Monday, March 25, 2013

Two be or not two be?

So this is my 990th post. "So?" You ask. Well, the number 990 holds a lot of significance for me. 990 was Xena's birth weight in grams. Bewdas who are new to the bar but not new to the normal birth weight of a newborn might have fainted at the above statement. If so, may I please direct you to read about Xena's birth and her struggles here.

And it is of special significance that my 990th post is about her 2nd birthday. Well, her birthday was on Sunday the 17th of March, but I'm only writing it now because it wasn't a very happy birthday for her. She fell badly sick and had to be hospitalized on oxygen for a lung infection. She's back home now and from her antics, feeling much better, but the doctors did warn us that premature babies with very low birth weight are susceptible to lung infections that regular babies are unaffected by, so we need to be careful.

Well, it's still two months before doctors will consider her as a two-year-old (they use the expected delivery date rather than the actual birth date for babies born before 37 weeks of gestation), so I'm still wondering if I should consider her a two-year-old yet or not. Two be or not two be? More importantly, have the terrible twos started, or do I have another two months?

As she grows, we might start seeing some of the things doctors had cautioned us about and it is a little scary. Of course, we rejoiced at every step, when she was taken off oxygen support, when she was taken out of the incubator, when the bleeding in her brain stopped, when the hole in her heart closed, when her hernia surgery was successful, when she finally came home after two very challenging months in the ICU... but we are aware that the difficulties might not be over and there may be other challenges along the road. Like her eating. Rather, the lack of. She is two and she pretty much survives on two small bottles of milk in a day. She weighs as much as a 9-month-old. Sometimes it gets exhausting. I have been offering her food multiple times a day for the last year and a half, and she has rejected it every single time. Sometimes I dream of the day when I will wake up and see her eating. Actually eating. Food.

During her recent hospitalisation, the doctors who saw her were quite taken aback at her size and one of them actually started asking us if she is okay in terms of developmental milestones. "Can she walk? Can she run? Can she speak at least 50 words?" I wanted to laugh. Honestly, one of the big reasons why I've still not joined the workforce back is to help her catch up on such things. (Doctors had said that her total rejection of solid food and lack of the chewing action is very likely to cause a delay in speech, and at one point they even referred us to a speech and language therapist.) So I had been working my ass off. I knew I couldn't do anything if she didn't want to eat, but this dragon mommy was not going to give up without a fight on the speech delay possibility. So I talked and I talked and I talked to her. All day long. I talked so much that I often gave myself a headache. I kid you not. And then I would make adrak ki chai for myself to get rid of the headache. And then I would talk some more. In the beginning, she just gave me "You crazy woman" looks, but soon she started responding. Very well.

So when the doctor asked me if she can say 50 words, I laughed. I nodded to assure him that she could. When we came back from the hospital, I had a fun idea. I sent an email to Viv's parents and my parents asking them to guess how many words are in Xena's vocabulary at the moment. The guesses ranged from 100-300 words. And then I sent them the answer with the list of words that I had been compiling for her 2nd birthday. The list only included words that she actively and voluntarily uses in conversation (I excluded words that she can repeat because she can repeat almost everything). And the magic number is 501, far off from all their guesses! 436 English words and 65 Hindi words. I feel like I can breathe a bit now. There may be another 28283764739292 challenges to expect in the future, but here's one down and nothing can stop me from celebrating. :)

As someone who has always been totally and hopelessly in love with her vocation, I can't help but compare my life now to when I was in the office. And sometimes I feel like I use principles from my working life to parent Xena. Well, at least some aspects of it. However, I have to admit that parenting is the hardest 'project' I have ever done. It is so random, so grey, so unpredictable, that at times you feel lost and can only find comfort in the fact that you did the best you could. It's hard to stay sane between the extreme feelings that having a kid brings about. The good stuff is really good (when your kid runs towards you to hug you, or when she falls asleep in your arms), but the bad stuff is really bad (when you are 7 months pregnant and you don't know if your kid and/or you will make it, or when you are rushing her to the hospital in the middle of the night).

So whenever someone asks me for my views on being a parent, I really don't know what to tell them. I can only say this. Think of the best feeling you have ever had in your life. Now think of the worst feeling you have ever had in your life. Now multiply each feeling by infinity, and mix the two up. That is parenthood. I know this doesn't make much sense, but that's the way it is.



Pen my thoughts said...

Wow! I have been a silent reader of all your posts and this one moved me the most!!hats off to u and ur husband and also to Xena for fighting against all odds and winning!touchwood! My son was born in March too!Happy birthday to Xena!!

Bubblegum.... said...

She is a fighter and so you both are!!!! :)

BZ said...

