Unpublished

Saved 5 years ago

‘Getting a driving licence in Qatar’ and other such mundane matters.

I receive a whatsapp message this morning. The generic, forward kind. The kind you get from a chronic offender of the inpardonable sin of sending unamusing, irrelevant, inane forwarded messages that no one reads.

This one read..

Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.

Lou Holtz said it apparently.

Pshhsht!

Innumerable things are impossible in this world.

 

Saved 5 years ago.

Getting old, am I?

Today, I called a 24 year old intern A KID. Yes. And he calls me Mam!

I don’t go to the movies anymore.

I don’t wear “fashion” (read fake, blingy stuff they sell at Accessorize) jewelry. It has to be the real deal (gold…ahem platinum, *cough* diamonds) or nothing.

I only wear T- shirts at home or in the gym, and under my jackets while running. They can never be “outside attire” anymore.

I cut my hair short, to look ‘younger’. And I have started glancing back at anything that says “anti- aging”.

I think canvas handbags are passé and think low- rise pants are hideous.

I would not consider wearing a headband to tame my persistently naggy fringe. I only wear prim, prissy hair clips. And high ponies look juvenile to me.

 

Saved 5 years ago.

The cutters and the prescribers.

I am a cutter who is currently on a prescribing rotation.

The surgeons are the cutters and the internists are the prescribers.

Before I started, I was convinced that this was a bad idea, a waste of my time. I have done medicine rotations during my undergraduate years and during my previous residency, I barely remember how they passed and I’m not entirely sure what I gained from them.

I was sure to hate every moment of it.

Must be the fact that I’m older now (and consequently/ hopefully wiser!), or maybe three time’s the charm; apart from the occasional bouts of ‘blood withdrawal’ and ‘OR wistfulness’, I am NOT hating every minute. Dare I say I might even be enjoying it a teeny, tiny bit!

Na, I am definitely not enjoying it enough to cross over to the other side, but I can see the appeal of the medical specialities. These are guys who are paid to think, investigate, probe, discuss, consult, dig into the patient’s past like no one else before them and endlessly fiddle about with the patient’s medication profile. Everyday, they see folks who sometimes down over 30 pills a day with a few shots of insulin shots in for good measure, and a couple of sessions of hemodialysis as an outpatient. As a surgeon, I cannot see beyond row 5 on the medication chart. And to me, calculating doses for patients who barely have any kidney function left, have cirrhotic livers and have failing hearts with flip

 

Saved 3 years ago.

Untitled

I fell off the blog rail once again. To be honest, it rarely crossed my mind. Life consumed every ounce of energy and life force that I had and then some more!

In a way, it was is a wonderful way to live. Full, intense and gratifying. Oh! and did I mention- I HAD A BABY. A few days ago. A boy, this time.

Being the mother of a newborn is the most singularly lonesome experience. The burden is mostly yours to bear. Loneliness has been known to turn people toward the written word. The genesis of this blog was during my

 

Saved 4 years ago.

Good days and bad days.

I classify days into the good, the bad, the ugly and the meh. Most days are I admit “meh”. Today, I am yet to decide if it is a good day or an ugly one.

Saved 6 years ago.

Adventures of lil Z…

Lil Z loves new places. Mama loves new places as well and has taken lil Z to many, many new places both before and after “the great journey” (when Lil Z left her watery home and came into to her new home where she could see Mama and Papa).

Mama took several plane rides when Z was inside her. The last one was when lil Z was 10 cm big – it took longer than others. And after that, lil Z reached her new home or rather Mama reached her new home.

The first place that Papa took Mama to after she reached new home Mama was near the water. Lil Z loves water. Papa told Mama the place was called “corniche”. Wonder what that means. On the way, we saw many big and shiny buildings. The light in the buildings even changed color! Lil Z had never seen such tall and colourful buildings before.

The water was still and blue. Looked like a swimming pool that Z had seen before. Not at all like the ocean that Z had seen in her ancestral home in Kerala, nor like the murky lake that she had seen at Mama’s home in Bangalore. The water was clear. The water was framed by the shiny buildings on one side. Lil Z thought it looked beautiful. Mama thought it looked beautiful (you see, back then lil Z could feel what Mama was thinking!). Papa told Mama that unlike Dubai, this is the only place In Doha where there are tall, shiny buildings. Apparently, this was Doha’s “famous (and only) skyline”. Aah! So our new home is called Doha.

Mama, Papa and I went to Corniche almost every single day, thereafter. I kept growing inside Mama and she got very big and clumsy. Even then, we went. It was cold then. And we all liked the ocean air. It was very noisy though. The road runs along the walking path. So many fast cars (and sometimes fast, very loud bikes) whizzed past us.

