Friday, July 19, 2019

Just like that, Dia is a month old

Dia is ONE whole month old today. Enter the cliché ‘I can’t believe a month has passed’ sentiment right here. Except, I prefer to say 4 weeks because 1 month sounds so long and like I should have my act together by now. Ha!

One month past by in a flash, and by the time I could gather my thoughts, it’s time to write down her first month birthday blog. Why do I need to write a blog every month? Well, because I wrote a blog every month for the first year of Ansh, and I do not want Dia to feel like I got lazy when it came to her. And secondly, I want to have it written down somewhere since I know from experience how those early weeks quickly become a somewhat hard to remember blur!

So, my water broke at 4 am on June 19th. I would have instantly woken up Ashish and my parents to share my excitement with them, but the cleanliness freak in me nagged me to clean the mess I had made before waking up anyone. Yup! I was mopping my bathroom floor while I was in labor. Moreover, we had a false alarm two days ago, when I woke up everyone in the middle of the night, dragged them to the hospital, spent half a day there and came back with no baby. So, this time I wanted to be a 100% sure that the baby was coming before I woke up my family from their deep slumber. Sure enough, I was in labor. My labor lasted for 15 hours. While we waited for her, we also convinced the nurses to take me off the medicines for a while so I could record couple dance videos. To be fair, at this point, I was only 6-7 cms dilated and the contractions weren’t super painful (or maybe my pain threshold is really high). The real hard part was to convince my husband to let me do this. Plus, I was in a hospital under the supervision of doctors, so nothing could have gone wrong. Here are my videos of dancing in between contractions.

After 15 hours of labor and 1 hour of pushing, at the last ray of sun and a beautiful pink sky, our world got brighter and fuller with the arrival of our princess, Dia. The moment I saw her, I felt a gush of love in my throat and my very first thought was, “Ansh is a big brother now. Our family is complete.”

First night at the hospital was deceptively peaceful (but we already knew that from experience). All three of us (Ashish, Dia and I) were worn out from a day of labor and delivery, and after an hour or two of alert time (read: FaceTiming family), we all slept so well that we had to be woken up to eat. I will admit that I was waking up in intervals to take Dia’s pictures and just stare at her beautiful face. I might have yelled at Ashish for not taking enough pictures of Dia the moment she was born.

The next morning was particularly very exciting for me. I had been waiting for this moment for a really long time. The moment when Ansh sees his little sister. My heart was positively going to melt. My parents brought Ansh to the hospital next morning. As he got closer to the room, he had a skip in his walk. He was ecstatic to meet this little sister that his parents had been talking about for months. He probably thought that she was going come out and instantly start playing with him. I think he was a little disappointed when he saw her, because his first words were, “Mama, are we getting another one?”. I still thought it was the cutest reaction, and I’ll cherish it forever.  

From her very first cry, our lives changed forever. I cried tears of my own as well (but that could also have been from exhaustion and hormonal changes). First month with Dia has been beautiful and everything we wanted it to be. The only thing that overwhelms me is watching just how fast she is growing already. Even though the nights have been sleepless, it seems as if the first weeks disappeared in a blink of an eye and I am begging for them back. Every morning she seems like a completely different person. I am stuck feeling so excited to see her grow, yet wishing time would slow down so I could savor the moments even more. Maybe that is why I sometimes just sit and stare at Ansh and Dia, willing the clock to stop for just a moment so I can savor every detail.

I have a bunch of favorite moments from this past one month:
·        Watching Ansh being a responsible big brother and looking out for his sister.  He brings extra stickers from school for his sister.
·        Seeing the happiness on my parents face for being grandparents again. It’s pure bliss when they sit down to play with my kids. It’s almost like they’re kids all over again. I’ve been trying to record every moment (no wonder I run out of memory space in my phone every few days).

·        Watching her smile in her sleep. It’s said that means they are talking to the angles and I know this to be true because she has the very best guardian angel watching over her. Her dadi.

·        A surprise visit from her Masi and Mausaji. Sisters are always the best. I knew it in my heart that my sister will not be able to keep from meeting her until October (which was the initial plan). She Video called us one evening and I recognized the door behind her. It was mine. Ansh and Dia are blessed to have the most loving masi ever. Though, she still wont change their diapers.

