Letters to my Berry#17

IMG_9213Warning: This is going to be a very disjoint letter with a random collection of thoughts coming together in a random order as we have all had a very tiring day trekking King Henry’s mound in Richmond Park. So, please bear with the incoeherence.

You’ve turned 17 months and are running 1.5 years now. It’s crazy how quickly time has flown. You are the oldest in your play group at the nursery and you’ll soon move out to the next level in a month or two. You can eat on your own with forks, spoon and chopsticks. You can take off your jacket all by yourself. You are pretty self sufficient in most of your day-to-day things, which is very impressive especially because your appa and I have had such an insignificant part to play in it. All thanks to your nursery and your carers.

This month I realised that you have some strange fascination for veils, blankets, throws and other flows things. Every morning, when I am making the bed, you come running to go under the blanket as I sway it in the air. I realised this comes from the veils used by your music and movements teacher in the nursery, whose class you enjoy so much. So the other day, you found this stole of mine and kept playing with it. I decided to wind it up around you like a sari and you seemed to fascinated to have a tail like pally hanging behind you. This is probably one of those rare moments when you’ve let me put a clip on your hair and take a photo, else you usually pull off hair clips the moment I put them on. Anyway, you got so mad when I took the veil off after this picture.

You are a bit short-tempered, you express displeasure pretty quickly, although it is very rare. Couple of weekends ago, we took you to the park and let you play there for about an hour after we which we tried to put you in your stroller, and you got so angry. You clearly seemed very pissed, and we could tell by your face. Of course you got over it pretty quickly as we wheeled you by the duck pond and you’d forgotten all about the swing and the slide by then. It’s funny how these things come to us so young.

Talking about things that we are pretty good at early on in life, is pattern recognition. We were in the tube one morning on the way to work (and nursery), and you suddenly screamed “Cece” (Cece is a girl in your nursery, who has some Vietnamese heritage). I looked around to see who you saw and it was a woman, who looked East Asian. When I was young, I thought all men with Mongoloid features were called Danny, thanks to Danny Denzongpa.

Although it gets misconstrued as cultural insensitivity as we grow up, I would say it’s some fantastic pattern recognition. Think about google photos, it uses the same concept to classify photos. Just like how with more data, google learns better about differentiating between baby photos of you and your cousin as being different individuals, we learn better with more exposure.

For a brief period this month, we had moved the sofa close to the book shelf, so you learnt to climb up to help yourself to some krishnamurthies (jumping jacks). You pulled apart all of them and even tried to eat some of them. You found a few pens and books, so you happily scribbled away to glory. You also learnt that you can jump from the arm of the sofa onto the sofa and so you kept saying “deddy deddy wow” (ready steady go) and jumping till we decided to save ourselves some anxiety of you rolling over and moved the sofa away from the book shelf.

You are also now beginning to watch our lip movements very closely so you can imitate some of the words and sounds we teach you. The number of animal sounds you can make is growing in scope. You haven’t gone beyond 10 in numbers, you say ABCD until around P, but just start clapping immediately after. I’ve mentioned several times before that you have some strong connection with music, so it’s not surprising that you can sing sa ri ga ma with such great melody. It would be great if you want to learn more and pursue music more professionally at some point (ok, I am acting like a tiger mother now).

Not only sounds, you even imitate actions. When I do yoga sometimes, you come lie next to me and try to imitate my moves, and pretty well that too. You want to do everything we do. If we are on our computers, you want to be on it too. If we are putting stuff into the dishwasher, you want to play a part too. If we are hanging clothes, you are daddy’s little helper and so on. I am so going to miss all this as you grow up because the older we grow the less like our parents we want to act. No?

When you woke up this morning, you were hungry and asked for milk. I passed the bottle that was next to me, but the milk was cold. You wanted it warmed up, so you said “bisi” (which means hot in kannada) and I said “drink it as it is if you want or leave”, because I was still sleepy and was in no mood to get off the bed to warm up your milk. And to that you said “No! No! No! and murmured something babbles that sounded like get your ass of the bed and go heat my milk” and so, I did. You are fairly manipulative you know? I think kids are designed that way, and hence, we return the favour when you grow up. Haha.