Sometimes, we would all leave home (to go walking at Corniche) and then come back without doing so. Apparently on some days, Papa does not find space to leave (“park”…. is that the right word?) his car. Those days, the weather was so nice that many families (like us J) used to get their chairs and mats and food and sit there till late night- chatting, relaxing. The kiddies ran around, rode their bikes or were taken around in their strollers.( Uff! There were sooo many strollers. Good, I will have lots of friends when I grow up!) There were some ladies who had watermelon tummies like Mama as well. Maybe there were little kiddies inside. Just like me!

As Mama walked, lil Z saw that many around her were running with wires coming out of their ears. Just like how they would in the parks, at Mama’s place (“Ban-ga-lore” ….did I say it right?). Mama tells me they do it to remain “fit”. Mama does that too, now. But she complains that there are not many parks in our city. She misses her “home” city at times. Also, nowadays it is so hot that not many people come to the Corniche. But Papa likes it. He gets “parking”. We went there today after Mama and Papa broke their “fast”. It was nice. There were weird looking things hanging off the trees there which I had not seen before. They looked like the things Mama and Papa eat while breaking their fast. There were lots and lots of them!

Anyways my dear aunties and uncles, lil Z is very sleepy. It has been a long, hard today. I learnt how to laugh aloud today. Cool, no? Never knew I could do that. And all that rolling over back and forth is making my neck hurt. I am going to “hit the sack” as Papa says. Here are some pictures that Mama clicked. Come over to my home sometime okay. Lil Z will show you around…..

Lil Z.

 

 

 

Hello there!

Yay! I have found my way back to the blog.

I am not a fan of the all-too-often used word “hiatus” and therefore shall refrain from using it to explain my absence here. I have no fancy excuses to cover my a%s* (the usual – sickness, horrendous rotation schedule, family, travel, weddings…); but things got more hectic than usual, and being the inconsistent slob that I so proudly am, I let these online pages of mine fall by the wayside.

To the few precious, loyal readers I *once* had, my most sincere apologies. I know my bordering- average rants and general whiny- ness provided some kick to your coffee and a feeling of ‘I-ain’t-doing-too-bad-hun’. I’m sorry for being an inconsistent slob guys. But I cannot promise anything more, for I embrace my ficklemindedness whole- heartedly. The posts here may or may not be regular.

For those lovely folks, who left comments and sent worried emails asking if something is wrong, I apologise if I have not replied- I was at a weird place mentally.

Currently, I am travelling but will be getting back to the daily grind soon. Z is a head- strong toddler who refuses to heed to any will but her own. Mr H is generally well, but I’m sure is harassed by the women in his life.

We expect huge life- changes in the coming months, will keep you guys posted. Thanks for sticking around folks.

Till next time.

J.

Troubles. And a mid- air chat.

The trouble with trouble is that when you are in the middle of it, it seems insurmountable. Life ahead seems inconceivable. You use terms and phrases like never, ever, why… They become a mantra. You fail to appreciate all the things you have going for you. All the things in your life that make it inherently better than so many others’. You do the worst thing you can probably do in such a state- compare yourself to someone in a “better” situation. 

“Better” is so relative. My better may not be really be better than your better and vice versa.

We wish for trouble to pass us  by. We wish for it to vaporize, to cease to exist. But we often forget, or fail to realize that every change, every great day, every fabulous occurrence in  our lives have been preceded by trouble. So trouble is a rite of passage. A way of life testing us in preparation for something bigger, and usually better.

I was told last night, by a well off (in every sense) friend that I am ‘living the dream’. Ha! Really? Who would have thought! And yet…

When did the dream life stop being enough?

We all lead weird, twisted lives. In an era of the ever- connected, where nothing is personal anymore; we all chose to show only the fluff and gloss to the world. We show the best snippets of our life to the world. Hence, we all go around believing the other is happier, luckier, leading the more fulfilling life. What a shame!

Hey folks! Hope you all have been well. And hope Zoe has been keeping you folks engaged here 🙂

Four things usually get me all contemplative and broody- dawn, dusk, the sea and flying. I started typing this post, at 36,000 feet above sea level, on a really cramped economy seat, with the laptop precariously perched on one knee and a ‘finally asleep” one year old sprawled on another.

I was done. Spent.

Done with the travel, the endless packing, the distances, the train stations, bus rides, weary transits, the baby- food prepping, the juggling of many lives….

I was hungry, exhausted, and almost near tears. I am not one for public displays of tears and tantrums, so I needed to vent. I almost posted this then, but good sense prevailed. And thank heavens I did not connect to the obscenely expensive mid- air, on board wifi. Phew! I might have had to get rid of my jewelry to pay for it.