·        Spending time with her nani. It’s like she connects with her nani more than she connects with her mother. I know that’s true because she seems very peaceful in her nani’s arms, as opposed to mine.

So how am I doing? Depends on when you ask me!

Right now, as I’m typing with Dia snoozing beside me, I say, ‘really great!’ Ask me around 4:30 most afternoons and I’ll say ‘I’m so exhausted.’ Life with a newborn, especially the first month, is like a blur and not at all glamorous. No matter, if it’s your first kid or second, reality remains the same for all. No one is spared. When you hear how it’s this peaceful and loving and bonding time… I want to know… who are these people having that experience?  Time morphs and sometimes you’re left wondering “what did I do all day”?!? I’m saying that only jokingly because I’m so in love with Dia and being her mom. But when it’s 3am, you haven’t slept and you’re left wondering- didn’t I just feed her/change her/swaddle her…what in the world is she fussing and crying about?! There have been a few bouts of unexpected tears.

My emotions range from, please let them stay these ages forever! to think of all the fun that’s to come when they get a little bit bigger. I am fighting to get a little bit of me back too, but telling myself to be patient, it will come. I’ve made it to the dance class once.

So overall, we’re doing OK. I have so much credit to give to my mom who’s paused her life for a while and is here to help me with anything I need. I swear I haven’t entered the kitchen or cleaned the house in last one month. I haven’t worried about paying extra attention to Ansh or getting some ‘me time’. She has been the biggest help one could ask for. I love my little family so much!

I’m sure with this long, rambling post I provided more detail than you ever cared to know, but I wanted to pen down everything before I forget.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Fourth Birthday letter to my son!

My sweet little baby boy,
It has taken me a few hours of going through your baby pictures, and shedding a bucket load of tears before I could muster up enough courage to write you a letter on your fourth birthday.
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5th June 2015 is as clear in my memory as it all happened just yesterday. After 15 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, you were born with eyes wide open; clean as if you’d just had a bath and a head full of hair neatly pulled to one side. You somehow knew you would be bombarded with flashlights of many cameras as soon as you’ll be born. You were ready for a photoshoot honey! You were welcomed by many friends and loved ones in the hospital who were eagerly awaiting your arrival. Your Nani had flown down a month ago to prepare for this day. Your Dadu, Dadi, Nanu, Maasi, Shanu, Pashi and Jeppa were constantly video chatting with your papa to get status updates. And as soon as you arrived, your maasi couldn’t hold her excitement and got on the next flight to see you. The hospital room was always bustling with so many friends who came to tell you that they loved you already.
Our first night at the hospital, you laid next to me while I watched you sleep. I felt the rhythm of your breathing. I gazed at the precious swoop of your nose, the soft flutter of your eyelashes, the length of your fingers, the curves of your cheeks. I soaked in all the little details of you. I took a few hundred pictures and videos of you. I promise I won’t do that when you’re a teenager.
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Fast forward -> I blinked, and you are 4 years old today! The number scares me. You’re growing faster than I can handle. As you lay beside me on my bed (That’s right, you get to sleep on my bed once a week), I can’t help but think how far we’ve come. And while time is flying by, and there are days where I can’t wait for you to have more independence and be more self-sufficient, it’s days like today that I wish I could just pause time and really soak in all that you are in this moment. 
We’ve learned a lot together this year. You are now a very real person with thoughts and opinions on just about everything. I know this because you spend all day long sharing them with me. The other day, your daddy and I were cleaning the garage and you couldn’t stop talking, so we put a tape on your mouth (as a joke 😉)… You thought that was funny and then you didn’t stop talking about how funny that was. You’re the cutest little thing there ever was. And although I miss the peace and quiet – I love getting to experience the world through your eyes.
Today, you’re 4. Soon you’ll be a teenager, and you’ll have friends who’ll be more important than your mama (Oh my! I can’t even write it without bursting into tears). Soon, I will not be your SUPER mama. You’ll know that I can’t make wishes come true. You’ll be aware that I don’t have a special cape. You’ll know that I’m not as courageous as you think I am. Like, the other day in Hawaii, when you called a gecko to our breakfast table and you thought it would be kind to feed him cereal… I was dying inside. But I’ll always strive to be the person you think I am. Baby, I wish I could bottle you up and keep you little forever.
Here are a few things that I want you to never forget, even at four years old.
I love you from the bottom of my heart. 
I remember hearing your heartbeat for the first time, and feeling you move and kick while still in my belly. From those first moments, until eternity, you will always be my baby. Nothing you have done, or will do, can ever keep me from loving you from the deepest bottom of my heart. 
You are beautiful. 
Inside and out, you are beautiful. While I love playing ‘pretty eyes’ with you and put make up on you, tell you all the time how beautiful you are, take your pictures, always remember your beauty is so much more than that. You have a heart full of compassion and thoughtfulness towards others. You always ensure that everyone sticks together, and no one feels left behind. You are always inviting people to your house to share your toys. Your beautiful eyes, long eyelashes and contagious smile have a way of lighting up a room. And, that giggle (especially when we gang up and tickle papa till he falls down the bed) melts mama’s heart every time. 