Ever since we came back from India, I always worried that you’d be very sad to not have too many people around you, but you make up for it by being quite friendly with random strangers here. You also absolutely love speaking to people back home on FaceTime, and so you keep wanting me to call your ajji thatha Barbie and avva. When I don’t do that often enough, you pick your toy phone and make pretend conversation with them anyway. It makes me wonder if you are too Indian to live here in the UK. It makes me miss home. So, guess what, we’ll be going there soon, so you can meet everyone again. Whee!



Letters to my Berry#16


IMG_9191I remember vehemently arguing with Ajji that I would never fall in love with you like she did with Barbie or me, but with time I keep proving myself wrong. At 16 months, may be I like a little more than I’d like to confess? The thing about love is, you sign up to get hurt in return for love. That’s the problem I have with love. Does that make sense? Ok, I hope you read this at a point in life when this actually might make sense.

Your love for me at this point seems so unconditional (well, may be babies are designed this way so they are taken care of?), because every time you do something naughty and I say “No”, you get upset and cry, but the next second you want to come hug and cuddle. Now who wouldn’t melt to such things?! However, this month has been interesting because you save me the trouble of saying “No” by saying it yourself and also giving yourself a mini lecture in babbles when you realize you have done something naughty. So, I guess this means you have not only learnt to mimic my reactions but you can also anticipate them. I guess this is how you innovate in terms of melting people’s hearts.

You can says a few more things – “Barbie” with the r silent, which has obviously left your chikki super excited. You can also say what sounds like ABCD up till P after which you start clapping. You can also hum the Peppa Pig title song, because we make you watch it pretty often (unfortunately we have no creative ways to keep you engaged). The cutest thing has to be your ability to read books now – you mimic storytelling in babbles with a rhythm which is so incredibly cute. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to capture that on video yet.  You also keep saying “Daddy” despite appa and my best efforts to make you call him appa. Oh well, we don’t mind what you call us as long as you call us!

You make animal noises very cutely – cat, dog, sheep, tiger and frog. You can also how how babies cry and laugh (with actions). Now, it’s a tad bit weird when you keep making these noises on the tube, so I have found a new way to keep you busy on the tube – I have started teaching you body parts. So you can show your nose, eye (and say eye as well!), cheeks, chin, head and hand. You are still struggling  to show your mouth, but you’ll get there soon, don’t worry. I realize, you are able to learn pretty quickly in the last couple of weeks, so I know appa and I should be spending more time teaching you things when you are in the mood to learn of course. You can say some words that we teach you, and so the next step might be learning the ability to make associations about when to use them. Oh you already know how to use “so cute” very well because you compliment us whenever we put something on our head because in the past we have said so cute when we put a clip on your head.

You are so loving and it is very evident in your interactions with the friends we’ve had over the last couple of weekends. You are an absolute delight to be around for guests (ok, you are for us also, most of the time!) and that’s why we prefer to meet people at our house. Now, I have to give it to you that you let us have a great new year’s eve because we were asleep most of the time we were at the Khares letting us have fun without the responsibility of saving their house from your damages 🙂 When you woke up, you quietly had dinner, went to everyone who wanted to pick you up and then picked up your jacket and said good night to everyone indicating that it had to be the end of the night for us. Could we have asked for any better?!

In terms of food, you have acquired some new found love for doses, which is what you get for lunch on most days. You happily savour food all by yourself which makes our lives easier (except for us having to clean up the mess after, but trust me, it’s all worth it!) You like drinking water from adult water bottles (haha!). Your appetite has improved, and which also means you don’t go to bed without a good meal. This step changes take a while for us to notice, during which time we end up more sleepless nights because you wake up hungry often. Although we start with putting you in the crib at the beginning of the night, we end up making you sleep between us sometime in the middle of the night when you wake up crying. We are trying to make you be able to sleep better, with little success.

