Category Archives: Parenting

The second-child syndrome

“You said I am gonna get a sister. But it’s a boy. I can see.”

“How long would he be lying on your lap? Tell him it’s my turn now.”

“Ask him to shut up crying. Tell him I have got school tomorrow.”

“Put me to sleep like you do with him. On your lap.”

You think it’s another hapless case of ‘two under two’? Well, you’re not entirely wrong. My elder son who was almost 5 at the time of his brother’s birth, behaved worse than a child under 2. The smart, sensible and slowly-getting-matured boy of mine showed bouts of unreasonable outburst, the moment he casted the first glance on his sibling.

When I got a call from one of my friends, who had given birth to her second child just days before I had, I expected a similar cry for help. But since her first-born is a girl, she had a different story to tell.

“She can’t get enough of holding her brother. She wants to baby sit him already! How’s it with your boys?”

“Oh! They are happy to be together, it seems.” I said, with not much conviction as I eyed the elder one who was sitting in a corner with a grumpy look. (I had just turned down his demand to carry him to school that day.)

Life was ‘oh-so-perfect’ when Parth, my elder son was born. I had come across a lot of families where even after a child, there’s a want for another.  Some yearn for a little princess after a naughty little boy. Others feel the need for a boy to complete the family.

But with us, there was no scope for another. We were a perfect small, happy family. My son was growing up fast and was quickly approaching the age when his immunity could be trusted upon. The harrowing fortnightly visits to the paediatrician, were gradually becoming less frequent events. We were glad for being able to spend more time together as the kid was becoming more independent.

But as fate had it, we were to welcome the next bambino in the family. And with him coming, we couldn’t help notice the chaos that came along. We knew we were going to be neck-deep in mental, physical and financial mess. Still, we jumped in.

To make matters worse, it was a troubled pregnancy. There was no trace of the much-famed pregnancy glow on my face! Acidity, nausea, dark patches, pre-natal depression and to top it all, blogs on pregnancy asking me to ‘celebrate’ the phase made me want to punch right into every smiling face.

No, I didn’t rejoice even a minute of my second pregnancy. I couldn’t wait for my due date, not because I was excited to hold my baby, but because I wanted this phase to get over.

And then came ‘Shivaan’.

Life rewound 5 years.

We found ourselves back in the paediatric ward – Fortnightly vaccines, repeated checkups, rushing in for common cold, diaper rashes, colic and what not.

I had progressed to the tab named ‘school-going’ on parenting websites. The new one’s arrival was all the way back to the ‘newborn’ tab for me.

I changed from a sane, sensible mom to an irate, baffled one, who would snap at everyone (including the kids) at the drop of a hat.

Apple pies, surprise stuffing paranthas, cupcakes and pizzas gave way to quick-cook oatmeal.

Weekly art and craft hours, visits to the park, weekend drives were things of the past. And that turned my perky 5-year old into an impulsive brat who believed his brother is the villain in his life.

For the first six months after my delivery, I reminded myself every 6 minutes- This too shall pass.

Yes, we didn’t plan Shivaan. But as they say,

“if it’s planned, it’s human; if it isn’t, it’s divine”.

Shivaan is now 6 months old. And the family of four looks saner now.

When I see the brothers play, I breathe out.

Now when I see the little imp pulling his brother’s hair who replies with a smile and a cuddle- ‘Shivu, soon, you’ll get your own’, I feel like celebrating!

“Mom, save my worksheets for Shivaan.”

“Another story, please. The more stories you tell, the more I pass on to Shivaan.”

And life is beautiful again.

It’s a divine plan, I am convinced.


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A little more..for the little ones

With every new kid born, a generation takes birth. Ask your mother, and she would agree that your son is smarter than you were at any given age, though she used to marvel at your antics (like blinking when she said BOO) and admitted that you are born ‘loaded with brains’.

