Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part II)

Continuation of Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part I)

We met Patti Amma. This time our antennas were up. We tried our best to get to know her well. We were convinced enough to try. The location was an issue. Her flat was little off the route and 15-20 minutes walking distance from our Villa. I convinced my cab drivers to help me, but on the evenings when they have tight schedule, I would be dropped only till the Baby sitter’s place. I and my husband decided to meet at the place, pick him and walk to our Villa, on those evenings. Anything was fine as long as Babs was in safe hands.
babysitting-kangaroo-animals-birds-pelican-3093First week, he cried when I left and when I went to pick him. But I felt he was comfortable with her. By the second week he stopped crying, though he looked sad and was reluctant to let me off. I could see the change in him. He had connected with her. He was of course not happy to leave me but yet was not unhappy with her.
Opposed to the first Baby sitter’s view, Patti Amma told me that Babs was an easy child, any baby sitter’s dream child. He stopped crying as soon as I was out of view. When he wanted, he ate and drank without any fuss. He happily let her bathe him and groom him. He befriended other kids there easily but was shy and scared of outsiders. He would cling to Patti Amma on seeing any outsider. I was happy to see how he became everyone’s favourite at her house. On evenings when I went to pick him, I could see through the door left ajar, Babs sitting in Patti Amma’s lap and Patti Amma singing a Tamil Rhyme, Babs making sounds in tune with her and tapping his little fingers on her cheeks.
We were happy and relieved.
Patti Amma was planning to go on a vacation in December. Other kid’s parents were also fine with the vacation schedule. I too applied for leave and the request was accepted. But then we got a blow, when my husband’s leave application was rejected as his colleague was going on vacation at the same time.
Now we had to look for a new Baby sitter. We were really worried how it would affect our baby, to be left with a new person again.
Luckily for us, there was this couple who had moved to our villa in November. Their son was doing graduation in Kerala, the husband was working and the lady, S was a homemaker. Being in the same villa, we met her often in the evenings and between conversations came to know that she had Baby-sat a 3 months old kid till he was 3 yrs old. She had also expressed interest to baby- sit as she was idle at home and felt lonely. She is a sweet and cheerful lady. Babs was also familiar with her. So we requested her to baby sit him for 3 weeks and she happily agreed. Surprisingly Babs connected with her very fast. He cried only the first 2 days and from the third day he happily went to her arms. He seemed to very happy with her.
Then we went for the month long vacation . After coming back we were in a Dilemma. Both Patti Amma and S were good and loved our baby. Finally we decided to send him to S, because he seemed happy with her and being in the same villa and seeing familiar kids and people around, he never felt he was in strange place or away from home. We wouldn’t have the transportation issue also. There was no bus to Patti Amma’s place from my office and also from her place to our Villa. Getting a taxi to her place was easy but from her place to our villa was difficult. Where as there was a direct bus from near  my company to our villa. So I need not worry about dropping and picking up my baby even on days when I don’t get my company cab.

But our woes didn’t end there. On the fourth day after Babs was back  with S, S had to rush to Kerala as her mother had fallen and in the ICU. For 3 days, my BIL who was staying with us, did the Baby sitting job. Despite being a bachelor in his twenties and no experience with small kids, he did a great job. But then the sad news of S’s mother’s demise came. S would be back only after a week. BIL had come here on Visit visa, for job search and he had to attend interviews.
So once again I sought Patti Amma’s help. She was happy to care for Babs for one week. Babs hadn’t seen her for nearly two months now and so he again took time to connect with her. For me and Raj too it was a tiring week because that whole week I did not get transportation from my company, as the cabs were busy with deliveries at project sites.