I would love to spend more time with you singing or dancing because I know you love doing both, but the days I spend with you are so busy for me since I need to manage the house, do office work and also keep all my weekend job deadlines. When I relax, I end up watching movies, but I would much rather do fun things with you than make you watch movies with me. I sometimes worry about the content that is going to shape your world view, since I must confess that I watch very weird things sometimes. But you know what, I also hate people who make excuses for not being able to do something that they want to and blaming it on time. So, I am sitting here in a cafe right now trying to finish off my writing work (not just this letter ok!) before I get home to play with you full day!!!

P.S – I forgot to mention that you like to sweep the floor with the broom, all the time and so I think you might have been a cleaner in your previous birth.

Letters to my Berry#15


This has been the longest I have actually taken to write you a monthly birthday letter and this is mainly because we were off to Bangalore on a holiday and my routine was completely disrupted. In hindsight, I am glad I waited because 15.5 months seems like a better milestone than 15 months because of the sheer developments I have seen in the last couple of weeks. This month, you met Santa for the first time at the Christmas party in your nursery, cried your lungs out but managed to get a lovely present from Santa (courtesy smithfield) and also enjoyed the music and movements session at the party. However, you were mostly sticking to us through the party, wonder if seeing so many parents at once was daunting for you?

However, you are a completely new person now. especially post the Bangalore trip. You are ‘tarle’ to the core, so much so that you bit our selfie stick into pieces this morning. You are in this massive destructive phase where you have all this unshaken energy that simply cannot be contained by one adult and it is positively correlated to the number of adults watching you. You seemed fine on the flight to Bangalore (slept for the first couple of hours), which I had dreaded for a while now. You were very perplexed when you arrived home here in Jayanagar, very unsure of where you had come and if it was okay to walk around the house, but within a few days, you’d become a ‘dada’ in that house pulling every drawer/ shelf you could find, running into the balcony at every opportune moment and trying to hide in the on-suite bathroom every time you saw the door open.

Your curiosity has increased multi-fold. You would keep trying to go into the bathroom and close the door behind you, but we wouldn’t let you. Finally one day I wanted to watch what you did, so let you close the door and then walked in a minute later to see that you were trying to pull up the toilet seat to see what’s inside and when I caught you do that, you had the cutest sly grin on your face. I am sure you will do plenty of silly things behind my back, and remember that even if I don’t peep in to see what you are upto, I will have a pretty good idea because you know what, I have been there and done that myself 🙂

The day we arrived in Bangalore, ajji thatha came home to meet you and you had no trouble recognising them, as you went to them quite instinctively, especially to thatha. I guess his hymn (onannna baranna berry-anna) helped a tad bit. You also went to Inna ajji at the same time, although with mani ajji you just smiled from far away and hesitated in the beginning. However, over time you grew quite friendly with her, so muchOne of the biggest revelations for us in Bangalore was seeing how social you are and have no trouble going to strangers, almost on the verge of being quite kidnap-prone. For instance, you happily held our house watchman’s hand and started walking away with him, even though you were meeting him for the first time. So, yeah, we’ve got to watch out.

The upsides to you being social of course meant that we didn’t have to bother taking care of you when we went somewhere – muthajji mane, leela aunty’s house, kitta thatha’s house, etc. In fact, you were a mini celebrity at muthajji mane on day 2 after landing in Bangalore, with your babble-y rhymes and dance moves. The most amazing bit about that day was how you went and hugged every person in the room in between your performance, almost as if to make sure each and every one there paid you attention and didn’t feel left out of your attention as well. You have clearly taken after your mutthajji in this aspect since neither appa nor I are this socially lubricated.

We even left you with Ajji thatha overnight for a couple of days just so you could spend more time with them since all anyone in India cared about was spending time with you rather than with us. They thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with you barring the time you broke amma’s glasses, and left them sleepless and exhausted, although they will vehemently argue that they enjoyed your destructive streak too. You even bore the mosquitoes like a champ, with one swollen eye and what not, thanks to your NRI-ness.

