to have their moods. If she plays around with her food for over an hour, and doesn’t seem to be interested at all; I just clear up and offer some water. Which again she might or might not refuse. In such cases, she will usually clean up a snack in the next hour, or will have a hearty next meal fuss free.

For my Little One, breakfast is a struggle. Unlike her Mammaa who wakes up each morning stark, raving hungry and can eat the entire pantry for breakfast, Little Zoe is not too fond of breakfast. One would assume a baby would be really hungry first thing in the morning, apparently not. So, now breakfasts are simple, casual afairs. If she eats, fantastic; if not, no big deal.

Do not force

There might be particular foods that they like and some they absolutely detest. I have learnt the hard way that even if the item in question is super- healthy, there is no point in trying to force- feed it. Trust me, it never quite goes down well. In our case it is egg yolk. God forbid I try to sneak it in some other food, Lil Ms Z will refuse all food for the next four hours or so.

Distract

I once had visions of my Little One sitting on a picnic blanket in an idyllic seaside garden chomping down on mini cheese sandwiches. She wore a spotless, floral frock and had tanned, chubby legs. In my vision, I wore a serene expression and black and beige Chanel ballet flats.

That was when she was a newborn and I was a delusional, clueless first- time Mum. Cut to reality and one learns that things are never the same like they are in the movies or in baby blogs. And all those protocols, baby- led this and that, don’t -instill- harmful- habits- young advice is meaningless. You do what you gotta do. To survive each day.

So yes. Call me a horrible mum. I let my not-yet one and a half year old watch cartoons when she is eating, if it means she WILL eat. I distract her with toys. Breakfast is sometimes had on the go, and not “sitting- down” at the high chair.  On a particularly bad day, we sometimes go to the park, or the beach just to get her to have a banana. So yes, distraction sometimes is the savior.

Never say never.

Be open. To everything.

Expect nothing, except the unexpected.

Oh yes. Do not for a moment kid yourself by thinking that she will eat that cheese pasta tomorrow just because she cleaned it up on her own today. No mam.

Nothing is constant. I’m not sure of all babies, but mine is utterly unpredictable; I’m always kept on my toes, literally and otherwise!

When all else fails, try again!

If nothing works, then go back to the beginning and try again. Just because they rejected something sometime, does not mean it will never be accepted ever. Visit foods again at a later date, in a slightly different form if possible.


I am certainly no expert, and this is yet an ongoing process of trial and error. The key is to beat your child at being relentless. Never give up. To be honest, I type this post mainly for myself. As a reminder. It helps to put things down, to put thoughts into words. It gives you perspective, and on a day such as today (when breakfast AND lunch were epic fails) I’m in dire need of fresh perspective!

Till next time.

Dr J.

They actually left me!

So, one day Mammaa woke me up early. She usually lets me sleep till I want to, but that particular day was different.

It was different in so many ways. She kept cooing things to me. Went on rambling about going “bye-bye” and “having fun” as she prepped my milk.

Pappaa was ironing my clothes and Mammaa was frantically searching for a particular pair of socks of mine. (What is it with Mamaa and lost socks!)

I didn’t know what all the fuss and hurry was about. I couldn’t quite lay my finger on it, but something was different. And I sensed something wrong was about to happen. Something very wrong.

My parents were palpably tensed. I could smell their anxiety in the air. Their fake smiles, and high, pretend- happy voices. The phony excitement. I saw right through them.

If you do not know, let me enlighten you- babies are born with an extremely potent gut instinct. It fades away with age, but it is paramount to our survival. We can sense fear, danger, anxiety, deceit and falsity. And that morning, there was a nasty cocktail of all these things thick in the air.

Was is a “pokey- appointment”, where they stick a needle into me again. Oh no! No way are they going to get me this time. No. NO.

I tried to delay the inevitable. Whatever it was.

I stalled. I refused milk and spit up breakfast. I ran away when Mammaa took me to the loo for a clean up, and I threw a fit when they tried to get a diaper on me.

But at the end, they got the better of me. I was dressed and ready. And Mammaa pulled out about half a dozen bags from no where. What were in them, I wondered. And where did they come from?

They strapped me into my seat and tried to say some reassuring words. We love you. You are fantastic. You are so smart. You will have sooo much fun. Yada yada yada….

I tried to tune them out, and concentrate on my favorite song which was on loop on the car stereo. It played about 4 times, and we stopped. Pappaa got me outside, and Mammaa got all the bags.

We went in. I vaguely remembered the place from before. I was sure we’d been there before, not exactly sure for what though.

It was bright and airy. And there were loads of pretty. smiley people walking around. It smelled fresh, but a sort of artificial fresh. Smelled like the stuff Mammaa sometimes rubs her hands with.

And there was an eerily disproportionate number of little people there. In short, I did not like or trust the place one bit.

I was curious though. What was this about? And maybe if we hung around there, I could explore the myriad colored, attractive stuff that was lying around.

My parents and the lady at the entrance spoke for a while. They all exchanged smiles and pleasantries. We were then taken to a room inside. It was then that the unthinkable happened.

Pappaa handed me to the strange lady with the cap on, Mammaa deposited all the bags and they said bye. I wailed and screamed with all my breath and might. I fought. They hung around for a bit and then….. THEY LEFT! They actually left me there!!!! Just like that.

Thereafter, I refused everything. Cool water, delicious strawberries, tasty treats, the most magical looking toys, the smiley people, the cool little people, the enticing bed; I did not care for any of them.

Would they ever come back I wondered. Is this where I’m going to live from now on. With these weird, smiley, big people and the multi-hued small people.

I ultimately did fall asleep that day and “they” (as in my untrustworthy parents) did come back in a bit. But I woke up in that strange, new place with a new perspective. And a plan.

If they ever try this stunt on me again…ever…. they would have hell to pay. I will see to that!

Till next time.

A determined, stoic and world- wise Zoe.