Thursday, July 11, 2013

If you love somebody, show it…maybe.

My parents have always been very demonstrative in showing their emotions toward us. Even my dad, who says way less and feels way more, has told us time and again that we, his kids, are the center of his world. My mom on the other hand is very vocal and sometimes dramatic about her display of emotions for us. She is too cute about it. So I have grown up in a family where we have always told each other how much we loved them - in words, actions, directly & indirectly - in every which way.

Over the years, I had taken this expressive personality trait for granted. But as I moved away from my family, I started to pay attention to people around me and their family dynamics. Being expressive about ones’ emotions for their family members isn't as common a feature as I grew up thinking it was. In fact, several years ago, one of my friends mentioned to me that my family is overly expressive and somewhat dramatic in sharing our feelings for each other. It didn't seem like a compliment back then, but I can’t imagine growing up any other way.

When we were kids we had a lot of decorative and fancy stuff in the house. But one specific decorative piece that has stayed in my mind till date is a poster of a little boy with puppies around him with text on it that says “If you love somebody, show it…” It was one of my favorite things in our house growing up.

I found the image here

Siddharth and I often discuss and have very different attitude on this topic. Siddharth being his boisterous self is very expressive in a lot of ways. But he doesn't always talk about his deepest sensitive feelings for people, almost ever. I know him really well and both of us understand a lot of what is unsaid between us. But I have also noticed that he is thoroughly misunderstood, and quite unfortunately by people closest to him. These folks don’t think he cares for or loves them as much because he doesn't call them or doesn't do stuff that would show that he cares. I know he cares for them because of his actions toward these people even when they are not around, not listening to him, and not aware of what he has to say. But he refuses to do anything to show them that he does care. He believes that he doesn't have to be a certain someone or someway for these people to love him or feel close to him. While this is an excellent point, I know it doesn't happen that way and people oftentimes need a proof of love. I tell him that maybe he should explicitly show them that he cares for and loves them so that they know it too. But he insists that it would mean that they want him to someone he is not for them to love him, and he doesn't believe that he needs to do that. Siddharth is one of the most genuine people I have met. He deeply cares for his people, no matter what they say or do or feel toward him. He is in fact way more genuine and caring than some people who are very demonstrative in nature. As awful as I feel about him being misunderstood by people close to him, I do agree with his philosophy. And there is nothing I can tell him in response to this thought of not changing his fundamental personality trait so he can be loved.

So I sit here at my home, with plenty of free time while I am on my maternity leave, wondering if it is really important to show that you love someone. While I am all for showing and displaying, I can’t imagine Siddharth being this way. When I got married to Siddharth, I did not have a list of characteristic traits that I was looking for in a man. I never made that list. Nor did I ever make a list of good and bad in him. I don’t work like that and I can’t be that calculative. In fact, I don’t even know what that list could look like. But I do know that I fell for the kind of person he is – the whole package. These eight years of marriage have taught me that there is a lot of give and take in a marriage, a lot of meeting halfway, a lot of 'you change in this aspect' and 'I will change in that'. Once we were committed to each other, it didn't really matter what changes the other person made, or did not make. The changes we made in us seemed worth it because it made our relationship and us as individuals flourish. That said, there are aspects of our personality that remained absolutely unchanged and we both accept each other with all the changes and non-changes.

The thing I would never change about him though is his take on relationships. He loves his people absolutely unconditionally. He doesn't expect anything in return, not even for them to love him back. He doesn't think he needs to be a certain way for them to truly love him back. He may not explicitly show that he loves them, but when it comes to key decisions in life – he stands by them, for them, and with them. I, for one, would love to be loved that way.

This past week we celebrated our eighth marriage anniversary. Since Rehan was mere 30 days old, I didn't really feel like leaving him home alone. Not yet anyway. I also didn't get a chance to buy Siddhu a gift as I haven’t really left our home since Rehan has been born. Siddharth has also been quite preoccupied & busy over this last month as we learn to figure out the logistics with 2 babies in our home! Siddharth made our anniversary super special by cooking my favorite meal for me. That made my day and made up for an excellent celebration for us. Later in the week, I told Siddhu “we are not like a lot of lovey-dovey showy-vowy kind of couples who shower each other with gifts and flowers and stuff in general. Do you think we still have the spark that makes us tick…” Without thinking even for a second, he said that he thought about it too, but in the exact opposite way. He was quite amazed by the fact that we are so comfortable with each other and are so intertwined in each other’s thoughts and lives that we didn't need explicit and overt display to prove our love and 8 years of marriage. He said that we cherish and enjoy simple things in life far more than big major things or events. He is absolutely right. I have made it amply clear that he need not wait for a special occasion to give me gifts ;). So now he doesn't. Our celebrations are more about being there with each other and for each other, and more importantly about small little acts that show that we know what the other person likes and values. We both value our family and spending time with each other :)!