I agree with the commentors above. Really respect you and admire Xena for the true warriors you have been

Sri said...

Beautiful post, Sayesha!! Congrats to you on making her speak so well!!

Happy 2nd birthday to Xena!

I can understand the pain when you try to make your kid eat different foods but the kid hates eating!

Even i dream of the day i can give food in a plate to my daughter and see her polish it off by of now, its a daily battle with both of us screaming!!

I get so irritated when some moms say-"My kid finishes food in 10 minutes!" and look at my daughter and then look at me with the expression-"This Mom must be so lazy. See her kid is so thin!"(No one can understand the pain of raising a premature baby)

Just like Xena, even my daughter speaks well!

thelilvoicespeaks said...

Happy Birthday fighter!! :)
May the coming days bring you loads of happiness, good health and all the best things in the life. :)

Sayesha said...

Pen my thoughts,
Thank you. And happy birthday to your kiddo too. :)

Thank you. :)

Thanks. :)

Thank you. :) Your kid is now 3.5 years old, right? I was reading your blog and your statement "She loves Maggi, noodles, watermelon juice, chicken, dairy milk, naturo, nutella, Oreo (only the cream) and ice-cream." made me so envious. Xena has no favourite foods. Literally. She doesn't eat anything at all. :(

Thank you. :)

Shraddha said...

Hey Sayesha,

I just remembered this bit I read some time ago when I read your post today:

My neice is as old as Xena and she runs away when my Bhabhi gets her food... the kid actually says this "Mama khana layi, bhago bhago" and hides!!

My Bhabhi is still trying to get the little one interested in food... and this link was my suggestion to her...

Some kids are just different, right :)

Happy birthday to Xena. She shares her bday with my dear hubby :) I did remember Xena on 17th... just didnt have net connectivity that day to send her an email as we were out vacationing...


Yamini M said...

Happy Birthday To Xena! :)
I am sure she's gonna be strong and healthy always!

and hats off to you for being such a wonderful mom!

Sri said...

Dear Sayesha-Please keep trying..thats the only way we can develop a kid's taste..i dont like bittergourd at all and one day my daughter ate a piece at our neighbour's house and wanted me to make it! That lasted for about a week and she now doesnt eat it!!

Most of the foods she liked at the age of 3 are not her favourites 6 months,a lot changes!!

Sru said...

Happy first second birthday Xena :)

Manasi said...

Hey.. Xena is such a strong girl.. she has and will continue to win the challenges of life.. kuddos to her..

I totally love your spirit Sayesha.. You are doing a vvv good job as a mother and am proud of you..

Manasi said...
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humblog said...

I'm reminded of a quote from the movie American President - "Oh, you only fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need fighting!"

Hang in there. You are doing great.

BTW - this is my favorite pic. B/w is the way to take photos, color is overrated.

chengiz said...

Beautiful post Sayesha. And happy birthday Xena!

mypunchingbag said...

happy birthday to dearest xena. This post was so heartfelt and the pic of xena topped it off. She is such a darling. Hope she overcomes all the obstacles and starts eating :)

How do we know said...

happy birthday to the warrior princess and hats off to the mater and pater.

Arun said...

Xena's poor eating habits is a Winter's Tale of woe; the past eighteen months of coaxing her to eat now seems to you like Love's Labour's Lost. Xena tucking into her food with gusto seems only like a distant Midsummer's Night's Dream. But I'm sure this phase will be over, and she will eat As You Like It. This past Tempest will then seem like Much Ado About Nothing, and you will be thinking that All's Well That Ends Well.

Rakesh said...
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Divya said...

Wow..job well done and much Respect!
I'm a mom of 20 month old and parenting is no breezer..
Do you know how many 2 year old don't utter word ..and yet you have a little talking machine..i saw the video of Xena working of flash cards- my own kid does not do that!!

Also my 2 cents on encouraging eating, have you tried making Xena part of cooking/prep my tot will eat up an entire egg when she peel the shells herself(never mind the mess).
Idlis go down without protest, when she takes them out of the idly plates - she even eat its out of the idly plate.

Best wishes and fight on, i will lend my virtual prayers and support!!

ratzb said...

Now I can see where the inspiration comes from, for Sayesha on the rocks :)

Keep it up Bravo Xena and super bravo mom! Have always followed your blog on my reader but this is the first comment to reach you...prayers would follow!

Unknown said...

I have been a reader of your blogs for ages & so its like I know you n your family...I can understnad how difficult it must be for you...but hang it there...our prayers and wishes will always be there for you!!!

