Sleeping Beauty… Not!

My journey as a new mum now has me riding the slippery sleep slope.

I’m slipping down the sleepless road to madness!

Okay I’m exaggerating, but it sure feels that way sometimes. My son is at that precious Eureka phase- discovering a whole new world around him of tantalising sights, sounds, smells and action. It’s no wonder then that his over-stimulated little body goes into overdrive and can’t calm down.

He fights sleep with all his might. In the battle of mum v/s bub, he wins. Hands down. And also legs up, drooling, screaming, full on meltdown mode.

His newest trick when drop-dead sleepy is to let out the cutest, most heart-stopping gurgle he can muster. He kills it every time. Mum, dad, gran. Reduced to helpless cooing adult fools. We can’t help but gurgle back in response and before we know it, we have him engaged and awake! Bub one, adult none.

Since we weren’t exactly born yesterday, we have tricks of our own. Daddy discovered sticking him in the sun forces him to close his eyes and a few moments later, magic! He’s off to la la land!

Much googly eyed research at ungodly hours has informed me that the first three months are akin to a fourth trimester. Meaning that babies calm down in a womb-like atmosphere. So dark, loud monotonous noises (in-utero, mum’s heart beat, breath sounds, intestine churning,), constant movement and enclosed spaces. The sucking reflex is also very comforting.

When the sleep demon decides to play, I go into multi-handed goddess mode. I snap my son into a sling while jiggling him constantly, shushing until I’m breathless and avoiding any eye contact with the face I could drown in kisses. Since my infant deftly spits out a pacifier but hungrily accepts my finger; I sometimes spend hours with only 9 fingers at my disposal.

I’ve slightly refined my act most recently. Having outsourced the shushing to the vacuum, the fan (Z’s new best friend) or a Spotify play list I am a calmer warrior now. I use my saved breath to jiggle Z to sleep as if he were still encased in my womb while I grooved to head-banging music- which I often did when pregnant.

Wow. I just had a revelation!

When sleep has played hookey too long and Z goes bat-shit crazy, he wants to feed. However, he ends up head-banging into his food source, getting sprayed in the face because I’ve already had my let down reflex and then gets even more frustrated!

I see now where he gets the head-banging from. (Slaps forehead)

I also periodically need to save my boy from his uncoordinated fists which smack into his face when on the slippery sleep road.

I truly feel like I’m losing it some days. Then the little guy turns on his gurgling charm.

Say sleepless what? I lost you at coooo!

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Pit-stop at the docks

This morning I had the privilege of introducing my 7 week young son to the Hamburg Fischmarkt. Even if he slept through it all, his senses definitely picked up the wind, the tantalising aromas and the funky atmosphere.

Before you scrunch up your nose, know that this is a Fischmarkt with a difference.

It contains everything from Rasta coffee to live bands. For a full low-down on all this marvelous market has to offer- check my post from 2 years ago- Reggae Coffee at the Fish Market.

When the weather gods decide to shine happiness on the harbour, Hamburg is priceless. More so a sunday morning by the water, diving deep into a Fischbrötchen.

Here’s us- baby, dad and mum- making a pit-stop, fuelling up on Milk, Alsterwasser (Beer + Sprite) and the sun- not that mum needs it! ūüėČ

Tip to those going to the Fischmarkt- instead of the usual train, take the boat there. The ticket is the same as for the train.

Our world in our hands

We’ve got our whole world in our hands.

Literally.

At 3.5 kilos that’s not hard to accomplish. I suspect, the sentiments will not have changed even at 35 kilos. Though, by then, our little man may very well be out of hand!

This precious cocktail of ours has German and Indian blood coursing through his veins. Needless to say, we’ve had plenty of opinions from well wishers about how he will look, the colour of his eyes, hair, toes….

As a couple with several spectrums of interests and affinities; we’re more concerned about his “inner features”

There’s no doubt he will use his multilingual skills to con his first fans- namely the grandparents. This has already sent my non-German speaking mother scrambling to master the many nuances of this language. The other grandmother has already brought out her English text books from school. Imagine the heartbreak, they say, if you can’t understand your only grandson! I trust my son to have other tricks up his sleeve to con his unsuspecting, language-proficient grandmas.