Ajji thatha have taught you some animal sounds, and the way you say meow is the cutest, EVER! You really like animals, you enjoyed playing with the kitten in Swaroopa’s house, random bow bows all over Bangalore and the ducks in the lake at Hyde park. You came with us to all the awesome bhindi places we went to and belted dose everywhere – Mahalakshmi, Vidyarthi Bhavan, Maiyyas and SN. To be fair, the only place you actually enjoyed the dose was at Vidyarthi Bhavan, and of course, enjoyed conversing with random strangers at neighbouring tables there too.

Thanks to hanging out with ajji thatha, we discovered that you know ABCD, all nursery rhymes and so on, which you seem to have picked up at your nursery. You have also started communicating extensively, mostly in babbles and it sounds so cute, except I feel very bad that I can’t understand what you say. You can also say a few basic things – in fact, you have started to use words to manipulate/ get your way. For instance, you say taachi (sleep) when you want to be breast fed because you think I’ll feed you if you were to fall asleep more than if you were to just ask me for milk. This goes to show how manipulation is such a basic instinct. Oh and you can also say kakka when you are doing potty, which is really cool because this means you are ready to be potty trained next.

Sometimes, we let you sleep in the crib and since, we have removed one side of it, when you wake up in the middle of the night, you come over to our bed by yourself and get all cozy with us. It’s cute, but scary because I don’t even realise when you come sleep next to me. You go to bed early and rise early. When you are sleeping between appa and me, you wake up the moment you lose warmth on one side, which is usually from appa’s side since he wakes up early every day. You follow him to the bathroom, brush your teeth yourself while he brushes his and then follow him to the kitchen and run around him till he gives you haala. You have your haala while we have our morning coffee.

You get ready with us every morning, bring your shoes and jacket just when we are wearing ours since you love stepping out of home. You keep saying tata and going off all the time, especially on your tiny bug scooter. You loved stepping out in Bangalore, since we’d take you up and down in the lift, which is your most favourite place in the world right now. May be you will grow up to be like M Ganesha and A Ganesha loving lift aata. You have also got a new peppa pig bag from ajji thatha which you will start taking from now on, since you love peppa pig. You can actually say peppa. Well, I must confess that I got you hooked onto peppa because I liked the show, so if there’s anyone to blame for excessive screen time that would be me.

Theres always so much to write about you, and when I fall back on my letters to you, it’s that much harder to squeeze so many things into a tiny blogpost. So I promise to write to you more often so I can tuck away more memories for us to reminisce on. You are going to your first late night, new years party now at our friends place, so I am going to end on a good luck note for us, so we can all have a good time (which means you will hopefully sleep early. Haha).





Letters to my Berry#14

IMG_9037You turned 14 months 3 days ago, but given that things have been mental at work this month and will continue to be until the end of this year, I am only getting around to writing to you now. But hey, you are 1.16 now. Woohoo. As you can see from the picture above, you are scaling new heights, quite literally – you managed to climb onto the chair and stand up on it all by yourself. You also wake up, get off the bed quietly and come to the living room like a big girl. I can see that you are discovering a lot of things for yourself and prefer to do everything independently – you prefer to not be carried, because you want to run and explore the world all by yourself. You like to touch and eat everything, that too, all by yourself.

For the last two weeks, you had been making it very difficult for us to feed you dinner and so, one day, I finally plonked you onto your high chair, put your food onto your plate and left. Guess what? You happily started to eat by yourself. Excited by this, I came back to feed you and you got so upset, so I let you finish your dinner on your own. This meant that you threw food all around you and I spent a few minutes cleaning up after you were done, but it was all worth it. Now, you eat your meals all by yourself, thanks to your nursery.

Since last week, you have been going to a new nursery just on Fridays, since it’s impossible for me to work from home with you around. I never felt guilty when I first left you at Smithfield back in March as I was excited to start a new adventure (at work!). But now, whenever I drop you off at your Friday nursery, I feel so guilty for leaving you there since you cry so much, and you don’t even look at me when you do and I think that makes it worse since it feels like you are clearly upset with me for leaving you. If I had to choose between you and work right now, I would choose you any day hands down but I don’t have that choice, atleast not right now.

