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Adding another ‘M’ to my Mothering—the Transition and Challenges

No matter how easy or hard your first child was, adding a second child is intimidating. I knew the work, knew the time except that I had to put that work and time together while continuing to care for my elder daughter.

Some might think that baby two will be easy. You are wiser; more experienced and know what you are doing. But the wiser among us will realise that we ‘ really ‘ don’t know. Every child is different. Who knows!, what our second child will bring!!.

How hard it is really?

My opinion is it is very different for every mom.

When my son was born last year, I expected to be a seasoned, confident mother. I had been mothering his sister for the past six years. So, I did feel more sure of myself, at least in some ways. But not to deny the fact that I was a new parent – learning to be a mother of two!

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In my experience, going from 0 to 1 month was the hardest transition. I mean a huge shock to my system as I tried to balance two different schedules. The first couple of weeks were bit chaos balancing with my personal pains, the hectic newborn routines and the elder one. But my husband, in-laws and my mom (my huge strength) were around to help me out with it. I had to mentally prepare for, simultaneously meeting the physical and emotional needs of two children with quiet a gap in ages. To me this is the single, biggest and ongoing challenge.

This emotional roller coaster did affect me initially. I was rather scared. It made me to feel to an extent that I was failing as a mom. But, after a year, I have found that these feelings are normal. Though I have not worked out fully on this, I am somehow managing the so called ‘mom’s attention deficit’.

For us mothers, ‘ guilt ‘ is the second biggest challenge. Some days I feel like I am depriving my daughter from getting enough of my love and care. Have my attention been completely stolen by my son!??. This question pops in me when she goes off mood and behaves abnormal. But once I gave a break, a deep breath, trusted myself, my instincts and choices, I was slowly able to overcome it.

I have learnt to accept that there is a pile of laundry constantly waiting to be folded, toys scattered hither n thither. I’ve had to accept that my daughter is going to call me out in helping her getting ready for school while my son needs me on the potty! Or that my son is going to wake up from his short nap the instant I sit to help my daughter with her studies, or both of them melting down together when me n my husband try to have a conversation beyond our daily routines.

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As days passed by, when the two started really interacting – from the way Madhav’s eyes lit up when he sees his sissy return from school, to when they start giggling and cuddling together. Or when Malini bursts out to tears when she sees her wailing brother — raising two kids is absolutely, positively worth it!                                                         

And it is’int just the day-to-day difficulties or challenges I have as a mom, it is also the scrutiny and judgement from others too. It is’int just me but to all mums out there who are exposed to such external factors. Well! You know everyone around you seem to have an opinion or criticism on your mothering style!

I have created two people. Grown them inside me, watched their little movements, felt their pains and joy. And, that is no small thing. Nothing to be overlooked or overshadowed by a messy house, or wrong timing, or even on my mothering style!

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Loving three people is easy, but meeting all of their needs at the same time, is a tough job! I do accept that none of my three loves are getting as much of me as they want or as much of me as I want to give them. And I struggle n fight with it. But I know that I am starting to win more rounds than lose. And I know that I am trying to be someone they want me to be.

I am filled with love that is no ordinary one. It is the love that makes me feel proud, thankful. A love that is grateful for the gift that these two kids have given me. By breaking me down, they are actually building me better. Something better I could ever imagine without them – being the mother of my two wonderful kids.

 

 

 

 

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It’s ‘Snow’ much Fun

As Jennifer lazily opened her eyes, she expected to see light streaming through the windows, but instead she witnessed only white all over! She was able to feel freezing cold air snaking down her back, making her shiver. She rolled over the bed to flip her mobile to see the time. It was 7 a.m. The weather widget was animating a snowfall. Jennifer was thrilled! She quickly threw out her blankets and pressed her face to the window pane to have a closer look outside. She was able to see intricate patterns of ice floating weightlessly downward from the pure white sky from above. Each snowflake swirling and dancing as an icy wind carried it closer to her vision. The trees stood starkly in the winter morning like x-rays of their summer selves.

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The snow from above had completely vanished the colors of fall turning all into white. It might be winter but she still finds beauty in it. The clarity and the kind of serenity that it gives, lets her notice small details as how the trees though bare have the promise of spring within them. It seemed to her as if God Himself lies dormant in those branches, ready to burst out with green and greet the world when the season changes! To some winters are cold and miserable, to some winters are all about Christmas and gifts but to Jennifer – it’s all about enjoying every bit of the snowfall and of course the best part of it – making a snowman. She just enjoys every bit about this weather. The purity of the snow elevates her spirit and a kind of positivity springs within her. The sight of freshly lain snow as a white blanket made the earth look as pristine as a book ready for new stories to unfold.

Jennifer turns into a kid around winter time and gets in to a sort of irresistible enthusiasm. She quickly freshened herself and got into her winter boots to espy the frosty world outside. She opened her arm wide and looked above. The snow alighted on Jennifer’s face softer than the kisses of her mother. She clapped her gloved hands with joy for the snow had hugged her house like a day old baby, new and clingy. The swirling white and the lush green grass collided making the shrubs and trees stain in white.

The freezing fog wrapped around her as she gazed at the everyday familiar sights of the streets now looking like an unfinished canvas painting. Jennifer closed her eyes and let her happiness soak right in to her soul which was already lingering with the tune of ‘Frosty the Snowman’..

………..Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul

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…………thumpety thump, thump , thumpety thump, thump…..look at Frosty go!

…………………………………………………………over the hills of snow!