You make me proud. 
You are a wonderful helper. Sure, the dishes take twice as long, and the laundry will get folded more than once. But the memories will last a lifetime. Your willingness to pitch in and help makes my heart burst with pride. You often say, ‘we all have jobs’. The excitement that radiates out of you when you have finished a project, or your art is hanging on the fridge is the same excitement I experience as your mama with every little accomplishment you achieve. When you grow up, you’ll see that my Instagram feed is always full of your accomplishments (if Instagram is still around).
Don’t ever settle. 
If you want something, go for it. You are capable of anything and everything all at once. Dream big, little one. Never let anyone tell you you aren’t good enough, smart enough, beautiful enough. You were created on purpose for a purpose. Use the gifts you have been given to change the world. I intend on providing you every support that you’d need from me to chase your dreams, just as my parents continue to do for me. I strongly believe that with your parents’ encouragement, there’s nothing that you can’t achieve.

Be Kind, Always.
Kindness can break barriers, and that’s one thing I’ll keep striving to instill in you. Always be kind to everyone. You never know what the other person is going through. I’ll throw more light on this as you grow older.

You will always be my baby. 
My heart echoes your name all day, and it is because of you that my heart dances. Waking up to your “it’s wake up time mama!” makes me feel like I’m the luckiest person alive. And even though sometimes it’s the most stressful time at work or at home, picking you up from school is still the most exciting part of my day. You know how you feel when you see a rainbow? That’s exactly how I feel when I see you!
No matter how old you are, you will always be my rainbow! And my best friend.

Honey, every birthday of your feels like the most emotional one of all but this year feels especially emotional as it’s our last birthday just you and me (and daddy of course but you know what I mean.). By this time next year, you’ll be well into big brotherhood. Your excitement for your new baby sister is the sweetest thing ever. You ask me everyday, “is she here yet”? “How big is she now?”. You cross of the days in calendar every morning. You are setting aside toys for your baby sister to play with. You insisted that you want baby sister to sleep in your room.

A few instances from this last one year that I wanted to pen down:
·        You remind me of 3 golden rules all the time… even though the rules keep changing, your affirmative tone never does. “Mama remember 3 rules – Do not pick up stones, trash or poop”. “Mama, remember 3 rules – Do not talk to strangers, do not climb trees, and no not leave hands”
·        The other day, I came back home, and I told you that I was very tired. In response, you said, “But you can’t be tired. You’re mama”
·        You change your best friends every minute. You have a new best friend when I drop you at school, and by evening it’s someone else. Like, the other day, I wasn’t your best friend because I asked you to wear your shoes in the right feet. The other day you said, “Mama, I can be your best friend now, but I’ll have to be papa’s best friend at home”
·        You’re big time into transformers. Until 3 months ago, it was all about PJ Masks, and then superheroes, but now, it’s transformers. We trick you into finishing your food by telling you that you can be Optimus Prime if you finish it, and Megatron if you don’t. You despise the thought of being Megatron.
·        You follow me to the bathroom every single time. When I ask you to not come inside, you wait for me outside the door and keep asking me, “Mama are you done?”. Even though sometimes I get mad because I don’t get any quiet time, I feel utterly loved and wanted.
·        When we were potty training you, we used to hold your hand and cheer you on saying, “You can do it”. The other day, I was sitting on the pot with you holding my hand telling me, “You can do it mama”
·        You were helping me put garbage out, but the garbage bin was too big for you. So I offered to help and you said, “I’m fine Mama. You worry about yourself”
·        We try to tell stories to each other at dinner table. But the other day, your story went on forever. I tried to cut you off and started saying something of my own, when you said, “mama, look at my mouth. I’m still talking”
·        You’re always saying, “Hey! I have an idea...” followed by the cutest ideas you have.

