100 Billion, And Counting…

My almost-two-year-old (Pumpkin) looks like she’s two and a half and talks like she’s three ! Here’s what my BabyCenter update had to say about this incredible phase called Toddlerhood…

My almost-two-year-old (Pumpkin) looks like she’s two and a half and talks like she’s three !

Here’s what my BabyCenter update had to say about this incredible phase called Toddlerhood :

Your baby was born with about 100 billion brain cells. That’s amazing enough – but what’s happening now that she’s a toddler is almost more so. Each of her brain cells is sending out and receiving electrical impulses called signals, which (with the help of brain chemicals like serotonin) create connections. Repetition turns these connections into the networks (often called wiring or circuitry) that allow her to think and learn. By her third birthday your toddler’s brain will have formed about 1,000 trillion connections – about twice as many as you have!

Your toddler’s a natural "imaginator" – all children are.  Almost anything can be a prop for imaginative play. Towels become turbans, plastic beads become precious jewels, old bathroom rugs transmogrify into magic carpets, and that moth-eaten collection of stuffed animals transforms itself into a rain forest, animal hospital, or farm.

Believe it or not, the best props for imaginative play are often generic ones. Since most of the action takes place inside your child’s head, detailed costumes – such as those specific to particular movie characters, for instance – aren’t really that helpful. A Batman suit can only be a Batman suit. But with a plain hat and towel, a child can be a lot of different characters.

While I may not have known the science behind it (until now), I was already making all possible effort to ensure that Pumpkin grows up with an active imagination.  But, with such a vast treasure-trove of information out there for parents, today, things can only get better!

It’s simply amazing to participate in the development of a child.  I hope each of you get the opportunity to experience it, some day…

My Time Machine

A few days ago, a friend mentioned in an email that she’d been following the developments in my life through my blog. That’s when I realized that I last time I’d written something about my daughter was over 5 months ago! Time flies when you have a baby. In a way that only a parent would understand…

A few days ago, a friend mentioned in an email that she’d been following the developments in my life through my blog.  That’s when I realized that I last time I’d written something about my daughter was over 5 months ago!

Time flies when you have a baby.  In a way that only a parent would understand.

The past 5 months have been exciting from a “fatherhood” perspective.  Pumpkin is now 21 months old, and talks like there’s no tomorrow.  My last post on her spoke of how her vocabulary was already over 200 words strong in spite of her being just 16 months of age!  But now, she’s putting entire sentences together and constructing combinations of words (coherently) without any one mentioning them earlier!  Repeating what you say is, of course, reaching dangerous levels.  So one needs to be careful each time she’s around. 

And, it’s not just words.  At less than 2 years, she’s already exhibiting a wide range of emotions and feelings : Joy, Sadness, Pain, Anger, Jealousy, Gratitude, Excitement, Anxiety, Loneliness and even Embarassment!

It’s remarkable to see how cognitive development progresses in a child… All the books and theories in the world are no match as compared to the real thing : The experience of a parent.

Sure, there are times when you feel like tearing your hair out… times when you feel you need a break.  I always tell people, after having a baby, I have developed a new-found respect for single parents… I don’t know how they do it.  But, most of the times, it’s more than worth it.

When I come back from a tiring day at work, and she runs towards me to give me her unconditional love (and a hug!)… all is well with the world, again.

Sweet Sixteen!

green / blue / orange / red / yellow / one / two / three / yes / no / hi / me / open / stuck / up / down / dip / please / this / …

mama / papa / dadi (grandmother) / grandpa / grandma / uncle / aunty / bhaiyya (brother) / didi (sister) / mary / wesley / reshma / katie / mandy / mandira / mother mary / baby jesus /

green / blue / orange / red / yellow /

one / two / three / yes / no / hi / me / open / stuck / up / down / dip / please / this /

teeth / eyes / ear / nose / hand / toes / head /

zebra / rhino / haathi (elephant) / doggie / meow / pig / penguin / monkey / cow / lion / tiger / rabbit / tortoise / raccoon / bear / duck / fish / peacock / pigeon / crow / chicken / squirrel / bow wow / mooo / kaw kaw / coo koo /

papaya / banana / apple / strawberry / pineapple / grapes / unda (egg) / chocolate / bread / rice / aloo (potato) / tomato / dudi (gourd) / pumpkin / curd (yoghurt) / coffee / chai (tea) / green peas / cheese /

helicopter / car / motorbike / cycle / auto / aeroplane / truck / school bus / bus / bike /

doll / takiya (pillow) / ball / chaader (bedsheet) / shoes / socks / hairband / clip / potty seat / spoon / dudu (milk) / baby / bed / chair / pillow / flower / tree / bath / ok / wow /

