Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Another view of co-sleeping

Making choices

Actual conversation with a friend a few days ago.

She: So did you know Y is also pregnant?
Me: No I didn't! Wow, this is awesome! When is she due?
She: Oh six months from now! And she's quitting her job next month.
Me: Quitting or taking medical leave or something?
She: No, quitting! She is going to stay at home and be a full time mom.
Me: Wow!
She: I know! How can she just give up her career like that? I asked her about it and she tells me that she was never interested in it anyway.
Me: ....
She: Why did she go to grad school at all if she didn't want to work?
Me: (defensive now) Hey, at least she knows what she wants, instead of being confused on a daily basis and trying to juggle everything.
She: Oh, is that how you feel? Are you going to quit working too because you're pregnant?
Me: No... I will be taking a break though. I've not decided yet how long the break will be.
She: See, a break is different from quitting your job.

But is it? What if Y changes her mind a couple of years from now and decides to work? Would my friend think better of her? To me it seems like our lives should be about what we want and what makes us happy - using the tools that we have available at our disposal such as our education, our finances, our state of health etc. And we each try to use our judgement (good or bad) to make choices towards getting what we want. So why are we so critical about others' choices? Because of our need to validate our own choices?

Here is a blog I really like and find myself reading a lot.
Its a blog about her adventures in motherhood. I am currently lagging behind about a year and reading posts from early 2006 as I've been trying to catch up on all her posts from the very beginning. Here is why I like her blog.

1.) She is a good writer and her posts are engaging

2.) She loves her child and seems to relish the teeniest things about being a mother. When someone enjoys something so much, it is pretty infectious. I am starting to fall in love with her child!

3.) She seems totally at peace with her choices - be it her career or her style of parenting. At the time of my reading, she is a reporter with a good job - intentionally working part time (3 days a week) so she can spend more time with her daughter. Not once over the past year and a half worth of posts I've read so far, does she seem to be in angst about her career or her motherhood. No self doubt. No endless questioning about the future that prevents her from enjoying the present.

4.) She actually has done many of the things I want to do when my baby is born - such as cosleeping, attachment parenting, breastfeeding. So I am getting a sense of what worked and didn't work for her as I read her posts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Reading list

Reading three books at this point in time - depending on the time of day and what I am in the mood for.

1.) Maya by Jostein Gaarder. Haven't gone beyond a few pages. Promises to be thought provoking and interesting.

2.) Jack Newman's guide to breastfeeding: Self explanatory title. Seems to be an excellent resource and will probably be more useful after the baby is born, but because its a library book, I need to return it in a couple of weeks. I am flipping through pages randomly at this point and am impressed at all the topics that he exhaustively covers ranging from things that can go wrong such as a colicky baby to medicines you can/cannot take when breastfeeding. I'd highly recommend this for any pregnant woman/new mother.

3.) Baby proof by Emily Griffin: I am about halfway done with this book. Light, fast paced and a much better read than I thought it would be, this book is about a woman who does not want a child. Unfortunately her husband does. How they deal with it and the emotional turmoil that surrounds it is the main story. It seems to be packaged as yet another fluffy chick lit book, but is actually surprisingly deep.

I've actually been wondering about similar issues recently - about how a baby is usually the woman's decision and is seen as primarily her responsibility. So if a woman chooses not to have a baby, it should still be a personal decision but for some reason she is usually perceived as being heartless and selfish by society! Good reading so far!

Monday, June 25, 2007

"These are the moments...

.. I thank God I am alive" Its from some song - I don't know who sang it or what the rest of the lyrics are. This is how I felt this weekend when I went on a road trip to Waterton Lakes and then further into Montana. The scenery is spectacularly beautiful - especially Hwy 49 in Montana and the Going to the Sun road where the road just falls away into sheer dizzying drops at the side and a small river winds through the valley floor far below and there is the wind and the sound of birds and little else..

So this is why I work! To be able to go on a trip like this every now and then...There are so many levels of gratitude that if analyzed would go something like " Wow, I am thankful to have some money apart from my immediate food and shelter needs to be able to come here. Wow, I am glad to have a husband who likes this as much as I do. Wow, I am glad I've got the eyesight to be able to appreciate this..." and so on. You get the idea.

There were so many nice things about the trip. We saw a grizzly up close, right in front of us on the road. We stopped the car just in time and backed off a little just in case the grizzly was headed that way. He just stood there oblivious to our car's presence, fussing with something on the road. A few minutes later, he walked away! What an unforgettable moment!