Breakfast humour this morning was anticipating future tantrums from this mini version of us. We envision a mixture of Indian/Goan emotion and German structure. I can already see a 2 foot tall ball of energy informing us- “Mum, Dad; I’m going to scream and have a fit for the next ten minutes and you can’t stop me!” Ten minutes later, all normalcy will have returned. Bravo German punctuality! Worst case scenario, he will sway towards Indian time sense and still be screaming an hour later!

The snowboarding, ballroom dancing, IT bent Papa is itching to get his son on a mini-board at 3 and have him go nuts at Slow Fox music.

The basketball wielding, blog writing, Homoeopathy practicing Mama wishes her son takes to sports and languages with equal passion.

Neither of us will be surprised should our boy decide to ski, play heavy metal, do ballet or major in Math.

That’s the way of life, isn’t it?

We are dreamers, but also realists. No amount of romancing about our son promises us a smooth ride through parenthood. We are gearing up to have our worlds turned upside down and inside out. (already happening to a certain degree), to expect the unexpected and to celebrate the challenges.

I for one (the emotional half of the couple) will probably lose my marbles when my son crosses limits. The structured half of the equation, Papa, will deal better with impish behaviour. So between the two of us, nuturing our boy into a responsible young man shouldn’t be that much of a struggle, right?

Wrong.

The longer we are together, the more we absorb the other’s qualities! That makes us a punctual Indian and emotional German couple!

Role reversal is both confusing and hilarious! Things which would have sent me into a flying rage before, now no longer ruffle my feathers. But come 15 minutes late to an appointment and I’ll bite your head off! Similarly, snowboarding Daddy goes berserk when I suggest our son may ski!

This is going to be an interesting journey. Keeping our world in our hearts is no problem. Making sure he is not out of hand, will be a whole different ball game! ‚̧

21 down, 21 to go

That’s days and years. 21 days done. At least 21 years to go.

21 days to form a habit they say. I guess that makes Zane my new habit.

I’m talking about my newborn son and how much time we have left in our Provider-Consumer relationship.

Many wise parents scoff at 21 and say it’s more like 21 times ‘n’.

For now, I have new-found respect for cows. How do the poor things stand being constantly milked? My bub makes sure I know how this feels. While I enjoy being food and comfort giver, I also sometimes crave to not have a 3 kilo attachment at my chest, with the suction prowess of dental tools.

Does that make me a bad mum? Definitely not. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t asked myself that question. A million times over.

“I make you feel like a cow, you say?!”

This morning at 4 am when I took a carefully timed pee-break, hoping my son didn’t wake up and start screaming bloody murder, I looked in the mirror and did a double take.

The sleepy face with scraggly hair and smudged mascara-like dark circles was me! I looked so ridiculous, I had to laugh. And laugh I did. Loudly! The experts weren’t lying when they said medicate with laughter. Almost immediately my sleep-deprived body perked up and I started appreciating the lighter side of being a new mum.

Did you know one in four women get depressed after delivery? It’s not difficult to see why. Added to being almost solely responsible for keeping a tiny babe alive, (often with zero prior training); comes the fact of having him/her attached to you at the (far from proverbial) hip, breast, tummy, heart and soul.

Heart and soul are both beautiful and devastating. Hearing your baby cry is sufficient to tear that heart into pieces. Seeing him giggle and smile makes you soar to the high heavens. The joy is indescribable!

Not to mention leaky boobs. The mums that breastfed know precisely what I mean. When one is active, the other is anything but passive. Get upset and your eyes are not the only ones producing fluid. Lie on your belly or try to and you’ll see who’s in the way!

My favourite is tummy to tummy with my son. The warmth and proximity are simply heartening. There’s just something magical, mystical even, about connecting like this with my baby. Maybe it’s gut instinct?

This minute fellow is so precious to me. I love my new toy, er.. boy. Hubby gets instantly nervous when I say toy. He starts checking for signs of depression or any other feature that doesn’t fit my super-mum avatar. I’m not sure he believes me when I say I’m kidding!

All jokes aside, I am in a good place now, after a tough start. I am content with being a less than perfect mum, with not brushing my hair because that’s a time consuming luxury I’d rather spend sleeping and with crushing every inevitable challenge through the miracle I hold in my arms.

