Monthly Archives: January 2008

Ain’t no cakewalk

Parenting, no let me correct this, mommying is no cake walk. Really. It’s lovely to be a mom, let me slip that in first before I vent (yes, it makes me feel less guilty). But, it’s trying too and it’s funny how mothers don’t want to admit that. I know so many women who feel this way but they would rather sweep things under the carpet than admit it. Not that I am asking them to tell the world, but they’d rather be in denial even for themselves. I guess it makes them feel better..to each his own. I vent it here and it makes me feel better!

Actually, mommyrage is not about the child, it’s about the situation the mother finds herself in, the challenges she faces (esp the first time) and the little support she gets. The mother, at the end of the day, takes the brunt of it, my mother did and I do too. It’s just the way it is and it’s not changing anytime soon. Ok, here I must admit that my situation is a whole lot better than my mother’s was, but the crux of it is the same.

So, like I said in my last post that I was under the weather and needed some down time – so I guess this is all coming from there..I know it’s only the flu, but right now I need my mommy, and my daughter needs hers.

Cough. Cough. Sneeze. Sneeze.

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Sick as a dog

It’s only the flu, but god can it be debilitating! I’ve been walking round the house like a corpse, feeling most sorry for myself, using the opportunity to drink copious cups of ginger tea and telling myself it’ll get better. I hate colds, the running nose, the sore throat, all that bacteria frolicking inside you while you cough and sneeze till your nose is redder than Rudolf the reindeer.

But, your toddler does not know that. So while my daughter has recovered from the flu and is running around with renewed enthusiasm, I feel sick as a dog, wanting nothing more than to be left alone if only for a couple of hours. It’s wishful thinking.

When you are a mother, you are only a mother, for our child that is, at least you will be till your he or she is old enough to understand that you need to be left alone sometimes, that you could also be under the weather at times. Right now she may understand that her mother is not well, but that does not mean she’ll behave differently.

Aaaghh, it’s freezing, and I feel like a ton of bricks are piled on top of my head.

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Say please..

My daughter will be two next month and I am trying (trying is all mommies can do) to instill some good qualities in her, you know, getting her to say please and thank you and all the rest of it.

At first it was tough , because being a typical toddler, or so I liked to believe, she would say no to just about everything, no matter what I tried. So, I decided to let her be, which is exactly when she started saying the magic words!

Aha, I thought, had I just cracked it? Was it really that simple?I wondered why it hadn’t occurred to me earlier. I wanted to tell all toddler mommies in the world about my eureka moment, to share my wisdom and relieve suffering moms.

Except, of course, it didn’t even last till I reached out for my computer. My obvious elation was enough to set her back!

But, it was a start, and from then on she realized that please was the one word that had the best chance at getting her a pat on the back and anything she took fancy to.  Needless to say, I didn’t quite look at it that way. I mean I was ok with the positive-reinforcement thing but using that to her advantage? Hmm..

Anyhow, I let it pass, not wanting to rock the boat. Till, one day, she started slapping at being refused anything – be it sticking her finger into sockets or putting everything into her mouth. That’s when I reminded her about saying please.

Now, she simply says please if she wants something, but the trouble is, that if she is denied it, she keeps saying please. In her mind please is the password that will get her what she wants and if she does not get it, she sees little point in using the word! But mama you said, say please, now gimme!

Sigh.

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Let me handle it

When your toddler is unwell, it’s an opportunity for the whole world to tell you what to do and what not to do. So, when my daughter recently came down with the flu, I had to actually turn my phone off because everyone seemed to have “very good advice” for me, to the point that I could not put her to bed without someone calling me on my mobile telling me what  to do.

OK, it was all well meaning, but when you are sleep-deprived and have a bawling toddler to deal with, the last thing you need is to keep running to the phone. I was doing what I could and it was working, but no one wanted to know that. They just wanted to be heard.

I took her to the doc, so it was for him really to tell me what to do. But, in India especially, everyone wants to part with wisdom, never mind that it may not even apply to you! Ok, so I was aware about the whole don’t-give-under-twos-cough-syrup thing and was following that. But even if I told family and friends that, they’d warn me anyway.

I appreciate the concern, but the next time she has the flu, I am telling no one, no one at all!

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Dealing with a toddler and her father

Two year olds can test your patience, but, so can their fathers. I know I’ve discussed this before but here I am again, because the issues remain the same and blogging about it makes me feel a whole lot better! I think blogging may be the single factor that keeps some women sane, really, the venting makes me feel better instantly!

But back to my point, the other day I was trying to tell my daughter not to do something that she was insistent on doing, and this time I was trying to be patient but stern (using all the distracting etc techniques to the best of my ability). She wanted a pen that she was coloring the bed-sheet with. I told her I’d give her a paper, but the sheet was not to be stained. She let out a scream and told me she’d only want to color the sheet.

At this point, my husband steps in and tells me to let her do what she wanted! His point was that the more you stop her the more she’d want to do it. Now, usually I buy that theory and also apply that to her when I can, if you stop a toddler from doing everything then at some point they’ll become stubborn, so maybe that was what he was getting at. But, the thing is that it should be left to the primary caregiver (in our case, clearly me) to make that judgment.

What he did was to counter me in front of her, so now she knows that when mamma says no she can run to daddy and he’ll lovingly oblige.

Result:
Mother: ogre, father: Santa.

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He tells me not to force the child, let her be. Easier said..

If I had to spend two hours a day with my child, I’d have the patience of a saint. But, I don’t, so I am a bit low on the be-patient stuff.

What gets my goat, however, is my husband coming in at night and telling me not to force our daughter into doing anything. So, if she’s sick, as she is right now with a chest flu, and the doctor has told me (he never has the time to go to the doc with her – but that’s for another day) that she absolutely must drink water and urinate as usual otherwise it’ll be the drip for her, then I need to force her, because she was not urinating at all.

So she cries when I force her, all toddlers cry when they are made to do what they don’t want, especially a toddler who has the flu. What does my husband tell me? He tells me that I don’t let her be, that I get after her life, and should not force her! Now what do I say to that? There’s a lot I could say but the baby is ill and with a third day in a row when I’ve not been able to even go to the bathroom without her wailing for me, I am tired and don’t have the energy to deal with him.

Ok, so he’s had a long day at work, I understand but I haven’t exactly been living it up either. His point is, “when I am home, I want peace.”

My respose to that is, I want peace too, but what about the baby who’s not well? Should I just let her be and pray that she becomes ok?

See, he doesn’t face the pediatrician and his berating, I do. So, it’s easy for him to take the high road, then turn over and sleep.

All I need is some support. Apparently that too much to ask for.

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It’ll get better..in about 15 years, maybe.

Right now she’s two, so it’s hard for me, dealing with the terrible-twos et all. Agreed it’s a nice stage too, when compared to mothers of teens (the eye rolling, the sulking and the talking back, to name a few) and I am sure I’ll look back at these years with rose tinted glasses.

But, right now, here’s where I am, and there are times when I wish she was grown up. The thing is that she’ll need me for a long long time, so those who say it gets better may not be so accurate. It gets different and the demands on the mother change, but they don’t go away. In fact some mothers tell me that these are the better years, that as time goes by they need more and more from you and it’s not like you can out up your feet and read in peace.

That does happen, but at sixty, and it’s a long time to sixty, a long long time and I am tired. If only men would pitch in more, it’d be sooooo much better. Wishful thinking I know, but one lives in hope..

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