I have no idea how Samaira and Rehan will be in this particular personality trait. But sometime in the last few days I promised to myself, no matter what their attitude in this regard is, whether or not they show and demonstrate their feelings to me – I will love them equally, always. They could be diametrically opposite in their behavior and that wouldn't impact the extent of my love for them, even one bit. And I will show them that I love them both, equally. If I truly love someone, they will know it without an ounce of doubt in their minds that I love them. But that’s just me. I know it doesn't work this way for everyone, and that's ok. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Holy Moly Diaper Changes!!

Why did nobody warn us?! Why do people not talk about it more? Why is it not the hottest topic of discussion amongst all the parents who have new born boys? Or have I been visiting all the wrong forums?

Diaper changes for boys are drastically different from diaper changes for girls. Fact.

During Samaira’s diaper changes, all I had to make sure was that I have a new diaper underneath the old one before I start cleaning and wiping and changing her. That pretty much would ensure almost no poop & pee related accidents during diaper changes.

Come Rehan’s turn, things are massively different. When Siddharth was changing Rehan’s very first diaper at the hospital, our nurse looked at him and said “your older one is a girl, isn't she?” With a surprised look on his face Siddhu asked “yes, how do you know?” That’s when she showed him the right way to put diaper on boys. That was Aaaa..haa moment for us!!!  Subsequently, we were exposed to this other world of pee-like-you-are-spray-painting while changing Rehan’s diaper. You would think that it will take one pee-spray-during-diaper-change incident for me to figure out the right way to do it. Not true. It took me at least one instance of pee-spray for a several days to somewhat avoid it from happening for the next few days. I tried all permutations & combinations of the order in which I must do things during diaper changes, but tiniest of the window is enough for spray painting. Rehan has done the honor of spraying his pee on our bed-sheet, quilt, pillows, clothes, at our pediatrician’s, in the car, you name it! And when it sprays it really goes far! We go through batches of laundry at a legendary speed now. I tried so many different techniques to prevent it from happening but just at the last moment when everything was done and all I had to do was seal the deal – Rehan decided to pee. At some point, I figured if it is meant to happen, it will. So I decided to risk it every time, not be over-precautious, and accept my fate of being peed on any time it does happen. Until...a friend of mine, AP, decided to gift me this divine product called Peepee Teepee for the Sprinkling WeeWee. What a genius idea! Simple pleasures of life that make you smile! Granted that a lot of times I forget to use it…but whenever I do use it, it totally works!

Peepee Teepee for the Sprinkling Weewee (Picture from here)

I am normally not the kind of person who gives advice to people. That’s not because I don’t want to share my wisdom. But it is because in most cases I assume I don’t have the kind of wisdom that I can preach and advice. So most of the times, I share, but don’t give advice. But next time I have a friend who has a new born boy, especially after a girl – these words of wisdom will definitely be shared. Everyone in this scenario deserves to be explicitly told about the intricacies and nuances of diaper changes and the differences between diaper changes for a girl versus a boy. This advice, I will give. For sure.

For some strange reason, making a public declaration of my deepest personal feelings about diaper changes has turned out to be very cathartic. I feel like I have done my bit. It has also given me the mental space to think about other important things that have happened over the last few days…

…like Rehan’s first month birthday on June 29th. While he slept through our cake cutting ceremony, Sammy ensured that she massacred the cupcakes sufficiently.

…like Samaira’s new haircut. While we have received all sorts of reactions to her haircut, the underlying theme is that it is taking everyone some time to get used to the fact that Sammy doesn’t have her ponytail anymore…at least for some time! 90 degree temperature in Seattle. It is rare. It is treasured. It is praised. It also gets the flak for being too hot because we Seattle folks are not used to it. It also means that all the stores will run out of fans and air conditioners…whatever they have anyway!

…like our EIGHT year marriage anniversary on June 30th. Every year brings new joys, new adventures, new challenges, new fears and new experiences! Feel so blessed to share this journey with my best friend!