keyboard / phone / tv / radio / music / book / paper / watch / ring / comb / soap / shampoo / clock / perfume / powder / light / fan / remote / door / cupboard / fridge / bath tub / pen / drawing / button / pocket / pant / cd / bottle / dabba (container) / cap / hot / cold / tablet / calcium / children / pooh / cartoon / mickey mouse / photo / children /

coming / go away / another day / wants to play / susu (piss) / potty / out / garden / rain / water / going / chapati bhaji (food) / keep it here / happy journey / put it back / polly put the kettle on / coming / no touch / good girl / sit down / touch / how are you / fine thank you / baby bear / mama duck / thank you /

khushi /

Pumpkin – my daughter – is all of 16 months old, and already speaks over 200 words !  Isn’t she something ?!  🙂

365 days of Fatherhood

Today, my little daughter crosses the ‘One Year’ milestone. Accordingly, it also marks the one year anniversary of my fatherhood.

Today, my little daughter crosses the ‘One Year’ milestone.  Therefore, it also marks the one year anniversary of my fatherhood.

According to my weekly BabyCenter update : 

That major rite of passage is almost here, if it hasn’t happened already – sometime this month your baby may take her first steps alone. She may also begin feeding herself with a spoon this month, though her aim won’t be the best.

Though at this point her vocabulary probably consists of only a couple of words besides “mama” and “dada,” your one-year-old can probably babble short, fully inflected sentences that sound like she’s speaking a foreign language.

In the coming months, your child will seek more independence, discover the world from an upright position, find her sense of humour, and learn to say she loves you.

Sounds like quite a handful, doesn’t it? 

But if the past year is any indicator of how much joy a child can bring into your life, I know I’m going to have … a full life.

Her First Christmas

This time, last year, was a time of anticipation and anxiety. The baby was due in Feb, and we didn’t know what it would be like to be “parents”. But it’s been a year since then, and the not-yet-born is now a 10-month-old. And she is revelling in her first experience of Christmas.

This time, last year, was a time of anticipation and anxiety.  The baby was due in Feb, and we didn’t know what it would be like to be “parents”.  But it’s been a year since then, and the not-yet-born is now a 10-month-old.  And she is revelling in her first experience of Christmas.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yule-tide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos

Last night, we decorated the house with a Christmas tree, stockings and twinkling lights.  When Pumpkin woke up for her midnight feed, she was so taken-in by the transformation of her familiar surroundings that she simply stood in the room (yes, she can stand now!) with her mouth open… for 10 minutes!  And then she just broke into a smile.  And would not stop smiling for a long time after that.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Let your heart be light,
From now on our troubles
Will be out of sight.

From her point of view, it must have seemed like the sensory equivalent of a triple sundae, don’t you think?  It must be such a fantastic feeling to discover something new and wonderful for the first time! 

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times,
many ways Merry Christmas to you.

We are just getting ready to leave for the traditional Christmas Lunch at my in-laws’.  Later today, we will take Pumpkin to meet Santa Claus at the local mall… 

This weekend is going to be a merry one!

More Than Words

My precious daughter is all of eight months, and hasn’t yet spoken an intelligent word. But she sure can “communicate”!

It started off as babble, and soon she was reeling off a flurry of ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ sounds, at will.  She still did not know who among us was the mama and who was the papa.  But she liked the sound of it, and wanted to say it over and over.

To tell you the truth, apart from that, it still is just babble.  But you should have no trouble understanding what she wants, when she wants it.

Using a combination of gestures and facial expressions (and screams and laughs!) she can convey exactly what she wants to.  You’ll know when she’s hungry, and know when she’s thirsty.  You’ll know if she likes something, and know when she doesn’t.  It won’t be a mystery that you’re someone she likes, and it will be as clear if she’s scared of you.  She’s full of beans one moment, crawling at full speed all over the house.  And then there are times when she only wants to sleep. 

My precious daughter is all of nine months, and does not know a lot of words.  But she sure can “communicate”!

Re-living My Life

My lovely daughter – Pumpkin – turns 6-months’ old today… I find myself re-living my life through the newfound experiences of being a Father…

My lovely daughter – Pumpkin – turns 6-months’ old today.  And this is what my weekly (BabyCenter) update has to say about the important milestone:

This month your baby will really learn to put her hands to good use. She’ll quickly master the art of raking objects toward herself and she’ll figure out how to move something from one hand to the other. And once she learns that she can hold something in each hand, she’ll quickly realize how much fun it is to bang them together. She’ll want to practice this new skill, so if you think you can stand the noise, set aside one kitchen drawer or cabinet and fill it with baby-safe pots and pans for her to play with.

I find myself re-living my life through the newfound experiences of being a Father. 