After a week S came back and from then on she is baby sitting my son again.
Curious to know how he is doing ?416-daycare-cartoons

– as mentioned in the first post  , he is eager to reach there in the morning.
– in the evening he is excited to see me but not in a hurry to leave.
– one night, he spilled water on his night dress and when I removed his dress and was fetching another dress for him, he snatched a dress from the cupboard and in his language asked me to dress him up. He gave the socks to his dad and showed his foot indicating he wanted to wear it. Then he slid down from my arms and took his bag in the table and said ta-ta hurriedly to dad and pulled me, pointing towards the door. From his actions, it was clear that he thought it was morning already and was eager to go to his Aunty’s place.
– one night we were just having a walk outside the room. S also was there and he went to S arms and then he was not coming back to me at all, instead he was asking S to take him to her room.
Then S said ” go to your amma dear, its night, your sleeping time, I am only your vallarthamma, I can’t keep you with me at night, she is your pettamma who will be there with you always.”

Am I upset that my baby is happy to be with his Baby sitter ? No definitely not . I am happy and relieved, because now he is not just with a baby sitter but with another Amma, who loves and cares for him . Am just praying that the bliss continues.

PS : Vallarthamma – Foster mother. Pettamma – Biological Mother

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Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part I)

My little boy gets up in the morning and as soon as I change his diaper and clothes he says ‘ta-ta ‘ and points to the door. He wants to carry the bag with his dabba (snack box) and dress himself. Once I open the door, he points and pushes me till he reaches his Aunty’s house. He happily goes into his Aunty’s arms and says ta-ta to me and eagerly looks around for Uncle. I smile and walk back to our room.

Last April I returned to Dubai after my 7 months long sabbatical, with my 4 months old baby. My Amma came along with me to stay for three months and help me with the baby. I rejoined my work the next day.

For three months things were fine. Babs was with his Ammama and I had nothing to worry. But as the time neared for Amma to return back to India, we all were worried. The search for a baby sitter started.babysitting

We could not afford a maid, so the options left were Day cares or Baby Sitter. Location was one major issue in our search for Day care/Baby sitter, as we do not own a car. We had to look for a place near our home or my office or somewhere in the route between my home and office, so that my office cab would not mind me dropping and picking my baby on the way.

I was not much sure about Day cares. The stories I heard about  Day cares such as that the kids are given cough syrups and put to sleep whole day, was not encouraging. We could not get any recommendations from any of our contacts, Google was our only guide. Online research and phone calls followed. Our options were limited – Few do not take babies below 1 year, few were off on Saturdays, few cases the timings were not ok, few were highly unaffordable.

Finally we found a Baby sitter, the week before Amma left. We visited her flat which was 15 minutes walking distance from my office. Her sweet talk and behaviour somehow convinced us that she was the right person.bs

But that turned out to be a horrible mistake. At that time Babs was 7 months old and still on milk and purees, he had just started crawling and could not stand without support.  My baby cried a lot every time I left him there and went to pick him. I went in the afternoons to feed him.  He was suddenly left at a new place with strangers, he would take time, things will be ok in few days, I thought. Two more weeks, there was no change and she had lots of complaints. She said he was a difficult child, fussy eater, not mingling with anyone. I told her not to force feed, I don’t force feed him. Let him have what he wants. But she kept comparing him with other kids and complaining. I was depressed. Didn’t know what to do. Was she no good or was the problem with my child ? Should I give them some more time ? Nearly a month and still I couldn’t see any attachment develop between them.

Then one day she called and said that Babs had fallen and bleeding from his nose. I rushed to her flat. He was sitting in a corner crying. I picked him up and he immediately clung to me and stopped crying. I checked his nose, bleeding had stopped. His dress had few drops of blood and there was little blood in his hanky. She was panicking and asking me to rush him to hospital immediately. I calmed her down and asked her what happened. She said he was sitting on the floor and falling asleep, she tried picking him up to put him on bed, but he would not allow her to touch him, he would cry when she went near him. So he dosed off sitting and hit his nose on the floor.

