Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Adapting to change

Moving to a new place put forth before me two challenges - one, managing an entire home all by myself, and two, managing Puttachi all by myself.

I learned the management of the house fairly quickly, with ample help from S~, but looking after Puttachi all day long was very difficult in the beginning.

Let me clarify. Ever since I recovered from the shock of giving birth (heh), I have done nearly everything related to Puttachi myself - cooking her food, feeding, changing, bathing, putting her to bed, taking her out to the park, keeping her engaged, entertaining her - almost everything, with support from my mom at first, and then from S~. So workwise, it wasn't too great a challenge.

But what has become a challenge is to keep her entertained all day long, all by myself, without losing patience. She has been used to having people around her all the time, and besides, since I never really had any major work to do around the house previously, having been living with my in-laws, I would always be available for her. She never was really alone, and every time she called me, I would be there.

But now, I have other work. I have cooking and cleaning to do, and the other miscellaneous work that always seems to crop up around the house. Puttachi isn't used to it. She wants me when she calls me, and she will not accept that it is no longer possible. As a result, she goes "Amma-amma-amma-amma" like a stuck record, and says it loud and continuous a million times a day. She dances around my knees when I am in the kitchen, demanding to be picked up, pleading for me to come out and play with her.

I went crazy initially, nearly pulling my hair out in frustration. It was all I could do to finish the cooking and get out and engage her.

That was another thing. Previously, I had never been in the position to have to engage her continuously. My mom-in-law would engage her in play or my father-in-law would take her out for a bit, when I would have a few moments to myself. And when she got back, my patience would be back. But now I have no such relief. Sometimes, by the end of the day, I look at the clock willing the hands to move to the time that S~ gets back. And when he does get back, I literally beg him to take Puttachi away from me for a while, while I rediscover myself.

Generally, evenings are the slowest, and that would just go by in a flash when I took her out to the park. But in the past two weeks, because of both of us being sick, the park visit was ruled out. Those days were the worst. [S~ did stay back when I was feeling particularly sick, but then he had to go to office after that]. I was feeling terrible because of my illness, and to top it, Puttachi would demand all my attention and more, and there was no escape. I would lose my patience time and again, and Puttachi seemed to take pleasure in irritating me.

Those few days, I understood many things. I understood one of the reasons why mothers employ maids in spite of being stay at home moms. It is for just this reason - to have someone to watch your kid while you grab five minutes to breathe. I understood what makes mothers switch on the television and plonk their kids in front of it. Sometimes, it is necessary. I never thought I would, but I resorted to that technique too. When things got too unbearable, I would put on some rhymes or songs on my laptop, put Puttachi in front of it and just lie down or read a newspaper or do something mundane. It is unbelievable how quickly I would be back to normal after that.

Now, with our illnesses clearing up (Just the flu - but severe in my case), things have changed. I am generally more cheerful and patient because I'm feeling better after a long time, and miraculously - touchwood - Puttachi has suddenly learned to play on her own. Her demands on my time have reduced quite a bit. If I tell her, "Puttachi, I want to read the newspaper, play by yourself for a while", she actually does it. Sometimes she is in the enclosed balcony for quite a while with her toys and books when I am in the kitchen, and I go in from time to time to peep in and see that she is not getting herself in any trouble. And it warms the cockles of my heart to see her playing quietly by herself. She is learning too.

But all is not perfect yet. There is still a long way to go. For example, the only way I can get to eat my lunch in peace and then clear up the kitchen after that is to put on a Baby Einstein CD and put her in front of the laptop. I convince myself that it is only about half an hour per day, and it is, after all, educational. And I get to taste my lunch!

Changes.. and more changes.....


Rad said...

Hey, I see Puttachi's real name ;)

The good life said...

I see it too,beautiful name!

S Anand said...

Hang in there... it gets better pretty soon, especially once she starts having conversations with you :-)

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Puru said...

Nice write..
can you pls let me know where canI buy baby Einstein CD in bangalore, i also have <2 yrs old girl baby

Wunderyearz said...

Oh my God!! Yet again you have put up a blog that I can completely relate to....And how do I put it...This is exactly what I've been and am going through at the moment...

Cantaloupe's Amma said...

I have to confess I went through exactly the same phase when Cantaloupe was born and my mom left to India. I had this policy of no TV as well ... soon, had to bend my own rules in order to be sane.

Hope you feel better soon !

SloganMurugan said...

A mother needs 10 hands. :) All z best.

Anonymous said...

Try this out to get yourself some time
- Give her crayons and paper. Initially you will need to explain her that she has to draw only on paper
- Give her Legos or blocks appropriate for her age. She will be engrossed in it
- Give her some rice puffs to eat. You will still need to watch her to see if she is not putting then in her nose.
- Give her a picture book .
- Get high chair for her, and while you are eating let her nibble some chapati etc seating next to you on high chair.

Lastly send her in playgroup for 2 hrs a day 2/3 days a week.

Anonymous said...


Just wanted to put in a word in support.

If this challenge is anything like other challenges, and it presumably is, you will surely build a greater capacity to meet it & others the more you give of yourself now. Maybe that might mean also being able to "let go" a little of idealized plans, and experiment to figure out what works.

Am I right in presuming that these were the first "planned" times taht Puttachi was by herself? That is a good first, no? - the fact that she is doing well with it?

Perhaps it may also be instructive to think of others (the next time you find yourself losing patience) who are positioned very differently. No kids, none of those demands, all the time they want for themselves, but ... a little empty in some ways as a consequence. And no less challenged, ... but differently, on how to work to fill that space.

MNKPark Anon

Magic Rocks said...

Make some paper boats and give water and see how she will enjoy playing with that. Kid's love playing with water. Chintu now also likes play with water for hour's s when I'm busy I try such thing's It really works :-)

Mama - Mia said...

another honest to heart post S!

and i can very well imagine your predicament! i used to keep telling my SIL to have a maid for upar ka ghar ka kaam least so that hse can breathe every now and then!

anyhoo! glad things are looking up already! and Puttachi is such an independent child! touchwood!

new years resolution is to catch up with you guys hopefully! :p



LAK said...

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Shilpa C Nangali said...

I loved ur blog posts...!!! Had a great time reading them...keep blogging..

workhard said...

Thats what motherhood is all about, and when she grows up, shes going to be greatful.

BPO work from home

Shruti said...

Love the way u write.. and puttachi is amazing.. I can relate to her & my nearly 3 year old daughter.. makes me feel I should have started blogging much earlier! Way to go!

TheWorm said...

It's funny I am in that same position right now, but one thing the Lord has been teaching me to do is just stop what I am doing and listen. It takes strength to spend time with your family, complete the house work, go to school and want to open a business, but the lord gives you the strength and the privilege to do that.

Keep your head held high. I will keep you in my prayers.

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