Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Before Ferber

I've been whining for a while to Rohini about WB's sleeping habits. Spurred on by regular complaints maybe she has posted an in-depth and awfully instructive discourse (well, it is!) on how she sleep-trained her son.

Now, after her book arrives here in Calcutta I intend to try out the Ferber method on The Bhaeblet. Till then though, I wish to record just what happens in my house everyday.

The son and heir wakes up any time between 6 and 9 a.m. Till last month he used to sleep till 9 easily, even, on occasions when I wasn't well, till past 10, even 11. Anyway, from March he has taken to waking up around 6 or 7. He's not really hungry and has maybe half a feed before falling asleep once more. He does not settle down without that feed, though. I have tried leaving him alone to settle down and that does not always work. Nor does he wake up for this half-feed every morning. Now this is a nuisance, because my maid comes at 7.30 and I used to try to do my cooking mostly while she was around. Now however I never know if he won't suddenly wake up just as I've got started.

He is bathed sometime after 9 and given his juice and banana a little later, depending on when he had his last feed. By now the warm bath and the full tummy have made him quite sleepy, so he gets quite cranky and starts to cry. It can take anything from 10 minutes to a couple of hours before he does fall asleep, though. Sometimes he cries himself to sleep in his pram, sometimes he needs me to pat and hum him to sleep. He usually sleep for about an hour, sometimes more, usually less.

This obviously decides my mood for the rest of the afternoon and also whether lunch gets cooked and whether I get to bathe, do the laundry and so on. I try to do my minor household chores earlier, when the maid is around, but the midnight battle usually leaves me too tired to do much.

Around 1 p.m. he has his lunch and plays a little and what with the heat of the afternoon and the full tummy, feels sleepy once more. The whole fight is repeated. By now my temper is that much shorter. Eventually, if we are lucky, he does sleep a little. Mostly though, he does not. He wakes up (or is woken) for his 5 p.m. snack and thereafter, is not allowed to sleep any more unless he really is very tired. In such a case he naps a bit but usually wakes up himself in 15, 20 minutes.

I had brought his dinner hour forward to 10 p.m. and tried to have him firmly in bed by 11, so that we had a full hour to battle it out before I got really murderous. (I hate having to do anything resembling work after midnight.) Yesterday though I managed to have him fed and in bed by nine. He put up a spirited fight despite being very tired (he woke up I don't remember how many times) but eventually, by a quarter past 11, he was out for the night.

I hate the fighting. Also, I have a knee problem and if I stay in one position for long, my knees act up and prevent my getting much sleep all night. To make my life a little more miserable, I have developed some kind of a wrist pain and so cannot take much weight on it. All this means I cannot sit with Rahul for longer than 20 minutes with any degree of comfort. Who am I kidding? After 20 minutes I'm usually ready to howl with pain. So I developed another way of getting him to sleep --

He keeps himself awake by screaming and throwing his arms and legs about. He can keep this up for two hours, even though no paediatrician has believed me. So I pin his legs and one hand down with a thin pillow and hold his other hand down with my other hand. This angers him but also helps him sleep sooner since his body is forced to be still. I know, it sounds terrible. But even if I hold him and pat and sing him to sleep I have to pin his arms tight to his body to get anywhere. And I sing and hum to him anyway.

So this is my life right now. Today he's been unusually good. He's had his meals fairly quietly and also taken his naps. He protested a bit about his afternoon nap, so V let him play with a newspaper while he napped beside The WB, and eventually I saw that both my men had fallen fast asleep.


That was half an hour ago. WB's up now and staring at me. Gotta go!

Something Stinky This Way Comes

The Bhaeblet turned six months old last Sunday. Where did the time go? It's hard to believe he's that old when you look at him, he's such a Very Skinny Kid. Now V and I both started our lives as reasonably chubby children, so I fail to see what WB's problem is. It's not that he doesn't like his food, because he does.