I took him home immediately and decided to not send him there again. Kids fall, bleeding happens, it sometimes happens even when you are most careful. I do not blame her of carelessness but I was disappointed the way she panicked and reacted after that. I could not understand why she was not able to pick up a sleepy child and put him to sleep. Why she could not connect with him even after so many days ?

But what knocked the daylights out of me was her call in the evening, “What can I do, he doesn’t allow me to pick him. I thought he was afraid because he was not familiar with us and so we all moved to other room and closed the door . Even then he cried. He is a difficult child, you better quit the job and take him with you back home. I tried my best but your son has some problem ”

What the hell! You don’t move out  and close the door leaving a crying child alone in the room, in an unfamiliar place. She thought she was doing her best taking care of the child by leaving him alone crying? It was completely my mistake. I cannot still come out of the guilt of trusting my baby with someone like her . Even now the image of my baby crying in a corner of the room all alone breaks my heart to pieces.

I took off for some days . Had no clue what to do. How can I trust a new baby sitter ? How will I find one ? Then one of  my husband’s acquaintances told him about a middle aged lady in the building next to his, who was taking care of kids for a very long time. They personally knew her and the parents of two kids going there. They assured us that  we can trust our baby with her.

Continued on  : Baby Sitting – Woes to Bliss (Part II)

Flying with the toddler…

Babs boarded his first flight when he was 5 months old. I say, he is so lucky, I boarded my first flight when I was 25 yrs old, till then aero plane for me was the small dot we see with amazement, moving high above in the sky.

On his first flight Babs was mostly asleep. He cried only when hungry and slept off on being fed. He was only breastfed at that time, hence had to carry only wipes, diapers and an extra dress in my hand bag. But this time I had to be prepared. Now, he being a 14 months old , hyperactive toddler, and having witnessed non stop crying babies in the flights earlier, we carefully planned our trip.

We booked our tickets from Dubai to Calicut, keeping our toddler’s nap time in mind. We booked the early morning (3.30 am ) flight. That would mean we have to report the Airport at 12.30 am, which would mean Babs would be fast asleep on our shoulders throughout the security check and boarding process and in the flight. If we had taken the 1.00 am flight, we usually take, we have to report the airport at 10.00 pm, means Babs would be too excited seeing us preparing to leave and would not sleep at all and it would be difficult to manage him. For the same reason we decided against morning flights. We would land at IST 9.00 am at the Calicut Airport, means Babs can have his morning bottle of milk on the flight itself and would be asleep during the checking out process and would enjoy the sights from the taxi. Be will be home by noon, he can have lunch and sleep. Perfect planning.

But the toddler had other plans. As I mentioned in my previous post, Babs had caught fever which was high the day before the flight. So on 8th, 9th and till 10th evening he was asleep or lying down inactive most of the time. By evening medicines took effect. He regained his energy. I tried to put him to sleep many times before leaving for the airport, but he would not sleep. Finally we had to carry a widely awake and excited Babs to the airport. He has not yet started walking by himself. But he wanted to get down. He would  crawl all over the airport.1 And he is Usain Bolt when it comes to crawling. We would easily loose him in the airport. He wanted to lay his hand on every thing and everyone he saw around. Only way to control him was to show any other kid in the airport, then he would be smiling ear to ear to the kid for next 5 mins. He kept calling everyone “eyy” and was blabbering non-stop to the attendants. Thankfully he wasn’t crying and so people around were actually amused. All were instantly taken by the sweet smile that he gave away without any hesistation.

Emirates Airlines too had plans to keep us entertained. They kept changing their boarding gates. Thrice, we had to walk, with luggages and over excited Babs to different gates which were so far from each other that we thought we may reach the Calicut airport walking.2

Once on the flight, he started crying aloud because of being restricted in one seat. But by the time the flight took off  I was able to feed him and put him to sleep. He slept peacefully in the flight and got up again only at the Calicut airport during the check out. Once the flight landed, we waited for the rush to be over before getting down the plane. Many people who passed us were looking at the toddler fast asleep in my arms and talking to each other “look how peacefully the baby is sleeping now” , “he was so cheerful” “poor baby, tired after all the excitement”

Once in the Taxi, from Calicut to Kannur, as we expected, he enjoyed the sight seeings from the car and also took short naps. The bag I had packed for him, with biscuits, bottles, warm water, Formula milk powder, sugar, wipes, diapers, dress, towels etc.. came in handy throughout the trip.