Other wildlife we saw on the trip included plenty of mule deer in Waterton Lakes village and a Steller's Jay in Cameron Lake. The Jay caught our attention because it stalked us and the potato chips in our hands. When we turned to look at it though, it would turn away as if supremely disinterested. When we finally left a single chip on a nearby bench, it watched to see if we were looking and then when it thought we weren't, it swooped down to grab the chip! Here is pic of this crafty bird.Also had some nice conversations during the trip. A long car journey is a nice time to discuss all kinds of things instead of just about the groceries for the week or our respective schedules.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Neighbour amaivadellam...

We're not the most outgoing couple on the block. Others gather around and share laughs and have beer in their backyards. But not us. We're perfectly happy vegetating on our couch watching reruns of Raymond or Seinfeld. Occasionally we go out for some reason and we run across our neighbors and then we wave and smile. That's probably the most contact we have with all of them - the ones next door who play loud music in the middle of the night, the ones on the opposite right side with the dog who poops on our lawn, and the ones immediately in front with an immaculate garage but don't wave or smile.

The one exception has been our immediate neighbors on the other side. From the very beginning they were kind of friendly, coming over and introducing themselves when we moved in, shoveling snow when we went away on trips (and as a result we shoveled their driveway when they were away...tis not all one sided) and in general being nice. The lady of the house suddenly mowed our lawn a couple of evenings ago much to our pleasant surprise. We'd been putting away mowing the lawn till the weekend and we were pretty grateful that someone else had saved us the trouble...although we were a bit perplexed. Maybe this was the neighborly thing to do and what would we FOBs know? Or maybe she was doing this because I am pregnant? At this point, I do need to clarify that our lawn is not big. Its a strip of grass thats maybe 8' wide and 16' long. Not a biggie to mow!

So this morning when I saw the guy next door as we were leaving for work, I went over and thanked him and told him to convey our thanks to his wife. To which he responds something about his son not needing to mow our lawn everytime. Huh? What? Turns out 'someone' told his son that it was his duty to mow their lawns and that if he couldn't do it, his parents should! Looking at our overgrown lawn, they assumed that we were the 'someone'! Unless we're really stupid or have signed some kind of bonded labor contract with their son, why would we do something like that? I told the man that it wasn't us but he wasn't satisfied. He called my husband over and asked him if he had spoken to his son about mowing the lawn. Talk about disbelief!

One part of me is mad that they could assume something like that about us! I wonder if the son had lied for some bizarre reason. I wonder if some other neighbor had actually spoken to their son like that. I also wonder if maybe the neighbors are a bit nutty after all...A part of me feels stupid for having accepted their favors unquestioningly... But what can you do? Stop her when mowing and say "No. thanks, I'll do it when I do it. Now get off my lawn?"

On the other hand, they have been nice to us after all and so I do want to clear up the confusion. How should I do that though? Any ideas?

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Not really... Not awake at all in fact. Fell asleep during a lunch and learn presentation at work. Yikes!

Now armed with a cup of coffee, I am trying to wake up enough to start working again. The coffee is doing me some good, but apparently there is another coffee enthusiast in house. My baby kicks up a storm inside as soon as I consume caffeine. Am I going to have a baby addict on my hands?

Interesting news I read about recently: Color Kinetics being bought over by Philips lighting. I don't know why this is interesting considering I don't own shares of either company(Actually I don't own shares of any company, but thats a different issue)...Nevertheless it is interesting and a bit disappointing. I thought CK was all set to become a giant all on its own. I love their products! Actually I love their marketing and all the colorful brochures and photos they have. I do like some of their installations too - like that Lake of Dreams at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Petfood, toothpaste and now toys..

Here is a news item about toys made in China being recalled because they contain LEAD paint!!!

Among the toy recalls, the problem is most acute with low-price, no-brand-name toys that are often sold at dollar stores and other deep discounters, which are manufactured and sent to the United States often without the involvement of major American toy importers.

So when a product is recalled, it means the new stuff in stores goes back...but what about people who already have bought it before the recall? Too bad, your son or daughter gets brain damage??

Monday, June 18, 2007

Feeling better

Maybe I shouldn't blog when depressed judging by my past few posts. But feeling better now - must be the preggy harmones responsible for the mood swings...

My weekend was pretty unremarkable. Went to a couple of garage sales in search of baby gear, went to a tamil movie and then attended the birthday party of a friend's daughter. Oh, we also went to the Brick for a replacement microwave...

A word of advice for anyone in Canada who might read this - Do NOT buy anything with an extended warranty from the Brick. . Actually don't buy anything from them if you can help it. Their service sucks!!!! Our microwave stopped working a couple of months ago after emitting some foul smelling smoke from underneath. No problem, we had extended warranty, right?? Wrong! We dropped the microwave off at the service centre where we were told that we would hear from them within a couple of days. A couple of days turned to a week and we had heard nothing. So we call them to discover they've lost the service order and misplaced the microwave.