He's within the average weight percentile -- but only just. It worries me because I think I must be going about this wrong. Breastfeeding drove me nuts, but at least while that was all he was given I knew he was getting the right proportions. And it's so hard to figure out what to do, because now that I've to cook for him and so on, I really don't know when to do it! He gives us a hard time about his daytime naps and he gets so cranky because he is tired, and whines as long as he's left alone. So it's as much as I can do to cook for V and me. I barely manage a bath (and we have a water problem anyway, with water only being available at certain times during the day). Now when am I supposed to make his food fresh every day?

The child is just not reasonable.

In other news, as they say, V is my hero. Totally, absolutely. I cannot go into the exact details, because a lot of people assure me they read this blog, and I refuse to open myself to any more ridicule than I already face, but suffice it to say that the crisis concerned a very important piece of jewellery and might remind one of certain screwy matters that had come up for discussion earlier. It also involved me being in a blue funk and him keeping a very cool head, not to mention an act of absolute bravery in plastic gloves. So, as I said, he's my HERO. (Make the most of this, V.)

Rahul had his rice ceremony on the 1st. Those of you who have been grumbling because I haven't yet sent the photos, hold your horses. I barely get time to bathe, remember?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Monojit Mondol's Dirtly Little Scandal

One of V's favourite stories is of a little misunderstanding that happened with a teacher.

When V and his friends were little oiks in class IX (or thereabouts) in St. Xaviers, Calcutta, the boys got into trouble one day. The details why are not important -- what is, is that they were ratted upon by a fellow oik. Vengeance was duly sworn, to be extracted during the Zero period, i.e. after the lunch break. The plan went that, as soon as the boy went into the class, the doors and windows would be closed and he would be given a little corporal punishment by his peers.

Boys were posted in place, ready to slam the doors shut, when in came a (female) teacher instead of the Rat. Unfortunately, the doors and windows were shut before anybody realised the difference, and this went on to have disastrous consequences: the teacher, alarmed at being shut in a dark room with a bunch of 'young men' feared the very worst. She quavered out that they shouldn't do anything hasty, that she was after all their sister (and they her brothers). Realising their mistake the boys opened the doors, and she ran out in terror. So all the classes down that corridor were treated to the sight of the teacher running for her life, if not her honour, followed by lots of 15 year-olds anxious to explain that she had it all wrong.

That teachers can be exceedingly silly we all know. But whereas V's story is funny, what follows is not:

I was treated to Monojit Mondol's story last month, and I had found it exceedingly funny. Knowing the man, I fail to perceive why anybody in their right minds would wish to proposition him, in any way at all. Not only is he a bad teacher and an unpleasant person, he is also, well, the word I want is UGLY, but I do not wish to be rude, so shall we say he's no oil painting?

Now though he has taken his little story to the media and I find I'm rather angry. Us hooligans from JU know we have a reputation to live down purely by association with our Uni. We really could have done without this pathetic creature and his neuroses.

On request I have removed the original link to a blog post that told the story with all its relevant details. The current HT link is inadequate and a little misinformed but better than nothing.

The results were eventually published by JU on Saturday, taking the average of past performances of the students. I am assured that MM has psychological troubles, which would explain... nothing?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another Email Forward

Some MORE Things Mom Taught Me

My mother taught me IRONY -
"Keep crying and I'll give you something to cry about."

My mother taught me FORESIGHT -
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

My mother taught me complex Physics -
"If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming toward you, would you listen THEN?"

My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD -
"If you don't pass your spelling test, you'll never get a good job."

My mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT -
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

My Mother taught me about WISDOM -
"When you get to be my age, you will understand."

My mother taught me about HOPE & JUSTICE -
"One day you'll have kids ... and I hope they turn out just like you!"

My mother taught me HUMOR -
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me!"


It's quite worrying -- I've actually heard myself say the first one. (And I've only been a mother five months!)

My mother and aunts have fun when I complain about feeding this Very Fussy Feeder -- they give various versions of the penultimate one. Apparently I was a little difficult over food, too. Or so they say. What would they know?