On the return trip too he did not create much problem other than over excitement at the airport. I could hear two babies crying non stop throughout the flight, and thanked God and of course Babs for being a better travel partner.

Image Courtsey : 1

Together we have turned One…

An year has passed… an year with you in our lives. Last November you were in my arms, too small that I had to hold you so carefully, it was so difficult for me to breast feed you and today you are sitting alone on the bed and nibbling away a biscuit. On the third day you were born, I was still finding it difficult to

breastfeed you. The nurses were scolding “Why are you not holding him properly”. Your Acha still pulls  my leg telling, how I cried hugging you tight and said “Oh my baby, you are a new born and I am a new mother, we both have to learn.”

And we learnt together. Every day was a day of discovery, of new emotions.

From the first time you smiled to today when you are laughing out loud  blinking your eyes ;

From your first cry to the shriek you gave when we just took away the dirty shoe you were going to eat ;

From breast milk to the parippum chorum (rice and dal) you had today;

From your first black poop to the pampers full of shit we just put in the bin ;

From the first see through cotton dress you wore to the kurta – pajama you are wearing now ;

From the first day you flipped on your tummy to today when you are trying to stand on your own ;

From the rattles you shook with your hands to the toy car you are trying to drive today;

From the first sound you made to nonstop blabbering you are doing now;

From your toothless smile to the 4 sharp teeth with which you bite us whenever possible;

From drinking out of a feeding bottle to the straw sippy bottle ;

From crying at small sounds to enjoying fire crackers on Diwali ;

From the day you first crawled on your knees to today when you are keeping small steps holding the bed ;

From the smile and attention you gave to the music from your toy to the way you shook your hands and head in tune to Gangnam Style beats ;

From crying on leaving at the baby sitter’s to the silent acceptance that your Amma have to leave you there even if you cry ;

You have come a long way. (Darling tu pehle se kitna badal gaya 🙂 )

Its not that the last one year was a walk on cake. There were struggles, both emotional and physical. There were times you took away our sleep, we got tired, anxious and sometimes at our wit’s end. But then the joy your innocent smile gives us can wash away all those pains.

You may not understand yet why Amma and Acha have decorated the house today with balloons and colours, why Amma held you in her arms and blew a candle on the cake, why Acha made you cut a cake and offered a piece for you to have, why your little friends have gathered in the room and clapped hands and sang “Happy Birthday to you”; But darling you would understand in years to come that we were celebrating the day you came into our life, you would understand how much you mean to us, how much you have changed us and our lives.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY LITTLE ONE”

PS : My sunshine celebrated his first birthday yesterday – 25/11/2012.

“Amma….”

What do you feel when your seven month old calls you “Amma” ( mom ) for the first time.. you would jump in joy.. smother him with kisses, call and share it with everyone you know… at least that’s what I thought I would do.. But only thing I could do was to stain his burning cheeks with my tears..
My son called me “Amma” for first time when he was 7 months old and was down with fever. He had cold, cough and high fever. His chest was infected and doctor said if not controlled immediately would develop into pneumonia.
That night he was having 103 degree ( F ) fever. Blocked nose made it difficult for him to have breast milk. He would not sleep on the bed and was sleeping on my lap. His whole body was burning hot. With eyes closed in effort to sleep and lips dry and trembling, he called “Amma….” , not once but again and again. I could do nothing but take his hands in mine and say “Amma is here with you my son, am here with you.” and my tears dropped on his cheeks…
PS : After 10 days of  nebulization and 5 days of injections, thankfully my son regained health.