Can you remember the time when the biggest development in your life was the discovery that you can hold two different things in two different hands, and bang them together ?!

P.S. : See Babycenter’s Milestone Chart if you want to see more such fascinating developments !

Taken For Granted

Children are so vulnerable. And so dependent on their parents for the smallest of things. And there’s only so much that we, as adults, can effect…

We take so much for granted in Life.  Good health, sound mind, able senses… the list is endless.

A close friend’s wife delivered a baby boy nearly a month ago.  He was born 2 months premature and weighed just over 1 kg!  The boy has spent the last entire month in the neonatal ICU of a hospital.  For days at end, his own parents could not even hold him in their arms.  Even his food intake was through a drip, until very recently.  Of course, every one says : “The boy will grow up to be a brave spirit.”

As much as I try, I cannot even begin to imagine what that must feel like for the parents. My own 5-month old daughter – Pumpkin – developed a cold and a cough this weekend.  And we were both worried sick.  To tell you the truth, it wasn’t a bad bout at all.  But, as a parent, you feel so helpless watching a 5-month old react to the congestion in her throat, not knowing what to do.  She doesn’t even know what a cough is (this is her first time!). 

It’s the same when she goes for her vaccinations.  Any parent will tell you that babies don’t enjoy getting a big fat prick in their arms every 6 weeks or so.  My daughter is no different.  Any other day, she is beaming with a smile at the drop of a hat !  But the day of her vaccines (and the day after that), she is just not her self.  She just sits there, looking glum, not reacting at all to the usual distractions and entertainment. And that feels awful.

These experiences are all new for me.  I know people always say that there are some things you can’t experience until you become a parent.  Now, I am beginning to understand why.  Children are so vulnerable.  And so dependent on their parents for the smallest of things.  And there’s only so much that we, as adults, can effect.  Ask a parent and you’ll know what I mean.

As for my friend, things are beginning to settle down, and chances are his boy will be sent home soon.  Thank God.

The Invisible Club

There are many things in life that need to be experienced; there is just no substitute for them. Parenthood is one such thing…

There are many things in life that need to be experienced; there is just no substitute for them. Parenthood is one such thing.

There was a time when hiccups in my child would make me nervous. Now I know better. In fact, the last 3 months (yes, that’s all its been) have offered more learnings in parenthood than the rest of my life ! As a result, every thing is now just a wee bit different… in ways I’d never even imagined…

I now understand the sentiment that parents go through when their child gets kidnapped for ransom (earlier they were just ransom movies)… I now feel more sympathy for child beggars on the streets… I am now able to get a better understanding of how a human being would put his life secondary to that of another human being’s – a parent would do any thing for his child…

I am better able to relate to children now. And they, in turn, seem to like me a little more these days ! And, even as I try and prepare myself for the “month 4” and “month 5” phases of my little one, I find other people – new parents – looking to me for advice.

It seems I am now a part of an invisible club – “The Parents’ Club”. And it’s unbelievable !

It Takes A Village

Two months ago, a new born baby came into my life. Until then, I had heard many more experienced folks tell me that my life will change the day I have a baby. I am slowly beginning to realize why….

Two months ago, a new born baby came into my life. Until then, I had heard many more experienced folks tell me that my life will change the day I have a baby. I am slowly beginning to realize why.

The last couple of months have been quite a roller-coaster for me and the mrs. As all new parents, we were thrust into the care of the little one from the first day. As someone wisely said, "Having a baby does not make you a parent, any more than owning a piano makes you a pianist." There is so much to caring for an infant that it simply takes over your life, leaving you with little time for the rest of life’s pursuits.

One obvious impact of this has, of course, been on the blog – posts in the last 2 months have been at all-time low of just 3 entries each month! (I have resolved to fix that soon.) But, more significantly, the learning for me has been about how much we, as human beings, are dependent on predictability and on a routine in life.

As someone who thrives on change, it was quite a revelation for me to come to terms with this new finding. I had never thought of myself as not being comfortable in a situation that does not offer predictability. And baby care is any thing but predictable.

From the time she set foot in our lives, the world revolves around her. We sleep when she sleeps. We eat when she lets us. We watch movies only at home… often in instalments. There is no day or night any more. Sometimes she sleeps for 4 hours at a stretch, and sometimes you cannot think of putting her down, even for a moment.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s not all bad. In fact, one toothless smile from her, and every thing in life seems just right ! Seriously, words cannot describe how … nice it feels to see your child grinning away to glory. Never mind that you don’t know what made her smile in the first place!

But the bottomline is that you cannot do much to make it go this way or that way… you can only make the most of the moment. And we are not used to doing that.

It takes a village to raise a child. It really does.