My kids’ granny who also plays nanny to them throws her hands back in despair and declare- my sons had never made me do as much as raise my voice on them. They would play sitting at a place and I will find them sitting at the same place hours later.
That makes me wonder if there was an age when kids sat at the same place like an immobile rock. I guess, I am not envious.
My son and my niece are just two years apart in age. Both of them did their job of entertaining us and surprising us quite well. They still do.

But here’s an observation.

My niece when asked to sit on the couch quickly climbed the arm-rest and took her seat. Two years later, my son did the same. Only he went a bit further- stepped on the armrest and made his bums rest on the top of the back rest. Both were going to turn one at that stage. Recently, one of our acquaintances visited our place with their 11 months old daughter. Same couch, same place, same given scenario. The girl stepped up the arm rest, climbed the backrest and leaped onto the nearby table finally seating herself there.
Would it be wrong to say that every new generation raises the bar a bit? But are parents ready to match steps?

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With higher post, comes greater responsibility

I got promoted. And I wish to boast. So take it as a given, this post is going to be part-boast, part-flaunt.

Till now I was a mom. Now I am promoted to being a mom-of-a-pre-schooler.

‘I am elated’- would be an understatement when used to describe the current-state-of-mind.

My son is 2.5 and speaks like a 5 year old, understands like a 15 year old. He started speaking quite well at the age of 1, rapidly started grasping words and by the time he turned 2 his dictionary had included words that made our brows hit the roof. We were astonished. And annoyed.

So against the advices of people who believe a kid shouldn’t be sent to school before he turns 3.5, I sent him to a small playschool in our own apartment. My point was, if he is grown enough to express himself, answer back and pick up nasty stuff from television and people around him at the age of 2, he can very well use his energies and intelligence to learn something good. And since the school was just a few floors down, we had nothing to fear.

Within months, he could count till 30, know the alphabet well, recite hindi Swar and Vyanjan till the end and recognise almost 8 colours and basic shapes. I was proud. But a little scared. Because deep inside I feared if I am putting him under any kind of pressure.

Few months later, I started thinking seriously about his grooming in the foundation years. I am strongly of the opinion that every kid has to ‘start right’. Some research and few recommendations later, I zeroed down to a pre-school and activity centre called The Circle.

The school is not within walking distance from our home and we had to take the school transport. Again something that makes me cringe. Till now.

But seeing the thrill of a new bag, new friends and new school in his eyes makes me see the brighter side. The mornings are super-hectic. Making sure he gets a healthy filling breakfast and empties his bowels well in time, and then running to the pick-up point carrying him in the lap (while he screams, Mummy bhago mat, ap gir jaoge ) makes me imagine the scene that is going to be in a few years when he starts his nursery school. I shudder.

I apprehensively hand him to the teacher in charge of taking care of the kids in the bus. But the glee I see in his face when he excitedly waves me off puts me to ease.

At the end, I congratulate myself of accomplishing yet another morning only to realise that the day has just begun.




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The gene that passed on well..

It was when I asked him, “mummy office se ate hue kya lau apke liye?” and pat came the reply, “Story-book, aur kuch nahi”, I realized that I had (quite successfully) passed on the reading-gene to my son. Certainly, it has passed on to him, and has passed on pretty well!
If I say, I was elated to hear that, I wouldn’t be doing justice to that blissful moment when my son expressed his growing craze for the ‘written word’. Those who know me would have sworn he could perfectly be called Junior Priya after hearing how he disowned the worldly charms for a set of bright-coloured, graphically adorned story books at the so tender age of 2!
I hope I could capture the awe in his eyes when he listens to how a little boy named Parth undertook the adventure journey of the skies on a butterfly’s back only to bring back a necklace of stars for his grandma! The big, black eyes that welled-up listening to the tragic tale of naughty, disobedient Pinku who had to undergo a series of injections on his hands (and bums) for not listening to his mother and gulping down chilled water; and oh, the crackling laughter that brightened up his face (and mine) listening to the antics of Tommy, the dog and how he helped his masters finish their food, makes me come up with more and more stories. Mind you, Parth Mandal hates plagiarism. He would almost instantly lose interest and start fiddling with something or the other if he gets to listen the usual thirsty crow, greedy dog like stories.
So amid those client deliverables, I churn out few tales for my Prince. One to make him eat, one to lull him to sleep and few to just see his sometimes delighted, sometimes astonished face and find myself in those deep, black eyes.