21 years sounds like a nice, long time to provide for my son. Hell, it sometimes sounds scary!! (I left home at 18 but was parent-dependent for way longer; as was my hubby. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…)

Perhaps the 21 years will be longer or perhaps shorter. Either way, I intend giving every moment my best-even if my best is sometimes 40%.

My mantra for the t(c)rying times is- “This too shall pass!” My mantra for the happy times is- “Enjoy it while it lasts!”

As my bub grows, daddy and I will graduate to chauffeurs, bed and breakfast organizers, chaperons, sensor-board and ethical committee. This goes without saying.

What I truly hope though, is that we also work our way into our son’s heart as his confidante, friend (someday later, not when he’s 8!) and inspiration.

Here’s to our 21, son!

Cheers!

Promoted! To All-You-Can-Eat!

Last Friday, I went through the most raw and primal experience of my life. It was also the most excruciating yet satisfying one.

I gave birth.

Oh, before I go further, a word of caution. This post contains explicit descriptions from a hormone-pumped, one-week-new mum, which might make you queasy. Consider yourself warned!

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All throughout my labour, I had a front-row ticket to everything. There were times when I wished the clock would tick faster and not crawl over the 15 hours it took from start to finish. But there were also fun times- taking two warm tub baths, listening to my birth playlist (embedded for the curious ones) and chuckling at some appropriately¬† inappropriate songs- like It’s now or never or¬†the German oldie¬†Atemlos (Breathless).

The midwife that assisted my delivery was simply wonderful. Thanks to her, my tremendously supportive husband and the Lion King hits (mainly Hakuna Matata) I went through the whole ordeal without any pain-killers.

That doesn’t mean I was brave throughout. Far from it. At the height of my pain, I was willing to take anything against it. Even a horse tranquilizer. I tried laughing gas, but no ha-ha’s there. It proved utterly useless.

Just when I thought I couldn’t go on any longer, the midwife excitedly announced that¬† she could see the head of the baby. She asked me, “Are you ready to bring out your son?”

“Hell yes!” I nearly screamed through gritted teeth., sitting on the semi-circular chair that I chose as my birthing position. I then turned on all my animal instincts, seized all my worth into one big muscle and let out the most primal cry.

Make that cries. I screeched myself hoarse and my boy out. At that dizzying point, nothing in the world mattered more than sending him flying out. I didn’t care if I broke, and I did; but I simply didn’t care.

With the last mighty heave, out came my son- a red mass with a mop of black hair, lying at my feet and squealing his little lungs out. I expected to feel a rush of motherly love and emotion as soon as I saw him.

But all that registered was shock!  How did something so big (relative proportions here) reside for 9 long months inside me and then come out of what I thought to be, a tiny exit. The idiotic saying playing in my head was- pushing a watermelon out a hole the size of a lemon. And I did!

As I had my son on my chest and he did the¬†I’m-looking-for-milk-crawl;¬†my veins coursed with oxytocin and I drowned in happy emotions. My heart felt like it would burst with joy, pride and a sheer sense of¬†I DID IT!!!

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Now thanks to having a pain-killer free birth, my son and I were very active and ready to run. While all the other mums and bubs in the area slept peacefully in their beds and cribs; my bub and I were super active. I, the awkward new mum, clueless how to do almost everything; and my son roaring like a lion on LSD; regularly brought the floor nurses to check that no one was getting mortally injured!

One week into being entitled my new status, I have several factors to thank for staying sane:

  1. I gave up the notion of being the perfect mum. I started by putting on diapers the wrong way, panicking when I wondered if I was producing enough milk to feed another human being! I resigned to letting myself learn from those around me and most importantly, from my 51 cm tall boss.
  2. I accepted being an All-You-Can-Eat 24/7 Buffet for my son. Then the sleep deprivation and sore nipples suddenly turned utterly do-able.
  3. My awesome support system and baby daddy. I sometimes think he inhaled some of my motherly hormones. He does that fantastic a job! In fact, he’s talking about giving up his job and trading places with me. Thankfully, until men can breastfeed, that won’t happen.
  4. And finally I wholeheartedly gave in to all the crazy/wonderful/exciting changes my body is going through. Like crying out of my eyes and my boobs when my son sobs.

All 3 kilos of this bundle have my heart in their baby-fisted love grip and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a wonderful life!

Happy one week on earth son!