Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On teamwork and two children

It's hard to believe it was a month ago that I was so scared to handle both the kids by myself. Boy, has time just flew by! When my in-law's left for Australia in June, it was the first time I had been alone in over a year and the first time that I'd taken care of both the kids by myself with no help. I was so scared and frightened. But, I did it. And I am so incredibly proud of myself!

My father-in-law came back from Australia this week to return to Canada to look for a job. My mother-in-law will stay in Australia to help my sister-in-law with her kids until September. Now that I've gotten into a great rhythm with the kids, I really didn't need my in-law's to come back to help me. I was totally fine on my own. It's great to have my father-in-law back, but it's even greater to have the new-found confidence in myself and my mothering abilities.

Well, the first week was terrible. Baby Veda got a cold, was teething badly, we had an awful heatwave, Maya was super-clingy, and when I went to visit my parents' that week, my dad almost drowned in the swimming pool which was traumatic and shook me up for days. We realized that there was no food since my mother-in-law was not there to cook, and husband-ji and I got into a big fight. Which made me call up my mother-in-law only days after she landed in Australia, in tears, saying that I felt I had no support because she wasn't there. "It will be fine, Alex..." she said. "Don't worry da...within a week you'll get a handle on it and you'll be fine..." At the time, I didn't believe her. But she was right, as usual!

It was a lot easier when Maya finished school for the Summer because then my schedule was much more flexible. I kept my days simple by preferring to walk to nearby parks and watch Maya play while the baby napped in her stroller - enjoying the fresh Summer sunshine. Husband-ji cooked all the food and planned the meals in advance while I did the grocery shopping on my stroller walks. He made sure to leave for work at the latest possible moment and come home as early as he could to maximize a sense of equal parenting. I threw the trash and washed the dishes while he played with the kids after dinner. We have been working so efficiently as a team that it makes me love him a little bit more. I have even had time to blog, go swimming, and make homemade baby food! I can't believe it.

There is also another teammate with me during the day - Maya. I have been so impressed by her helpfulness and maturity. She helps without me even asking her. She is fully involved in all aspects of taking care of her little sister - from watching the baby while I use the bathroom, helping to feed her solids, dressing her, wiping up her spit-up, fetching her toys for her, and getting clean diapers and throwing away the dirty diapers. I couldn't do it without her. Somehow, with Maya around, I'm not lonely at all. And I make sure that when the baby naps, that I spend one-on-one time with her like playing a board game or doing arts and crafts. 

More and more I'm enjoying these simple moments with the kids - going to parks, sitting with them, playing with them...and generally being present with them. We've had some really lovely moments together. Instead of doing these big grand outings all the time, we are keeping it simple and happy and thus avoiding meltdowns and exhaustion.

Looking back, I feel having two kids is easier than having one kid, so far. I had a much harder time of it being home alone when Maya was a baby. I had no experience, I was trying to find my footing as a mother, it was hard to keep adjusting myself to the ever-changing routines, and the exhaustion. Going from no kids to having one kid was a huge shock to my system. Going from one kid to two is not such big a deal. We have had some hard moments, but in the bigger picture it has been a lot easier. I'm already a professional mother. I've experienced firsthand the ups and downs of motherhood. Flexibility is basically my middle name. I know I need to be kinder to myself. I sleep as much as I possibly can (when the kids sleep), but what's one more sleepless night anyway? Add it on to the hundreds I've already had - no big deal! I have surrendered my life to being a mother and accept all the chaos that comes with it. Life with kids can get crazy so we might as well just have fun with it.

But I do wonder...a month ago, when I was crying my eyes out, swearing that I couldn't handle the kids - WHY did I doubt my own capabilities so much? I am a good mother. I am a capable person. I CAN take care of my kids by myself. I am enough for them. Why did I doubt myself...so much? Definitely some food for thought.

I actually feel a lot better about myself now that I know I can do it. Of course, it helped that husband-ji was so supportive and Maya was just a little angel. I'm really looking forward to enjoying the rest of the Summer with my girls!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Veda: 5 months old!

Forgive me for being so late with this one...this month was absolutely hectic with my in-law's leaving for vacation, the start of Summer break, and not having a computer for 2 weeks!

Probably the biggest change from last month is that Veda loves to be taken out. She used to hate being taken out and we mostly avoided it when my in-law's were here because one of us was always at home with her. Now, after my in-law's left, I had no choice but to pack her up and take her with me...and she adapted pretty well! I think this is because she is becoming very alert and observant of her surroundings. She likes to watch people and stare them down like a desi granny. She loves to people-watch and she finds different people quite entertaining...which I don't mind because then it saves me the work from having to entertain her at home!

