Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Come Along with Mama

The biggest fear I had about becoming a mother was the compromise on my mobility, considering how much I needed to socialize and move around. But no, this was not to be an issue at all when I decided that wherever I go, Lolo will come along. 

Except during my visits to the hospital wards, funerals and official dinners, otherwise a regular sight will be this Mama with her little one hung around. Be it at the weekend vegetable market, baby showers or any other meeting, Lolo has become an added stamp of my presence. Lolo started her visits since her 4th month and grew up greeting many faces on her way, which definitely shows in the ways she handles the crowd around her. My daughter is not crowd-shy at all, she can handle hundred people around her. In a way, I see a part of my social-animal behaviour in Lolo; she will grow up to like variety of companies around her.

I was totally inspired when I read about the European Parliament Member Lucia Ronzuilli (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licia_Ronzulli) who has been taking her daughter Vittoria to the parliament sessions. I was inspired because I want we mothers to be this proud of multitasking our responsibilities, without compromising the foremost "motherhood" in the least. Ms. Lucia is so beautiful to be doing this.

When my Lolo was around six months old, I had taken her for a semi-official dinner, partly because she was still on exclusive breastfeed and largely because she had loose motion that day and needed constant care. We were in a group of several members over dinner. My attention to the gathering wasn't missed, I attended to each of their conversation, except when they laughed that I tended to kiss my daughter and spare the moments to her. I don't know how I still have this gnawing feeling of that evening but even today I feel one of the members didn't approve this scene of me bringing my daughter along, although not spoken aloud but felt very strongly through the expressions. Well, my apology was NOT to promise NOT to bring along Lolo in the future gatherings, rather I said I will save even half a second to spend time with my daughter, in and out of the house.

This is no way an obligation I put on myself. I am OK to take my daughter and attend to her restlessness when the rest roar with laughter. I am OK to be tired and uneven when others choose to spend some quality time for themselves, away from their children. What I am NOT OK is to miss these few years of their innocence - after all, they won't be babies for long! They will grow up to be responsible for themselves. Until then, they need us, especially we mothers to be their attendees.

So, my darling Lolo will forever get this welcome gate message - "Come along with Mama".

Friday, April 18, 2014

To my Lolo, from your Mama

Suddenly, I am so emotional after reading an article online about a father's efforts in memory of his two-and-half-year daughter who passed away in her sleep one fateful night, very recently on April 3. (https://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/stolen-moments-larry-carroll-fundly-savannah-savvy-182856477.html)

I have a daughter and I completely feel with this father's pain and grief. My prayers for the family thus resulted in me writing this letter to my daughter Lolo:

"Dear Lolo,

I am writing you this letter straight from work. It's almost 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, I imagine you sleeping or at your best, haunting the house with your Grands, something we have come to accept as a part of your adventures. You are one restless girl, you know that right? For hours, you can be on move, never once losing your lovely smile and the funny faces coming from you. 

I read an article online about a family who lost their little girl few weeks ago. The pain of the parents, especially the father's is still very intense that I could feel through each of his word. In each word, I saw you in the shoes of their late daughter and I was almost to tears thinking what if it were me in the place of the father. Darling, I probably won't recover from the pain (touchwood) if that was the case.

Every morning, you are the first face in my reflection. I, like a crazy lover stare at you for minutes before I pull myself off the bed. You have magnetic power which keeps me glued to you. Last night, we were awake in the wee hours of the night to prepare your feed. Even in the darkest night, your silhouette like a candle radiated and I could find everything within a hold under your reflection. Bingo! We could make the feed perfectly in my worst sleepy state.

You are not only a lovely child but also a very fascinating human. In your spell, we are all poets and writers and thinkers. You have given us a new dimension to defining love and affection.

Having said all these, I hold on to my life to hope nothing but best for you. Then, I feared death and now I fear MORE. I fear about the life I will lose because of you, I fear for the moments I will never have and I fear for the worst things, ever. Life's impermanence keeps me agile and now it keeps ever more cautious for the life I gave in you, my daughter.

Lolo, as we grow old each day, let's pray hard to hang on for the longest time. Let's celebrate life in every way. Let's make more 'stolen moments'.

