Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Musings about raising babies in the US and other related things

We are officially back to work now. G is officially included in the "We" because he manages to sit in on conference calls with me and even chimes in sometimes with an, "Ah-goooooo", nodding his head very sagely and thumping our home office desk. Yup, that's working life with a small baby in tow.

The Parents left about a couple of weeks back just as I started work and sure enough, we were crisis mode from the get-go.

S couldn't get vacation. I obviously couldn't get any vacation because ummm, I just got off it. So, until my MIL arrived about 3 weeks later, we were ON OUR OWN. With the baby. For the first time. And both of us were working full-time. Eeeeeks.

G promptly decided to catch a cold, his first, to test his parents' mettle. Okay, I shouldn't blame him really. The crowded, sick waiting room at Central Baptist hospital was the culprit. Seriously, that hospital needs some windows and a make-over. S & I were up 3 nights in a row trying to help G get some sleep. In the process, we didn't get any sleep, of course.

To make things more interesting, I caught G's cold as well. So here we were, mom and son, with congested nose and a cough to boot. Poor S was at wit's end.

The first thing that gets chopped off our "todo" list when things are this bad is: cooking. It is very difficult to run a 24x7 kitchen when you have work + sick baby + no help. A lot of well-meaning folks asked us to cook for an entire week and freeze it. Alas, they don't know that both hubby and I have 4-foot long tongues and absolutely refuse to have the same food more than twice in a row. So, we made do with sandwiches and to-go subs from the ever reliable Subway.

We survived.


There's a new baby store in town: "Buy buy baby". How much more obviously consumeristic can you get with the name, right? Everytime I walk into this store, I am tempted to buy something or the other for the baby. But I've managed to resist most times. There's this teeny-tiny voice in my head that always goes, "Do we really, really, really need this?" The answer is "No" almost all the time.

Do we really need a high-chair? My parents managed to raise two kids without one. If humanity depended on high-chairs, I guess we'd be extinct by now.

Do I really need that cute diaper bag? Umm, not really. I can make do with umpteen bags in the house. They're all unglamorous but will make do.

Do we need cups and spoons for baby? My mom (and others) suggested that we use our fingers first to feed the baby (By the way, its the recommended way too because its warm and familiar to the baby).

The list goes on and on. But in man-power starved US of A, some things have to be done to make our lives easier. So we got the high-chair and other miscellania. I did manage to resist the cute diaper bag though.


I've begun noticing other children/babies around me now that I have one. One thing that really scares me is how accomplished all these desi kids are. There are all these educational toys, videos, books, audio Cds and what-not to help raise a brilliant baby. And most children here are wayyy above average. They sign, sing, dance, go to chess tournaments, take advanced classes and do umpteen other things I never did as a kid.

But I can't make up my mind as to whether all this stimulation is good or not. My childhood was fairly simple and straightforward. I turned out okay, didn't I ? And so did thousands or millions of other children of my generation. I am not exactly dumb either. So, if eventually, we all reach our maximum intelligence potential anyway, what's the point of doing a lot of things in one's childhood? Are we, in some unknowing way, ruining it for our kids?

I'd love to hear from you.


expertdabbler said...

If I see this post as a movie, your first half is scary :)
Not buying what we don't need is a good thing which unfortunately we indians are losing, at least in the metros.
Again, need is very relative. Paisa illena sour dhaan need. Rest all luxury. Paisa irundha a/c gets defined as a necessity - we look up to our circle - friends on these things.

4/5 dialogues like ' innum car kooda vangaliya née.. Modalla car vaangu,' suddenly makes car a necessity for me. When my mom ran the family in a princely monthly budget of rs. 1000 for so long :)
I still love to read, study ( whether I am good at it? No) but I think that is becos my dad never put my under pressure to 'perform' well in school. Most of the 'super intelligent' kid develop an aversion to books once past college. Enna proyojanam? If education is a life long journey, i think it's better to be a dumb guy like me who likes to study, than be a ' super intelligent' per on who does not like to study/learn.

dinesh said...

"My childhood was fairly simple and straightforward. I turned out okay, didn't I ?"

I am tempted to answer your question but pona pordhu - pozhachu po!:)

Viji said...

seriously, anything you cook hurriedly will be better than subway dinners for your 4 feet long tongues.