Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I have a cracker baby

Long long time ago, much before I had Samaira, I was determined not to give crackers to my babies for snacks. I was determined to feed my kiddos fresh fruits and vegetables, and other healthy snacks during non-meal times. Now, I don’t even remember the point at which I made the smooth transition of offering crackers to Samaira. I guess I took comfort in knowing that Samaira liked her broccoli and spinach while she ate crackers. But do babies change or what?!? Samaira, all of 22 months now, and a very picky eater on certain days, absolutely loves crackers! How did we end up this way? She can have crackers for an entire meal – that’s how much she likes them. I now feel silly that I ever wished for a cracker-free kid.

In my pre-Samaira/Rehan days, I had a thing about never yelling at my babies. Now, there are times I just do. Sometimes I yell in pure shock. Sometimes I yell in panic. Sometimes I yell because I fear my babies will injure themselves or others. It’s almost like a reflex. Totally involuntary. But it happens. And I yell.

Before I was a mom, I had this notion that I must teach something new to my kids every day. But most of the days, I don’t focus on teaching them anything new. I just focus on being….with them. I focus on playing with them, reading to them, the same old. I realize that life is not an agenda. Life does not have a curriculum. While I want to do the best for my kids, I also want to, and want them to live life. So, at least for now, most of the days we just live life.

Rehan is all of 5 month old now and in some households, 5 month olds are sleep trained with a somewhat decent schedule in place. I am nowhere close to that. I am nowhere close to getting close…that’s how far I am! Rehan drives his schedule. He sleeps through the night, kind of. He does not wake up-wake up, but starts sucking his thumb while still asleep so I nurse him a couple of times at night. So, as much as I would have liked, I haven’t really been able to sleep train him.

And then there are things that I don’t even try hard enough for. I feed Samaira left overs, just as we eat left overs. And I have no qualms about that. I could live off of left overs. I love left overs. So I feed left overs to Samaira too. Rehan has not started solids yet…but wait till that happens.

There are so many parenting philosophies and it is all too personal a decision. When to put kids in their own rooms, when to potty train them, when to feed them, what to feed them, how much to feed them, when to let them be and when to control them, what medicines to give them, what medicines to not give them, what to teach them, when to teach them, which religion to teach them or not, which myths to sustain and which ones to not, and the list goes on and on and on. I try my best not to judge other parenting styles. I definitely try not to judge other parents. All of us try to do the best we can. The best we know. To the best of our abilities. All of us think we are doing the right thing for our kids. All of us love our kids to bits.

One of the differences I have felt between my pre-kids and post-kids days is that now I know how easily non-parents tend to judge parents, especially with absolutely no prior experience whatsoever. That’s not to say that parents don’t judge other parents, because that happens too. But I now know better. I know now, that it is a beautiful thing to dream a perfect vision of life after kids, life with kids. But it is also a beautiful thing to build your own family-reality. According to your own values. Your own gut. Your own view of the world. Your own situation. Your own preferences. Your own comfort.

What I mean is that I am a very different parent than what I had imagined myself to be. My reality is different from my dream. So even though my baby loves crackers and that’s not something I had envisioned for her, I am cool with it. 

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