But as always, you are making peace with how we have been treating you. Thank you. Sometimes I wish we did better as parents, because I have seen mine do better, but it’s okay. For instance, you probably had some viral infection over the last 2-3 weeks and I don’t think we even realised you were unwell because we kept thinking you were hurting from your molars beginning to pop out. I guess we are raising you the British way given that by the time you can get an appointment with the NHS, you would have kissed your sickness goodbye. In a way I don’t mind since it helps build your immunity.

There are a few other British things you seem to have picked up on your own – drinking imaginary tea from your tea cup all the time, and saying  things like “hiya”, “yeah”, etc. with an accent. You love playing with kitchen play things – I don’t blame you given that you see either appa or me in the kitchen most of your waking hours (mornings before work and evenings after work). The one cool thing that has come out of playing with kitchen things is that you have learnt to count from 1 to 10, I mean count, that too from a musical tea pot that Smitha gave you for your birthday. At first, I thought you can only say these numbers, but it’s only when I started saying ABCD and whenever I got to I, you would say 10, that I realised you have actually learnt to keep count. So, you aren’t so bad at Math, huh? Although you only like to say 2,3,5,7,8,9 and 10.

You aren’t that quiet kid who will just sit with her toys and books, you keep coming into the kitchen to pull out all the vessels and cutlery from the shelves, and you like to run away with the empty milk cans screaming “haala (milk)” repeatedly. You also love riding the buggy on wheels which we got you for your birthday and the musical walker that Sam got you for your birthday. You might be learning a few things from the walker also, who knows?! You know how to ask for milk, food and water, which is quite useful since we can use that as a cue to feed you, and be assured that you will finish what is given.

You have started to communicate just a little bit. You keep saying “yeah” at all opportune moments. You can understand what we say to you in both Kannada and English fairly well. You follow instructions like a bot – you bring things we ask you to bring, sit when told, etc. It’s quite cute. Oh, you also have the cutest sad face when we scold you for doing something naughty such as pull my hair, etc. You are appa’s pet, who brings his socks, his shoes and also yours every morning as we get ready to go to work. You also bring your jacket from the room because you love going out and you know the drill. You also wait like the dog at Shibuya station for appa coming back home and as soon as you hear the door downstairs you run to the gate at the head of the stairs to see him. You babble some gibberish as soon as you see him and it’s the cutest sight ever.

It’s not funny how quickly you are growing up – Appa and I were just watching photos and videos from the day you were born and you were sooooo tiny and quiet and now you are one big dada who demands maggi and soft drinks as if it’s your birth right. I can’t wait to take you home next month to see how you’ll react to everyone back home. You are a people lover and love socialising, so I am sure you’ll love it because everyone is waiting to see you.

More exciting stories for next month. Toodles.




Letters to my Berry#13


I am a week too late, but I am glad I waited to write this. I was PMSing (something you will experience when you grow up) and so I wasn’t completely in control of my emotions to provide with you a fair report of the last one month. For starters, I yelled at you towards the end of month 13, I gave you “hatta” on your back since you wouldn’t let me work on Fridays and spent the rest of the day crying about being so mean to you. I also realised what it must have felt like for ajji when she once hit me a 7 year old for doing something stupid. Neither of us are right in what we did, but I feel a bit more empathetic towards her than I ever did. That’s the great thing about being a mum – to see what I was like as a child right in front of my eyes, and to feel what ajji felt as my mum first handed.

I saw fear in you this month, for the first time. There are these moments when I watch you and wonder if I have damaged you for good, and the next minute you just start laughing and come give me a hug and rubbish my doubts. You got three vaccines on one day, you didn’t react for the 1st one, you winced and held your pain back for the second and you only cried for 30 seconds for the last one. As I watched you, I wondered if we learn resilience that early in life because you are surely fearless, as your name suggests, my little Abheri.