We visited the service centre again in person and they managed to locate the microwave and we were sent back with new reassurances. Now that it was found, everything would be all right. I wish! Days went by and then weeks...and everytime we called we were put on hold, transferred to some other department which would then transfer us back to the original dept and always the answer would be the same 'I'll check on the status and call you back in a couple of hours'. Never happened - not once was a call returned. Meanwhile we adapted to life without a m/w - somewhat inconvenient but not a show stopper. It would have been bad if it was the refrigerator that had conked out.

Finally innumerable calls later, two months after we dropped the m/w off, we were able to get store credit for the m/w - and even there we had to face unwanted attitude from some customer service chick. So we have the store credit but were too nauseated to get the replacement m/w there. So we're still microwaveless at the time of my typing this. Maybe we'll find one at a garage sale somewhere...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


More to clear my mind than as an actual post to be read..

I was thinking back on the past couple of years here in Calgary and I realized I've been happier and more relaxed lately than before. I think with this pregnancy at least there is some immediate sense of purpose and direction - There will be a baby and I will need to care for it a lot in the next couple of years. Neat and defined - I like it.

This sense of purpose wasn't there before and hence all the unhappiness, doubt, guilt and endless self-questioning. Am I doing the right thing? What is the right thing? How come I don't know what it is I should be doing? Is this why I was educated? What do I really want to be doing for the rest of my life? Could a better person somehow use these circumstances better and have built a better career? Am I really sad because I feel I am in a dead end career? Or am I sad because I feel I should be sad about the non-career? Am I sad because I am scared that I might actually become complacent and enjoy the non-career and non-stress? Would I really feel happier elsewhere or am I just finding a convenient excuse? Wouldn't the added stress of an actual career make me more unhappy?

Somehow all this is tied up to my 'career' and what I feel I should be doing for the rest of my life. The problem is that I've no idea what I want to be doing and never did. Growing up, this scared me sometimes but I figured things would become clearer as I got older. I will be turning 30 later this year but am no clearer than I was when 13.

But staying at home and cooking day in and day out does not quite interest me either. I am fine with doing that for a couple of years but not beyond that if I can help it! So what then? Work in a dead end job like scanning groceries at Superstore? Sure...but where is the intellectual challenge? It would be so BORING! Okay, so I need intellectual challenge - I could sit and home and solve puzzles and do the Superstore thing part time, right?...But no, what about my education? What about my peers? Shouldn't I be trying to compete with them and make myself known in my field? Or something?And there is all the comparison with them- Here is where I SHOULD be just as they are and here is where I am and oh my god, look at the gap - I am falling short so much! Nevermind they live in a different city, have different circumstances and more importantly WANT different things. But.. but.. what do I want? If I don't know what I want, is it wrong to want what everyone else seems to want?

And so continues the endless cycle of self doubt and depression. Unless its broken temporarily by some external circumstance like a pregnancy. Another way to break it might be to figure out what I want - but how does one begin to do that?

A friend once told me a few years ago that most people start working not because they want to but because of imitating others who are working and later they're too entrenched in the system to stop. Of course we do need to work for our food, shelter, etc. but there is more to it than that. I scoffed at him then because I was still young and idealistic. Now I wonder if he had a point..

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

metaphorically speaking

If you lived in an alien land where they spoke a strange language - say you'd lived there for a couple of years now - and you thought you'd learnt enough of the language to manage - Then you attended an event where you couldn't figure out what was happening - Would you be upset?

Would you blame yourself for not adapting well or justify it saying that you didn't grow up with the language or learn it at school - so how on earth can you manage?

If you felt bad about it, would you take lessons? If you didn't feel bad about it, would you still do something about it anyway?

What if you knew you were leaving this land in a couple of years? Would you still be motivated to learn the language - even if you knew you'd never need it again after these 2 years?

If the sign of an intelligent and interested person is his/her ability to continually learn, by failing to adapt, haven't you failed at a larger issue?

Monday, June 11, 2007

On second thoughts

Finished reading the book "Three in a bed". The fact that I managed to read the book from cover to cover within 3-4 days should in itself be an indicator of its content.
If it were heavy with information, I wouldn't have been able to plow through it so quickly. I am onto my next book and unable to read more than a page at a time for this very reason.

The book told me more about why I should co-sleep rather than how I can do it safely, what I should look out for, tips from people who've been there done that etc. Somewhat disappointing! And it gets repetitive very quickly - Yes the tribes in Malawi, Uganda, Palani etc co-sleep and have amazing results, but really can we move on to the everyday world we live in? Also the author would have you believe that murderers and rapists are created because we don't co-sleep with our children. Kinda far fetched IMO.

There are a couple of reasons why I am going to give this a shot.
1.) Breastfeeding will be easier. Consequently no sore nipples, infections and all that sort of thing.
2.) Child feels more secure. No sleeping problems initially (and later on as well, if you believe the book).
3.) Both baby and me will be well rested (I can hope!)