The story-telling mom

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It’s funny, when you become a parent, you feel like talking about your kids and nothing else. I have been resisting myself for long from this typical ‘parenting post’ as I didn’t want to go run of the mill with this blog. But now it’s done. Parth and Sarika are far interesting than many (or rather any) things in my life.
I don’t know if it happens to you or not, but whenever I wish for something quite ardently, I mess things up at the eleventh hour. Regretting thereafter is definitely a part of the story. ‘But I would, in no case, let that happen when it comes to raising my kids up’, I took the resolve perhaps the day when I realized Sarika is my responsibility or may be on the day when she started calling me ‘Mummy’ rather than ‘Chachi’.
My mom is not a woman of letters, though she managed to get past her higher secondary and bag a decent government job. She can write letters, applications, files and diary entries much better than many of her colleagues and even superiors. It is said that South Indians are by default, good in English, if not great. I don’t know how true that is, but I have seen Narial Pani walas in Tamil Nadu, making themselves understandable to foreigners quite well (‘Twell rupees. No less. Take it or go’) But when it comes to speaking in Hindi or replying to a simple Hindi question…. “No Hindi, Only Tamil, English”.
Ok, now coming back to the point, I still remember my mom’s signature phrase when she used to reprimand me for something- ‘Nothing Doing’. Whether it was more chocolates, going out after 7 or watching a late night flick, she would respond with a stern glance and a sterner ‘Nothing Doing’. By and by, I started repeating the phrase.

So I thought, why not introduce, Sarika to the globally-accepted-as-mandatory language, English. I started off with ‘Don’t Touch’. Quite apt, as she has a habit of toying with things that are strictly not meant for her. (The other day, she swallowed some ten Thyroid pills, her granny left on the table.. don’t want to recall the horror!)
“SARIKA, DON’T TOUCH” – when she was about to break my husband’s favourite R.I.O CD,
“SARIKA, DON’T TOUCH” – when she inched towards Parth’s Cerelac bowl perhaps irritated and jealous as he was on my lap for the past half an hour and she was not.
“SARIKA, DON’T TOUCH” – when she tried to mercilessly plug out the TV plug from the wall socket, dangerously, her favourite of all the pranks.
“SARIKA, DON’T TOUCH” became my favourite rebuke line.
The line became so popular in my house that the other day, I heard Sarika’s Bangla-only-no-English granny commanding “SARIKA, DON’T TOUCH” when she made desperate attempts to lay her hands on the box of vermilion (Sindoor) to smear it on her face.
Today, I was getting ready to go to work while trying to keep an eye on my little imps and they trying to dodge my watch to do something mischievously interesting. Suddenly, I heard something that made me turn around with glee. “PARTHU, DON’T TOUCH”. I saw Parth holding my hairpin and ready to have a bite. He stopped short at his Didi’s command. My efforts got paid off. My baby learnt her first English sentence and knows the meaning as well.. and guess what, even Parth seems to understand what it means (he dropped the pin instantly and started looking for something else.)

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I am reborn: speaks a mom’

That's Parth

Like a bud, like a bloom,
Like an unexpected loom,
You came to me like bliss,
Like a dewy, adoring kiss

You know I love you,
I know you do,
Coz, you are my bit,
And im yours too.

You smile, you play,
And want me to stay
Coz you know, I can’t live
Keeping you at bay

When I now write for you
O’ my lovely lil’ kin,
I don’t know it’s my soul,
Or God speaks from within

I worship the moment,
the minute, the day,
when you became mine
I ardently pray

O lord, the ruler, the Almighty,
How should I thank you,
To have chosen to gift
A baby as pure the morning dew….

Dedicated to my son, Parth, who came as a blessing 9 months ago

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