You show resilience as you learn to run. A few weeks back, we were out near King’s cross in a square with little fountains and as soon as we put you down, you started walking and then running, away from us. You loved being chased by us around the square and went absolutely mental when we tried to pick you back up. You are a runner, you absolutely enjoy running in parks – we took you to Walpole park last sunday and you just kept running and falling, picking yourself up and running again. You even enjoyed playing on the swing, slide, see-saw and the little merry go round type thingie. You refused to leave the park, which means we have to live in an Ealing like neighbourhood even next year when we move. I wonder if you’ll ever get a chance to run around so freely if we went back to Bangalore?

Among the other big milestones this month, you are showing more signs of fulling understanding what we say. You do peekaboo when we ask you to, you sit when we ask you to, dance, sing, kick the ball, throw it and even say 1, 2, 3 when we ask you to, and when you are in the mood. Talking about 1,2,3 – the funniest thing about this month has to be the 5 page report we got from your daycare about your progress, which said you aren’t very strong in math and your carers plan to help you get better. Hahahaha.

You are one!!!!! I don’t care if you aren’t good at math, as long as you are eating and alive. But hey, I may not say this when you are 10, so enjoy this as long as it lasts. 5 pages, I still can’t believe they had so much to say about my little person – this is the nice thing about living in London where you have daycares that are run professionally, albeit being expensive. It makes my job of entertaining you that much harder, but I don’t mind being challenged to do better as a parent.

The one thing I still struggle to keep up with is your obsession with books. You wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is go find appa, since he is busy working away in the kitchen in the mornings, have a babbalogue with him and then come back to me to drink milk and once that’s out of the way, you hit the books. You flip pages, make strange sounds, want us to read out stuff from the same books, over and over again and you keep giggling at the animals sounds we make, over and over again. You never get bored of the repetition, it amazes me and we play along. I will get old someday and might enjoy repetition just like you do right now, but will you have the patience to indulge me?

You love the computer, kindle and phone, just like any other kid your age, thanks to us for overexposing you to gadgets. Although you surprised us by picking up the phone one day and holding it to your ear and pretended to talk to someone, because you’ve only seen us video call people and so, we didn’t know where you had learnt to make voice calls. You’d apparently picked this up at your nursery, I learnt later. It was a revelation to learn that we don’t entirely control what you learn even as a one year old, and that there are so many influences outside of home and outside of our control. It was both re-assuring and unsettling at the same time, because what if people could make you do what ever they wanted and it wasn’t necessarily in your best interest?

You are not a big fan of toys really, you prefer books, and music making toys, the piano and your tea cup, from which you keep pretending to drink out of. You even pretend to take food from our hands and pretend it. You even pick your chest and pretend to be feeding yourself milk (Lulz!), but I guess you being able to pretend and imagine things is a sign of you becoming more and more human everyday. Of course, your ability to socialise (thanks to your great grandmum’s genes) always made you more human, from a very young age and I really do hope you will use your ability to make everyone around you smile for years to come.

Ok, happy 13th month for now (you came and disturbed my flow of thoughts, so this is what you get – an abrupt ending!). Can’t wait to experience many more revelations with you. Hugs.


My bayesian learnings about parenthood


Recently, I took the Myer’s Briggs test and learnt that I am an INTJ, and I must confess that I wasn’t really surprised, especially because I’d taken a similar test over 10 years ago and I had the exact same results. I suppose you could look at this two ways – I don’t learn or my core personality is rock solid and nothing can ever change that. The permanence of personality is interestingly reassuring – I’ve had so many new life experiences in the last decade, learnt and internalised so many new things, yet at the very core, I am still the same person.

It was interesting to validate that I am an introvert – often when I tell people I am one, people don’t believe me. Being an introvert does not mean I lack social skills, it just means I prefer being alone to being in a group. I get my energy from being with myself than with a group of friends/ family. I prefer intense/deep meaningful discussions with smaller groups of people, I don’t enjoy small talk about the weather or weekend plans.  Every monday morning, when people at work ask me about how my weekend was, I feel exhausted to engage in that conversation and so, I try to distract by asking people how their weekend was even before they ask me about mine.