I am at a cross roads in life. At the cusp of huge change. Two very, very different paths lay ahead of me. And for once, I do not have to make the choice; destiny will do that for me. I’m a puppet in her hands now. It’s eerily liberating to submit to fate and let go… to renounce control.

Till next time..

Dr J.

Mum’s packing again.

Mum’s packing again (we have to do it more than once a month it looks like). And I tell you, it’s the funniest thing. Even Papa finds it comical.

Her antics are the same every time. She starts off with a proclamation that she will pack light. That she will not carry a single, unnecessary thing with her. That we will make do and compromise. And then she whips out a small little strolley. Then stuff starts coming out of the cupboards….

They come. And they don’t stop coming. It’s a relentless parade of bits, bobs, the necessary, the trivial, the insane. She is torn between every two things. This or that? Or both? We see her despair mount with every item that she has to can. Like an addict fighting his inner demons, she resists her every urge.

Maybe one sweater will do. Oh, what if Zoe spills something on it. Naa. I shall manage.

I have my tablet sized phone and my suitcase sized laptop, can I squeeze in my iPad in the handbag. The changing bag perhaps. 

Of course Zoe needs those. What are you saying Mister!

And yes, I will read on the trip, and during the flight, and on the train ride too. Duh!

The turmoil mounts. And reaches a cresendo. Then the explosion happens.

Ugh, We are paying those buggers at the airline aren’t we. We might as well carry everything we need, want, potentially need and desire. 

Poor Mama. 

She then goes completely dotty and drags a humungous bag into the room. She then furiously rolls up every item in sight and stuffs it in the bag. After she’s through, I am positive there is no room for a single air pocket in there.

Papa sniggers covertly. And he whispers in my ear ” Mama is a lovely woman dear, but please I beg you, don’t pack like she does!”

Well. I have no idea who I shall grow up to be. Until then I shall watch the drama unfold between my two diametrically opposite parents.

Till next time..

ZOE.

P.S. I do my bit to help. I get into the case, and help Mama arrange stuff. Some things that I deem unnecessary I throw out. I also think I need some items of my own, so I bring in my favorites pots and pans from the kitchen and dump them into the bag as well. And yes, I know how a zipper works, so I can rearrange stuff when Mama is not in the room 🙂

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 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.

 

 

 

Why I love to fly- 3!

Airport hopping is something the entire family loves. We have even come to enjoy the cold, soggy stuff they pass off as food. The vortex that sucks in our waste, the stale, dry cabin- air, the duty- bound hence pleasant attendants, the non- functional bassinet seats, the turbulence and palpable fear of death- we love it all.

Honestly!

 

y (2)
Looking but not finding…

 

Love the post- early- morning rush at the international terminal
Love the post- early- morning rush at the international terminal

 

Z's almost- empty playground!
Z’s almost- empty playground!

 

WP_20150227_08_25_48_Pro
Choosing sustenance. Or maybe we will skip it for the lovely fare they serve on board.

 

WP_20150227_14_36_38_Pro
Any plane The Mister steps on to, is bound to be turbulent ride. Sometimes severe!

 

Cumulonimbus build- up-  the raison d'être for our turbulent flight. (Don't ask. We are into flying lingo as well!)
Cumulonimbus build- up- the raison d’être for our turbulent flight. (Don’t ask. We are into flying lingo as well!)

 

We pass through, there's a jolt, and a few gasps from behind...
We pass through, there’s a jolt, and a few gasps from behind…

 

There is no respite
There is no respite

 

Breathtaking views over Oman
Breathtaking views over Oman

 

The Babe slept for a grand total of twenty minutes. hence the luxury of clicking decent pictures.
The Babe slept for a grand total of twenty minutes. Hence the luxury of clicking decent pictures.

 

wer (1)
More

 

More bothersome clouds as we land.
More bothersome clouds as we land.

 

Guess where?
Guess where?

 

Now?
Now?

 

Till next time..

Dr J.

PicMonkey Collage 1

 

Chasing the sun!

At the crack of dawn, The Mister and I sneaked out of bed. Like an elite, enemy reconnaissance and rescue team, we made no sound and went about the motions in nigh darkness with trained precision.

The Little One was to be left behind, and we were to leave without her knowledge. The poor thing would wake up to missing parents!

It was a day- trip out of the city without the Little One in tow, hence there wasn’t much to pack. Couple of phones, sunnies, iPads, IDs, water and cash. Aah! It was reminiscent of days past.

Of free and flighty days.

Feeling oddly bereft and bitter- sweet, the silence in the car sitting heavy on us; we were ill at ease with our new found emancipation at first. We hit the road, not like the travel junkies that we once were, but like rushed, purposeful business travelers whose eyes are always on the destination and on the clock rather than the way and the experiences along it.