I love you Ansh. Thank you, a million times, for picking me to be your mama! Life just wouldn’t be as bright if it weren’t for you.
Now let’s celebrate!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Dancing for Two

When it comes to dancing during pregnancy, there’s often a ton of mixed opinions. My opinion, like most you know is – don’t stop. It's not hurting your pregnancy. If anything, you're celebrating it and taking control of your image. That's not negligence, but a revolutionary act of claiming your fitness, your body, and your passion. 

I mean, honestly, there’s so little you can control when you’re pregnant (including your mood swings) that at least you can feel like you’re doing your best to stay healthy and happy. 

I am sitting at 34 weeks today and my hips are numb from rolling side to side trying to find a comfortable position to sleep. My feet have swollen to the point where I can’t wear any of my shoes except my house slippers. My lungs are compressed thanks to my growing uterus pushing against it, and I can’t take 5 steps without running out of breath. And oh! Don’t even get me started on morning sickness and midnight cramps. I hear of these women who have had these sublime, serene pregnancies, and envy grows deep in my chest – or maybe that is heartburn from last night’s dinner still (I’m not sure!). 

It is such a hard burden to bear, when you feel trapped in your own house or job and must limit all of your activities because you are not sure when the next wave of nausea will strike. So, the least you can do for yourself is anything that’ll keep you happy.

The one thing that has kept me sane for the last 34 weeks is - *Dance*. It brings immense happiness to me. I’m blessed to be surrounded by a very loving and encouraging community who understands the positive effects that dance has had on my pregnancy and they couldn’t have been more supportive. However, every now and then I come across a few people who like to pass their judgement and troll me for “not being responsible” or for “potentially harming my baby”. I’m writing today to break all the myths surrounding ‘dancing through pregnancy’.

Dancing (or staying physically active) is great, in fact, recommended during pregnancy. Researchers say that it has multiple benefits including (but not limited to):

  • eases common pregnancy-related problems like backache, posture issues and constipation
  • increase the supply of oxygen in you and your child 
  • help you handle the strain of giving birth
  • strengthen your cardiovascular system, making you feel fitter and more resilient
  • prevent blood clots and varicose veins
  • improve the quality of your sleep
  • reduce your risk of gestational diabetes
For me, the main benefit of dancing through pregnancy is – I’d be lost without it. I like to believe that I haven’t had any mood swings so far (you should ignore my husband if he tries to tell you otherwise), and I credit that to dancing. Those estrogen that are being released while dancing, certainly seem to be working for me. And if I'm happy, the world around me is happy and that makes this a happy pregnancy.
Otherwise, how would you explain this – with my swollen ankles and weight unevenly distributed, scratching an itch at ankle level is a feat of flexibility. However, as soon as the music goes on, my mobility is restored, and doing knee drops is no biggy. I forget about the constant joint aches and nausea is far from my mind.

Gone are those days when pregnancy was often treated as a condition that should be greeted with as little activity as possible. Dancing through pregnancy is not a taboo anymore. As long as you have a clear chit from you doctor, you shouldn't fear to slid into a pair of stilettos and twerk away the medicalized bias that views active pregnant bodies as unorthodox. Okay, maybe I went too far! Fitting into stilettos is going to be at least an hour-long hustle in itself. But you get my point! 

Growing a baby is such an amazing thing our bodies do, but I don’t see it as a time to sit back, relax and eat. In fact, the whole – ‘eating for two’ theory is a myth! But that’s a topic for another day. Studies have shown that staying fit during pregnancy can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy. And who wouldn’t want that right? Certainly not the people who’re trolling you. You should ignore the ignorant minds and do what makes you happy. Thankfully the strong community at understands the need to stay fit during pregnancy and have the most comfortable clothes that feels custom made for you, giving that perfect support to your bump. Also, they're super cute! Do check out their collection. 

Here are a series of my videos on 'dancing through pregnancy':








Many people believe that dancing with a baby bump must be very different. But honestly, if you are dancing already, the growth of your belly is so slow (remind me to tell you how I feel like I’ve been pregnant for a year) that it doesn’t feel very different. Just keep it up! Your body will tell you when something is becoming too much, so always listen.