Anyway, this post is not about introversion. It is about J for judgement. The way I learn is Bayesian, through priors. I judge as soon as I hear something or see something, and then, over time, I learn as I assimilate new information. This is quite contrary to the most common advice people give you about being open as you embrace new experiences or meet new people, because not all of us react to new environments much the same way. I don’t view judging as a problem, and this could be fundamentally different to a P (for perceiver) and so, if you don’t relate to what I am saying, it’s okay.

For the last several months, ever since I started a full-time job at a big corporation, I have been struggling to strike a balance between me as an employee, a mother, a wife and Berry’s personal CCTV (for family back home) because I am one of those bad women who likes to have it all. It’s mostly because I just didn’t have enough time for each role as the number of roles I managed increased over time. Imagine this to be on a team with missing people, and you having to manage multiple roles. Trying to keep up with the different roles, I felt like I had lost all sense of what my original role was.

As I said earlier, I like to have it all and so, my quest to find my original self began with me wanting to make more time for myself, so I could think and remember. The only way I could make time for myself was to stop playing a few roles on somedays or even for a few hours. On weekends, I don’t play employee/ mum/ wife/ Berry’s CCTV for a couple of hours in the mornings and I spend this time writing, because I think better when I write. Keeping up this routine is an important part of bringing back my original self.

A few months ago, I had written this post about mothers on Instagram where I said

You can’t possibly have full-time jobs AND be running a well orchestrated lobby on Instagram!

This was me judging at the first glance. However, over time now, I have learnt that there is much more to this lobbying. I started to stalk and rummage through the virtual lives of these women and learnt that a lot of these women have given up their full-time careers to support their spouse/ raise children in meaningful environments and doing this is not easy. Most of us adults define ourselves (I am a doctor, I am an architect, I work with Amazon, and so on) based on our full-time jobs and when that doesn’t exist anymore, it becomes hard to identify ourselves.

In the internet generation, our society gives very little credit to roles such as full-time mums or full-time wives and so, the most challenging bit about giving up a full-time job is losing a sense of our core self. Being active on social media is an attempt to reclaim ourselves. Staying active on the Gram imposes a routine and helps us define ourselves through our virtual identities. This may have led to the advent of a lot of mom-run internet businesses.

It is no mean feat to keep up a daily Instagram feed or a weekly vlog. Being an aspiring writer struggling to write more regularly, I can vouch for the amount of dedication it takes to run a regular column. So, having learnt more about these social media mums has broadened my perspective on parenthood, even though I may not be fully aligned on the content of these posts. All our journeys as parents are so similar, yet so unique and so even though every story you read, might seem like glorifying the obvious, we are contributing to the richness of our history.


Letters to my Berry#12


Berry boo! Happy Birthday, big girl! At first, I thought this would be a 12 part series to capture the 1st one year of your life and then it would be an annual feature, except I recently learnt that babies have several milestones over the first 2 years of their lives which means I have now decided to extend it to a 24 part series. Now, does that mean I am going to be telling people your age in months despite you being over a year? No, I find that weird, although I get why people do that. So I will round down your age to the previous quarter and I hope that’s okay with you.

This has been a month of several milestones, yet again. You started walking beginning of September, all of a sudden. Appa and I were watching TV and you were standing right next to us and then suddenly you took two steps forward. I didn’t even realise but Appa was quick to notice and we were so excited for you. For a long time, people had been asking us to buy you a walker to help you start walking but we wanted you to be able to do it on your own at your own pace and so, we never bought you one (although you eventually ended up getting a walker as a birthday present from Rehaan). Your carers at the nursery also played a big role in encouraging you to continue walking every time you fell, so you wouldn’t resort to crawling as that’s obviously easier for you. Now, you love to walk and as you come closer to something you can hold on to, you try to run. It’s damn cute to watch you try to finish.