Well, there was snow, deep large flakes, perfect for rolling on to a ‘snowman’. Since her childhood days, Jennifer loved winter and snow especially for this one reason – building her own snowman. She was so used to making him every winter that her ‘snowman ‘was very popular among her neighborhood children.

When she started ‘THE SNOWMAN CLUB’ three years back, her mom had rolled her eyes- but now their home was a winter destination for the neighborhood kids. If there was snow on the ground, the kids would arrive in toques and scarves.Now that its fluffy stuff all around, isn’t that enough to set up Jennifer’s imagination on fire!

Yaayyy! Jennifer showed her sparkling toothed gum to the sub-zero air and shouted in joy “I just have snow-many ideas!”. when she was shouting her mind out, her little naughty assistants came running towards her at beck and call.

08144747_0528Kevin, Sid, Lily and Ana were busy brining in things for decorating their outcome while Jennifer started rolling balls of snow along the white blanket. Three balls on top of another gave shape to the white figure.
Lily and Ana who were style divas brought red and blue scarf, fuzzy lime-green ear mufflers, huge black sunglasses and rainbow colored mittens. Sid gave some jelly beans for making the mouth while Kevin gave a snow shovel.
As every year, this year too after much discussion among the building mates, their snow figure was named as “Glitzy”. ‘Glitzy’ now stood huge by the pine tree with his innocent jelly bean mouth, slanting carrot nose, red and blue scarf, lime-green ear muffs, and rainbow colored mittens holding a snow shovel in one hand and appearing almost smiling at them.

Having done a great job, Jennifer and her army of cold children retreated to her house to have a fun game as a part of their club activity. The game went like this, if anyone could make Jennifer sissy to laugh out loud, they would win a marshmallow snowman!. And since she laughed at way so easily, the kids always gave it a try. With sounds of laughter and fun filling the cold day, Jennifer’s mom would fill their festive mugs with hot chocolate.

 As usual it was Sid who won most of the snowman marshmallows so as to enjoy poking him and watch it melt in the hot chocolate.When all the eating and drinking stuff was done, Jennifer closed the curtains on the wintry scene and all the five of them couched to watch the ‘The Frozen ‘movie – scurrying toward the smell of popcorn that drifted from the kitchen.

As the children started to enjoy the movie, Jennifer gently closed her eyes and drifted into a serene and blissful nap…

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Two little hands, so clean and bright!

“Wash your hands!”—- It’s a well-worn phrase that I find myself saying at least a dozen times a day, and one that I hear repeated by other moms too or may be a few times more than me. Kids don’t always listen when parents tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the bathroom, or when they come inside from playing. But it’s a message worth repeating — hand washing is by far the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep kids from getting sick.

Good hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of many illnesses — from the common cold to more serious infections and most types of infectious diarrhea.

With so many hand sanitizers, hand washing liquids, soaps being advertised, it’s comforting to know that so many people appear to be so aware of the need to stop the spread of germs and increase personal hygiene, but one big question still remains:

Are kids washing hands correctly? Does my preschooler even know how to really wash his hands the right way?

 

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Image source: quotesgram.com

One thing I noted in primary schools is, slates and chalks still find their place in preschools and daycares not only in rural areas but in urban cities too. Since little ones tend to get attracted by their first exposure to writing, chalk does hold an important place in their early learning. Handling chalks as their day to day school activity, children however times insisted, tend to forget either out of ignorance or out of enthusiasm, to wash hands thoroughly with soap before eating.

Children are facing a lot of health related problems due to the lack of proper knowledge about hand washing. The biggest barrier in hand washing is not always the availability of water, but rather the knowledge. Making the connection between the dirty hands and the disease is the first step. Although kids wash their hands with water, very few are exposed and educated to use soaps/ cleansers. Washing hands with water alone is not enough to get rid of germs- a soap /cleanser is necessary. It is the single most cost-effective, life saving intervention to have healthy children. Encouraging such hand washing habits among primary school children will eventually reduce their illness frequency and sometimes to nil in the long run.

As a doting mother of a toddler who has just stepped into his preschool, I felt the real need and knowledge of proper hand washing. With my elder daughter,  when she was a toddler (who is now 9 yrs ), I happened to face health issues relating to dust allergy which eventually led to severe wheezing in her. And chalk dust was one of the causes for her allergic cough leading to wheezing.  With that prior bitter experience, now, with my second one, I am doubly cautious and concerned about his health. I see to that he washes his hands properly with soap and especially when he has finished with using chalk. I feel   playschools play a very important role in  teaching kids to wash their hands properly after using chalks because that is every child’s first ever learning platform.

Being internet savvy, I surf on online platforms for parenting articles and blogs related to child health and nutrition. And on one such occasion when I was searching on the online media about healthy sanitation procedures for kids, I came across Savlon’s (ITC) ‘Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’ through their official promotional video.

Savlon (ITC)  as part of ‘Swasth India Mission ‘ has introduced ‘Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks ‘for children, especially for primary school children where chalks are widely used as a tool for teaching.  Soap and water is the most effective way to clean hands but these unique chalk sticks give alternative solutions even without soap! Yes! You read it right. These are unique set of chalk sticks infused with cleansers like soap. This is where the ‘Healthy Hand Chalk Sticks’ comes in to action. The chalk powder left on their hands acts like soap and generates lather as soon as they place it under water. This unique experience will educate children the importance of cleaning with cleansers.

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Image source: brandequity.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Any behavioral change among children that is induced in a fun way will be memorable. Children tend to take lessons learned at school to everyone they resonate with, which is much needed in the area of sanitation.

check out the link below to witness the uniqueness of Savlon’s ‘Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’ in the world of primary school children and their experience with the chalk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWUlWEfJ1k