Raam Pyari said...

love to xena and a biiiiggg hug to you :)


Ijji said...

happy birthday to the lovely Xena... she is growing up so fast..2 already haan...vaise I saw her alphabet video and can confidently say she is far ahead of normal 2 year olds...not only did she identify them all correctly, she was even able to relate them to the stuff she had...

about the food thing..well I am the least qualified person to comment but still my 2 cents.. how about trying to give her food to play with...not prompting her to eat it..just blow bubbles with a straw in a glass of juice...or something with boiled veggies..or make her feed a doll...very messy but worth a shot??? dunno!

shweta said...

Wow, hope you have an amazing time growing up with Xena. And hope she has the best of health in the coming days. :))!!

Let the Sunshine :))!!

Horizon said...

Happy 2nd to Xena. You as parents and she are real fighters.
Hope she fulfils your dream soon of eating a full plate of food.

Disha said...

A very happy b'day and lots of love to Xena. :)

rt r said...
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Varsha said...

happy birthday Xena... Sayesha, there are challenges further ahead. Other types. I shall probably mail you if you are interested, as I don't want to post it here. Xena might/might not face same stuff as Vihaan. Vihaan did not have eating troubles. But something else altogether, pricking type of problems, but not daunting ones.

Unknown said...

Such a poignant post!

Congratulations to you Sayesha, for keeping up your spirit, and doing so well with Xena.

And lots of love, and best wishes for good health to the little gundi. I wish her many, many more happier returns of the day!

Unknown said...

Some problem with my google identity. The 'Unknown' above should read: Sangeetha.


Alice said...

You've come a long long way.

Happy pre (or post birthday ;) ) to Xena. :) And yes, you have good reasons to celebrate... enjoy karo!


starbreez said...

I'm really grateful you've allowed us to walk through this journey with you, even though we can only help through our hugs and prayers. Thank you for sharing with us this incredibly journey, devastatingly beautiful in all its pain and joy. I trust that our dear Warrior Princess wil have many more delightful surprises in store for us, thanks to her devoted mother!

dilontherocks said...

Happy 2nd to The princess. She really is a great warrior. And You are such an amazing parent. Very inspiring.

Neha said...

Hi Sayesha, I have been reading your blog for over 2 years now(never subscribed though) and love the way you write. I always come back to catch up after few days or months from my busy life to see whats happening at your end. My daughter was born on 17th Feb 2011 and initially I have faced much of the same struggle as you are w.r.t eating. There was a time when I thought my daughter has infantile anorexia a term which I came across after googling a lot about my daughters eating or the lack of it. It is the eating disorder of babies. I even took her to doctors, checked if she has GERD. She was a normal breastfed (expressed milk) baby but suddenly around 6 months of age she stopped drinking milk. She will only drink when she is half asleep. This continued till she was 11 months and then she even stopped drinking when she was sleeping. She also was not eating any solids and her birth percentile weight percentile was 3 to 5 %. I have cried countless time worrying sick about her. At 11 months she fell sick and doctor suggested we should try to increases her weight. At that time I even resorted to TV and tried feeding her high calorie smoothies with nuts, kefir, greens, dates and fruits. She did eat a little and gained a little for a week or two but that stopped as well. This situation continued till almost 18 months. After that she fell sick and when she got better the things have suddenly improved.She started feeling hungry and asking for food to eat. She weighs 20 lbs now and she is at this weight since last 7-8 months. She is still very picky and likes mostly sweet stuff but I try to feed her healthy and I cannot tell you what a relief it is to see her eat. I am commenting here for the first time because I just wanted to tell you to hang in there. Some day ...soon..she will want to eat. You are doing an awesome job as a mother.. take care. I keep sending the good wishes your way..always.

Shoba Sharat said...

Happy birthday Xena dahling.The picture is too cute.Raising a healthy baby is in itself a herculean task,can't imagine what you guys must be going through.Hang on,dragon momma.Things will change for better soon.

Do keep the posts coming Sayesha,you inspire us mommies.

Tkcare you all.Best wishes.

Sandhya said...

Happy Birthday to Xena.

Sayesha, Viv and you are doing a great job. I really appreciate your courage in dealing with Xena's birth issues, her health and her diet. Your posts are inspirational.

Hang in there, she will soon feel better and start eating well.

Take care.

Blooms And Bugs said...

sayesha kudos to you for putting up such a good fight. I don't think the other challenges stand a chance with this attitude, they will be biting dust in no time.
I read the next post too, and wanted to say Kudos to you for keep her off the tv for this long. I couldn't do it for six months *mommyfacepalms*

btwnearthsky said...

sashtang dandavatta..pranaam..
bhai .. hato hato..
this is for the princess.. :D
I have been here reading and following you since 2007, long way and you are still my most favourite blogger so far..
and probably will be too..
keep writing Sash Bhai... you (on the) ROCK!! :D