It took a while for the clouds of liberation and the pangs of guilt to settle. Once they did, we transmuted back into the carefree gypsies of yore. We paid heed to the roads and people again, like old days. There were no diapers to change, no baby food to be mixed, no staccato breaks to the drive.

 

WP_20150222_07_51_55_Pro
For the mind disturbed, the still beauty of dawn is nature’s finest balm. Edwin Way Teale

 

 

WP_20150222_06_46_15_Pro
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Rabindranath Tagore

 

The rising sun seemed novel and promising. Promising a future of love, joy and togetherness. Worries whooshed by as the nippy morning air stung our sleep riddled faces. The weariness of everyday life leaked out of us, and light, fluffy contentment settled in. The burdens of marriage and family seemed light for once, and the simple pleasure of camaraderie and easy friendship seeped into us. We felt young and free (which we are in reality!).

We literally and metaphorically chased the rising sun. We stopped when we felt the urge to eat, click pictures and whenever else we felt like it- just like that! We sorely missed The Little One, she was never more than a veil away from our thoughts, but we were thankful for the little exemptions her absence offered.

As fresh, busy, working parents who are struggling to keep the romance alive despite the thousands of miles separating us, little moments like these are precious. The pressures of career troubles, the restraints placed by time and the sheer incumbrance of responsibility and separation does stretch even the most pliable and  compatible relationships.

Time and space have new meaning and significance. The unwashed car on the eve of a long trip, riddled with bird droppings and masked by dust is testimony to the fact that we have changed irrevocably. We did not mind the dirty exterior; our younger, prissy selves would have.

The fingerprint laden, greasy iPad screen is another reminder of change. The unmade bed at home, the overflowing laundry bag, the forgotten camera, the nagging worry; I can go on. From machine and gadget loving, nerdy freak-shows; we metamorphosed into something tangentially different. I am not obsessive about home- cleanliness or order any more. The Mister can live with juice seeping into his car upholstery. Something has to give in somewhere, rather this than our sanity and togetherness.

Freedom is always a gift given by accommodating, helpful family and friends- mostly in the form of reliable, trusty childcare. Steadfast parents become annoyingly overbearing but undeniably helpful and ever ready ‘to-take-over’ grandparents.

WP_20150222_06_45_22_Pro
Chasing the rising sun..

 

 

WP_20150222_06_45_13_Pro
There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk. Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

WP_20150222_06_46_37_Pro
New promises made.

 

 

WP_20150222_06_46_53_Pro
Fresh perspective, when least expected!

 

 

The trip was borne out of compulsions imposed by circumstance, but we made the most of it. We made a trip to a another-city- hospital a mini- break. A weekend getaway.

By afternoon, I was itching to get back though. It was as if a part of me was missing. I had left something important behind. She seemed to be calling out from afar. I made half a dozen phone calls in less than half a day.

Alas, there is no switch- off button to parenthood.

I realize, I can never truly be free. From work, family, parenthood…..life. But I don’t crave freedom anymore. Not in the sense I craved for  it when I was younger. The defintions have changed. I can live within the constraints life imposes.

Of course I shall often test it’s limits and stretch it every which way I can, whenever I can!

 

WP_20150222_07_53_49_Pro
Even the long queues at the toll- booths did not sway our mood!

 

 

WP_20150222_08_12_54_Pro
Almost caught you friend.

 

 

WP_20150222_07_52_03_Pro
Scenes we miss on our paths

 

 

WP_20150222_08_51_00_Pro
Morning cuppa on the road, with a waking Sun for company.

 

 

WP_20150222_08_50_47_Pro
Eerie light of dawn

 

 

WP_20150222_07_32_21_Pro
Highway sustenance.

 

 

WP_20150222_08_18_38_Pro
Full- blown morning finally!

 

 

Till next time..

Dr J.

Of unwitting absence.

It’s been a while folks! The blog absence and internet abstinence was unintentional; circumstantial. The H family was on a road trip. A trip initiated by grim events and complicated by urgency. We packed in haste and  hit the road unprepared. It is amazing how much life and thought are forced to change when you have a little human in tow. There was not a moment to spare and not a single wink of sleep could be wasted. We had to leave behind most of of connectivity tools and gadgetry behind, to make space both in bags and thoughts for other more important stuff. Even amidst the chaos that unfolded, we still had to worry about baby meals and diapers. Weariness is an obvious consequence.

We are home now. A shower and some home cooked food has mitigated the fatigue, hence the urge to publish a quick hello to you lovely folks. We shall hopefully resume our usual shenanigans here soon.

Till then…

Dr J.