Talking about finishing, may be you are not a big fan of finishing. While feeding you dinner, you always find a way to not eat the last spoon and we want to do all sorts of drama to get you to finish. Maybe we are not instinctively designed to be finishers and probably it only comes out of practice, but this is a hard decision as a parent – should we make you a finisher or not, because being able to finish is a painfully acquired skill. While you may value this trait in the future, there is no way to know this for sure looking forward.

Personally for me, the biggest milestone of this month has to be the fact that you are able to sleep on your own. In the first half of August, you were going through a growth spurt and in the process, had ended up becoming damn clingy, would wake up several times through the night and feed constantly. I’d given into your needs 100% despite being told by a health inspector just a month before that it’s not a good idea to be feeding you through the night since your digestive system needs a break. Of course, I had my selfish reasons to do this since giving into your needs meant that you would cry less and I could lay in bed with my eyes closed through the night while you sucked endlessly.

I happened to read an article last week about how it is important for kids between 12-18 months to learn how to soothe themselves through the night and sleep well, failing which you might end up not learning this till quite late. So, last weekend, I decided to put you in your crib after dinner and let you sleep on your own. I dimmed the lights, tucked you into your blanket, left your favourite monkey with you and closed the door and left. You screamed and howled for about 5 minutes and soon after, you’d managed to fall asleep probably because you were tired and had figured you had no choice.

I felt bad as I heard you cry but I knew it was a small price I had to pay to make you learn to sleep on your own. I did this the next day as well and by the day after, you had learnt. When we put you in the crib now, you just wail a bit but hold on to your monkey and just fall asleep. Even through the night, you don’t wake up more than once or twice, but even when you do, you soothe yourself on your own and sleep back. Most of the time, we don’t try to pick you up except if you are trying to jump out of the crib and are really really upset. This has also meant that I have finally been able to rest better through the night after almost a year and a half now.

You still don’t talk much, apart from saying “amma”, “appa” or “mum-mum” but that’s not really in relation to anything specific. But you have now learnt to associate words/ sounds with their actual meaning. When I say mum-mum or ji-ji, you know I am about to feed you or give you water. When I say haala, you instinctively pull my shirt up or down (which has been a bit embarrassing on the train sometimes). You also say tuh-tuh and give a flying kiss when either you are leaving or someone else is, and you learnt this from Barbie chikki. You also know how to pick up the phone on talk on it, and apparently you learnt how to do this at the nursery, which is damn cute. While it’s interesting to see you are learning so quickly, sometimes its scary to know that we don’t have full control  of what you learn. I sound like a typical parent now, don’t it?

Anyway, you are a big girl now and I have to start embracing that you will learn lots and from everyone and everything you see around you and that’s okay. On the occasion of you turning one, we bought you a lot of presents (a house, a gaadi, a globe and some books) and a cup cake. We kept it all in the living room and so when you came from the room in the morning, you were damn excited to see all this. You slammed the cake and ate all the icing and opened all the presents. We took you to the London zoo (one of the oldest in the world) where you thoroughly enjoyed watching all the animals, especially the Indonesian monkeys and camels. Funnily enough, you got scared by goats, when we tried to make you pet them (haha!). We have recorded all this so we can show you when you grow up and laugh with you.

Talking about showing you videos, you are now able to comprehend videos and you find it so fascinating and exciting to see yourself in a video. We’ve shot videos of you watching a video, and a video of that and a video of that and so on. Yeah, we are a little bit strange like that, but guess what you just have to learn to live with that, like everything else.

Cheers to many more years of learning and discovering yourself. Remember that there are going to be several years in your life where it feels like you might be on a learning plateau but that’s only because you are not acknowledging everything you learn, and not because you aren’t learning.

Too deep for a one year old? Maybe. Haha, okay I’ll stop.

P.S – Here’s a list of presents you got for your birthday – A greeting card from your godparents, A tea party set and intelligence blocks from Avani and Advay, a walker from Rehaan, a house, a lady bug scooter, an inflatable globe and books from appa amma and lots and lots of wishes/ blessings from everyone else.