At home today since am feeling flu ish. Must be all the people at the food fair yesterday...
Who knew so many people in Calgary liked South Indian food? Hopefully the event is better organized next year and there is more food to go around.

Friday, June 08, 2007

risk taking

A friend of mine told me yesterday that she was changing her career - after having been in the lighting industry forever - at least 20 years if not more....and changing it to do something quite different; something she's not tried on a business scale before but something she loves doing anyway. I was shocked. I was also filled with some kind of envious admiration. Way to go!

To be able to shrug it all off and try something new, after all these years on one kind of a career path - wow! So many of us get attached to the idea of being in a particular career and we keep moving along in the career path - joining associations, aiming for professional development, making contacts and trying to stay ahead in the field. The career becomes closely tied with our ego and our very sense of self. How do you introduce yourself? I know that in my case 'I am a lighting consultant' is the sentence that follows 'Hello, I am ...". And this does not even have to be a business meeting.

Not that there is anything wrong with all of this. We presumably entered the field because we liked it. But how many of us question it after 10 years, after 20 years? Even if we did, would we have the courage to start all over again in something completely different? What if we sucked at this new thing? At least we had the previous thing in a solidly established way... and what after doing this for a while we discovered that we didn't quite like this either? I know these very questions would make me hesitate and probably not take the risk.

But then I was never much of a gambler anyway...Everytime I watch 'Deal or no deal' on TV, I am always encouraging the person to walk away with whatever money they made in the first round. But I do admire the ones who persist round after round despite losses and then come out with a million dollars in the end. I would never do that, but I admire them nevertheless. Just like I admire my friend I suppose.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Feeling groovy

Feeling stuffed after a good lunch. My friend was astonished at the sheer quantity of food I ate..
Strangely I am not sleepy as I usually am after a good meal. Maybe thats because I've nothing to work at and will be leaving soon. Funny how the prospect of an idle afternoon is so delightful!

i've got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
i'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
let the morning time wash all these troubles from me

life, i love you, all is groovy

I love this song especially on nice summer days... like today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Three in a bed

This is the title of the book I am reading today during lunch break. No, its not a risque book about ménage à trois. It is about the benefits of having your child sleep in your bed with you instead of in a crib in a different room.

Have read only about 50 pages into the book so far and at this point there is a lot of ranting about what is wrong with the Western Society in terms of child birth and child rearing. Interesting ranting though!

I sure am glad to be here at this point in time instead of a couple of decades ago when babies were routinely separated from their mothers and put in a nursery at hospital, when breastfeeding was recommended on schedule instead of on demand and people were encouraged to let their newborn infants cry so that they'll learn to behave. Sounds shocking but what would you or anyone else do if that's what the doctor recommended even if that wasn't quite what you wanted? A lot of prevailing theory still conforms to these beliefs...but at least the alternatives are gaining some credibility!

Cosleeping is still a controversial theory even though it has been routinely practiced in several Eastern cultures including India. That's one advantage I have - this being from India bit. It makes me more open to this and willing to experiment. With all the terror being spread about SIDS and how the baby MUST sleep in a crib, I cannot blame the people who want to play it safe though.

I think this book would still be interesting reading even if one didn't want to co-sleep. Just getting that different point of view and knowing how certain practices started can be thought provoking and can make a difference.

A quote from the book:
Helplessness is the vital condition of the human baby, because he requires the company of those who are teaching him what it is to be human. His frailty is our cue to pick him up and hold him. A baby has to sort out his own ego from the muddle he sees around him and he does that by first identifying with his mother. ......... At the beginning the mother and infant are as one - the rest is a slow struggle towards independance. ........ When you put a newborn baby down to sleep in his cradle, he thinks a part of himself has gone - the part that sustains life and gives him comfort. He does not have many resouces to cope with this separation. Whether he protests or not, he needs you. It is such an obvious explanation for infant misery that medical handbooks tend to overlook it. Experts keep telling us to put the baby down, because it is easier, and mothers should not be subject to the whims of their children. They are missing the point altogether.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Too much to read. Too little time.

Went to the library yesterday and got even more books on labour, delivery, child development and everything inbetween. My husband is amused at my zealousness and also a bit apprehensive that all this reading will only serve to confuse me further and make me a nervous wreck. I hope not!

I am thinking of it as targetted reading rather than directionless reading though. Lets see. One of the books was titled 'Easy Labour' and the librarian checking out the books was amused. Is labour ever easy? Turns out she had somewhat of an easy labour with the entire process lasting only a couple of hours - so it was quick even though painful. Thats very impressive for a first delivery and I could hope for nothing more...
And she assured me "once you have that baby in your arms, you'll forget all about the pain you went through.

Lets see..