With this, let's pray for Savvy's return in the girl her parents are looking for. We send our prayers and wishes for her quick return.

Yours Mama."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lolo - She Who Proves All Myths Wrong!

I have been itching to write this article for a long time but the excuse of being too busy shames me effortlessly. Anyway, here it is:

For the first time mother I was going to be, I was held with the million superstitions and hundred dos and don'ts that came from generations across. Obvious to the fact that a mother would want nothing less for her child, I in my own ways of protection wanted to reserve the best efforts in bringing up Lolo.

Lolo today is almost 15 months, 'very healthy' as everyone remarks and 'the most amiable child', says my parents who nurtured seven children of their own and fourth grandchildren in the row. Lolo's journey so far has been a blessed one (touch wood!) and we are very grateful for her kindness in being a nice girl.

1. NO Lactogen or Cerelac!
- I was warned and cautioned against feeding supplements, with weird reasons like they burst the child's physic and weight without much retentivity and also that the baby tends not to taste anything else after them.

No - my Lolo proves this wrong. I breastfed her exclusively for five and half months until she showed healthy signs to intake solids. To prepare her digestive system, I began with porridge form of cerelac and gradually added vegetable, fruits and cereal flavours. She was also introduced to Lactogen formula after her 6th month, in events I couldn't go to feed her.

This variety of tastes has in fact given Lolo a good range of choices and it also proves easy to feed her when she gets too tired with the same taste of good. For instance, when we travel she is on cerelac and Lolo shows no problem unlike other babies who are struck to their routine diet. 

2. Single Teething is Perilous
- Indeed it was, the first time Lolo started teething. She had loose motions for three days in row and she was totally deflated. It worried us so much. But well, that was it - from next time onwards, her single tooth, one at a time, shot out without any change in her mood. This proven myth is therefore not applicable for a child like Lolo.

3. NO Bottle Feeding - Loose Motion?
- Yes, this is what everyone says. But I think it depends on what level of hygiene you maintain. Now that Lolo is completely weaned, she is on bottle feeding and she is doing absolutely fine.

4. Tough to Wean, is it?
- I was to go for a week's trip and everyone worried how Lolo would manage. I fed her the morning I left with the biggest worry in my heart (keeping the promise that I shall not travel until Lolo completed her first birthday). When I came back after a week, Lolo showed no sign of any pain in her eyes. Not even for a moment she had given any trouble to anyone in my absence. My mother in her words explained, "Your daughter is a Buddha!" (She truly is :)) I had dreaded this transition based on most of the hilarious stories I had heard - like mothers applying bitter juices around the nipples, or making scary cotton faces on the breasts. My efforts were nowhere near them, it came very natural.

5. Fat Babies don't walk so soon
- Lolo's road to health chart shows she is on the border line - the upper line. Her weight has been progressive over the months, meaning she is a healthy child. Everyone predicted that fat babies don't walk so soon, yet Lolo began to sit at five months, crawled at ten months and two weeks later she started to stand on her own. By her first birthday, Lolo was on her feet. Drop by one of these days to our house, and you will see what mess our house is in!

6. Babies lose weight once they walk
- Lolo hasn't! My Hubby's Maymay Lama lifted Lolo and exclaimed, "Are you sure she is NOT made of lead?" Lolo continues to enjoy the title of being a chubby child, despite the energy bomb that she is. Her excitement of being able to stand on her feet is expressed with the total freedom to keep walking around even if the situation doesn't demand her. She is the most restless child I have seen seen so far!

7. Weak mother, weak baby
- Talk of it and tell me now. For some reasons, I haven't been able to gain weight since years ago and this might partly explain why I stopped feeding Lolo. But my Lolo - she keeps herself good. She sleeps well, eats well and is super-duper active. Certainly she is not a weak baby. But she is twice my face! Ha-ha.

As she grows, I hope Lolo will prove wrong to all the fallacies of the world. She is the chosen one and she makes me feel so fortunate to be her mother. Watching Lolo grow has given me the best meaning of my life. I owe her one, very very much.