But...she has had some stranger anxiety lately. As in, she won't go to everyone and she especially seems to be freaked out by my mom. Every time she sees my mom's face she starts crying, so that has been pretty stressful. I need husband-ji to accompany me to visit my parents due to Veda's meltdowns around my mom! When we're at home, she doesn't want me to leave her side. We have an open-concept living room/dining room/kitchen and if I step away from her (more than 5 feet), she panics. But I think it is the age because I remember Maya being like this and her screaming bloody murder when I had to take a shower - OMG so stressful!

She still hates the baby carrier and prefers to stretch out on her tummy and make crawling moves. Or as Maya calls it, "swimming on the carpet!". She is ok in the car now - as long as Maya's in the back seat with her. She loves the stroller the best and she often falls asleep in it, provided there are constant jiggles.

Other than the smiles, my favorite part of this last month is that when I come near her, she reaches out to me. Sometimes I just come up close to her and let her feel my face as though she's reading Braille, although she mostly scratches or slaps me! I don't mind!

It turns out that Veda loves solids. We haven't fed her any fruits or vegetables yet but she's been doing great on her grains. She has been waking up a bit at night because I think she's hungry, so we are going to start the other food groups soon.

Until next month...!


Monday, July 10, 2017

Latest Family Photos!

A few months ago, we got some family pictures taken for Mother's Day (at the time, Veda was only 3 months old - so she has grown a lot since then!). The photographer who did it is Rose Dykstra of Simply Rose Photography and she was recommended by a friend of mine. It was supposed to be a mom/kids only shoot except I was so happy that Rose allowed husband-ji to get in the pictures too.

It has been so hard to get a good group shot all together - we have so few of them! Despite the baby being 3 months old at the time, this was the only shot of the 4 of us that we had taken! Life gets so busy...and sometimes 1 kid is in the mood and the other is not. Sometimes we are so tired so we'd prefer not to get in the picture. Sometimes we forget. For me, I'm always the one behind the camera! Even though I spend all my time with the kids, I hardly have any photos of us together except for the selfie's I've taken - which are not exactly frame-worthy. More and more, I'm relying on outside photographers to capture me with the kids...at least once a year.

Our last photoshoot was in the Fall for our Christmas card, which was outdoors - documentary style. This one was indoors in a studio with a white background. Being a mom herself, Rose knew how to photograph families and children so well. I feel like the pictures captured our personalities perfectly.

Be sure to check out Simply Rose on Instagram too.


Dear readers, which one is your favorite?


Saturday, July 8, 2017

A two week computer break

It's been about two and a half weeks since my last post and I'm sure everyone has been wondering what we've been up to. Shortly after my last post, my desktop computer completely overheated and blitzed out - leaving me for the first time without any computer in our home.

I actually loved it. As I've written about many times, I love going off the grid and taking breaks from technology. As I get older, I find it's essential for my creativity to take breaks because I can just get too overstimulated and get too many ideas at once. As a mom, it also helps me be more present with the kids and get as much rest as possible, instead of staying up late to write or do work on the computer.

The timing of life is so incredibly funny. Our home computer broke literally right after my in-law's left, leaving me alone with the kids for the first time ever. I was completely freaked out about how I'd manage. It was a blessing in disguise to not have a computer as I feel it has always been there dragging me over to it to do more work. The computer, sitting there staring at me...with it's endless possibilities! Reminding me of how many things I have that are pending. I was completely exhausted from handling the kids that I'm glad that I took the opportunity to rest and de-stress after the kids went to bed (my only time nowadays!). In fact, not having a computer made the transition of not having my in-law's here easier. For the past two and a half weeks, I have been solely focusing on handling the kids and the logistics of it all. I've gotten into a pretty good rhythm with them. It actually simplified my life.

It's hard to believe that this is how we used to live - when I was growing up, there was no computer. My dad had a typewriter. If we wanted to contact someone, we would just phone them up. We relied on books for a lot of information. If we wanted to know the weather, we would just go outside! We spent a lot of time outside. How much the world can change in only a few decades!

More and more, I really like the concept of disconnecting to connect - which is something that we've been trying to do in various ways in our place as we figure out exactly the kind of home we want to raise our kids in. We have been doing no screen time with my daughter for several months now, which has been going great. We try to keep our phones off the dining table when we're eating. We have all been watching less TV and talking with each other more. We have been getting outdoors more and enjoying the Summertime. We're able to sleep better too.

Of course, I'm glad to have a computer again so I can keep up with my writing and work, although I think I'll be keeping it to a minimum this Summer so I can fully enjoy the kids and maximize what little rest I do get nowadays. Most nights, by the time the kids go to bed I'm basically incoherent!


Dear readers, have you ever taken a technology break?
Do you limit the screen time in your household?
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